Secret of the Nagas

The second book in the Shiva Trilogy series by Amish Tripathi.

A review in one word – Very Good. Ok, 2 words. My bad.

Indian authors have never impressed me. As a not-so-infrequent reader, I care less about the story and more about how the book is written. Witness being the fact that I’d prefer Amitav Ghosh to Chetan Bhagat any day. Having said that, Amitav Ghosh is my favourite author at the moment (I’m very fickle in these things). So no, not all Indian authors are bad.

Anyway, coming back to the book.

Secret of the Nagas starts almost at the exact point where its prequel Immortals of Meluha stopped. From there on, the book picks up pace .. very hard and very quick. In a span of 384 pages, the author covers more than 5 years worth of incidents. I have read many books which attempt to span eons together. The most accurate example would be, of course, the Silmarillion by J.R.R Tolkien. But there is a different flavour to this book. I was able to give it only one read as the book is in high demand and I am one of the few people with a copy.

What I hate about Indian authors is their utter lack of writing quality. I know they are trying to write for the masses in general. But that does not give them the license to use downright lame writing styles. One example from this book would be this – every few lines, there will be some word from Sanskrit whose meaning is not evident in English. What the author (or probably his editor) did was to put it in italics along with the meaning of the word as a phrase in English – again in italics. One of the few I remember is this – janau, sacred thread worn by …Β The first time, it made sense. Not everyone who reads the book will know what a janau is. But repeating this every single time the word janau is used gets H-I-G-H-L-Y irritating. I didn’t read the appendix but I’m guessing it is defined once more there as well.

Now that I’ve put my rant out of the way, let’s get to the story. One word – BRILLIANT! Every single mythological character we have heard of associated with Shiva has been introduced in an *almost* completely logical manner (I still find the concept of nagas kinda unbelievable). For anyone who hates details, you can rejoice. The author does not describe most elements in the book in much detail (well, not as much as I like) but that is fine because a large part of the audience usually hates it.

*spoiler* – There is a description of the gates of a city called Branga. J.R.R. Tolkien and George Martin would’ve shed a tear. What concept, my god! #notSarcasm

The book is a fast read. I finished it within 1 and a half to 2 hours (effectively). It is a definition of a page turner. I never stopped reading unless I had some chore or the other to attend to … I have acute ADD when there is a laptop near me. So, you get my point.

Consensus: Read the book. Even if you’re not a great fan of mythology, the book is a fantasy novel of the first order. Don’t be a snob (like me) and let the writing style be damned. Or remember that you’ve ordered a copy of River of Smoke (like me) which you can read once you have free time.

I rate it a 4/5


Back and Gone Again!

Travelling is supposed to be really awesome. I believe in that age-old dictum (rephrased to suit the modern times). But then, too much travel is tiresome. I have been travelling – a LOT! For the past 15 days, I have not known much rest except for the last 2 days of it, I guess.

This trip to Bombay was really something – I actually moved around so much that my whole time table changed. I also understood, in true sense, the meaning of the word hectic.

Giving a full summary of the trip is a pain in the hands that type and on the brain that reminisces to collect enough memories to put into the post. So yeah, I’m basically NOT gonna do that. Suffice it to say that the Inplant Training was basically OK. Not that you expect much from it in any case. The certificates are still pending though.

On the other hand, there are some other more interesting news that I would like to share. I found some true love in life after a long, long time. I am so happy and so sad that my ex will now not be treated with the same reverence. Yes, it is pretty obvious that I’m using metaphors here. But then, here is the real thing:

Isn't she beautiful? *sniff sniff*

Yes, I am now the proud owner of a PS3 – The latest edition as well. After putting tantrums, reasoning and shouting at my parents (all of which I am NOT ashamed of in any way), I have got it!

I also got THIS free:

Yes, that is Kratos - The king of badass!

Yes, I feel all hazy and dream-like πŸ™‚

Anyway, I got the PS3 a day before I left. I played as much of the game as I possibly could. I played it in easy mode (I just wanted to finish it, see?). I got back yesterday and now, about an hour ago, I officially finished the game. It was absolutely phenomenal and TOTALLY worth the ratings.

I can now go to Bangalore with a clear conscience πŸ˜€ … There are some more things to do though – search for new games, a HDMI cable at a cheap price (It is absolutely UNBELIEVABLE how much a cable can cost these days) and hopefully another controller. All in good time.

Now that the game is over, I need to get back to some reading. Yes, I have taken up the age-old hobby. I am trying to get a membership card at Crossword so that I can get some discounts on future purchases … but I’m just too busy at the moment.

Read this new book by an Indian author called “The Immortals of Meluha”. It’s about how Shiva may have actually been a human whose karma recast him as God in the books of history. VERY well done book – a little too amateur in some senses but then, it was well worth the read. It is part of a trilogy and I’m waiting for the other 2 parts – “The Secret of the Nagas” and “The Oath of the Vayuputras” … Strikes me that the author – Amish Tripathi – has really outdone himself with the titles πŸ˜€ . Thinking of reviewing the whole series once the other 2 parts are out.

I also finished a 4-novel omnibus edition of Miss Marple cases (Agatha Christie is da best!) . I need to get back to “Sea of Poppies” by Amitav Ghosh which was a nomination for the Man Booker Prize of 2008 (yep, that DAMN good!).

I leave for Bangalore tomorrow for a training at BHEL. When? At frickin 4:30 in the morning *shakes head in disbelief*

Oh well, hopefully the net works there. In any case, until I come back, adios!

PS : Did you people see the Apple iPhone 4 signal strength problem? *laughs his head off at Apple Inc* πŸ˜€