9 October 2022 | By: Writing Buddha

War of Lanka by Amish Tripathi (Book Review: 4*/5) !!!

2028th BLOG POST

25th Book of 2022


Binge-watching subsequent seasons of your favorite web-series is easy as you can fast-forward the unwanted scenes and complete it within a day. But it is very difficult to finish reading a book which is part of a series as you can’t skip the sentences and have to read everything with utmost concentration and devotion. And it becomes further tough when the book is of almost 475 pages. Yes, I am talking about the latest release of Amish Tripathi’s book named “War of Lanka” which is the 4th book in the Ram Chandra series. For this book, Amish has made his readers wait for more than 3 years hence there has been high expectations from it. I have been lucky enough to be present at the launch of this book and own an author-signed copy of it. The excitement has been such that I completed reading it within 2 days as I couldn’t stop myself from knowing how the things will unfold further in the story.


As we know Amish had experimented with the hyperlink concept with the first 3 books where each of them told stories of Ram, Sita and Raavan respectively from their birth till the kidnap of Sita by Raavan. The story finally merges with this book and takes it ahead from there. Amish has utilized the power of creative liberty completely as he has almost rewritten the whole Ramayan in his own version. It was evident in the 1st 3 books and this one just makes you smile at incidents where you expect things to unfold the way you have read/seen them but Amish throws a googly and you are surprised with a completely new take upon the same. I would like to mention few of them: For e.g. Hanuman lifting the mountain for Sanjivani angle has been transformed – the conversation between Sita and Raavan are friendly in Ashok Vatika – Ram Setu being referred as Nala Setu – Vali’s death – Sita’s birth – Ram’s brothers’ involvement in the war, Ram-Sabri meeting etc.


Amish has used a very commanding and friendly language to narrate the story as you’ll not have to run for the dictionary – though he ensures you still learn few new words without much trouble. Author has purposely created small sentences so that it becomes easier for readers to navigate while reading - I like how Amish doesn’t care a bit about what Grammar Nazis would say on the way he writes sentences without a proper form and uses punctuation marks as per his convenience. From his writings, it is evident that he cares for reader’s ease rather than impressing the elites. His descriptions are so powerful that he makes you visualize the whole personas and scenes and find yourself in the same era. You’ll even feel that you are the character who is being discussed because of the way Amish provides details – let them be as small or miniscule as possible. It’s almost as if you are blind and someone is narrating the whole movie to you without missing a single second of it.


I am glad that Amish has shared the whole list of characters in the beginning which had initially scared me regarding how many times will I have to refer to this page but I must tell you – I didn’t have to do it even once. I am equally impressed with the execution as even if you haven’t read the 1st 3 books, you will still not have to worry much because author, very intelligently, tells all the important details briefly before proceeding ahead with a certain important character/scene. The use of adjectives and adverbs did mesmerize me- Tripathi uses it wonderfully in defining the characters, actions, sequences, locations, monuments, expressions and everything under the sky. One must read this book to learn how to use adjectives/adverbs in our writings/conversations.


As we have often heard that our epics are not only about the story but it teaches us many aspects – author ensures that even his version does justice to it. There are good amount of geographical references which will make you feel as if you are traveling to all these places yourself. Even the way geo-political angle is covered helps you understand the challenges of people living there plus how it’s affecting the current situation of the characters. He doesn’t even shy away from quoting references from other cultures and you’ll find important insights/terms discussed from other epics and religious references too. Unlike Mahabharata, Ramayan has always been more about preparation of the war than the war itself and while narrating the same, there are multiple scientific inclusions made which gives us an insight how things weren’t as easy as it sounds. Amish takes enough time to explain how the bridge between Southern India and Lanka was built using science rather than just throwing the stones which starts floating right away.


Amish’s magic is using the philosophical aspect to speak about his belief on certain topics which is either everyone’s interest or enough relevant with our contemporary times. Particularly in this book it mostly happens when legendary characters are talking among themselves such as Sita-Raavan, Raavan-Indrajit, Raavan-Kumbhakarna, Vishwamitra-Vashishtha or there’s some flashback being discussed which doesn’t have anything to do with the current timeline but it’s like a good break for the readers to read some philosophy and then get back to the War zone. Haha! Author uses references of surgical strike, corona pandemic, vaccinations and its distribution to the needy outsiders, elitism, nepotism, Sabrimala etc. which helps you relate better.


Now talking about the drawbacks- I would start with the length of the book which Amish is gradually increasing with each book. Raavan was of around 375+ pages whereas this one is 100 more pages. Frankly, War of Lanka could have very easily been summed up within 350 pages if author had thought of letting go of few sentences used for over-describing situations or scientific concepts or war strategies. There are few sections which are exhaustive and eventually become boring such as building of Setu, entry into Onguiaahra, setup of Army etc.


The main heroes of Ramayan are Ram and Sita, obviously, but unfortunately, you will be surprised to know that there’s very less of both- Ram and Sita in this book. It’s more about the 3 brothers of Ram, Kumbhakarna, Indrajit, Mareech etc. Even Hanuman doesn’t have a great role the way it’s in the Valmini Ramayan. This was quite shocking for me as I believed Amish would portray Ram similar to how he did it with Shiva in the Shiva Trilogy and make us feel about the Larger-than-life presence of him on the planet. But nothing sort of that happens. Also eliminating few great characters or reducing their role gives a sense of incompleteness such as Jamvant, Sugreev, Angad etc. When an author tweaks an epic story like Ramayan, and when he is as popular as Amish Tripathi, we expect the story to be at least 75% as exceptional as the original but it’s not the case here. Even Raavan’s character has been underplayed where unlike the Valmiki’s Ramayan, he is aware that he’ll die right from the 1st day and he’s being extra-sweet with everyone. It is just not relatable at all.


Overall, I will still rate Raavan as the best book in the Ram Chandra series but saying that, the way story has been left incomplete in this book post the war of Ramayan, there’s an excitement to know what will Amish bring in the next and the last book of this series. My gut feeling says that it is going to be the best book in this series and also, maybe, Amish’s best work till date. Let’s wait and watch. I give this book 4 stars out of 5 – not great but not average either.






0 CoMMenTs !!! - U CaN aLSo CoMMenT !!!:

Post a Comment