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Author Review - Amish Tripathi

Having read the entire Shiva Trilogy in 1 and a half weeks, and reading Scion of Ikshvaku twice, just before reading Sita - Warrior of Mithila, and hunting the internet for the mysterious Suheldev book, I think I'm quite qualified to review the amazing writing of Amish Tripathi.

If there's one author whose books I wait for, it's this guy. Though this may sound surprising, much of my opinions & thinking about various aspects of life have been shaped by his books, namely Immortals of Meluha and Scion of Ikshvaku.
Let's start with Shiva Trilogy:

Shiva Trilogy is a 3-book series, and I know it's been a long while since I last read it, there's no way I would fail to recollect the emotions in that book. The story that made me cry, the story that made me fall in love with a fictional character for the first time, and the story that defined my point of view over so many things in life. Yes, it stresses on duality and balance, the principle that I emphasize on most of the time.

Immortals of  Meluha, the first book in Shiva Trilogy, opens with a very warm and average introduction of a man named Shiva. Don't worry, I won't be giving you spoilers; not many to be honest. Anyway, the entire story revolves around him, and his so-called uniqueness. There's everything in this book: Battle, Love, Jokes, and discussions. Oh my god, the discussions! They are the best part of it. Characters talk or debate about how society should function, how people should live, and any philosophical topic that pertains to the living.

Shiva's journey makes him fall in love with a strong, intelligent woman named Sati. And if Shiva feels something in the book, you feel it too. It was in this book that I realised, or for the first time thought of the qualities I would like in a partner, and this book may be held greatly responsible for my preferences. A woman who inspires, a woman who doesn't like being helped. Sati has this quality that is quite prominent in this book mainly: She doesn't want anyone to do her a big favor. And the way it is presented in this book is so inspiring, that I'd sub-consciously grasped this quality and only until a few months ago did I realise this! It's not just that I loved this character, I learnt from her too, that's the point. Amazing how books shape you.

Perhaps that's the difference between books and TV Shows/Movies. Movies change your conscious perception about yourself temporarily to make you believe that you're a Tony/Ned Stark, only to fade away, whereas books, they don't even tell you what they're teaching you, and you carry it through your life.

One thing that Amish Tripathi is really good at is his descriptive narration. Be it any forest, any city, any room or any hut, he sets the scene so vividly, that you're there. You feel the room where Shiva is, you feel the body when he's hugging someone, you feel the sword when it scratches him and you see the city as he travels. There is a LOT of travelling in all of the three books. Although sometimes I did get bored of the long narration when I was foreseeing that something big is going to happen here, I won't really call it irritating.

You can make the reader see stuff through your writing, you can make the reader hear sounds through your writing, maybe make them taste dishes through established people-defined tastes, but how an author can make one feel emotions is beyond me. If ever this happens to me, I know that I'm connected.
During the entire 1.5 weeks that I read this book, I could relate myself to Jake Sully of the movie Avatar. I just had to open this book and all my body ceased to matter. I was Shiva's eye, Shiva's ears, and Shiva's mind. I was that person, and I could feel every rage, and love that surged through him. And it was just amazing. I have read many books in my life and I cannot remember ever being so connected to any of them!

With the amazing battle scene towards the end of this book, I could have said this book was complete, except, the story stopped me from saying it! Amish Tripathi has a distributed way of telling stories, much like George R.R Martin's. Several stories running parallely, all converging together later to make the climax. However, this was the first book, and it wouldn't make sense to have the climax in the 1st of three books, would it?

The Secret of the Nagas

I would call this the plot "unfolding phase" of the story. At least the shorter parallel stories started making sense here. I remember the principle of Duality first being introduced here.
Though it did have its fair share of fights & battles, none seemed as great and gripping to me as the first one in Immortals of Meluha. The discussions, because of Duality, became more intellectual, and society-focussed, society in a broader sense. The first book talked about how stuff should be done, how everything should be, etc. But this book was broader in it's perspective. Looking at all of this in a completely different way. Anyway, I won't go into much of the details, don't want to spoil the fun for anyone who hasn't read the book.

