BOOK- Guardians of the Blue Lotus: Aryavir

AUTHOR- Anita Shirodkar

RATING- 4/5

With an arrestingly powerful plotline, a storehouse of interesting characters, and just the right amount of complexity to add the necessary amount of oomph to the story, Guardians of the Blue Lotus: Aryavir has set the bar dangerously high for books in the Indian mythological fiction genre. Set in ancient fictitious India, the Old World is dominated by the ever-envied and blessed kingdom of Kamalkund, and Aryavir is next in line for the throne. But the royal family is faced with a daunting situation brought about by the ghosts of the past, where relationships, promises, and fate are left hanging by a delicate thread. A red-haired giant of the Jabali clan is out on a mission: to extract revenge from the King. The neighbouring Kingdoms, related by blood, but harbouring the feelings of enmity, are growing restless in their quest to attack Kamalkund. The younger members of the families are struggling against the pressures of their often inconsiderate and sometimes harmful parents. Meanwhile, Aryavir must deal with a dark cloud hanging over his head which has the power to alter his entire existence.

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The mark of a great writer is the ability to let the readers live the story, entirely forgetting that this world is unreal and the characters just a figment of the imagination. While reading Aryavir, it is likely you will finish the book in not more than two sittings, because it is almost discomforting to not know what is going to happen next. Anita Shirodhkar is no doubt a good writer, but what makes her extraordinary is that she can take on any genre and create works that are no less than magic. Aryavir is as much a story of heroism, war and power, as it is of love, faith, and human emotions.

Having said that, the book is not an easy, light read. It demands careful attention, otherwise, it is possible to miss out on details that might seem minor at the time, but are in fact very important. The characters are many and varied, and the chapters alternate between the lives of these characters, which can be a little overwhelming at the beginning. But Anita has the power to explain the most intricate of plot twists and scenes in a language that is simple in its lack of pretentious complexity, which together with her well-charted family tree, map and structured chapters, easily make up for the somewhat heavy content.

As parting words, I’d say, if you read nothing else this month, read Aryavir, because you’re sure to be hooked right from the start, and will turn to the last page craving for more.

By Apoorva Bhat.