PLOT: 3.5/5 CHARACTERS: 3.5/5 WRITING STYLE: 3/5 CLIMAX: 3/5 ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5 OVERALL: 3/5
It’s not an easy task to pen mythological fantasies especially the ones that span over hundreds of pages and an equal (if not more) number of years. The sheer effort required in terms of plot design and character development is enough to scare any author.
And that’s probably one reason why we don’t see a lot of authors attempting this genre.
I recently had the chance to read one such mythological fantasy. Antar Atreya’s Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu is a book that is a near-perfect blend of mythology and fantasy.
Set in an ancient period, it is a massive saga spanning hundreds of years while telling us a tale of innumerable kingdoms and their chiefs. Read on to know what I think of the book and how was my experience of reading it.
What to expect?
Expect a book that is a lengthy read. Expect a book that has a lot of action especially battle scenes. Expect a book that imagines a fantasy world in an ancient time where the Earth is ruled by an evil lord and there is a cry for help to overthrow that evil. Also, expect a book that has plenty of heroes and plenty of villains too.
Who can read?
Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu is written in a lucid language but the sheer length of it topped with some very lengthy narratives makes me believe that the book is best suited for readers who have at least some experience of reading saga like novels.
What is the story like?
To banish evil from the Earth forever, Lord Vishnu’s last avatar Kalki took birth and annihilated all life from the mother planet. Thousands of years later, a new world emerged but this new world had its issues too.
As Earth’s firstborn, Bhuswami was supposed to mentor and guide all mortal beings of the planet, but when he himself falls victim to the lures of excessive power, there arises in him a tyrannical overlord. He becomes a man who controls the entire Earth with a vicious grip; a man who raises an army of brutal overlords – the Daitya clan.
To overcome the tyranny of Bhuswami and deliver the mortal world from the sins of its past, a mortal with a divine destiny takes birth on the planet. But will he accept his destiny and prepare for war? Or will he too become corrupt with power? Only time will tell.
Let’s talk about the plot
Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu has a plot that takes inspiration from Hindu mythology and then builds upon it a fantasy that is nothing short of magnificent.
When I think about the scale of it, I can easily liken it to S.S. Rajmouli’s Bahubali and that is a good thing. The sheer amount of effort that has gone into putting the plot together is visible from the very beginning.
How good are the characters?
Though there are many characters, Antar Antreya has managed to do justice to all of them. The protagonists are larger than life, dynamic, intense and compassionate but the villains too are written very well.
The character of Bhuswami, with his colossal empire, gargantuan palace and decadent lifestyle makes for a perfect villain. He is someone whom the reader loves to hate from the very beginning.
I also love the fact that Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu has some very strong female characters. Navya and Meghnaini are both fearsome and inspiring.
Scarred by struggles and atrocities that life throw their way, they only manage to become fiercer and more determined in their ways. They have power and they know how to wield it – be it by the way of menacing fighting skills or an unthinkable sacrifice.
In my humble opinion, it is the characters that form the backbone of the book. If not for them, the book would have been a rather dull read.
What about the author’s writing style?
The author makes use of a narrative style that relies more on descriptive text than dialogues. That combined with injudicious use of paragraph spacing and formatting makes the book a tiresome read.
It is those essay-like paragraphs that really put me off as a reader. Just looking at them was an overwhelming feeling that I never wish to revisit again.
Like I said, writing sagas is a daunting task and it’s a tricky genre to get perfect at, at the first shot. The author sure has talent, which with a little honing and experience has the potential to work wonders.
What did I like?
I loved how the book is all about moral vs immoral and evil vs good. Reading the book feels like revisiting those old mythological tales albeit with a twist. I also like how the character arcs have been developed – giving us a panoramic view of their lives right from their very humble beginnings to their current magnanimity.
What did I not like?
Editing is a crucial part of any book and I believe Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu requires much more attention in both proofreading and copy editing.
There are often mix-ups and there are grammar mistakes that are hard to ignore. These inadvertently result in reading discomforting, unnecessarily pulling the book down.
What could have been better?
I believe the maps could have been made much more elaborate and reader-friendly. In their current forms, they were a tad difficult to navigate.
Is the climax good enough?
The climax gives a befitting conclusion to the saga and I quite enjoyed it.
It all about the entertainment quotient
The book doesn’t lack entertainment. It has an interesting storyline, an engaging plot and an awesome string of characters however, a little more effort on pruning the excessive descriptions and maintaining an even pace would surely have been great. Overall, it is a decent one time read.
My final verdict
Can be read.
Pick it up if
- If you enjoy books that are a blend of mythology and fantasy.
- If you loved the movie Bahubali and would like to read a story similar to that.
- If you like tales that are spread over hundreds of years and that have multitudes of characters.
Skip it if
- If you don’t enjoy mythological fiction or fantasies.
- If lengthy sagas set in ancient times are not really your cup of tea.
- If you are looking for a 5-star entertainer.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Chronicles of the Mortal Vishnu using the link below.