Posted in Books

Book Review: Govinda, by Krishna Udayasankar

About the author:
Krishna Udayasankar is a graduate of NLSIU, Bangalore, and holds a PhD from Nanyang Business School, Singapore, where she currently works. This is her debut full length novel.

Cover and blurb:
The cover shows the hilt of a sword, the sunrise in an ancient looking setting. It’s quite captivating, really.

My thoughts on the book:
Mythology is a genre I love reading. It’s like fantasy to a little extent, but more loved because it is something that I’ve grown up hearing and reading. Quite a few authors are venturing into writing in this genre, or around this genre. Amish and Ashok Banker come to mind, especially the latter because of his ongoing retelling of the Mahabharata in the MBA series. So to read The Aryavarta Chronicles was quite nice too. I felt I might inadvertently compare the authors, but I’ve tried my best not to.

The first of this three part series (everything’s better in a trilogy I suppose?) shares the story of the ancient Realm of the Noble – Aryavarta. The realm has smaller, lesser known kingdoms and all are trying to conquer the others, or engaged in war. In its essential structure, the book deals with Govinda, prince of Dwaraka and commander of its armies, and his intent to see Dharma as the emperor of the Realm.

The characters are no longer Godly or magical, but the plot is similar. The characters are not ditto as the Mahabharata either. They are different from the sketches we know from reading the great Epic. The research done by the authoress to bring out this novel is quite evident. She has her story straight, and makes it quite interesting for the readier, because the language holds magic, even if the characters have been removed of theirs. Clear, precise yet very smoothly flowing, she brings the story to life. The storyline challenges the interpretations of the great Epic that you may have etched in your heart from childhood.

Is it a great book? No. Good yes, great no. It is quite long, and for me, it took some effort to connect with the characters. Maybe it’s the mythology fan in me, but I missed the magic. The loss of that magic meant the characters began to sound similar in my head, and I couldn’t quite like any one character (though most of the novel is from the voice of Govinda Shauri (Krishna, for those not acquainted with the Mahabharata). Govinda is the most likeable character in the end.

It might take me a read or two more to actually get my head wrapped around this story. Yes, it is worth re-reading and I feel the pace she has given to the narration won’t make you feel bored. A retelling of magic without the magic… it is a brave and well written first attempt by the author, in my opinion.

Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book Details:
Title: Govinda
Series: The Aryavarta Chronicles #1
Author: Krishna Udayasankar
ISBN: 9789350097526
Genre: Fiction/Mythology
Publishers: Hachette India
Price: INR. 199

This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.

(17th Nov, 2013)


Poetry and writing are to me, a breath of fresh air in a life that is sometimes covered by the smoke of sorrow or self doubt. They also become the sweets I share to celebrate when life offers me a reason to. But most of all, they are to me, my life. For each word I write is a piece of my heart, a thought that just had to find its way into the world.