If this is the first time you are reading a book review by me, then you should know that – I am not normally like this; I don’t rant.
I am generally able to give a semi-objective opinion on the books that I read. Really! Check out any other book review by me, and you’ll know. Literally any other book review. But there are exceptions; and you are reading the first such exception on my blog.
Important Note –
I did not finish this book. I read about 50% before I quit reading it. And I normally don’t give up on books. It really bothers me to leave them unfinished. This is possibly the only book that I have given up on in the last couple of years or so.
And I did try to power through it- several times. But after a point, it just felt like a colossal waste of time, as I had made up my mind about this one, and nothing could have redeemed it in my eyes.
It’s not that I am a very difficult reader to please, especially if the book is in a genre I like (and Indian Historical Fiction is one of my top genres to read). But this book – it aggravated me!
However, let me give you some background first. It is important to know this, to understand the book review, so please indulge me, will you?
Mahabharata & Me – A Tale of Addiction
When I told you earlier that Indian Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, I only said that because there is no genre called as – Mahabharata (there should be though!). But really, that is the thing I mainly read in this genre – Mahabharata – from several different perspectives (My favorite POV so far has been Draupadi’s in – The Palace of Illusions).
I am fascinated by this epic. There are so many layers, interpretations, and stories within stories, that every single time I read it or see it, I can find something new, or a new way of looking at something. It also makes excellent material for endless debate, and I thrive on a good debate!
But there are 2 things that I love most about this epic –
- Krishna – A very relatable God.
- No perfect characters; everyone has shades of grey – including Krishna.
Ajaya – An introduction, and a concession.
From my earlier gush over Mahabharata, you may have figured out that I will pretty much read anything about/around this epic tale. Having said that, so far, I had only read from the victors’ perspective. So, when I heard about Ajaya – Mahabharata from Duryodhan’s perspective – I was thrilled, and couldn’t wait to read the story from the anti-hero’s perspective.
I had not read anything from the author, but knew that Asura, his earlier book was a national best-seller, and I had read a sample of Ajaya on Amazon, and the writing was very good. Little did I know that, that was the only thing that was good about this book. Books like Ajaya are the reason, why I place story/plot, and logic even, over quality of writing.
But you see, today I am feeling a little generous – so I will make one more concession – Duryodhan is difficult to defend. I must admit that it was pretty courageous of the author to take it upon himself to redeem this guy.
Ravana (from Asura) might have had his faults, but there were many widely known positive traits that he possessed, and while Duryodhan might have had his reasons, and motivations, he was a pretty nasty piece of work. So, yes, brownie points to the author for sheer courage.
Now that I found two positives in the book – writing and courage, let me tell you – these are the only good things about this book, and they are very inconsequential when compared against what is wrong with the book.
Finally, before you think I might be biased, know this – I don’t hate Duryodhan; I dislike Yudhistir way more, but more on that in Part 2.
The second part will be here soon, but in the meanwhile, I would love to hear from you guys. What are your thoughts on what I shared so far? Have you read Ajaya? Or Asura, for that matter? I haven’t read Asura, though I have heard a lot of good things about it, but reading Ajaya makes me skeptical.
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