Book Review: The Secret of the Nagas by Amish
Book 2 of the Shiva trilogy takes up from the point where Shiva is dashing to save Sati at the end of The Immortals of Meluha. Does he succeed? His archenemy seems to be winning every encounter. All Shiva knows for sure is that the Chandravanshis aren’t evil. But then, neither are the Suryavanshis. So who or what is evil? And who is the mysterious Naga that stalks his family? What does he want? What is The Secret of the Nagas?
This is the second book in the Shiva Trilogy by Amish. Even though the first book, Immortals of Meluha had been a bestseller, there were a few things which I did not appreciate in both the books. But first the good points:
The plot of the trilogy is unique and interesting. The idea of Shiva being a mortal being is intriguing, more so when the books have mixed fiction so expertly with historical facts and Hindu mythology.
The author has dealt with a number of issues of the Indian society in the disguise of storytelling e.g. caste system and honour killing. The concepts of Vikarma and Naga are nothing but the author’s way of directing our attention to the fact that Indian society has traditionally been intolerant about anything out of ordinary. Also the fact that differential laws with respect to the Maika system applied to the royal family of Meluha is an illustration of how the people in power use the same to their benefit. In other words, a lot of India of present days can be seen in the pages of the book.
The author has a way with words, especially when he is describing a scene. He describes every single act, every movement so meticulously that at the end, the reader can actually visualise it. Cases in example – all the battle scenes and the dance recital by Anandmayi.
Now some of the things which I did not like:
Amish’s style of writing is something which I do not approve of at all. Casual words, short and incomplete sentences, improper use of punctuation left a lot more to be desired. This was not so prominent in Immortals of Meluha, as it is in The Secret of the Nagas.
Amish’s attempt at basing some of his characters on real life people was not amusing. I am especially unhappy about portraying the King of Branga as a man covered from head to toe in gold jewellery with a name like Bappiraj. May be because Branga is evidently nothing other than Bengal, I am a little touchy about the whole Bappi Lahiri-Bappiraj similarity.
At places, the story dragged quite a bit. e.g. the battle with the tigers. It could be because the author wanted to introduce Ganesh and Kali dramatically and reveal the twist, but at that point, I wanted to move forward in the story faster.
The philosophy that the author introduced through the Vasudev Pandits seemed half-baked. It was not fully elaborated and left a lot more to be desired.
I also did not understand why both the books had to end so abruptly. A chapter may end in suspense but a book ending thus makes one wonder whether the author could have written one whole book instead of the trilogy!
In conclusion, I liked how the plot has been carried forward in the sequel, especially with twists and a hint that Shiva may not be a born “Neelkanth”, the negative aspects of the book left me unsatisfied as a reader. Now all I can do is wait for Oath of the Vayuputras, with a hope that Amish writes it with a little more literary attention.
Title – The Secret Of The Nagas
Publisher – Westland
Author – Amish
Binding – Paperback
ISBN – 9380658797
ISBN-13 – 9789380658797
Number of Pages – 414
Language – English
My rating: 6/10