‘Rakshasas’ by Rajiv G. Menon is the second installment of ‘The Vedic Trilogy’. The first book was ‘Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra’. This trilogy marks the debut of Rajiv Menon in the world of authors. In addition to being an author, Rajiv is also a filmmaker, screenplay writer, and an actor.
The Vedic Trilogy is all about Lord Indra, his ascend to the throne of ‘Devalok’ (The world of Gods), the battle between the asuras and the devas, the rise of rakshasas (superhumans with demonic characteristics) and the purpose of the human form of the Blue One – Lord Shiva.
This book narrates the story of Bharata and the surge by the asuras to capture it. Jayanta, the son of Indra is appointed as the ruler of Bharata by Manu, the Lawmaker. He is a just and a brave king. Daksha who has his eyes on Bharata isn’t happy with this decision. He plots to chart out his way to the throne. He doesn’t hesitate to even involve sorcerers to help him accomplish his mission.
Shukracharya brings back Naraka, the evil Asura King from the clutches of death only to repent his decision later. Naraka has become all the more demonic and cruel with his ways after rising from his deathbed. Asuras lay siege on kingdoms and ports one after the other increasing their power exponentially. Bharata is under threat from Asuras. Manu is trying his best to bring all the gods together to help Bharata fight this raging war.
Rakshasas or superhumans with supernatural powers guard the forests of Dandaka and have a reason to help the Nishada queen, Mara. The story culminates with the Blue One revealing his real name – Shiva.
What I Liked
I was skeptical when I picked up this book as I hadn’t read the first book of the trilogy. This book has pleasantly surprised me as it is equally good as a stand-alone book. A geographical map is provided in the book which is indicative of all the kingdoms mentioned. This gives a concrete shape to the otherwise imaginative world.
The plot is like a sweet poison. It shall take its time to grow on you but then shall grip you in its web. The imagination of the mythological world is fascinating and gripping. The story is fast-paced and flows seamlessly without a dull moment. The author’s style of writing is simply commendable as the story has you latched through its 400 plus pages. The writing and grammar are on point. The characterization of each of the characters is laudable. The story doesn’t speak of a hero or a heroine with perfect qualities. Each of its characters has shades of weakness and strengths vividly aligned.
This book is not a one or two sitting read. It needs time and patience from its readers to derive the true beauty of its story. This book has numerous characters and infinite wars raging across its storyline.
What can work for this book can also work against this book. The considerable length of this book can also make this book a daunting task for its readers to accomplish. One can lose track of the numerous characters and infinite battles. Introduction of new characters to the end of the book can be a mood dampener.
I look forward to reading the third installment of this trilogy. If you like reading mythological fiction then this is a book for you. Patience should be your forte and time your luxury to enjoy this book.