Monday, September 26, 2016

Review- The Guardians of Halahala by Shatrujeet Nath



The deadly Halahala, the all-devouring poison churned from the depths of the White Lake by the devas and asuras, was swallowed by Shiva to save the universe from extinction.
But was the Halahala truly destroyed?
A small portion still remains – a weapon powerful enough to guarantee victory to whoever possesses it. And both asuras and devas, locked in battle for supremacy, will stop at nothing to claim it.
As the forces of Devaloka and Patala, led by Indra and Shukracharya, plot to possess the Halahala, Shiva turns to mankind to guard it from their murderous clutches. It is now up to Samrat Vikramaditya and his Council of Nine to quell the supernatural hordes – and prevent the universe from tumbling into chaos!
A sweeping tale of honour and courage in the face of infinite danger, greed and deceit, The Guardians of the Halahala is a fantastical journey into a time of myth and legend.

Release date: Decemeber 2014/Second edition:August 2016
Published by: Jaico Publishing
Page numbers: 428


Sarika and I had the pleasure of meeting Shatrujeet Nath at Pune International Literary Festival in 2015 AND 2016. Shatrujeet is an amazing person, great to talk to and  he was kind enough to send us a copy of his book, The Guardians of the Halahala. Now I have to admit, I have been procrastinating like hell to get to this book. It is just that mythology sometimes, well, bores me. But The Guardians of the Halahala has clearly changed that for me. I am kicking myself for not having picked this up earlier but I do get to read the next book, The Conspiracy at Meru right away so yay for me!

Now the gist of the book is that Shiva, the Omniscient One swallows Halahala, a deadly poison, to save the universe from extinction. But not all of it is destroyed and Shiva places the poison in the hands of Vikramaditya to protect it from anyone who might want to misuse it. And so begins the journey of Vikramaditya along with his Council of Nine to protect the Halahala while also protecting the kingdom.

I'm not sure how exactly to explain everything here, but I'll try and most things should be enjoyed while reading the book anyway. First of all, I loved how Shatrujeet sketched out all the characters. Vikramaditya along with the Council  were nicely fleshed out with their own unique personalities. Not only that but the remaining allies of Sindhuvarta, the kingdom, also had important parts to play. You'd think it would get confusing with so many people but somehow it didn't. New characters were introduced at a steady pace and I could actually keep track of everyone.

The next thing I want to mention is Shatrujeet's writing. It was amazing. Clear and precise and so very engaging. It kept me hooked and I kept flipping the pages to see what would happen next. I also loved Shatrujeet's portayal of women in the book. I can only imagine how hard it had to have been in the olden times but the ladies in the Council were treated as equals with just as much respect. Obviously, Shanku and Kshapanka are my favourites. But I really do like the entire council.

There is lots of action in The Guardians of Halahala. The battle scenes were thrilling. There are many enemies, some known and some unknown. Every player has intentions of his own and I'm looking forward to seeing how it will continue to play out. I am happy to say that I've sucessfully finished reading a mythology fiction book, one which I genuinely enjoyed. One whose sequel I'm looking forward to reading. The Guardians of Halahala was a great read.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.

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