WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3.5/5
“His countenance reflected the brilliance of a billion suns. Rich waves of blue-black hair skimmed his forehead sensuously and fell down to his magnificently sculpted shoulders. Supple, slender and strong was his form. And in a face more handsome than anyone had ever seen, rested a pair of beautiful eyes that were easily his most captivating feature—lit up as they were by the promise of mischief and secret adventures that held the promise of unlimited joy.”
~ Anuja Chandramouli, Kamadeva: The God of Desire
I am an ardent lover of mythological fiction. Over the years, I have read a good number of Indian mythological fictions and have recommended them to my readers.
Browsing through my Kindle Unlimited section, I came across the book Kamadeva: The God of Desire and I decided to read it. Having previously read Anuja Chandramouli’s Rani Padmavati: The Burning Queen, I knew that the book would not disappoint me.
Read on to know more about my thoughts on this book.
What to expect?
Kamadeva: The God of Desire is a mythological fiction that tells us the story of god Kamadeva. Readers familiar with the Hindu mythology very well know who the god is but what we usually have are bits and pieces or mere mentions of the God in the popular sagas.
This book tells us (albeit fictionally) the entire story of Kamadeva and as far as I know and understand, the author has tried to maintain the sanctity of the original legend as much as possible.
So, expect a mythological fiction which takes you on a roller coaster ride that is the life of Kamadeva; a powerful god whose powers even God Shiva and God Vishnu don’t have the capability to resist.
Let’s talk about the storyline
Kamadeva – a powerful god with a potent power is born out of the creator Brahma’s passion. His power is matchless and therefore has to be exercised carefully.
After a mini-fiasco that threatens the very decorum of the world, Kama’s actions earn him rebuke not just from his father, Brahma but also from Shiva and Vishnu.
Realizing the need for prudence and a sense of purpose, he joins Indra’s alluring sabha in the legendary Amravati where he undertakes a long and tedious journey of learning, unlearning and relearning.
He also discovers that he is destined to play a crucial role in the important scheme of things and that his fate had been scripted years before he was even born.
This is the story of the legendary god of love Kamadeva, his wives, his life, his quests and his destiny.
How good were the characters?
The characters are a mixed bunch. There are all sorts of them and many in number but they manage to stay with the reader throughout the book. It does take a while to remember their names and their role in the overall scheme of things but after some time, the journey becomes a smooth one.
I also enjoyed the fierce portrayal of the female characters and the showcasing of their fiery streak in the book.
Goddesses have an important role in this book and Anuja makes sure that we get to witness their raw power in all its glory.
What about the author’s writing style?
Anuja makes use of a language that is lucid and expressive. Her words are poetic and melodious. That being said, I think there was a lot of unnecessary detailing and explaining that could have been easily avoided.
On the positive side, I like the way she brings forth the human aspects of the Gods that she writes about.
Overall though, I could not shun the feeling that this time around there was something that seemed to have missed the mark.
Was the climax good enough?
The climax seems a bit dull. Maybe it was because I already knew the story or maybe it was because of the way it was penned, the climax for me was a buzzkill; one that did not give a befitting end to an otherwise captivating story.
What did I like?
I like the way the book is an all extensive read about Kamadeva. I also liked the way the story begins with a scandal and that too a highly shocking one at that!
This happens when Kamadeva, yet unaware about the true extent of his powers, unleashes a never-before event in the history of Gods; an event that has the power to turn a solemn sabha into a feast of passion and lust.
Further, the way the characters ruminate about the many social issues (that are still very much relevant to our society) is something that I enjoyed thoroughly.
Be it the celestial Apsara Rambha’s ranting, or Rati’s rebuke of all men regarding the plight of women, the statements by these women were quite bold and portrayed the women as strong characters of free will and thought.
What did I not like?
There were times in the book when the prose did not allow the story to move forward. Sometimes in a book, there are things better left unsaid; each and everything need not be spelt out for the reader always.
But here, one feels like there is a lot of explaining, exaggeration, philosophical musings, unnecessary descriptions of place, emotions, things etc. and topping it all – a lot of repetition. This, unfortunately, drags an otherwise interesting story that has the potential to be so much more.
What I also did not find convincing was the romance and humour elements. Somehow the humour seemed forced and the romance was missing all the passion and sweetness.
It all boils down to the entertainment quotient
In the end, Kamadeva: The God of Desire is a book that will appeal to people who aren’t bothered about the pace of a book as long there is a decent story to tell.
Anuja’s lucid and poetic writing, her meticulous research, her ability to capture emotions in the most humane way possible, renders this book an interesting edge even if it comes with certain riders.
Pick up the book if
- You enjoy mythological fiction and want to read the story of a God whose powers prevailed over that of Lord Shiva.
- You like drama, romance, humour along with action in your mythological fiction.
- You are a fan of Anuja Chandramouli’s writing.
Skip the book if
- You don’t like mythological fiction.
- You are looking for an action-oriented or fast-paced mythological fiction/thriller.
- You don’t like drama in your mythological fiction.
Can’t wait to read it? Buy your copy of Kamadeva: The God of Desire using the link below.