Friday, 26 February 2016

Scion of Ikshvaku: First installment of the Ram Chandra Series

I have not been a fan of Amish Tripathi's writing style, although his first novel 'The Immortals of Meluha' did manage to catch my attention. I read the other books in his Shiva Trilogy partly because I wanted to know how he would treat the character of Shiva and partly because of a mild OCD. I was not very thrilled about his new series either: the Ram Chandra Series, but visiting India after 16 months and seeing his book peeping from all the bookshops at New Delhi Airport made me buy a copy. I recently finished reading it and I was disappointed to say the least.

In his Shiva Trilogy, at least there was some imagination on his part. He made dramatic changes from the original mythic entity of Shiva and gave him a new identity. But in the Scion of Ikshvaku, the first of the Ram Chandra series, Amish has failed on two accounts. Firstly, there is no literary imagination anywhere in the book. It is but a continuation of what he had created in his original trilogy. He doesn't even differ a lot from the story of Ramayana that has been passed on to us. Secondly, there are some lapses on the story line with logical fallacies at various points. The editing like all his earlier books must be improved. But what I did not like in this book throughout was the choice of words that Amish choose in various situations. He tried to sound verbose but ended up sounding pompous. Perhaps a larger vocabulary is not what the reader wants from Amish.

The book had the potential to be a cliffhanger at many places, but in Amish's hands nothing of that sort happened. The ending was predictable right from the start, you knew he would end the book where Sita was kidnapped by Raavan. At least, some funny anecdotes or some more information about the characters could have been given. Raavan was ignored for all of the book, the character had the potential of creating a parallel story which Amish did not divest into. This was a tell-tale sign that Amish is yet to grow into a hardened writer.

Having said all the negative aspects about this book, there were a few positives that I must mention. First, the book is an excellent eye-opener on what Indian society at present stands at. It does not deviate too much from the ground reality of the present time. Second, the book can be a complimentary guide to the TV shows on the Ramayana for the youth of India who might not be so wiling to read the original text. Third, he is one of the few writers for the youth who is not solely focused on the romance genre and has different elements in his books. This is good. But of course, he is no Amitav Ghosh and at least I would not expect too much from him.

I am actually looking forward to the next in the series for the sole reason to see if Amish puts some imagination into his story or we would also be bored with yet another mundane battle scene where he will describe all the arrows in Ram's quiver in full generality.

Title: Scion of Ikshvaku

Author: Amish Tripathi

Publisher: Westland

Price: Rs. 350

Pages: 354

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