Book Review: The Aryavarta Chronicles: Govinda (Book 1) by Krishna Udayasankar

Title: The Aryavarta Chronicles: Book 1: Govinda
Author: Krishna Udayasankar
Publisher: Hachette India
ISBN: 978-9350094464
Genre: Fiction, Mythology
Pages: 472
Source: Publisher
Rating: 3/5

The fact more or less of the Indian Literary world is this: Authors are getting back to their mythological roots and churning out the so-called, “bestseller of the year”. Everyone seems to be at it, and it does not end at one book. It has to but of course be a trilogy. The Gods would be pleased. Right from Shiva to Vishnu to Brahma to Rama are featured and much ground is covered. What then also tends to happen is that one or more writers often write on similar Gods and similar epics – ranging and sticking only to The Ramayana or The Mahabharata.

Coming to the book I am reviewing – “The Aryavarta Chronicles: Govinda (Book 1)” by Krishna Udayasankar. Going by the title, one can easily predict, the content of the book. The book is but obviously centered on Krishna – one of the many avatars of Lord Vishnu. The story though seems to be predictable, it actually isn’t so. May be that is what makes it different from the others in the running. Having said that, there are times when the interest did not manage to be sustained by the writing.

Now to the plot: We are introduced early on to the Firstborn dynasty of scholar-sages, descendants of Vasishta Varuni, who are also the protectors of the Divine Order on Earth. They are the ones who have been ruling the planet and controlling its working. On the other hand, you have the Agnirasa family of Firewrights, weapon-makers to the kings and master inventors, who have taken the step to defy the Firstborns. This rises to a conflict, leading to the united empire of Aryavarta falling apart. If this was not enough, then one of the Firewrights is dead, and that too a Secret Keeper, killed by a violent hand.

There is an evident bloody conflict. There is only one person who will save them all. That person but of course is Govinda Shauri, a cowherd-turned-prince and now Commander of the armies of Dwarka. The question that arises is that: How will he save Aryavarta? At this point in the book, the characters of the Mahabharata get introduced (they are known earlier on, but the part they will play gets clearer at this stage) and that is how the entire Book 1 gets looped in and reaches its logical end.

The plot did seem a little mundane when I started it, but the minute it picked pace and everything fell in place, it was something else. The characters are well developed and like I said, they make perfect sense at the end and the reasons why they are there in the book. The writing is crisp at times and at others, I thought it was a drag. Having said that, the book is quite charming and the mythology angle to it is superbly done. I for one will wait for the 2nd installment in the series.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Aryavarta Chronicles: Govinda (Book 1) by Krishna Udayasankar

  1. Arpitha Rao

    Reading your review I feel this book is a lot similar to the “Shiva Trilogy”. The coming home of a long expected legend warrior, the uncanny comparisons with the mythological characters, an empire falling apart- all these seem exactly similar to the plot of Shiva trilogy. I wish to read this book at least to see how it differs from the Shiva trilogy.

    Reply
  2. Sri Ram

    when u start reading the book,,, u would think that you would know whats gonna happen as you turn over the pages…. but that is not so in this one. having said that the story and the characters involved are slightly altered in this book which brings a whole new perspective. the more interesting thing that can be observed in this book is the characterizations of the main characters like krishna,vyasa, draupadi, arjuna, but mainly yudhishtra and duryodhana. it really explores the mindset of these characters.

    i nave read the shiva trilogy. it is all in all a great series. but i would feel this is a better book and more so because the writing style of the author is simply superb. kudos to her for that.

    one might think that just like the more recent books that involve “retelling” the indian mythology, this one would be a more realistic approach with no fantasical/magical notes. but it is not so in this case. Magical elements are still there but are subtle and not as glorified as the original tales go.

    overall a great read

    Reply

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