This is one of the most recent books I read. And, it has left me feeling confused about it. There are things I liked about the book and there are things I thought were not to my liking (or perhaps expectations).

As soon as I lay my hands on a book, I build my expectations right away by reading its cover text, the reviews contained inside the book and the preface. Yes, I am one of those readers who literally read the book cover to cover, not missing even the acknowledgements. In my opinion, those things are as much part of a book as is the story. So, anyways, I expected this book to be a ‘fresh new’ idea and since it is a national bestseller, I expected it to fulfill my expectations of it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t (on that front). But there are many good things about the book. The idea, as such, might not be unique and new, but the story in itself is good. I liked the style of writing, the way that the author builds up events perhaps knowing that many readers will already be familiar with some aspects of the story. I especially liked the way the author has built upon some slogans (eg. “Har Har Mahadev“) that I have known for many years, yet never really thought about the story behind their coming into existence. I admired the simplicity and ingenuity of some such ideas.

But there are things that were disappointing and simply unbelievable. First, this book might tell a good story but doesn’t manage to convince you to see that side of the story. By the end of the book, you are not nodding and thinking “perhaps, that is how it happened”. Rather, you are thinking, “OK, well told but where is the shock element that I had so expected?” Perhaps the reason behind lack of surprise element in the book is the fact that if you know about Hindu mythology, you are surely aware that the Gods were not born as Gods. They lived as mortals, as avatars,  and came to be regarded as Gods because of their deeds. Perhaps, it could also be the fact that this particular concept has already been discussed (consider the song “mathura nagarpati” from the movie “Raincoat“).

Then, there is this weird predictability around the concept and the story doesn’t stay in your mind for too long. For me, that’s not impressive. If I can’t think over and over about a book for at least a week, that means I was not drawn into it. This one is clearly predictable and has nothing to do with changing your mind about something or even making you see another side of a situation. Though I have not read much about Lord Shiva much, and I know Hindu mythology already propagates the idea of the Gods as being lived as mortals in our world, I still don’t identify with the way that the character of Shiva develops.

The thing I disliked most about this book was –  the winning battle strategies seem to have been taken directly from the movie ‘300’. Oh yes, I could visualize the whole scene in the book by going back to what I have already seen in that movie! Now, the author might have made a minor changes to it, but it was a total spoiler for me. Just when I started thinking that it was still a creative piece of work, I found myself highly disappointed!

All in all, it is a good read in itself i.e. if you ignore the fact that it is based on Lord Shiva’s life and if you can look beyond the battle scenes. As I mentioned before, it is a good story. It might not be convincing and great; but for people like me who simply love to read, it is worth reading. And, it is a national bestseller.

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