Book Review

Book Review: I, Rama Age of Seers

I Rama   
    I, Rama: Age of Seers (Book – 1)
 
    (Paperback – 264 pages)
 
    by Ravi Venu
 
    INR 225.00
 
    Published by: Cratus Media
  

Let me start off this review by saying that I have listened, read, acted, narrated and dreamt the story of Rama just a few million times during my lifetime of 48 years. Yeah. I love the story. We have a festival around April called “Rama Navami” that celebrates the birth of Rama. We love it. My son is crazy about Hindu mythology and revels in sketching various scenes from the epic. He has at least fifty copies of the Ramayana by different publishers on his book shelf. Enough said.

So – when I saw BlogAdda’s alert about the book being up for review, I got a little excited. And so was Vidur. The book synopsis sounded very interesting and I couldn’t wait to receive the book. I received it – and there was a death in the family. Oh, no connection whatsoever (been wanting to use that word!) – all I am saying is I couldn’t get around to reading it right away. Special thanks here to Harish of BlogAdda for being very patient and understanding about this delay.

I finally started reading the book – God knows I had been carrying it around everywhere hoping to catch a few pages whenever I could. I had to go back and re-read some parts to understand the succeeding parts. Call me dull. While I was quite ecstatic about the idea of Rama telling his own story, I was a wee bit disappointed about the way he went about it. Anyway – he didn’t narrate the entire thing – there were others to tell the story, too.

The Ramayana is a well known epic. I am not going to do a synopsis of the book here. I’ Rama It is the story of Rama, with lots of embellishments and multiple mini stories, that I had no idea existed, woven into the classic version.

(You can read a beautiful translation of the text from the Ramayana in verse form, if you are interested here: The Ramayan of Valmiki – positively poetic)

What I liked:

The author’s idea of Rama narrating the story. That’s unique. This is only the second time I’ve heard of this. About eight years ago, my now 14-year old son suggested this – he’s very interested in mythology and I have lost count of the number of times he has written this story in his own words and illustrated it from the time he could read and write.

I liked the Glossary at the end of the book.

My congratulations to Ravi Venu for getting his book out there.

It was interesting to read more about King Dasaratha’s life. I didn’t know that much, especially about his being unable to bear progeny (gosh, how pompous that sounds). I found the part where they decide to tell only Queen Kausalya, who promises not to tell anyone, even the “future wives”. I had a major “eh?” moment there.

It was also interesting to read Kaikeyi’s portrayal. Yes! Woman power.

What bugged me:

Book cover (Don’t judge me. For a story such as this, loved through the generations, and a staple in almost every Hindu household, the cover could have been appealing)

The one thing that gets on my nerves about printed books these days is, why, oh why, are they not proofread?

WHY is Ikshvaku mentioned as Ishvaku throughout the book?

The flow of the narrative was a little confusing (to me). Normally, I MUST finish any book I start reading. But I found it somewhat difficult to continue reading the book. How else could I review it honestly? I found myself feeling drowsy in places and felt a little guilty about it. There are too many stories within stories. For a first-time Ramayana reader, I don’t know what they would gauge from this book, seriously.

I wish the book had been laid out nicer. Reminded me of a text file with no formatting and yards of text. Guaranteed tranquilizer.

Sigh. Not one of the best books I’ve read.

This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com. Participate now to get free books! Thank you, BlogAdda, for sending me a copy of the book for review.


You can Buy I, Rama: Age of Seers (Book – 1) from Flipkart.com for INR 169.00 (affiliate link)

Thank you for subscribing to my blog! Do consider leaving a comment – or just reply to this email! I’d love to know what you think.

Cheers!

Vidya

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13 Comments

  • Reply
    thoughtstomull.com
    July 31, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Nicely written review, Vidya! Think I’ll pass on this book…

  • Reply
    vanita
    August 1, 2012 at 3:15 am

    sis i love this review. you tell it like it is and i love that. I also love that blogadda gives you the freedom to be honest with your review. i once received a book about “how to make it as a blogger” from a supposedly well known blogger. blah i couldn’t finish it so i sent the publisher my take on the book #1 it being misleading as all of it was the blogger bragging about celebrities she met.

