Book Review: The Rise of Hastinapur
I was quite impressed by the first part of the series Winds of Hastinapur. And so when I got the opportunity to read the book Rise of Hastinapur, I jumped at the chance.
Image Credit: Here
Paperback, 360 pages
Expected publication: December 9th 2015 by Harper Collins India
ISBN: 9351773760 (ISBN13: 9789351773764)
Edition Language: English
PLOT: This books pick up where the first one left off. It details the story of the three women who had a direct role to play in the way the things ended, Amba, Kunti and Gandhari. And the twist in the end revealing the puppet master behind all the incidents is just amazing. This story is the account of the rise of Hastinapur to be the kingdom of super power.
CHARACTERS: While I loved the way the characters were written in the first book, there seems to me that a little bit of extra liberties taken with this one. I have no problems with that, as I think that some ideas were turned on their heads in this one, to me that is always a good sign. Three women who represent three different schools of thought.
This book introduces three women who will be the instruments of the entire story playing out. Amba – who faces the consequences for every choice she makes, and finally directs all her revenge filled anger toward Bishma. Then there is Kunti, who will do mostly anything to save her brother from the cluthes of evil, strong, determined and independent, yet she has her weaknesses. And finally Gandhari, the woman who Hastinapur cheated and she finds her own way of extracting revenge.
WHAT I LIKED: Some of the questions that the book raises are phenomenal, if something can make you think about beliefs that were held to be true for so long, it must be doing things right. Again like with the first book, the portrayal of women as change makers is done brilliantly in most of the book. Did I already tell you about that twist in the end, revealing the person who holds all the puppet strings? That is brilliant.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE: Where as the women are still portrayed as strong, Amba, Gandhari and Kunti all three fall into clichéd ‘the woman is weak and has no choice trap’ in some places. I agree that everyone has their moments of weakness and they had theirs, and rewriting a mythology leaves little room for wiggling. I just feel that when so much time was taken to establish the characters and their way of thinking, I expected a lot more from the Author when it came to dealing with their weaknesses.
RATING: I would rate this book 3.5 out of 5. It is very difficult to follow up a good first part with an equally strong story, especially when the story is so well known. I commend Sharath Komarraju for doing a great job with this one. Again like I advised with the first one, pick it up only if you have a open mind and the ability to question the accepted.
I was on the early reader program for Rise of Hastinapur, and got the book as part of that. The views I express are unbiased and honest.