It isn't often one comes across a book by an Indian author, with a sequel. It is even rarer when the said sequel might just be better than its predecessor.
After I was finished with the first part- "Immortals of Meluha", the urge to grab the next piece was just irresistible. After waiting for two torturous months, I got the hold of a copy. What a pleasure it was to read it from start to finish in 3 days, I literally started feeling like a Zombie after those 36 hours. Anyway, coming back to the story and review of "The Secret of the Nagas" ; it’s a light read that do full justice to a reader who is not too sensitive on his religious grounds. Since the story line contains some events and incidences which might shake up your beliefs.. So read this book, only if you are ready to accept it as a pure fiction, or mythological variations don’t bother you that much.
I have always believed, that in history there were some amazing and extra ordinary men and women who were termed as God, by virtue of them being highly evolved in comparison to others and Amish explores this concept in a fantastic way. Several stories or myths are deconstructed in the book and are present to us in such a clear, logical fashion that it appeals to the reader.
He should really be commended on the fact that he has brought history and mythology to the average Indian reader and has made this often seen as boring subjects as so interesting that many people would want to read the books
On a personal front I could relate to Amish’s perspective of Good v/s Evil and his fresh outlook towards mythology. Also , it’s worth mentioning the philosophical titbits the author has sprinkled at places . For example , the concept of masculinity and femininity as inevitable parts of the character of each person , the depth of each , deciding the strength or fragility of our character. As for me , the portions which are going to linger for a while would be one , the revelation of the Naga identity and two , the aforesaid piece of thinking .
His ability to describe the scene and characters although went too far sometimes, but overall did provide a picture worth reading through. In a nutshell, the vistas of our great nation have arisen magnificently in front of the eyes as the great city of Kashi (with a clever explanation for its reputation of being the place where Hindus believe their souls will rest in peace), the magnificent Gates of Branga (an engineering marvel that's unimaginable even for today's engineers), the mysterious Sundarbhan and Dandak forests (nicely linking mother Goddess Kali to the eclectic city of Kolkata) that leads to Panchavati (where Ravan is said to have abducted Devi Sita leading to the decimation of him and his kingdom by Lord Ram) and where the Nagas and their secret await Lord Shiva and the dense forest along river Madhumati where Lord Shiva confronts Parshuram!
Phew !!! Too much to take in.. To add on, there were a lot of new characters now, making it tough to remember who is who. That at some point, you might suddenly find good turning to evil and evil turning out to be good and end up almost as confused as Shiva himself ;)
Another thing which left me totally flustered was a bit too much of Vasudevs crap....I mean they are supposed to be pandits, right?? They do pujas in the temples....then how the hell do they know about high frequency radio wavelength, when Brahaspati the scientist doesn't even know about it?? Confusing, huh !… What I also found jarring was the use of certain words/phrases that didn't quite match with the era the book is set in. I get that the author has tried to give the story as modern a take as possible, but I can't quite digest the fact that these people know of "radio waves" and "accumulator machines" OR that they say things like "You're a 180-year old virgin??" … Yes, you would have to read it to believe in..
One thing I would like to emphasize on is the Public display of affection by Princess Anandmayi. The character of Anandamayi has been given a naughty , sizzling edge to it , on her attempts to have Parvatheswar surrender to her love , in an almost filmy manner , lending a refreshing touch to the story at places . On a different note, it could be a bit off the track to read about how voluptuous and curvaceous Anandmayi was ( in a Mythological read ! ) and how she was always wearing her tops quite low so that her ample cleavage would show or else her dhoti was hitched high for the benefit of Parvateshwar. But still, I actually waited for her character to come in and rejuvenate the story line.
My most favoured element in the book, Shiva. You sure are a dude! The Strong yet caring, Tough yet loving sort of mixed personality makes him a true gentleman. Respecting women and wanting a female child gives the character that perfect touché..
And since the Book has ended with a cliff hanger, now I've joined the legion of Lord Shiva's (and Amish's, of course) fans eagerly counting the days for publication of what could possibly be the most awaited conclusion of a Trilogy in recent times!
** Disclaimer: The pictures are taken from random Google search, and are not my own.