Book Review: Kaurava (The Aryavarta Chronicles, #2) by Krishna Udayasankar
Kaurava is the second book in the trilogy, The Aryavarta Chronicles. It begins with Emperor Yudhisthir and Empress Draupadi, ruling over the unified kingdom of Aryavarta. The kingdom was put together for them by Govinda, with blessings from the Firewrights.
The Firewrights rise up from ashes of history, divided in their allegiance and purpose, and ready to wreak havoc on the kingdom. As sinister plots and treacherous allegiances form, the once noble land transforms into a nightmare. The Emperor gambles away the empire, while the empress is sent into exile as various factions within the realm congregate to conquer and destroy each other. Govinda knows that the only way to protect the Empress and the land is by playing a life-threatening game.
In her version of the Mahabharata, Krishna Udayshankar has rearranged the events and presented the in a more humane manner. Here Yudhisthir is not the saint coaxed into playing dice, instead he is the compulsive gambler who does not know where to draw the line. Every character is described in depth and they appear extremely balanced, their flaws and their strengths all put in front of the reader to assess.
The ruthlessness of Yudhishtir, the stubbornness and strength of Panchali, the few good traces of Duryudhan, along with the twists added by Asvattama, Shikandi and Dhrstyadymn make it a brilliant read. The Draupadi-Krishna relationship over the years has been analysed as platonic, brother-sister love. In the book Panchali and Govinda have an unrequited love which ends up being the first innocent victim in the race power.
Krishna Udayshankar has completely laid the great epic bare and open for the readers to judge history. And that is the USP of this book as well as this trilogy. Eagerly waiting for the final book of the series.
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars
P.S. This review was written as a part of the Flipkart Bloggers Affiliate Programme. Thanks Vivek for the books 🙂
About the author
Krishna Udayasankar is a graduate of the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore, and holds a PhD in Strategic Management from the Nanyang Business School, Singapore, where she presently works as a lecturer.
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