Not as much about Sivagami as it was about other several characters.
Although it was exciting to read about the corruption and dirty politics in Mahishmathi, it was tough to wrap my head around all of the parallel stories in the plot. The first 16 or 17 chapters just feel like an introduction to a ton of different plot lines, characters and parallel stories that would one day converge into the main event, in a very Game of Thrones-esq manner. I read the first few chapters at least a couple of times to even grasp what was happening and where is the origin of the story’s plot. For any novel that I read, this is super taxing unless the big reveal is really that… REALLY BIG. Which it wasn’t (not completely) in this case. It ended with a cliff-hanger, which is not as thrilling as #WKKB.
An origin story, it took a total of 18 sittings for me to finish this book. I usually read through a book with a maximum of 3 sittings (meaning, I pick up where I left off at most 3 times). With a ton of names of people, places, and objects completely unfamiliar to me, it was a draining task to finish reading this novel and wrap my head around the plot. But, with a flair for rich description, Anand Neelakantan paints Bahubali in (appropriately) suffocating hot tones, that goes best with describing the diminishing morality and increasing dirty politics in the kingdom.
There were lots of characters, but the book felt short in the sense that I could not spend a lot of time reading (or being with) some main characters like Sivagami and Vikramadeva/Bijjaladeva. Kattappa had a lot of pages dedicated to him because he wove through 3 or 4 different parallel plot lines bringing them together, but this novel didn’t feel like it was about Sivagami as much as it was about Kattappa.
Read if you’re all up for being dragged into the world of Mahishmathi, and its dirty tricks and mind games. I prefer the two movies much more, to be honest. Maybe because it has Prabhas and Rana in it. ;)
– Mosh. x
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