The Scion of Ikshvaku: Book Review by Asha Seth

Let’s write a book. Choose an epic mythological tale; one that is revered by every Indian, since generations. Prise out the main figures, perhaps, ones religiously worshipped. Stick to the original settings, how else will readers relate? Throw in some 21st century slangs and expletives. Add few not-so necessary war scenes. And of course, Google the synonyms for every damn word. Why? Well, because you know why. And lastly, let’s have some sorry-ass frivolously stupid damp-humoured dialogues. Voila! We have a book.

To be honest, I could write a ridiculously lengthy spoiler review but I’m going to save myself the trouble.

When Amish Tripathi began with the Shiva Trilogy, he wasn’t the first writer to write a book inspired by famous mythological figures. But he definitely had different things on his mind. Because twisting away the tales, creating whatever he created, he must have been fritty.  And yet, the first book in the Shiva trilogy was good; the rest two, please don’t even get me started. If that wasn’t unbearable, the first in the Ramchandra series is just paltry reworking of the epic Ramayana we’ve grown up listening to.

Enough beating around the bush now.

The Scion of Ikshvaku
Image Credit: Goodreads

Ram is the first-born son of King Dashrath and Queen Kaushalya, but he’s something akin a bad-omen because the day Ram is born is the only day in history of Ayodhya that Dashrath lost a battle. Bharat, Lakshman, and Shatrughan – Ram’s brothers have distinct roles to play. Ram is the ethical law-abiding brother, Lakshman is the bold angry young man. Bharat is the pragmatic and quite the ladies’ man, and Shatrughan is the bookworm.

Raavan, the demon king quite steals the show. Vashishtha, the gurukul teacher takes part in raising the young princes while sage Vishwamitra has a certain mission for Ram. It’s on this mission that Ram meets Sita, the Mithilan princess and wins her over as wife in a traditional swayamvar. Crux of the story follows Ramayan very closely.

You find characters that struggle for recognition and in the process end up looking like C-grade imbecile halfwits, a plot that begs for fundamental space, petty war scenarios which look thoroughly forced in, the story simply dragged to a cliff from where from the reader can jump off and finally end the tale. But Amish has different plans as he is worked up a sequel – Sita, the warrior. Bless my heart! Wasn’t the torture enough?

Amish might soon be the next Chetan Bhagat. With the promise of a classic Bollywood masala mix of action-romance-adventure in the rewritings of some of the legendary tales in Indian mythology, he sure is a tough competition for Bhagat.

Many devoted readers have cluttered the internet with raving reviews about the book. Did they get sick after reading the book, or perhaps, weak in the head? They obviously did, otherwise no one in their right mind would’ve rated it a 5 or even 4. Or are these reviews paid for? I’m left to wonder. In any case, it’s shameful to have replicated one of the legendary tales into something this abysmal.

I’d urge you to read ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ only if you are as piqued as I was to find out who Ikshvaku is. I ain’t tellin’ ya! That’s all folks!

If you happen to read ‘The Scion of Ikshvaku’ or have already read it, do share your thoughts below.

©The Musing Quill

46 thoughts on “The Scion of Ikshvaku: Book Review by Asha Seth

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  1. I would like to give a recommendation of a book called Inkredia Luwan of Brida written by Sarang Mahajan. You will surely love the book if fantasy interests you. Check out the site to know more: https://inkredia.com/

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  2. I don’t know why he changed the story of swayamwar of sita with the swayamwar of draupadi.
    I agree with the minor changes made in the story. But this is one of the major part of both them. And i personally feel he shouldn’t have done this at least.

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    1. Oh spoiler!! But doesn’t matter. Ain’t reading that. But that does sound grossly inappropriate. And alike you I didn’t like the mindless twists in the story.

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  3. “My own mind neighbour” as someone said. While I don’t have a problem with the commonly understood text being modified, built upon and used only as a base, as some of your readers seem to object to, I found the one book of his that I read, part of the Shiva trilogy, to be very ordinary. Mostly he seems to be a good marketing chap who has leveraged our deep desire to be important by summoning our mythological past and converting it into stories still set in the past but with some modern embellishments.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I so agree with this.. I read the first few pages of this book and never picked it up again.. I was very very disappointed… I am happy to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt like that..

