I have always been vocal about how much I admire Amish’s writing. From the Shiva trilogy to Ram: Scion of Ikshvaku, the first in the Ram Chandra series, I’ve loved everything he’s written. His spin on Hinduism’s favorite Gods without losing the essence was what held my attention in the first place, even though I am not too religious. I believe in God, but this belief has been more of a confidence of there being just the One.
With 2 years separating the first book and the second in the Ram Chandra series, it was quite a long wait for Amish’s admirers. Sita: Warrior of Mithila released on 29 May 2017 and was immediately lapped up by a large chunk of Indian readers looking to see what kind of magic Amish had spun this time. I was obviously among these people, but like the previous book, this one sat on my shelf for months before I picked it up.
Amish has his own writing style – in the sense that when you read his stories, you aren’t reminded of anyone else. Writing in a form that humanizes Gods, he has made them more relatable. But I wonder what went wrong with Sita: Warrior of Mithila. Unlike his earlier novels, this one, I didn’t quite connect with. I was easily distracted. I was irked by a lot of things in the narrative, diminishing the effect of the story on my mind. Not to say the story isn’t woven well, but my expectations from Amish and his usage of language has always been the sky. And anything lesser than that feels like a disappointment.
The biggest problem I had with the book was how Amish leveled down the narrative to the point where I felt like I was reading a badly written parody of his book. In many places, the writing seemed like it was written by someone who specialized in churning out poorly written romances. Too many exclamations and repeated phrases like “that’s water under the bridge” made me cringe and shake my head in disappointment.
On the plus side, Amish sticks to the characterizations as he has built them from the first book. Sita’s story is well-built, giving way to a pride to see a woman warrior being praised and raised up to a platform that’s no less than being a role model. However, unlike the first book in this series that gave me goosebumps, this did nothing of the sort for me.
I had made clear my concerns in my review of Ram: Scion of Ikshvaku that Amish was hanging on to his literary rockstar status by a thread. But they were mere thoughts that I cast away easily. Sita: Warrior of Mithila, however, made me look seriously at where Amish is heading, narrative-wise. Is his hold slipping? Or is this just a mere lull that happens in every author’s career? I sincerely hope it is the second, because if it isn’t, I’d be bracing for even more disappointment than the book accorded me.
Though I don’t hate Sita: Warrior of Mithila, I don’t love it either. I’m merely disappointed in the book, one from which I had a lot of expectations.
Rating: 3/5 stars
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