Book Review: Asura – Tale of the Vanquished by Anand Neelakantan

After being absolutely busy for the five days of durga puja, I decided to relax on Dussehra with a nice cup if tea and a book. Coincidentally the book I picked up was Asura: Tale of the Vanquished. I was actually looking forward to read it because it was a little surprising to see a book written about Ravana and His People and secondly I somehow feel that people always have an affinity towards forgive me for the lack of a better term ” heroes” than the bad guy.

Neelakantan weaves his version of the story with 2 protagonists- Ravana and Bhadra . While Ravana is treated as mere mortal in the book who wore embraced the ten base emotions of life- anger, pride, jealousy, happiness, sadness, fear, selfishness, passion and ambition, along with intellect.  Both of them pretty muh talk about the same incidents but it is through their point of view.
As I mentioned before,  I really liked the concept of hearing the story from the point of view of the defeated side.What made it better was the stark contrast between the description that Ravana and Bhadra gave…a king’s perspective and a commoner’s perspective. It did become repetitive at some places but for most part of the book I enjoyed reading and observing the difference. Obviously with two characters as protagonist s there is always a scope of confusing the reader but the narration was very precise and clear that it completely eliminated the probability of any confusion.

The only thing that I would say against the book is that editing could have been a little better. There are places where details could have been avoided and places where grammatical error just ruins the flow of reading.

Overall  I can say that I really enjoyed reading the book. I definitely applaud the author for introducing a character like Bhadra and for highlighting a simple fact that everyone has a different definition for good and evil…what might appear to be a justified action to me might feel like injustice to someone else….so basically the book forces you to think about things in a different light. I would give it a 8/10 and would recommend you guys to pick this up 🙂

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