    I can honestly say i have not read the ramayan. i’ve read parts of the bhagavad gita and most of the shiv purana. oops, wait. i think i read the ramayan as a child in comic book form. hmm. gotta think about that a bit.

    vanessa read a book the other day that she planned on reviewing, when she was done she said she couldn’t find a way to shed a good light on the book. i said either tell it like it is or don’t publish a review. being a teen she didn’t want to insult anyone so she decided not to write the review.

    i think it’s possible that vidur’s version is so good no other will be able to compete! i absolutely loved his lord krishna part one post and am anxiously awaiting part 2.

    ok im sure i’ve compromised your comment section enough. big hugs sis! going to go check out blogadda

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      August 1, 2012 at 4:53 am

      Yes, Vanita, I too appreciate that BlogAdda lets us present our honest opinions – after all, that is the whole point of a review.

      Honest reviews are the best ones.

      By the way – if you are really keen on reading the Krishna story – it is all here: http://indianmythologytales.blogspot.in/2009/02/krishna-leela-part-1.html – This is also Vidur’s blog – which he wrote in 2009. I just realized it is a 16-part post! :D:D Enjoy. There are lots of other mythological stories there as well.

      And sis, I am always happy to have you here. Hugs!

  • Reply
    Betsy at Zen Mama
    August 1, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Too bad! I hate when something I think will be great turns out to be not so much. I’ve read so many good books lately that I do tend to set aside one that isn’t too great. It’s still interesting to hear about this story that is one that is told around everyone’s table at home in India.
    Thanks!!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      August 1, 2012 at 4:48 am

      Betsy, The Ramayana is a wonderful story and my personal favorite is Hanuman’s role in it.I just love that part. In fact, Vidur would never tire of hearing the story – we have a comic which is almost all clear tape, 🙂 as it was coming apart. I was just a little sad this book didn’t turn out to be what it promised. 🙂 Hugs! Thanks for dropping by!

  • Reply
    Aileen
    August 1, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Until this moment Vidya, I haven’t thought about the Ramayana in years! So great to have Rama in mind once again. It must have been 20 years ago that I played the part of young Rama in a series of theatrical plays. It was incredible experience. (It was the only time I played the role of boy/man).
    Seems this book may have missed the ability to capture the art of story telling. Good thing many stores are written – so that better ones can be shared. It’s hard to introduce someone to a book that won’t capture the reader.

  • Reply
    Aileen
    August 1, 2012 at 6:09 am

    Until this moment Vidya, I haven’t thought about the Ramayana in years! So great to have Rama in mind once again. It must have been 20 years ago that I played the part of young Rama in a series of theatrical plays. It was incredible experience. (It was the only time I played the role of boy/man).
    Seems this book may have missed the ability to capture the art of story telling. Good thing many stores are written – so that better ones can be shared. It’s hard to introduce someone to a book that won’t capture the reader.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      August 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

      Wow, Aileen. You must have made a wonderful “Rama”. Sigh, unlike you, I always played the male role.

      Fortunately, we literally grow up with the “Ramayana” so no real harm done. Still, I appreciate that the author took a new angle to this. 😀

      Love ya!

  • Reply
    Bill Dorman
    August 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Well, alrighty then; I won’t read it….

    I guess no relations to Ramen noodles, huh?

    At least you made the effort and gave it the benefit of the doubt.

    Way back in the day in high school, Greek mythology was one of my better classes.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      August 6, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      😀 No relation to Ramen noodles.

      My son loves Greek Mythology.

      Well, I was sad the book didn’t live up to the excitement, Bill.

      Always good to see you!

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    August 2, 2012 at 1:05 am

    –Vidya,
    I always enjoy your book reviews & your raw honesty.

    I am so very set in my ways and read a certain genre…

    I have never read Greek Mythology. I’m a very bad girl….very set in her boring ways.

    Have you read “God of Small Things” OR “A Thousand Splendid Suns?”

    Love Love Love Youuu. Xx

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      August 6, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you Kim. I know your reading taste just rocks 😀 I’ve got both the books you mentioned on my reading list and when I post reviews on them, they will be dedicated to you! Hugs!

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