The Shiva trilogy by Amish- a review


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Shiva- The man whom legend turned into a God! -The concept was interesting!

The idea of a mythology being converted to a tale, enhanced and beautified for a mass appeal was interesting!

“Shit, what am I saying” (a sample of a dialogue from the first of the trilogy )-the language seemed interesting too , to many. It seemed to be a refreshing change from the archaic “thou cometh my Lord” , but personally I just could not digest a God, alright a legend , saying that, but that’s just a minor point in a sea of disputes.

Amish Tripathi, the author of the Shiva trilogy, namely The Immortals of Meluha, The Secret of the Nagas and The Oath of the Vayuputras  needs to be applauded for three things –

One- a brave attempt at mythology with descriptions of epic proportions, ahem! figuratively speaking.

Second, characterizations and research- He is completely in sync with what and how the readers would want their heroes and antiheroes to be and has amplified the heroic in each of the characters, including even the mundane ones. So we have Nandi , Veerbhadra, Ganesh, who seems like a well sketched combo of Clark Kent- Superman all rolled into one, visible as such at the same moment too . The research is extensive and barring aside a few minor jarring notes in the backdrop in the first, seems pretty much possible and precise in the latter two on first look.

Though the contemporary scientific terms interspersed here and there seems to stick out like a sore thumb, but still can be overlooked, though it’s anybody’s guess why a kingdom discussing telepathic signals, thermodynamics and nuclear fission is still depending on the slowest mode of transportations.

Thirdly – His farsightedness as far as the calculations of the far reaching effects and impact of the book. The trilogy is a success and has already bagged a movie deal and has been touted as India’s answer to LOTR. Not a surprise considering the vivid imagery that he has woven around the India of yore which I consider the best point in the trilogy as a matter of fact.

These were really laudable in terms of innovative attempts and creativity, but the originality ends there.

The story is set on the same Sati-Shiva legend with the backdrop of ‘somras’ and Meluha to heighten the curiosity or rather complicate things. We have theo- philosophical theories about the Nagas, Mahadevas and Vasudevas thrown in for added attraction and the never failing  ‘good versus evil war’ as the objective, the only notable and unique highpoint being the point when the author seems to debate on  what evil is but even that fizzles out by the third novel.

Impact wise, the first did a lovely job of piquing readers’ interest with its simple colloquial style and grand historical (though not flawless) descriptions and superb characterizations.

The second of the trilogy was a powerful display of the author’s capability to sustain readers’ interest with some high voltage melodrama and razor sharp twists in the plot. In fact of all the three, the second of the trilogy is the fastest paced with a racing storyline; complete with some unexpected twist every third chapter.

By the time, the third of the series was due; a huge hype had been created that reminded me of the Deathly Hallows days.

But Deathly Hallows was fitting end to a grand piece of work by Rowling while The oath of the Vayuputras…? Same cannot be said about it sadly. In fact, let alone a fitting end to the series, it was not even a fitting end to the Legend called Shiva.

A cold bloodedly calculated massacre of an entire helpless ‘resigned to one’s fate’ city, (of which ninety percent of the population were innocent)  are not stuffs of which legends of God  are made, but rather they are stuffs which remind you of Hitler’s genocidal ambitions.

Shiva’s dance of destruction is famous, but again Shiva’s dance of destruction is said to be spontaneous and impulsive- not anywhere like assembling a nuke in front of a town for two days and blowing it up on the third day.

Egyptian Assassins; Vayuputras which has western links- any farfetched imaginary ideas could have been forgiven, but this? The God whom Amish’s legend turn into a man with petty notions of right and wrong is totally, wholly, absolutely unacceptable and this is where he fails miserably in my eyes.

So in the end, I end up back in square one, where I would rather believe in the God Shiva himself rather than an interesting cock and bull legend turning an exceptional man into a God who certainly did not behave like one, when it needed to !

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9 Comments

9 Comments
  1. I just finished reading the trilogy…must admit quite late than the rest of India. I agree that the first two were brilliant in their pace and the build up to the grand finale. However, The Oath of the Vayuputras, i think is a misnomer cause the Vayuputras themselves had very little part to play and secondly the philosophical portion sounded overdone in it.

    I do not agree to the fact that Shiva’s action in cold blood is different from acting on the spur of the moment because people manifest anger and reactions to it in different forms and what may appear to us as cold blooded ‘plan’ of a genocide, could well be an act in the fit of rage; but then these are my thoughts and I could be wrong.

    What I loved most about the trilogy is how AT has while maintaining the basic framework of the mythologies, still managed to weave a mortal story around the entire cast…for eg we know that Shiva and Sati were married, Kartik and Ganesh are their sons, Kali is Sati’s (Durga’s) sister, Nandi the faithful follower of Shiva and Daksha the reason which prompted the Tandava.

    To conclude, the first two were definitely very gripping while the third and final one probably could have been done better. I know it’s easier to review than to be the author and therefore would submit my humble and very personal opinions.

    The good thing is that this series has now made me read up on such other mythological-fictions and I just finished reading The Palace of Illusions and am looking forward to Karna’s Wife: The Outcast’s Queen.

  2. poonam

    the thing is everyone knew about the waging war against meluha and it was in the hands of the meluhans to decide their respective sides. like parvateshwar chose to defend meluha irrespective of his devotion towards shiva because for him it was his duty towards his nation. the meluhans chose to be on the other side and fight as a nation against shiva. hence they were on the side of evil even though they themselves were not the supporters of the same. and alongwith evil anything that comes in its support has to be destroyed.

  3. Peeyush Pavanan

    I understand your disappointment when we mortals expect our GOD to behave responsibly and act maturely. However, what Amish did with the end is to relate with our Indian Mythological stories which we has been passed on to us from one generation to another. I am not sure if you are aware of Lord Shiva and Sati story. Even in Indian Mythology, Shiva who is always depicted as GOD and not human went into rage and destroyed everything. Shiva who is also known as Destroyer is equally justified in Oath of Vayuputras. I still give a thumbs up for the way Amish ended the series. 🙂

    • I am very much aware of the rage of the Mahadeva and how he destroyed everything on the spur of the moment. What AT has depicted in his book is a controlled rage. If Shiva would have been shown slaying the entire population in a fit of rage, i would have no complaints, but if you remember the book, he gave them a deadline. a warning. built the nuke coldly in front of the helpless city..come on, that sounds so much like The Joker of Batman

  4. I toatlly agree with you. I was carving for the Oath of the Vayuputtras too. But I was disappointed. Though it is a good one but it could be better in comparison to Secret of the Nagas. Anyway, liked your writing. Simple and sweet!!

  5. Thank you. I am glad you liked it 🙂

  6. The books are good, but they are not extraordinary. The first was awesome, the second was just good, and the third was a big disappointment. Indian authors should not dabble so much with science, they loose credibility with it. But good review. 🙂

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