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  5. 😂 I’d have loved to read that lengthy hate review you would have written for this book because it deserved it. Some writers just write any shit and try to piggyback on thier previous books’ fame. Amish is one such writer.

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  6. Just came across this. Was so tortured by Amish Novels that i had to vent somewhere! Spot on analysis. This guy Amish is no author – just a marketer who knows the pulse of mostly Indian teenagers looking for instant popcorn stuff – no taste, all junk – and burnt popcorns at that! Yikes!!. With “readers” who give 5 stars to such disasters it is easy to understand why authors like Anand Neelakantan do not get their due recognition. Sad sad sad state of affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You summed it rather better than I could. He was an ex-banker by profession. After his books, I have come to believe that one should stick by their natural talents of traits and save the world serious trouble; in this case – us, readers. Anand Neelkanthan, on the contrary, has the natural flair for mythological works. But alike most underrated skilled writers, he is lost in the dust left behind by the petty paltry ones.

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  7. So you weren’t a fan then! I can’t remember the last time you were this riled up about a book. It’s good to see though, especially when so many think a book is brilliant. I was the same with the fifth Harry Potter book, although calmed down before I wrote a review on it.

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    1. I tried to like it. I tried hard. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. And after about 60 pages, the book was lost on me. I was reading knowing I’m never going to be in it as a reader. It shames me to admit that. So, I guess, it doesn’t make me a fan. No.
      I even dropped a personal message to the author on Twitter DM so I could probe him and perhaps salvage a chance of reread. But I never heard back. I have a strong feeling he didn’t like my review.
      Ahh! And Harry Potter. I felt that way with the 4th book, but the ending sort of made it up to me. But I do know what you know, dear. Moby Dick and Three Men in a Boat were close to a similar experience for me. Sadly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Moby Dick was a challenge but the first half of Three Men in a Boat was hilarious! I am not surprised you didn’t hear back, although I thought al publicity was good publicity hehe.

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        1. So was War and Peace, but somehow I managed it. It was the Tolstoy charm I guess. As for the author of this book, I was tad surprised; he always writes back to his followers. His twitter is full with ‘bro’ and ‘dude’ responses.

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          1. War and Peace was just wonderful, except for the dated rants about politics. I thought people saying bro and dude was just a cliché for films, hardly the most professional but then it seems that the quality of the book reflected this,

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  8. Finally someone who doesnt go gaga over these books! 😀 I read the Shiva trilogy because I had heard so much about it. Like you said the first two were okay (although I do have reservations about those as well) the last one was quite pointless. I am glad I didnt the Ikshvaku series 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I only liked the first in the Shiva Trilogy. It’s a shame how Hindu dieties have been ridiculed. And he calls that inspiration. I will shout from a rooftop if I had to, to stop people from reading his books and being awed over insane frivolities. Thanks, Dahlia. We need more words like yours, to demask the sham.

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  9. I loved the beginning. I mean …seriously, too good.

    And the review… Oh, my god.. I can imagine how frustrated you’re after reading this book. Or should I rather say, disappointed?

    Nevertheless, a very helpful review. And quite the opposite of Immortals of Mehula.

    Keep reading & keep writing.

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    1. You’ve lost me. You loved beginning of the book or the review?
      As for the review, I really enjoyed writing it just as much as I disliked the book.
      My friend warned me against reading it, but I thought how bad could it be? Seems, very! 😋

      Liked by 1 person

  10. In the early page, there was an insinuation that Lord Rama is non-vegetarian. I was so disgusted that I left the book only to be picked months later and I really regretted it. Only in Hindu religion, you can mess with an epic and a revered scripture, and still get away with it earning name and fame.

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    1. Yes, I still vaguely remember the kind of stir the release of ‘Da Vinci Code’ created far down in Goa and other places. And it wasn’t even imitation, but merely inspired from the actual scriptures. And we all know what would happen if we begin about the Holy Quran; our religious brothers would tear down the city, let alone the fate the writer would befall. So yes, I guess Hindu’s do enjoy some liberty of sorts and get away with it without so much as a scratch.

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      1. Hindus definitely enjoy too much liberty and it’s a shame that nobody has spoken against Amish so far. Media calls him a literary genius! And there would be no wonder if we see market flooded with many more such books by writers inspired by Amish and his success.

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“I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions.” ― James A. Michener

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