The Oath of the Vayuputras

A completely war-oriented book. And this is exactly where I grew a little tired of Amish's descriptive writing. I know I'm not an author, which doesn't give me any right to critisize what I can't do, but just as a reader, you really don't care what's around when you know a big fight is going to happen here! Anyway, the fights were really involving. And if I have to stop anyone from crying, I would just say stop at the 30th Chapter of the book! As far as I remember, the book had 34 chapters, and almost everything happens. Yes, the climax doesn't yet arrive, but the story reaches the point where you know who's going to win. You're just reading it to know how! And trust me, you won't like it. Whatever happens at the end, was perhaps the saddest pages I've ever read. I still remember, the final page of that book, and how Shiva has changed, forever.

I was sad for 5 days after finishing that book. Well, I looked online, and I wasn't the only one who didn't like the end. I can't really blame Amish in this. If it were a story with eveything all rainbows and sunshine at the end, it would be a script for Bollywood. But no, he left a big deep crater into the garden we grew in our hearts. And each time we come to enjoy that garden, we will see in front of us that great depression. I'm really sorry for that metaphor. I think only the people who have read this book will understand this paragraph! Anyway, if you haven't read the book!

Ram Chandra Series

Scion of Ikshvaku

This book is a prequel to the previous series - the Shiva Trilogy.
It's a book on Lord Ram, and interestingly, he is not celebrated in the city of Ayodhya in that story. Yes, I did forget to tell you that if you see your God's name and buy this book to read about facts, you'll only be enraged if you're an Indian. Read this book for what it is. Fiction. The heroes will remain heroes, but you'll have a journey to remember. Anyway, even I was disappointed at first with this construct. I'm used to narrations of Lord Ram's popularity in the city during his time, and it feels really good every time you hear it. Needless to say, Amish did prove his mettle in the further chapters as he kept on building Ram's character. There are more serious discussions in this book, I think, more than Shiva Trilogy. Ram has a very good brain, and a very pure heart. And I think the author didn't have to make efforts for everyone to be in Ram's character given the fact that we're so attached to him from our childhood. 
As the story progresses, Ram earns affection and turns a beloved hero from literally being a hated prince. And that, feels really good. Setting Ram's popularity amazing at the very beginning would have made the story very plain.
I'm careful of not giving too many spoilers, so I won't spill the details of it, but there are scenes where you're literally aghasted by the description of the scene, and enraged, and sad. 

Amish always makes it a point to describe the character well, and if it's the partner of the protagonist, he makes it a point to make sure she's described strong and willed, more than making sure she's described as beautiful. I can't vouch for the other youngsters, but my choice in finding a partner can be said to have been influenced by his books. Mainly because I started reading these books at the crucial stage of teen age. I was 17 when I first read this book, and 16 when I first read Immortals of Meluha. 


The Ram Chandra Series has a new way of story telling. In the Ramayana, one of the most important events is the time when Raavana kidnaps Sita to take her to his kingdom, Lanka. He stopped the first book right at this event. Now in the second book, he restarts the story, this time from Sita's perspective. You no longer identify yourself with Ram now, it's a different story altogether. You're told about her childhood, and the moments spent with Ram are now re-run, but with changed perspectives, which make room for changed thought processes. You're not bored, though. It's still a very great book. 

Although, the very amazing point of interest in this book here, is how fierce Raavan is described. In every Ramayana, Lord Ram is praised and praised, and a mention of Raavan pops up, and lo, the battle begins! It's only from later facts that we realize how important, good and strong Raavan was too! 
Now, although this book isn't an official narration of the actual Ramayana, Raavana was described in this book before Ram's entrance in the story. And the next book that Amish Tripathi would be releasing would also be the entire story up till the kidnapping of Sita through Raavan's perspective. I cannot wait for that to be out!

In conclusion, Amish Tripathi's books are for anyone who likes knowledge, talking, and peace. 
It's not a story, it's an experience.

That's Amish Tripathi, by the way

Go read Amish's books, and suggest a good one for me too!


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