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If you haven’t read book one you will not want to read this review because it’ll be full of spoilers. Please go read my review of book one here and buy it this instant.
The story picks up where it left off, after the gigantic battle that was won by our kickass heroes and heroines. Of course just because the war was won doesn’t mean there isn’t any devastation and just because Vishaka is awake doesn’t mean all is well with the Samrat.
When we re-enter this world it’s to witness the way the Asuras and the Devas have ravaged the land and how the people of Ujjaini are rallying/leaving or, well, dying. Morale is low all around, some allies, as it turns out, weren’t allies and some enemies we were afraid of ended up helping us win the battle. (Yes I said us, I feel like I was involved in the battle as well) And we watch as our heroes come to terms with the powers they discovered they had at the end of book one.
Vikramadithya and his council of nine are helping with damage control as they each travel around the land and try to gather support, heal the wounded, train the samsaptakas and spy on the healer. With instalment two of the series we get to discover new foes, new allies and new powers as well as new cracks that are in these characters’ pasts and it complicates where your loyalties lie. But they don’t get to rest for even a minute because the Hunas are preparing for an attack, as are the Devas and the Asuras and this battle is going to be much worse than the previous one, because this battle might break them and leave you wondering if all is lost.
What I love about this series is that just ten pages into book one I somehow felt like I was reading about friends, familiar characters that I would root for no matter what. It was the same with book two. Originally, when I received the book I was worried that I may not remember everything from book one so I decided to read about fifty pages to see if I needed to put it down and go back to book one, but I couldn’t put it down.
It felt like I was catching up with old friends and I discovered that I remembered every detail about their lives. Another thing that the author does very well is naming, with most mythology the reason I don’t enjoy it is because I have to go back and keep checking which character is which because the names are so darn similar, but with these books they are different enough for you to recall them with ease, even when grabbing book two after ages.
The characters are as loveable and as hateable as ever, the writing as gripping and the devastation as…..devastating. Shatrujeet Nath manages to hold your attention in a vice like grip preventing you from putting the book down even for a minute. The tension dripped off the pages and kept me on my toes for almost 80% of the book, whether it was tension during war, or during the plotting meetings or during the romance. Yes, there is romance, but not the gooey awful romance we read about these days. It is so classily and nonchalantly done that I was bowled over. Best part? The author doesn’t assume that his reader is an idiot, he takes into account the capabilities of the reader to fill in the blanks and discards all unnecessary rambling details to weave a tight knit story that is fast paced, gut wrenching and nail biting.
I suggest you grab book one if you haven’t and grab book two if you’ve already read The Guardians Of The Halahala. This continues to be one of my favourite mythology series, perfect for those who are new to Indian mythology and also for those who are tired of reading Mahabaratha and Ramanaya retellings. For me this book is like the Shiva trilogy, it came out of the blue and took my breath away. But while that series let the story fall and dwindle away after book one, Shatrujeet Nath manages to make is a brilliant as the first. I really hope he keeps it up and that book three doesn’t disappoint.
I was very kindly given a copy by the author/publisher but opinions expressed are my own.
Note : The cover has been changed as you can see. I don’t know why but I’m really upset about it. The old cover was so cool and creepy looking, the new cover doesn’t match. I’m sad.