Book Review: The Rise of Hastinapur

Book Review: The Rise of Hastinapur
The second book of the Hastinapur duology, The Rise of Hastinapur, concentrates on the second and the third generation of the Kuru clan, mainly the Queens. This book revolves around Amba who was wronged by Bhishma’s actions and whose daughter eventually led to Bhishma’s death; Gandhari, the queen of Gandhar, who was later married to Dritarashtra, the grandson of King Shantanu and Queen Satyavati; and Kunti, the princess of Shurasena, who tries her best to save her brother Vasudev, who was abducted by his wife, Devaki’s brother Kamsa.
Sharath Komarraju does it again. His inexplicable manner of writing does everything to attract the readers and keep the readers stuck with the story. His way of writing has a sense of reality, which makes us live the incidents, and not just read them. His ability to connect events and create a story out of them is clearly visible in The Rise of Hastinapur, and this makes me want to read more from his works.
While the stories, individually, didn’t appeal to me due to abrupt endings and unanswered questions, eventually, the book ended with Ganga wrapping everything up beautifully answering most of the questions. The epilogue by Ganga, changed everything. Questions were answered, confusions were subsided and things became clearer.
But, that being said, there were quite some things which left me frustrated. Throughout the book, I was disappointed with the storyline being uneventful, despite the powerful writing. I had expectations from a plot line, but it just ended up bland, especially the part which deals with Kunti. It was too out of part, and confusing. I expected a lot of action, but what I got was mistrust and misogyny.
In my personal opinion, the characters in this book were a bit more dramatic than the previous one. To start with Amba, what happened to her, was tragic. And to some point, I do blame Bhishma, but at the same time I blame Salva and Vichitraveerya equally for what happened. When she got a chance to live beyond the problems in her life, she didn’t do that, instead chose the road of vengeance, which was a big put off about her character. Similarly, Kunti’s character, albeit good, was lacking sense. Where I expected her to break all bounds to rescue her brother, she just trusted words from some Brahmin, who was trying so hard to sleep with her. This disappointed me way more than any other part. Gandhari’s part in the story might be the only part, where I found myself hooked. I loved Gandhari’s character, and felt so bad for her by the end of her part. The characters were a bit complicated in this one, which was why I couldn’t understand most of their actions.
Despite the shortfalls, the writing does its charms. Even when I was thinking of giving up, the writing grabbed my attention, and I could not put it down anymore. Moreover, just like in the first book, the book changes the way you see the events of Mahabharata, and that is exactly why this book was written.
If you’ve read and liked the first one, you are sure to like the second one. Even if you didn’t like it, this one is worth reading.
It is always good to have a proper ending to a story, which this book does beautifully.
Title: The Rise of Hastinapur
Authors: Sharath Komarraju
Publisher/ ImprintHarper Collins India
Pages: 360
Genre: Fiction/ Mythology
Rating: 3.00 of 5
Reviewed forThe Tales Pensieve Pick of the month

Read the reviews of other books rated 3 stars by Team TP HERE