Book Review- Rise of Kali- Anand Neelakantan

ISBN- 978-93-81576-04-5
Title- Rise of Kali
Series- Ajaya- Epic of the Kaurava Clan
Volume- II
Author- Anand Neelkantan
Publisher- Platinum Press (www.leadstartcorp.com)
Price- Rs 399
Pages- 529
Genre- Fiction/ Epic

The second installment in the series of Ajaya (The opposite of Jaya) is Rise of Kali. Volume I of the series was a nationwide bestseller and opened the readers to the possibility of Suyodhana (knows as Duryodhana) being a misunderstood figure.

The first volume of the series: Roll of the Dice

Expectations were huge from this book too as it is the continuation of the epic Mahabharata from another perspective and of course, the readers are curious to know more about the other side, or so to speak, of the fence. Well, the book begins with an author’s note where he explains how he has learned the art of viewing things critically from Gita itself. He also has included Gita in his book but here the dialogue is between Krishna who is with Arjuna and is inclined toward war and Balrama who sympathizes with Suyodhana. Balaram is questioning Krishna and Krishna is justifying his acts in the name of Dharma. Author has also addressed the issue of showing Krishna in an unflattering light in his books.

About the author
This is Anand Neelkantan’s third book after Asura and Ajaya (Part I). In his own words, he was born in a village with more than necessary number of temples. His tryst with mythology and religion started early on in his life and he has been fascinated ever since.

About the book
The cover has an ominous picture of a vulture flying in the face of solar eclipse. Just like the earlier book, this one also has been beautifully designed. The pages have a crisp feel to them. The typeset is of international standards. The blurb at the back reveals nothing but the basic premise of the book which is essentially- ‘Mahabharata retold’. Praise from reputed newspapers and magazines like The Week and DNA are enough for one to be sold to the idea of the book.

The language is simple with short sentences and fast narrative. The book is divided into 85 chapter for easy readability. A preview to the happenings in the previous book make the book a good purchase as a stand-alone product too.

About the plot
The book picks up the story from the scene of Game of Dice where Draupadi is mercifully pawned. Of course in this book, there is no magical Krishna to extend the saree of Draupadi as ‘Dushasana’ pulls on it. It is a less dramatic, but more believable version of the situation. The dialogues in the book are not low on drama though. Every line compels you to put yourself in the character’s situation and feel his dilemma.

The writing is divided in shorter paragraphs which are easy on the eye and the plot moves very smoothly. The book is a brilliant example of how to engage the reader through merely the use of dialogues and interesting situations. The author has used his imagination in most situations and although they might not be the real history of those times, they are definitely more realistic than the actual texts.

I would rate the book with 4 out of 5 stars.

****/5

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