Book Review: Pradyumna, Son of Krishna, by Usha Narayanan

Far too often, I find my reading journey heading down mythology lane. I suppose it is a comfort, that genre, having been fed on tales from Indian mythology through my childhood. It is a comfort to know the characters that will be familiar, even if the plot not necessarily so. Pradyumna – Son of Krishna, by Usha Narayanan was a book I’d added to my wishlist a while back. Call it good fortune, I got the book both in eFormat as well as paperback, and completed the read in a week.

I freely admit that though I’ve read a lot of stories about Krishna, I’ve not read any about his sons. I was aware of their names, but not their stories. I might not be the only one either, for our mythology is such that the major gods, goddesses and demigods get more focus than others. Pradyumna, son of Krishna and Rukmini is a more known name than Samba, son Krishna and Jambavati. Yet it is through the lives of both these sons that this book is woven.

When the Pandavas go to Dwaraka to see the two sons of Krishna, events take a turn for the worse. Jambavati is angry that the guests give their complete attention and blessings to Pradyumna, and in her angered state, even forgets to respect the sage Narada. Narada, who can see the future, gets a vision that one of the two is the destroyer of the Yadu dynasty, and the other, the savior. Pradyumna is later abducted. The story, for a while, shows the life of the asura prince Vama, the queen Mayavati and the asura king Kaalasura. We later come to know that Vama is Kama, the God of Desire incarnated as Pradyumna who was abducted, and Mayavati is the reincarnation of Kama’s wife Rati. Vama/Pradyumna is destined to kill Kaalasura, and then return to Dwaraka. Further battles and accolades await him there… but I’ll not reveal everything. I’d leave that to you, to read, enjoy and find out.

What matters most to me when the genre is mythology is that the narration is magical, and it most certainly was in this case. Not even for a moment did I get bored. And that helped the read to be quite engaging too. To explore the characters of those lesser known gods and goddesses, a lot of research has been done, and to bring the timelines together as well. You find little morsels of wisdom in the dialogues, and not just in those of Sage Narada. You see threads of reincarnation being tied up nicely as well, and the concept of good triumphing over evil, which is part and parcel of most, if not all, mythological tales coming to the fore.

The development of characters, as essential to a book as the magic of narration, is also something I loved seeing in this book. From the qualities of the God of Desire, Kama being so omnipresent in his reincarnation, and especially in the part of the life he led as Vama, to the acceptance and then focusing of energy to become the warrior Pradyumna from the meek lover he was earlier, and at last to the utmost confidence he has later, the main character of Pradyumna was a joy to read. Though we do not see as much focus on Samba, the character is also done justice in the way he imbibes the character of his mother Jambavati. The part of which son is the savior, and which son the destroyer is not explicitly mentioned yet in the novel, but mythology lovers would no doubt realize and understand it already.

I’m not that big a fan of the cover page, though it did reflect the warrior Pradyumna well, but that’s a minor concern only. If this first book is anything to go by, I can’t wait for the second book that’s hopefully around the corner. I enjoyed the book a lot, and I feel any reader who loves the comfort of mythological tales will enjoy this immensely as well.


The Bookworm Rates This: 5/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 5/5
Book Details
Title:
Pradyumna – Son of Krishna
Series:
Pradyumna #1
Author(s): Usha Narayanan Genre: Mythology
ISBN/ASIN:
B010FRZ8LI
Publisher:
Penguin Metro Reads

I own a copy of the book. No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.


(© 4th December 2015)

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