Thursday, April 2, 2015

Review: The Guardians of Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath (The Vikramaditya Trilogy, #1)

Myth is a part and parcel of human anatomy. By and large it calls for some unsavory narrations and some with legible proofs. But the sections of society continue to be divided on the idea. Author Shatrujeet Nath in his book "The Guardians of Halahala" tears away from the tradition and inculcates some wild untamed tales to be retold to the readers with some popular faces of the past. So how does he fare in this test of history and myth? Let's find out. 

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.

First look at the title and the cover and a reader feels an invisible force behind the story. The name Vikramaditya and the title are more than enough to incite an interest in the book. The blurb talks about a deadly poison and the repercussions attached to it. One can say the blurb just leaves a peek-a-boo moment and gives few more reasons to pick up and read the book. 

The story is set in the lands of Avanti and it's allies, where King Vikramaditya is the Samrat. With everything under the control of his kingdom and the enemies at bay, the kingdom is prospering. But when Shiva hands over a deadly task, Avanti's peace is disturbed and fear looms large in the form of Devas & Asuras. So will Vikramaditya be able to stand tall in the wake of adversity? Will the allies be allies or someone will turn their back? What does Asuras & Devas have to do lay their hands on Avanti and the prized possession? Will it be a cakewalk for them? That's what the story is all about. 

There's every nook and corner of the story to be loved and savored. First and foremost for the idea which merely feels simple but bears a far more concerting and discomforting horizons and secondly for the exhilarating pace at which the story happens to progress. There are greater comforts to be find in an untapped time of history. With the ethical blend of myth and fiction the story turns to be a thriller with humans finding it hard to defend themselves against ungodly and unimaginable powers. The vivid scenario and upright and uptight action sequences bringing spice to the mix. The "halalala" from an obscure entity turns into a center of attraction with a fair bit of history. The great lengths of research and experimentation is reflected in the writing and the story, leaving a positive impact. 

The story has some strange downsides. It rather tamely concedes to a lot of facts and leaves a lot out in open and making it less predictable. Some hidden agendas, some mysterious side tracks could have been given more emphasis rather than opening all the cards in one go. Also the Hunas & Shakas have passing by mentions and from the sights it is rather disappointing to see them in a very ineffective guest appearance. Also the Magadha & Vanga combo needs to be fine tuned to let it gel with the story line as it could have been given a more sinister outlook. 

All in all with a story of this magnum intensity, the readers can expect an all out effort to woo them into believing the unseen and more heard of in bedtime stories. The intense action and purpose filled idea is a brighter spot in the entire book. Also the narration is lively and the characters even livelier. The story most of the times keep up with the great demands but falters at some crucial junctures. The book and the story has to offer more and one can always expect more epic glory and drama at the behest of humans, gods and asuras in the follow up's. For now it is a book to be savored till the last drop, with a subtle anticipation as what might shape up next. A glowing and growing story. For now the bragging rights lies with the author as the story is a certain difference maker in the league with a long way to go. 


3 OUT OF 5

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