Sometimes a book comes along that makes you want to re-read it so you can understand it better. Govinda, the first book of the Aryavarta Chronicles was one such book. I did re-read it as well. The book was a good one, and it changed the idea of the Mahabharata in a way I didn’t like, yet liked. So I was quite eager to see how its sequel, Kaurava would turn out to be. From the first look, the cover design is absolutely enchanting and beautiful.
The characters, as expected, reprise their main roles from Govinda in the second book as well. Like the first book, the plot structure does something successfully, and that is to turn the story on its head. Dharma is no longer the picture of righteousness. He doesn’t get cheated into a game of dice. His obsession with gambling gets him there. For the purists of the great epic, this may be hard to take, but in its own way, the story feels right, feels more true and believable.
The characters are again, as expected, devoid of magic. This affects the plot in a lot of ways, the primary one being there’s no saving of Panchali when she gets molested. The narration was what saved the first book from being boring without the magic. Perhaps this book missed some part of that excellent narration, because it didn’t keep me interested for much of the book, even though the plot events are crucial ones. It felt stuck somewhere, felt a little heavy, a little boring.
The ending stages of the novel, however, still have enough pace and movement in them to ensure that I pick up the third book when it comes out. Did I like it as much as I liked the first book, Govinda? No. But I don’t feel it is a bad book that hurts the series. Maybe the author had an off-phase while she was writing this part, that’s all. Overall, I think I’ll keep it at the same rating as I gave to the first book as well.
In A Gist:
Positives: Cover design, characters, believability
Negatives: Narration felt heavy, and a little boring.
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 second full length novel, and second book in the Aryavarta Chronicles series, between her debut work Govinda and the forthcoming third book Kurukshetra.
Series: The Aryavarta Chronicles #2
Author: Krishna Udayasankar
Genre: Alternative Mythology
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: INR. 350
(25th January, 2014)