Thursday, September 24, 2015

#BookReview: The Guardians of the Halahala (Vikramaditya, #1) by Shatrujeet Nath

On the jacket:

The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction. But was the Halahala truly destroyed? A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it. As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos! A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.


I finished reading the Guardians of Halahala few months ago but work being crazy at that point of time, I couldn't get around to review it. And then I read it again last month. I had accepted the chance to review this book for the sole reason that the author's debut novel was The Karachi Deception which I had loved to bits. While his debut novel was of the genre I enjoy reading, Guardians of Halahala belongs to the genres - mythology and fantasy - which I don't particularly enjoy. But when you've liked how an author writes, you expect only the best from him. Which explains why I took this book for review and why I've read the book twice. 

Ideally, you should stop reading this review and just go buy the book. But if you haven't done so yet, well, read on.

Having jumped from a thriller to fantasy, Shatrujeet Nath has done full justice to both the genres. I don't think I'll be wrong to say that the mark of a good author is how well he can write on different genres rather than stick to template writing. Back to the book, it is primarily about this poison Halahala which was produced during Samudramanthan. The procedure of Samudramanthan was done to produce amrit, and this poison was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe. A part of the poison remained and could have proved to be advantageous for whoever found it. King Vikramaditya and his Navaratnas were given the task of protecting this poison, by the Lord himself.

Did I say I am not a fan of mythology? Well, I get totally turned off by mythological stories where everyone has their own version and I don't even know which version is real! Guardians of Halahala does no such thing. The story line is kept on track, the characters a bit modernized and 'real'. It was exciting to read about Vikramaditya and his reign. Memories of Vikram & Betal from childhood had come flooding in, though that relationship wasn't really the focus in this story. 

The book is a part of a series and I know the second part is impatiently anticipated by a lot of readers, me included. I don't want to sound biased but if there are more such books, I'll be happily reading mythological fiction too!

Rating: ****.5/5

[This is an author request review. However, the views expressed are unbiased and my own.]

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