Before I attempt to write a review of this book – The Rise Of Sivagami [Bahubali : Before the Beginning], let me tell you something.I have not seen the Bahubali movie! Yes, I am one of the very rare ‘species’ on earth who hasn’t watched this famed movie and is still living around the Bahubali fans!
The first part of this movie has been aired on TV so many times[ or did my folks watch it on DVD?], but I still haven’t watched it. I can feel the Bahubali fans rolling their eyes in disbelief, but that is who I am!!
Now that I made this confession, I will head along to write about this book.
This book was sent to me by the publishers and I was more than eager to read it. I prefer books to movies , so that makes sense for my excitement. The weekend seemed to be the right time to finish off this book and I did!
This book is by Anand Neelakantan, who is also the author of the books- Asura- The tale of the vanquished, Ajaya- Roll of dice, Ajaya- Rise of Kali.
The director of the movies – S.S. Rajamouli, in the forward to this book, says that Anand Neelakantan was the chosen one to be the official story hunter who could travel into the forgotten annals of the Mahishmathi’s history and bring them back to light.So this book is a prequel to the movie.And it is also the first in the trilogy series.
First of all, the book has a huge character list! I had to take time to read the names and get to know their characterization before heading out to read the story. For those who watched the movie, I am sure they will very will know who is who and may feel free to skip the 6 pages of Dramatis personae.
Sivagami is the daughter of Devaraya, a nobleman in the Mahishmathi kingdom who is accused of treason and is executed when she is 5 years old. The little girl vows revenge and that is how the story comes into being.
She grows up with vengeance in her heart and is equipped with a book written in a strange language that she feels will prove her fathers innocence.
Revenge does not come easy for her. Each step has her falter and we begin to wonder how she could seek justice and prove her fathers innocence.
Each character in this book has carved a niche for itself. Be it Sivagami or the shy prince Mahadeva or the overly rude ,arrogant and pompous first prince Bijjaladeva, the faithful slave Kattapa who bears all the insults yet carries on serving his master silently and with utmost sincerity, the master minded and crafty eunuch Keki who is the assistant of the Devadasi Kalika ,who is also the one to find young girls for the trade. She has eyes on Sivagami too!She also has her ways to bring the prince to the meet Kalika. Well, these are just a few!!
The plight of Sivagami who is bold, beautiful, intelligent and is also equipped with warrior skills and the situations that she faces in each turn of the story really tugs the heart.
The love between her new found friend Kamakshi and Katappa’s younger brother Sivappa will make your heart dance and the ending…..-well, I cannot force myself to tell you what happens. But all along I found myself wishing they live happily ever after.
The little boy, Gundu Ramu, who befriends Sivagami at the orphanage, is all in admiration of Sivagami and ends up helping her in spite of being a little frightened at the prospect.
In between all this , there are rebels trying to over turn the King, Pirates , subjects of the kingdom being treated harshly, being robbed of their possessions and raping women and killing the men folk!
The plots are aplenty and your mind races with every turning page! The twists and turns keeps you glued to the book.
From the story point of view the emotions of each character has been portrayed so well that one is able to see the plots through their eyes!
As I neared the end of the book, I so not wanted it to end. The last few chapters have so many loose ends, thus paving way for the next in the series. And I so badly want to get hold of the second part of this trilogy.
The last few pages literally left me stunned and speechless. Yes, I did not see the end coming like this!!
I was so transfixed in Sivagami’s boldness , love,fights and struggles, revenge, scams, betrayal,greed, lust, anger,power ,and all of that , that it took a while to be transported back into the present world after I completed the book!
The author has done a great job! The characters are all brought before your eyes and you literally walk beside them in every page.
It is a fast paced book and I assure you that you will never feel bored or feel the need to skip a few pages.
The only thing that was little off for me was the ‘adult’ stuff in the story. They are quite lengthily and the rapes and other ‘adult’ stuffs are described explicitly.
My conclusion – If you are a Bahubali fan, go for it. Even other wise, pick up this book and enter into the Mahishmathi kingdom and roam around with the Princes and the common folks and live their world though the author’s eyes.