Book Review: Rise of the Sun Prince
Stories are nondescript tales you read and don’t leave you thinking about it after it is over. Good stories leave you pondering on the tale it tells even after it gets over. And great stories are the ones that keep coming back to your mind at different points of your life, making you compare situations, try out the story’s idea in your life and stay with you forever.
The Ramayana is one of the greatest stories ever written and no matter how many times you have read it, you are left with a different perspective.
Rise of the Sun Prince by author Shubha Vilas is the first in its series and covers the Bāla Kāṇḍa of the epic that tells the stories pertaining Lord Rama’s childhood and his marriage to Sita. This is the first part of the epic and it has been beautifully recounted by the author. This book is yet another proof that no matter how many renditions of the Ramayana you read, you always learn something new out of the latest one. It concentrates on the back story of many characters who are overlooked in many of the previous renditions like Sage Vasista, Sage Vishwamitra, etc.
Though the book is just 256 pages, it is not a very light read and the language can be a little heavy and verbose at certain points. But nevertheless, the author proves his excellent writing skills with an adept language that epics like this deserve. The little footnotes at the end of many pages explaining the inner meaning of actions, situations and ideas, though not novel, is still refreshing because it helps one form perspectives on the different characters and events. The author guides you through the story with these notes and points you to a viewpoint that you would have otherwise missed. But he does fail to connect with his readers and it feels like reading a spiritual text at certain points. For people looking for philosophical views and moral values, this book will be an apt read but for people looking for engaging stories, I am not sure if this book will satisfy them. But given that the author himself is a spiritual seeker from ISKCON, you kind of get a picture of how the book will be.
If you are a Ramayana fanatic and want to devour more of this epic, this book is a must read. But if you are just here for the stories and simplicity, then this book may not be of your interest.
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