First time I am writing a blog on a book that I have read and the book is Scion of Ikshvaku by Amish Tripathi. At first I want to say that this was the book of Amish for me. I have read any book of his very famous Shiva Trilogy. So it was excitement and surprise for me. I took almost 10 days to finish this book and that experience is worth sharing.
Starting from the cover page, the design clearly shows Pushpak of Raavan and Ram aiming at it. This is very nicely designed and is eye-catching for sure. But the thing I liked more is the line written on back cover “Ram Rajya, the perfect land. But perfection has a price. He paid that price”. That line surely sparks some emotions that a follower of Ramayana has inside.
I pre-ordered this book so got it with digital signature of Amish and a metallic bookmark by Amazon. As a book with paperback, I was not expecting hardcover like experience but still quality of cover is too bad. Cover bent within a few chapters of reading. Once I finished reading, I had to keep weight on book for entire night to make it straight. I wish Westland Limited had given better quality cover.
Anyway, package is of less importance but the product is precious. Second good thing (After that line writen on back cover) that I noticed is that Amish has gave one line introduction of every character, it makes reading easier.
Unlike my expectation, the real story starts with a war between Raavan and Dasharath. Till now everyone stated birth of Ram as a day of joy for entire universe, Amish describes it as a saddest day for Ayodhya and its king Dasharath. That was the moment I realize it is not going to be ‘Ramayana’ way but this is Amish’s own Ram Chandra. Of course, it took few minutes for me to feel comfortable with it. One new discovery about Ram janma that made good impression on me was conversation between Nilanjana and the astrologer. It was short part but one of my favorite one of this book.
Rivalry between Kaushalya and Kaikeyi is stated amazingly. Initially I liked it, especially the way Amish pen-down those political games the queens were playing. How Manthara influenced Kaikeyi and how Kaikeyi dominated Dasharath’s decision-making is worth reading. My mind yet refuses to accept that Manthara can actually BUY Kaikeyi for money; I mean anyway Ayodhya was never so poor that it cannot meet demands of its king’s most favorite wife.
Education of all princes of Ayodhya is explained very beautifully. Character of Guru Vashistha and his way of teaching is nicely narrated. Discussion between prices and Vashistha is very enlightening and interesting. Even I liked conversation of Ram & Vashistha about Asura and Deva. Laxman as protective brother and brave boy who is ready to take any risk to save Ram is simply admirable. Discussion about feminine and masculine nature of society is long. For those who cannot read same thing for long, it may become boring, but I personally liked it. However the way author introduced Radhika as Bharat’s sixth girlfriend is just annoying. Amish should have saved this imaginary story for some other book but this was clear disaster. One just gets confused if he is reading about scion of Ikshvaku or some college of boy of twenty-first century. Some things are better left in original form.
One thing that I am totally unsatisfied with is Roshni’s part. Frankly speaking I don’t understand connection of that with other stories of the book. Amish has made an very clear attempt to put Nirbhaya incident in this storyline but it still looks creepy. And most importantly, if Roshni was Manthara’s daughter and as the story highlights Manthara as wealthiest person of Ayodhya, then where is Roshni’s father? In Ramayana, there’s no mention of Manthara’s daughter (as far I know). I understand that Amish has wrote more than half of the book with his imagination but still that particular part is not going fine with entire storyline. Execution of punishment part is too exaggerated and violent. It would be better if author had put some light on the thin line between justice and revenge. In short, I would happily eliminate the entire section of Roshni.
Introduction of Rishi Vishwamitra is very much as per his character, angry and energetic. It is very much like we are known from Ramayana. How Ram & Laxman fight with Tadka, her son and her army is interesting and makes you turn pages quickly. Even though there’s little bit modification by Amish, the changes are very smalland enjoyable. Author has not played too much with it. Entire part of it goes well.
Introduction of Sita is comes on very right time but it is not as romantic as Ramayana. In Amish’s version of the Ramayana, you will find that Sita is in conflict with one or the person most of time. Sometime with citizens of Mithila, sometimes with Raavan and men & sometime with wild animals. Amish has changed entire story of Swayamvar. He completely made it like Draupadi’s Swayamvar. The way Amish describes Mithila and map of the city, is sometimes boring. Or should I say it is little bit confusing. After Swayamvar war with Raavan was a shocker. And how Ramwas not willing to use Divya Astra was even more shocking. Yet I found good to read.
Entire Vanvaas plot is again very much like Ramayana, so don’t want to write anything on it. Two boons of Kaikeyi, Ram requesting to banish himself and Site and Laxman going with Ram… Everything is too close to Ramayana. While Valmiki’s Ramayana sent Bharat to jungle to take Ram’s paduka (slippers), Amish got it done in Ayodhya itself. Have to appreciate the political and logical meaning that Amish gave this story.
Journey of Ram, Laxman and Sita to the forests it nicely written. Little bit changes are made here as well. Like Jatayu iswith them, Vibhishan & Surpanakha staying with Ram-Sita and Laxman… it is something unexpected. I found like Amish wanted fast forward the story here. Book ends when Raavan kidnapped and Hanuman is on his way to help Ram & Laxman.
The one line from this book I liked the most is “…Patriots are often called traitors by the very people they choose to serve, till history passes the final judgment.”
To end this blog which went bigger than I thought, I would give this book 7.5/10. I enjoyed this book and got annoyed at some stages. Appreciate the simple language Amish used throughout the book, you don’t have keep dictionary open while reading. I will wait for second book of Ram Chandra Series.
Comments, Suggestions are most welcome. Not so perfect in English grammar so please pardon if any mistake appeared and tell about it in comment box.