“A Hero is Only as Good as His Villain”– Batman
It’s weird to quote Batman for the review of mythological fiction but this quote sums up this whole book perfectly.
Raavan is the third book in the Ram Chandra series. There are a total of 5 books planned in this series. 2 of them are yet to be released. I have shared my review of the first two books Ram and Sita on my blog earlier.
The first 3 books are inspired by a storytelling technique called hyperlink, which is also called multilinear narrative. In this technique, the author is telling the same story from the perspective of different characters. In book 1, the story was told from the perspective of Ram, in book 2, it was told from the perspective of Sita and this one is told from the perspective of Raavan.
What this book is about?
Raavan is a story of a teenage boy who is abhorred by his father due to his birth deformities. At a very young age, he was put up to take care of his family constituting his mother and his beloved brother Kumbhakarna. Raavan is blessed by God for talents but also has a cruel heart. With his wit, courage, and fearsome resolve, he became the wealthiest person. But for some reasons(not revealing for spoilers), he is resolved to destroy Sapt-Sindhu.
My experience reading this book
I feel that this series keeps getting better with every book. The first book is the weakest in the series. It got better with Sita but due to the multilinear narrative and the fact that story of Ram and Sita is too overlapping it was a little repetitive for me. But Raavan has very little overlap with the earlier stories and hence it was quite an interesting read.
Now, if you compare this book with the grand epic Ramayana, then we don’t get to hear a lot about Raavan. And hence, reading his backstory was quite amazing. Amish has done a fantastic job in spinning this story and the way he merges various ends left loose in the previous books is beautiful. There are still many open ends like the story and Vishwamitra and Vashista but those I am sure will be covered in future books.
The character of Raavan is portrayed beautifully and is full of contrasts. He is intelligent, knowledgeable, a patron of arts but also ruthless and full of greed and ambition. He has this internal desire to be good and to follow dharma but also driven by the raw passion for revenge and ambition. His love for his brother, his portrayal of love and grief with art and music almost convinces you to his humane side but he proves you wrong suddenly by supporting mass murders and fulfillment of carnal desires.
I really like this book and now I am really looking forward to his next release. I absolutely recommend this series to anyone interested in fantasy or mythology, because this is a very beautiful mix of both. Don’t put down the series after reading the first book. As I told you earlier it just gets better with each book.