I, Rama: Age of Seers (Book – 1)
(Paperback – 264 pages)
by Ravi Venu
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)