WRITING STYLE: 3.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 3/5
Among the plethora of mythological fiction authors that have swarmed the local bookstores and online retailers, some manage to make their mark in the world of literature, some manage to pass by as just another me-too and a few others come and go by unnoticed. Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra, I believe, falls in the second league – where it comes, gets noticed and is glossed over as just another passable work, plain vanilla in a world full of roasted almonds and exotic hazelnuts. It invokes pity, for if it were the year 2006, before the likes of Amish Tripathi and Ashwin Sanghi walked the literature circles of India, Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra would have surely made it big, but 2013 is sadly not 2006 and therefore the concept is just a hypothesis.
Indra is born as the prophesied son of Daeyus, the chief of Deva clan, as an outcome of his clandestine copulation with one of the most exquisite of all divine beauties – the Earth Goddess Gaia. The redeemer for one clan is the exterminator of another and therefore, right from the moment he is born, dark forces begin conspiring against him, as a result of which he and his father are never at peace. Soon, king Daeyus comes to know of one such alleged diabolical scheme and he decides to ride out in the battle against the perpetrators and loses his life in the process.
Indra is somehow rescued from the scene and transported to a safe haven under the safeguard and guidance of Sage Mitra. It from this point that the story picks up and as soon as he finds himself blossoming into his man years, he sets out on an inconceivable campaign to conquer far away and unexplored lands. In his quest for the unconquerable, he is accompanied by his four best friends and sworn in brothers – Agni, Vayu, Varun and Som.
The effort and handiwork on part of a debut author are praise-worthy. The language is simple and intelligible, though a few editing errors here and there could have been easily avoided. It is this patchy and often hastily done editing work which spoils the reading pleasure. I liked the storyline and the way it transcends geographical barriers to cover almost the whole world known to the realms of men at that point in time. From Asia Minor to the Euphrates to the plateau of Gandharva to Harappa to the Himalayas and subsequently Swarga, the geographical coverage is just extraordinary.
Not that I disliked Thundergod: The Ascendance of Indra or regretted reading it, but there wasn’t much on the positives either. The war and the sex were little too much for my taste and often during the war scenes, I fought hard the urge to flip pages and skip the savage and ruthless war descriptions. Though fantasy is my cup of tea, I found myself wondering at times whether it would be better if Ravi (the most action eager amongst us) would have read the book. The only part which I enjoyed eagerly – the Sachi episode was left mid-way with questions and curiosity left unanswered till the next book. Another thing I found disappointing was the portrayal of Indra; for me, it was something short of the space and depth which he truly deserves. What could be his true potential as a real protagonist was eclipsed by the blonde hair and blue eyes to which he most irrationally was subjected to?
Overall I recommend this book to fantasy lovers; among them, especially those new to mythological fiction and whose judgment for this book would not be marred by the other similar works which they might have read earlier.