So when the book came, I could barely wait for nightfall (reading is a pleasure that is now confined to when the kids are tucked in and the rest of the world has drifted to sleep). A few pages down, and one gets a sense of deja-vu in the book. That's when it hits you - a brilliant (and sexy) scientist, framed for murder, on the run with another female scientist (yup! sexy one again) trying to solve a mystery while evading the law. Vaguely familiar? It's like someone tore up the pages of 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons', shuffled them up, and replaced the Christian stories with Hindu mythology, and sewed it up again.
Not that one should dismiss the book as a 'copy'..... Its not original, but definitely worth a read. Let me try and get into the nitty-gritties without giving away the plot. As I usually approach reviews, lets look at the various aspects:
- Plot : Yes, you've already read something that looks like this, and in all probability, you know what the next chapter is going to tell you sooner or later. You also know that the similarities between this book and other best sellers are not coincidences. But the book still manages to strike a chord - maybe its the renewed interpretation of the stories we've heard from our grannies; or maybe its the attempt to get to the 'patriotic' Indian in us - the book gloats about the superiority of the mighty civilizations that existed in the Indian sub-continent (there! doesn't that ALREADY appeal to you?) and how historians from the 'West' tried to change a few facts to change history. So yes, the book certainly has pages and pages of well-researched feel-good facts about our glorious past, interwoven with a tried and tested plot.
- Writing style : Its a la Sanghi all the way. Just as in Chanakya's Chants, we move back and forth in time. The events in the mythological character's life are used as bookmarks to pave the way to the next big revelation in the present. But one can't help comparing the two books by this author; and when one does compare this to Chanakya's Chants, this one comes across as slightly confused, slightly forced. Some of the connections between mythology and the present were lost to me, which was not the case with Chanakya. But, having said that Sanghi does not disappoint with the research. (I learnt that Ranchordas is a name for Krishna!!) Yes, sometimes one does feel inadequate while reading (you see, everyone in the book - from a murderer to a thug, seems to be an expert in history and symbolism!) but the explanations are made out in simple language. It does force one to rethink all that was taught to us in the name of 'Indus Valley Civilization'.
- Character development : Could have been much, much better. When one reads, the words have to be able to paint faces to the names. Somehow, I couldn't put a well-defined face to even the main protagonists in the story. The characters with shades of grey had much more scope in terms of why they are as they are. Like I said earlier, some actions seem forced - because the author wanted a certain closure - and not because that would have been the logical course of events.
- Words and print quality: There were no grammatical or typo errors, which is a big thing these days. Editing could have done much more, some distinctive words (the kinds you would remember when you read them once) have been repeated quite close to each other, and in two places the character names have been mixed up. (I had to read the para twice to understand what the author wanted to express!). Good print quality, spaced out words, right font size..... it is easy on the eyes.
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