Book Review: The Secret of the Nagas by Amish Tripathi

For once I am glad that I started reading the first book in the Shiva Trilogy over a year late, for it meant I could pick up the second book immediately. After an inspiriting read about Shiva’s journey to Ayodhya in the first book, The Secret of the Nagas begins on a comparatively lower note. We have moved from Meluha to Swadeep now, which is the land of the Chandravanshis.

This books takes Shiva and the readers through a lot of river-cruises, battles, and a tad slow-paced episodes of meeting new characters.

The book picks up some pace in the placid city of Kashi, which welcomes all with an open heart including the otherwise dreaded Brangas. Shiva and Sati fall in such love with the serenity of the city that they decide to have their baby in Kashi, with this we see the coming of Kartik, a character that will hopefully be explored in book 3. From here, Shiva goes on a separate voyage in search of the Nagas, as Sati stays back to care for her new born baby. This short separation results in significant events and appearance of new splendid characters, resulting in some action-packed drama when Shiva returns. This is the point, where the book gets lively and sucks the reader in once again.

The author, however, gets pulled into different subplots every now and then, and fluctuates between seemingly insignificant details and insipid affairs. In this sense, I would rate the first book much higher than the second, as it appeared to be a game changer. Having said that, I do make a note that sequels are definitely hard to write. But the loosely connected incidents give readers a chance to pay more attention to the writing style and what is missing from it, something I personally did not pay much attention to while reading The Immortals of Meluha.

However, the story does move forward, we meet some grand Naga characters, uncover some deceits, go deeper into the philosophy of evil being embedded in the good, and the eventful journey of the ends in the Dandak forests, the land of the Nagas. The last paragraph of the book reveals the secret of the nagas, however, you may guess it somewhere in the first half of the book. Still, you would wish to read on.

On a not-so-important side note, I am disappointed by the cover of the second book. While the cover of the first had me completely captivated, the second pays immense importance to the embossed snake, while the nagas or Shiva seem to have nothing to do with them.

Despite some negative comments for the second book, I will maintain that the author knows his story and has a control over its flow. A good reason for me to wait for the third book – The Oath of the Vayuputras.

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