Sunday, October 7, 2018

Book Review of Rakshasas - The Shadow Warriors by Rajiv Menon

I have read "Thunder God - The Ascendence of Indra" in 2014, at that time I had very little exposure of reading community. I had read less than 20 novels at that time. So the book looked lengthy and too fast for my taste. As I had developed the taste in different genres, I understood that even with a fast pace, author (Rajiv Menon) has maintained a great level of storytelling. You would not miss out surroundings and characters in haste, which means my earlier impression of the book got changed over time. And by 2016 I categorized it in good to read "Indian Mythological Books". Since then every quarter I kept checking for the sequel to the book. Rajiv has taken a considerable time to bring his new book. Almost 6-7 years after part-1 Rakshasas – The Shadow Warriors was published. Though it took some time for me to get the copy of the book, it was never late for me.


Book Blurb
The world is in turmoil. Naraka and his formidable Asura war machine march unhindered across it bringing once great nations to their knees. They have now set their eyes on the ultimate prize — Bharata, the land of the seven rivers. Indra and his Devas struggle to contain this threat, even as they battle their own differences and the temptations of Swarga.
In Bharata, Jayanta, the son of Indra, is the new ruler. Even as he prepares for the Asura invasion, a potent threat is rising in the vast forests of Dandaka. Vidyutkesa — the only survivor of a genocide perpetrated by Jayanta — has journeyed into its heart and made contact with the Order of the Sarpa. An ancient and powerful secret society headed by Queen Manasa. With the blessings of Raksha, the Earth Spirit, the Sarpas transform Vidyutkesa and his companions into supernatural beings called Rakshasas. Their mission: to protect their land, forests, and way of life.
In this second installment of his Vedic Trilogy, Rajiv G. Menon weaves a rich and vibrant tapestry of the epic struggle between earth-worshipping feminine cultures that live in harmony with nature, and the patriarchal forces that seek to tame her.
In the 1st part, after defeating & killing Vrata, Indra and remaining Deva along with few Adityas got the place among Gods. But what after then, what will happen to advancing armies of Asura. What will happen to Sachi (Indra’s wife) and Jayanta (Indra’s son_ More importantly, what will happen in Bharat-Varsha after the fall of a Harappan culture? To answer these questions and bring more questions Rajiv has came back with the second part.

The story started with Naraka’s ascendance to the throne of Asura and his conflict with his uncle Mahisha. Through his cunning strategy, Naraka reverted Mahisha towards Gandhar. Somewhere within abode of Manu, a deva got conscious after a long sleep. Vrata’s power transferred to this deva and made his skin blue. This blue one had avoided initial skirmish. But things were already on the roll. Arya’s entered into Bharata. They started defeating various nations/clans. Expansion of Arya had affected (I would say erased) clans after clan. Under the able guidance of Jayanta Arya started prospering but things would not be stable for long. Multiple enemies of Jayanta lurking in dark to attack. On another front how long Indra would be able to hold Naraka and his Asura army.

I would say the enthralling story. You will like each character and their part in the story. The way various ancient culture and beliefs were merged to create this epic was unique. Though fast in pace, this pace was not maintained 450+ page book might end up 800+. So vasts were the subject and stories that it needed the said speed. The language of the book is pretty easy. The narration style is also straight. A good read for people above 16+ age.

Ratings
  1. Cover - 4.5/5
  2. Characters – 4.5/5
  3. Concept – 4/5
  4. Overall – 4.5/5
The book can be found at Amazon and Flipkart
Reviews from other readers can be found at GoodReads
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