Book Review: Kurukshetra, by Krishna Udayashankar

Blogging from A to Z: K for Kurukshetra
Blogging from A to Z: K for Kurukshetra

Kurukshetra is the ending to the Aryavarta Chronicles, the trilogy by Krishna Udayashankar. This third book deals with the war that takes place at Kurukshetra. The author maintains that the series is neither a reinterpretation of the great Mahabharata epic, nor a retelling of it.

Krishna proposes peace, which is rejected by Syoddhan. This is followed by a search for allies for the Great War that is to follow because of that rejection. Most of the book is taken up by the descriptions of the war, or what leads to it including that peace proposal.

Knowing that the characters are devoid of magic and humanized helped this time to adjust to the story, which had been difficult in the first two books. It also piqued interest as to the war which develops, because the magic factor is missing. The character of Abhimanyu is the most interesting for me, and I liked where the author took that part of the tale. The narration is deep, the language polished. And the cover design possibly the best of the three books.

On the flipside, the book felt long and the prose either heavy or hurried at times. It took me a while to get through with it as it didn’t manage to keep me engaged from start to finish at times The first two books held promise , but this is perhaps a tad short of the mark set by those.

As a reader, I think the best way to enjoy the series is to read it back to back. Then it’d be more interesting, because without the mythology, it didn’t work as well for me.

The Bookworm Rates This: 3/5
The Bookworm Rates This: 3/5
Book Details
Title: Kurukshetra Series: Aryavarta Chronicles #3
Author(s): Krishna Udayashankar Genre: Mythology
ISBN/ASIN: 9789350097182 Publisher: Hachette India
No. of Pages: 436 Price: Rs. 350

Reviewed for Hachette India who gave me a copy of the book. The views expressed here are my own, frank and uninfluenced.

(© 13th April 2015)



Book Review: Kaurava (The Aryavarta Chronicles #2), by Krishna Udayasankar


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.

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

Book Details:
Title: Kaurava
Series: The Aryavarta Chronicles #2
Author: Krishna Udayasankar
Genre: Alternative Mythology
ISBN/ASIN: 9789350096345
Publisher: Hachette India
Price: INR. 350


This book was given to me for review by Hachette India. This is not a paid review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.

Shared with Indian Quills 2014 at Tales Pensieve.

(25th January, 2014)

Book Review: Govinda (The Aryavarta Chronicles #1), 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)