Top positive review
Mahabharata like never before
27 October 2017
The 3rd part of Sharath Komarraju's Hastinapur series lives up to its reputation of being the voice of the women of the Mahabharata epic. The series is a first-person narration of the epic by the female leads of the story - notably Ganga, Amba, Gandhari, Kunti /Pritha, Madri (till now). As the story progresses, the other female leads will emerge and tell the story from their point of view.
Not only the narration, but even the story is different. So in a way, it is the retelling of the epic with the women's perspective thrown in for good measure so it's an interesting read. These make this series an easy 4-5 star rating book. The book makes you think ... about the turn of events, the alternate thought process suggested in the narration. Most importantly, you feel for the characters. These books are not a narration of a sequence of events of Mahabharata. These are insights into the deepest thoughts of the lead female characters. That's what makes it unique.
I felt that this particular book went a bit too slow as compared to the earlier books. Too much introspection in there. I am not criticizing the introspection though. It had its own merit and brought out a unique perspective to the storytelling but it dragged a bit longer for me this time. Also, at times, it began to hamper the storytelling as the events unfolded far too slowly for impact. I removed a star purely on account of the pace - hence a 3-star instead of a 4-star rating.
While the premise and plot angle is unique and fresh, I might suggest a bit of pace be built into the storytelling. The author, as well as other readers, may very well disagree with me.
I would easily recommend this book (in fact, the entire series) to anyone interested in an alternate story-telling of the Mahabharata ... and reading it from the women's complex and yet little-explored perspective.
An interesting angle of this book is the whole 'Krishna origin' backstory built into the book. It's interesting to read that part.
And of course, the underlying common thread and plotline of Sharath's Mahabharata are the unnecessary interventions by a certain group of people into the political scene of Bharat to protect themselves and how they end up messing it every single time and continue to apply risk mitigation strategies which eventually back-fire. (this won't make sense unless you read the book)