It is no secret that I absolutely adore everything about Krishna, the blue God. I find his persona to be extremely intriguing, and equally endearing. So I am always curious to read more about him – in any way that I can. Mostly, this just translates to reading Mahabharata from several different POVs. Which is why, when I first got to know of this book, based on Pradyumna – the son of Krishna, it felt like a refreshing change.
While I have heard of Pradyumna in passing, I have never read much about the son, whose life must have been heavily influenced by his father. This was a new lens to view Krishna from, so I was pretty excited to read this book.
The plot mostly revolves around the life of Pradyumna, but the author has also weaved several other small tales around the main story line.
Things that I liked:
Impeccable Language – I have seen a lot of good stories getting buried under the weight of bad grammar and language, and it is such a shame. In this book, the author’s command over the language is visible, and it makes it a joy to read.
Maintaining Period Authenticity – In the genre of historical fiction, only good English doesn’t suffice. The language used must be reflective of the time and age the story is set in, and the author has done complete justice to this. In addition to the language, the characters, their motivations, the conflicts in their world, and even their attire -everything is kept true to the period the story is set in.
Beautiful Descriptions – I must mention here that I am not overly fond of lengthy descriptions, irrespective of how good they are, but even I can appreciate the beautifully poetic ones which are present in this book. On the other hand, if you are someone who normally enjoys vivid descriptions, then this book will be a visual treat for you.
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Things that could have been better:
Sequence of Events – There is one thing that I feel could have been different -the timeline. I would have loved to follow Pradyumna’s life across a linear time-frame, as that would have avoided confusion in some areas.
For instance – Abhimanyu is shown to have married Vatsala right around the time Pradyumna married Rukmavati. At this point, the Pandavas had not gone for their exile. Then there was the 14 year exile, followed by the great war of Kurukshetra, where Abhimanyu met with his death. Now, Abhimanyu had died at the age of 16; so calculating backwards, that makes him around 2 years old when he got married to Vatsala, which clearly was not the case.
I have considered the possibility that I might have got this wrong, and I have re-read the text a couple of times to cross-check, but this is how I understand the sequence of events. Even in the situation that I HAVE got this wrong, I am probably not going to be the only one.
This could have been avoided with a more linear timeline.
It was refreshing to read about a new/lesser known hero, in the genre. I would certainly recommend this book to people who read Indian Historical Fiction, and who would enjoy a visual tour of that era.
Will I read the Sequel?
When I picked this book up, I was looking to get 3 things out of the book –
1. An insider’s view of life in Dwarka.
2. The Yadav perspective on the events unfolding in ‘The Mahabharata’.
3. But above all – The events that led to the decimation of the Yadu clan.
The author has handled point #1 and #2 to some extent in this book. I am assuming the sequel is going to deal with point #3, which is what I am most excited to read about. So I will certainly keep an eye out for the next book in the series.
In this book, the author has attempted to write from a relatively unexplored POV, which is always interesting to read. My favorite POV in this genre so far has been of Draupadi’s in The Palace of Illusions. But I would love to hear from you guys. Do you read this genre? Do you think there is a hero/heroine whose POV needs to be explored more? Which has been your favorite POV so far?
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Important Update: After I posted my review, the author informed me that the book has gone through another round of edit, and that the timeline issue has been rectified. But I personally cannot vouch for this.