‘The Winds of Hastinapur’ by Sharath Komarraju is the first book of one more series based on the grand old epic Mahabharata. The distinguishing feature of this new series is that it concentrates on the ladies rather than the well known men of the epic. While the narrative of Draupadi has been retold various times, no one had exploited the sentiments of other women characters of Mahabharata so far. This new book series by Sharath Komarraju beautifully captures this opportunity and offers voices to those other women characters of Mahabharata. These voices had remained unheard so far. The first book of this series ‘The Winds of Hastinapur’ is the narrative of two females and can be partitioned into two segments. The first section of the book deals with the tale of Ganga (the mother of Bhisma) and the second one is the account of Satyavati (Bhisma’s step mother). Though the book opens with the death of Pandavas while they were ascending the Meru Parvat, it very soon takes us back to the very beginning phase of Mahabharata.
As a passionate fan of books based on Indian Mythology, I became exceptionally upbeat when I got an offer to read and review this book. This book series had already created a curiosity in my mind. However, at the same time, I wasn’t certain what was in store for me as I hadn’t read any book by Sharath Komarraju so far. And, additionally, a number of modern retelling of Indian epics had disappointed me as of late. Therefore, I had my apprehensions before reading this book. However, I am delighted to say that this book did not disappoint me at all. In fact, I found this book as one of the most excellent retellings of the Indian epics. Reading this book was really a delight. The book has a certain striking quality and leaves a stunning imprint on your mind.
The book has been written in lucid style and certainly gives a fresh perspective to the epic. While the author has used simple words to paint the story, these simple words give you an extremely elegantly composed account. The language is lyrical and helps in bringing out a certain beauty in dialogues. Another quality of the prose of this book is the depiction of different emotions. Almost all the characters in this book have been sketched well. Readers connect with them easily. Readers will especially like the portrayal of Ganga and Satyavati in this book. The contrast between these two lead characters of this book is captivating and brought out flawlessly by the author. The character of Bhisma has also been handled really well.
While the book did not disappoint you, the cover of the book upsets you. The cover of this book does not do justice to this brilliantly written book at all. I have said it many times in the past and I am stating it once more. Book cover plays an important role in the success of any book and, therefore, more attention should be paid towards this vital aspect of book. Hopefully, the author will pay more attention towards this aspect in future.
On the whole, this book is a delightful mystical retelling. The story is brimming with striking quality and plentiful in depth portrayal of different characters. And, I would say that this book is a must read for the fans of Indian Mythology.