Amish Tripathi doesn’t want us to read his book “The Secret of the Nagas”. He wants us to see the movie “The Secret of the Nagas” based on the bestselling book of the same name. Well, that’s how I felt while reading the book.
The second instalment of the Shiva Trilogy disappoints, but not as much as the first book, The Immortals of Meluha. The author has thought up a very interesting plot, action packed with plenty (way too plenty) of characters. But where it fails is in the narration (again!).
Shiva is now comfortable being the Lord Neelkanth, the much awaited saviour of India. He appears to have accepted his destiny and embarks upon, well, saving his people from evil, which we discover, is not evil at all. It’s really a manifestation of good in another form. “Two sides of the same coin”, as the book proclaims till the end. Nobody is evil in this book. Not the feared Nagas, not the arch enemies Chandravanshis, nor the notorious terrorist Parshuram. All the evil (?) deeds they had done had logical explanations, and they all submitted meekly to the Neelkanth once Shiva shows up at their territories.
In spite of such a powerful plot, what makes the book mediocre is the characters. You are not sure what they want. Sure, they all follow Shiva on his search for evil, with a few love stories thrown in, and too much travelling. The mother-son drama between Ganesh and Sati was very Bollywood-ish, if you ask me. I can almost picture the grown (erstwhile evil) son crying at his white haired mother‘s feet, while temple bells ring in the distance and close-ups of goddesses come into view. What does Shiva really want in his heart? Did he accept the position of the Neelkanth because he truly believed he was The Awaited One, or because he wanted to gain the favour of Sati? You don’t find yourself rooting for him, no you don’t. The cursing has significantly reduced, but there we still see traces of crudeness in him.