Title : Scion of Ikshvaku (Ram Chandra Series I)
Author : Amish
Publisher : Westland Ltd.
I remember the time when I had finished reading 'The Immortals of Meluha', the first of the Shiva Trilogy by Amish. It was a marathon reading as the book was truly unputdownable. I marveled at the creativity of the author and his brilliance of connecting dots beyond one's imagination. I had a lot to write while compiling its review.
Another first of another series, this time it is Ram Chandra Series. Again a fast paced, engaging and readable book. While putting down the review I have again a lot to write about the story and the writing style.
In India, growing up with stories form mythology is a very natural thing and stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata form a major part of that experience. There is no point writing about the story but then even the author has not told the same story. He has just picked the characters from the saga and the major events from it but the situations leading to those events and the portrayal of the same characters are completely different. In fact it is so different that one doesn’t see any connection with the great epic that we identify with. Actually he has taken creative liberties with the story to such an extent that barely the skeleton resembles the age old saga now, nothing else.
Author's great level of imagination and creativity are undoubtedly applaud worthy. The way he pieces things together talks highly about his intelligence and with the mention of a prospective land - Meluha, he just nailed it completely.
Rama considered a bad-omen by Dashrath, Manthra's character as a power wielding entity, her daughter as a benevolent healer, Sita and Urmila as ministers of their state, Swayamvar setting, fun-filled relationship between Ram and Sita, weakening empire Mithila - are just a few things which completely deviate from our impressions and understanding of the story.
There are some high points and sections which rise meritoriously making the readers fall in love with the proceedings. However, there are parts where the narrative falters in terms of expected excitement and interest. Amish has tried to give some contemporary touches to the mythological story, like - gender equality, Roshni's case (on the lines of Nirbhaya's tragedy), juvenile justice -to name a few. However, some of these attempts seem superimposed and do not gel well with the natural flow.
So my verdict, if anybody cares, one can read it as just a fictional story having no connection with Ramayana that we know. Would I look forward to the next in the series? - I doubt.