|Book: Oath of the Vayuputras by Amish Tripathi|
Published year: 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5 (***)
ONLY A GOD CAN STOP IT.
Shiva is gathering his forces. He reaches the Naga capital, Panchavati, and Evil is finally revealed. The Neelkanth prepares for a holy war against his true enemy, a man whose name instils dread in the fiercest of warriors.
India convulses under the onslaught of a series of brutal battles. It's a war for the very soul of the nation. Many will die. But Shiva must not fail, no matter what the cost. In his desperation, he reaches out to the ones who have never offered any help to him: the Vayuputras.
Will he succeed? And what will be the real cost of battling Evil? To India? And to Shiva's soul?
Discover the answer to these mysteries in this concluding part of the bestselling Shiva Trilogy.
If you check the review boards, you will find that I reviewed the first book and am now reviewing directly the third one. The reason for this is that though book 2 Secret of the Nagas is an important book for the series, personally I didn't feel it good enough to bother writing a review. There are spoilers regarding book 2. You have been warned.
Book 3 starts, as book 2 did, with a flashback scene with Shiva recalling his uncle's death and its aftermath. After that it returns back to the (easily predictable) end of the book 2 Secret of the Nagas with Brahaspati still alive. It is then revealed that the true evil Shiva must destroy lies closer to them than they ever expected. It is something that has been regarded as one of the greatest creations that now threatens to ruin the land apart. In a perfectly scientific manner, Brahaspati explains how this, once good, has now turned evil without people realizing. As Shiva and his family (including the extended one through the book 2 - the two major Naga characters) realize the truth of this, they also realize that to stop this evil, there is only one way: War. Because guarding this evil is the very kingdom that gave Shiva everything he has now: Meluha, the kingdom of his father-in-law.
In the meanwhile, the shadowy character of book 2, Saptrishi Bhrigu, finally reveals his true reasons for all the actions he has taken so far against the 'fraudulant' Shiva, who hasn't been brought forward by the Vayuputras, the one who are actually supposed to bring forth the new 'Neelkanth' when they believe that evil has risen. In the meanwhile, because of the deed done by Daksha are discovered regarding Sati's past, their relationship has a falling out and he blames Shiva for all this and begins to plot to get rid of him to get his favorite daughter (as he does not like to accept that Kali or Ganesh exist) back with him and the four of them live together as a family. This is all the basic plot info I would give lest I spoil the entire book.
The first thing I noticed about the book was that it was long
. I mean it had about fifty three or something chapters and all of them were of considerable length. Plus, in preparing for the war, the first half of the book almost dragged in comparison to the pace of the rest of the story. Then, the previous two books developed the characters (mostly Shiva) in a bright way. This one? It developed them preparing for war. Except Parwateshwar. Believe me, rarely do I feel other main characters having such an inspiring and relatable development than I had with him. When you face a choice between your duty to your homeland and your god, who do you choose?
The things I liked was the Vasudevas part of the story and the Vayuputras part. They were well written and felt a little comfortable to read. The war, once it actually begins, is also well-written, covering all possible scenarios in the planning and execution parts, though the end does leave something more to be desired. All the loose plot ends of the series were finally resolved but as a standalone, this book just wasn't good enough (but still better than book 2).
The things I detested, though, has a long list. The first and foremost is the way the character of Kartik was developed. So what if Somras gave him an advanced mind and body, a six year old does not fight like an expert with bloodlust and defeat hundreds in a battle without tiring. It just can't be done. That was pure silliness. Also, the spirit of the book toned done to a 'You are a God. Destroy evil. Restore the balance.' in this part. Then there were references which had no use. I mean why mention Hariyupa (Hariyappa) when it has no use?
I have seen some other reviews on Goodreads and saw that many of them complained regarding the reaction of Shiva to the major death that occurs at the end. That is one part I feel is a bit over-written but not as much as others criticised it for. Yes, Shiva begins making decisions without thinking about consequences but personally, with the tragedy that befalls him, I don't think it is that far of a possibility. And the people's responses (in the story) to Shiva's decision: Inspiring (and idiotic). The epilogue has also been criticized for being too much of a 'HEA' variety (with a major deviation) but in order to wrap up the series properly, I felt that it did a good job.
Hmm, I feel I didn't do a good job explaining it but how does one explain something he himself doesn't fully understand? All I know is that if I feel like it, I might pick up Immortals of Meluha again but not the sequels. To me, they don't exist for a re-read. Reading them once is enough for me.
May Lord Shiva bless the readers who pick this book up with sanity to resolve the inner frustration that will develop. They will need it.