My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ramayana has been written and re-written a lot of times and by now, most people know the names of all characters and the sequence of events. Sometimes the biggest risk is not taking any risks and it seemed to me that the author Amish has taken that risk.
As I read the book, I realized that my perception was a bit wrong as the author has almost completely succeeded in creating the same sort of intrigue in the story for those who haven't read Ramayana and also for those who live by it. The mysterious background of Chandravanshi-Suryavanshi clans, their conflicts, the politics of those days are all presented in a fresh way. So much so that you can almost find hints of modern day events related to terrorism, religious extremism and conspiracy theories in it.
The book reads smoothly. If you sit down with it, you will surely finish at least half of it in one go. The language is easy to grasp and the words are crisp and well-selected.
Ram's character has been glorified within practical limits and it is so realistic that one gets goosebumps while reading about Him. Other characters are also very believable. Some new characters and twists have been introduced to keep the story interesting. One character by name of Roshni irked me a little. Not the character per se but the name. Roshni is clearly a Persian name and in a drama where everyone has Sanskrit rooted names, this name stands out like an eyesore and displays author's carelessness. Why not give Raavan a step brother by the name of Geoffrey?
Other than that, and a few loose paras here and there, the book is pretty good and keeps the reader beholden to itself. You cannot leave it halfway and that's the beauty of the book. It has carefully surgically removed all the the unbelievable parts from the epic and made it a realistic sci-fi drama.
Highlight of the book is when Ram explains how if there were a 'One True God', He wouldn't have taken sides. Strong message.
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4 stars ****