Published: November 30th 2017
Read Date: January 11th 2017
Unravel the puzzle that is the mysterious and misunderstood son of Mahadeva.
Kartikeya was born from the flames of a desperate need, an ardent desire and an utmost devastation. In him was distilled the terrible powers of Mahadeva, at its fiercest and most deadly. Although he fought many wars and slew many tyrants, his gifts to humanity have always been those of mercy, compassion and love. What makes this possible?
For Kartikeya, there have always been more questions than answers. Did he really walk away from his family over a piece of fruit? What about the women in his life—was he the ravisher he is at times accused of being, or the protector of women? Was he the violent warrior who revelled in bloodlust, or a gentle family man? What was his relationship with his more popular sibling, Ganesha?
Anuja Chandramouli weaves together myth, imagination and folklore while looking to answer these questions and recreates for modern readers the story of one of the most enigmatic gods—Kartikeya.
Little Good to know things before you go on with my review or decide to read this book: In Indian mythology there are 3 greatest Gods called Thrimuti. Bramha- the creator, Vishnu- the preserver, and Shiva (Mahadeva) – the destroyer. Parvati- Shiva’s wife. The book is on Shiva and Parvati’s firstborn, Kartikeya. (You seeing that six headed God sitting on peacock on cover, that’s him)
Blurb says it all about this book. It revolves around Karitkeya and his family. Story was third person narrative from perspective of almost all characters about the Kartikeya’ birth, how the world was before his birth and why there was desperate need for his birth, relationship of Parvati and Shiva before and after kartikeya’s birth, how his fate affected his relationship with his mother, birth of Lord Ganesha and his relationship with his brother.
It was quite a domestic mythical story with drama, war, conspiracy, fights, love, romance, jealousy, wisdom, and philosophies here and there. That’s too much right? But it all was awesome, I tell you.
Kartikeya– Wielder of his father’s power and as sensitive and emotional as his mother. He was wow in the book. Soft, good hearted, forgiver yet can kill you with eyes and smile (And I mean it literally). I liked him for almost whole novel only not during his fling after battle. Shouldn’t he being God have done it little differently! Well apart from that I liked the way he dealt with situations whether it was battles dealing with most horrible of villain or his parent’s skirmishes or his mother’s desperate attempts to keep him away from his fate.
Shiva– is known for most powerful of all, subtle, contained in his own tranquility, loving and caring but can kill you if angered. I saw all these characteristics in the book as well as how he was in his domestic life as a husband and as father. It pained me to see his indifference toward Parvati’s concerns and suffering regarding their relationship but as a father he was totally different person who was reserved for his son only. I liked his witty remarks in some tight situations that made me smile and laugh sometimes. Without doubt he was perfect in his imperfections.
Parvati– She was being typical wife and mother in the book but had remarkable determination and was fiercely loving mother. I loved reading her thoughts. They were heart felt.
Chitrabahn– this peacock was my favorite. I laughed out loud at his witty remarks and chatters. (He is right there on cover the normal looking peacock but imagine him talking and by that I mean lot of talking).
Indra– was meanest, power hungry God I ever read till now. His tricks and deeds in the book made me call villains better than him. He was the real antagonist. I never liked him, why he was made king is beyond my understanding.
There were many other characters and if I mentioned them all I might write the whole book again here and that would be boring.
Anuja’s writing was as usual flawless and creative. The way she narrates landscape, characters and their appearance, battles scenes and vivid gory details around it, mental battle of character, it was all impeccable and beyond criticism. Even I liked those romantic and passionate scenes too that I usually don’t like to read. Those who are into literature would love to go through her work. Every time I read her novel I come across another bunch of new words and her unique style of writing just amaze me.
“Perfection can never hope to sustain itself in perpetuity, which is why this time around, I am grateful for the niggling imperfection which make the rare moments of perfection all the more valuable.”
I loved the way story progressed right from the start, telling the story from the view point of characters who had important role behind Kartikeya’s birth or reason for it. The conspiracy started in the beginning only that peaked my interest. There were lots on surprising stories and myths in the book that I never heard or were different from what I heard.
“…I have no intention of spending aeons engaged in the performance of penance while waiting for her to take birth again. Why people turn their backs on life only to overindulge at a late stage I’ll never know and don’t intend to find out.”
I loved reading about Kartika’s role, how the battle started and it’s most unimaginable end, story behind Parvati’s resentment towards Indra and why Shiva was separated from his first wife, what was the story behind consistent never ending differences between men and women, how Ganesha was created (which was most surprising for me as I have read different and well known version on this). All these were the wow moments of the book that I will never forget.
“‘Having spent your life dreaming of perfection, I can only hope reality will not prove too disappointing!’
‘My reality will always be what I make of it. There is no need for you to worry!’”
I also liked the voice of Maya’s sons and daughters. They were the villains, not the daughter, against whom Kartikeya fought, but were paragon of unconditional sibling love. Their story was most fascinating of all. The love between Kartikeya and Devasena was sweet. The way they passed all the test life threw on their way was remarkable and it was also interesting to read how he met his second wife. Philosophy in the book, lessons to learn and some thoughts might be bitter for closed minded but definitely were life changing for those who can grasp it.
Climax was creative with exciting fight and all the great details. The end was beautiful. There could be more to this story but I’m not going to cut the star for it, as tales can be endless when it comes to Indian mythology and anyway author can always write a sequel of this, though there wasn’t any hint.
Overall, well thought and well researched life-story of Kartikeya with vivid descriptions and mind-blowing mythical stories. I recommend this to all Indian Mythology lovers.
Author: Anuja Chandramouli
*** Note: I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. I’m glad I got chance to read this book. ***
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