The overwhelming success of ‘the Shiva trilogy’ made Amish one of the best-selling authors in India. Now, he is back with a new series – ‘Ram Chandra Series’. ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ is the first installment of this series. Based on popular Indian epic Ramayana, this first book of Ram Chandra series has already created a wave among Indian readers. Within a short period of its release, the book has started receiving rave reviews. So, is this book so good?
In a way, ‘Scion of Ikshvaku’ is once again, an Indian epic retold differently. So, how different this retelling actually is? Is there anything new to offer? As I have told you in one of my previous posts, retellings of Indian mythologies should be able to add something new to their understanding of the original narrative or original character by providing alternative points of view that may have been only implicit in the original. And, this is where the book under review gets fewer marks. However, at the same time, we should also keep in mind that this is a fictionalized reinterpretation of a grand epic. So, should we take this book as an invented story and shouldn’t compare it with the original epic? No, we cannot do that. The author had access to a readymade story beforehand and readers will definitely compare it with the original one to see the differences. Creating a new story and modifying an old one in a new way are completely different. There is always a certain amount of risk when you try to reinterpret an old story well known to the people. Therefore, we have no other choice than to judge this book by comparing it with the original one.
This is not the first time Ramayana has been retold. Many authors in the past have tried to retell Ramayana with conflicting interpretations. The plot of this book has been engineered in such a way that it may leave a number of readers surprised. The adoption of ‘Nirbhaya case’ and ‘Draupadi type of Swayamvar’ into Ram’s tale are just two examples. Nevertheless, one has to appreciate the way Amish weaves a tale with his own brand of philosophy. At the same time, the book would have got more depth if the philosophy would have intertwined throughout the story instead of sprinkling it here and there. At many places in the book, Amish has used the term ‘India’. Was the term ‘India’ in existence at that period of time? No! Therefore, use of modern terms could have been avoided. One of the qualities of Amish’s writing is the way he sketches different characters. His characters make the book a realistic read and that is one of the reasons of the overwhelming success of his book. Overall, this was an ‘ok type’ of book for me.
The success this book already receiving can be directly attributed to the success of ‘the Shiva trilogy’. The success of your forthcoming book is guaranteed if you have already created a name for you. This is what happened with Chetan Bhagat and this is what happening with Amish. In other words, the success of this book was guaranteed even before its publication. However, I leave the judgment to you. Read the book if you haven’t so far and judge yourself. For me, it is not more than a ‘Three stars’ book.
Let’s wait for the future books of this series and do hope that they turn out good.