Book Review: Avishi, by Saiswaroopa Iyer

I love reading stories from Indian mythology. The depth of that genre is such that there are so many stories yet to be heard or known. When I read the summary to this book, I was intrigued because I hadn’t heard of the character of Vishpala at all.

Avishi is the tale of Vishpala reimagined. Avishi, in danger when she was a child, is rescued and brought to the forest of Naimisha, where she grows up. But it is soon clear that her destiny lies elsewhere. She leaves the forest, encouraged by the Maharshi Vahni and others who are now her family, to seek that destiny in the Republic of Ashtagani. She’s finds love there as well. But when the Republic is under threat from a neighboring kingdom, she rises to protect it. The path is not easy, and Khela, the oppressive ruler of that neighboring kingdom seems a formidable foe. Can she battle the obstacles that are thrown in front of her?

I loved the narration style of the author. It draws me into the story. At times, it does feel a bit heavy, and disengages me as a reader, but the story does make me curious to know what happens. The character of Avishi is very well fleshed. How she is brought to Naimisha, how she recollects her past when she returns to the cave, the debates with Gautam and Svada… these are some of my favorite parts in the story. I also love how she puts Ashtagani ahead of any personal choices that may have mattered to her just then. I like the politics that happen in the kingdoms too, how favors are bartered when there wasn’t money. I wanted to know more about the life at Naimisha though, of Maharshi Vahni in particular, for his was a character I quite liked.

When a book is based around a character who is less known, it’s difficult to research about them perhaps. I think there has been a lot of quality research done by the author for this book, and that reflects in how it has turned out. That certainly needs a mention, as does the cover art too. This is a book I would definitely re-read one day, no doubt in that.


A Score Of 9 Out Of 10
Book Details
Title: Avishi: Vishpala of Rig Veda Reimagined
Author(s): Saiswaroopa Iyer Genre: Mythology
ISBN/ASIN: B074MZV8MZ Publisher: N/a

No payment was taken for this review. The views expressed here are mine, and they remain uninfluenced and unbiased.


(© Vinay Leo R. @ A Bookworm’s Musing
11th November 2017)

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