Hope you all have been well. You managed to read a lot of books this month, didn’t you? I did fairly well this month in terms of reading. I read about 8 books this month which is a lot better than, well nothing 😅. BE PROUD OF ME!
Today, I have a book which I’ll be reviewing. It’s a cross between Indian mythology and fantasy. Since many of you are fans of Mythology, I thought this book would be something that might interest you guys. Without stretching this further, let’s dive straight into the review *hand gesture pointing below*
The book which I will be talking about today is Upon A Burning Throne by Ashok K Banker. I’ll be reviewing Part 2 of this series but the thing about this book is, both the books in the series can be discussed as one. *Whispers* Frankly, I believe the one book would have done instead of two.
Book Title: Upon A Burning Throne (#2)
Author: Ashok K. Banker
Publisher: Simon and Schuster India
Length: 360 Pages
Fantasy needs a different world altogether which doesn’t look anything like the real world. It must have some palaces or fantasy “islands” thrown in there, characters with fantastical powers, mythical creatures, powers which humans will never have and enemies, LOTS of them. Upon A Burning Throne has all of it for sure. While Part I of the book centered around the kingdom, the kings and princes, Part II focuses more on the internal stories of the characters, the ultimate fight of the heroes against their enemies and drama.
Banker gives a spin to the epic, Mahabharata and creates his own fictional world all the while making the “Gods” more like us: human beings who have emotions and cry, A Lot. Banker seems to have a completely different view of the myths and stories of Mahabharata because he is breaking a lot of them in this book.
The main plot revolves around Adri and Svate who are next in line to the throne of Burnt Empire after the death of the emperor. But here’s the thing, these guys just can’t go and claim the throne because in the world of Burnt Empire, Hastinagar, birthright doesn’t guarantee you the throne. To rule Burnt Empire, one will have to pass The Test of Fire. To complicate it further, there’s another person who also has a right to inherit the throne. To complicate it even further, this girl’s (did I mention that another heir to the throne was a girl?) father is the main villain in the story, the demonlord, Jarsun. Had he not been an antagonist, maybe these four people would have been able to figure it out without declaring war but whenever did the Mahabharat seem so easy and uncomplicated? NEVER. Neither does it get easy for Adri and Svate.
Had Adri and Svate given the girl her part of the inheritance, they could have settled everything peacefully. But nope, that doesn’t happen. In a way, Adri and Svate called it upon themselves, but from another perspective, I don’t think Jarsun would have been happy with just a tiny part of the kingdom, right? I mean when are we even happy with what we have, we always want more. The war begins: dark magic, sorceries and chaos surrounds the kingdom.
The book does have somewhat of a satisfying end to it but the series didn’t seem complete to me. Maybe there’s another book coming? I don’t know.
So here’s the thing, if you have been following my blog, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads (what, you still haven’t followed me?!), you would know that your girl right here isn’t the biggest fan of Fantasy and Mythology. I prefer to read more of realistic fiction and stories which are actually based in the world I live in, so, by reading this book, I was trying to push my boundaries a little. I won’t exactly day that this was an amazing experience. It was CHALLENGING and UNCOMFORTABLE as well but when have I given up? ( Other than in grade 9 when I chickened out and didn’t tell my crush how I felt).
Ashok K. Banker is a popular name in the genre of Mythical Fantasy and I have seen many people talking about how they loved his books. This was my first book by Banker and his style is definitely something I can get used to. I love fast paced writing which keep you on the edge of your seat. I LOVED the portrayal of the characters. The character development is a lot better in this book than the first one. As I have mentioned before, the demigods are more humane than Gods so they have their moments of angst, sadness, happiness and are not afraid to cry.
The narrative has its moments of hiccup but nothing too strong that would propel the story out of its plotline. The narrative has a uniform pace but there were times when I felt that the interconnectedness of the storyline was disrupted at times.
Coming this from a non-fantasy fan; I would say that this book was good and some of you fantasy fans will find it to be amazing but since I don’t belong to that category (at least not yet), I can’t say this was a great read.
If you are crazy about fantasy, mythology and a cross between them, I can surely say that you will enjoy reading this book. You might as well add this to your TBR!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ASHOK K. BANKER is the pioneer of the speculative fiction genre in India and the author of fifty-two books, including the internationally acclaimed Ramayana series. His works have all been best-sellers in India, and have sold around the world.
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