Mythology is an essential part of every Indian. We grow up hearing the stories of Ramayana and Mahabharatha, asking questions only with a wish to hear another story. The excitement, the curiosity of the ending made us ask for more. Being amazed at Arjuna’s archery skills, the humongous appetite of Kumbhakarna, the strength of Hanuman and many more such characters awed us. It nurtured our imagination and eagerness to be like one of them. But seldom did we question the stories, their thought process or decisions. Here I talk about books you need to read if you are a mythological fiction buff.
Era of Mythological Fiction
Mythological fiction as a genre did exist in India from a long time. Even from the age of kings you can say, considering mythological fiction is the retelling of the same stories with different perspectives and learning. The bards in the kingdom did it then, improving as the stories moved down to different ages. Authors Amish tripati, Ashwin Sanghi, Anand Neelakantan are the one’s who actually pioneered the official arrival of this genre in India with their bestsellers.
‘The Shiva Triology‘ entertained people of all ages as they mused over the story of Shiva and Parvati, feeling them more in the human form than ever before. This series is a legend in itself, as we saw a huge burst of such genre entering the book market post this. There were some epic books that opened minds to newer perspectives but there were plenty that only disappointed. But the fire had been sparked and readers intrigued.
Books I recommend
I am one of them, as I read this genre more, the need to read some more only increased. Like an unquenchable thirst that refuses to leave you alone. Some books are very dear to me as they urged me to change perspectives and view things in a different way. Here today, I shall 5 of them that I recommend you should read.
This book will always be the first name I take, when there is a talk about mythological fiction. This has been the very reason that sparked an interest in me on mythology. Palace of Illusions narrates the story of Mahabharatha in the perspective of Draupadi. A fresh, refreshing take on things. You cannot put this book down once you start.
Every person has a story to tell, even the villain. Asura is the story of Ramyana in Ravana’s voice. Trust me when I say, you will in some moments feel whether he was right in what he did. Also wonder if he was better than Rama.
This book is like a wake up call. How you always end up only focusing on the hero and heroin, not giving a second thought about any other characters. Karna’s wife is just the opposite of that. The author brings light on ‘Urvi’, wife of Karna, a person nobody speaks much off. Kavita Kane, the author has books similar where she explores the mind of characters less spoken off in the epics. She implores you to think and take notice of them.
This book I got to read when I worked with the author on promotions. I was surprised to have enjoyed it. It was like a ready travelogue to visit all the places Krishna had lived in. It’s more a current mystery plot running alongside the ancient story of Krishna. It doesn’t give you a different perspective like the other books, but it gives you a travelogue to relive mythology and wonder whether it is actually history. 🙂
Devdutt Patnaik is everything mythology. The plethora of books he’s written talks about various aspects of mythology, retelling the epic stories, even the various versions of it. The Pregnant King was a different experience altogether as compared to his other books I have read. It questioned many things, mostly like a fight between what is considered right to what you desire. Read my review here.
There are a few more books I really like but I shall leave the book recommendations to this. I shall continue to read and share it with you. Would there be a penultimate mythological fiction book that would surpass this all? I wonder…