in short.... the book was doomed to fall short for the sheer late release.
So now that I have had the privilege of finishing the pre-ordered author signed copy... here's the good and the bad of it.
The story is fast paced, and jumps quite often coz it covers a large time-span. While it moves ahead at a relatively smooth pace, it does leave the reader gasping at times. I found myself going back a paragraph or two so I could fully grasp whatever was happening.
Raavan as a character, starts off good. In fact halfway through the book, I even thought, I might fall for the bad guy. But soon after that the narrative kind of loses the focus, and the character arc just doesn't move. So yes... he's a bad guy. And yes, he does some really weird stuff... But I already knew that even BEFORE I picked up the book...what I was "hoping" in the book was to understand the "why" of it all... and that is where my disappointment lies... the why of it all, is so flimsy... so under developed is that even when you feel sad about him, you don't sympathise with him. which I think is a BIG failure.
The narrative in this book is particularly different from Amish's earlier works. So much so, that at a point I was wondering if I was reading him or reading Devdutt Pattnaik. And some parts of the book it got so unlike Amish that I wondered if he employed Ghost Writers on this book. Which isn't anything unheard of...especially when an Author is going through personal loss like Amish had to.
What it also lacks is Amish's touch or notorious habit of adding current events into his narrative. There is a small presence of it in his observation of Temples and them being governed by the Royalties instead of temple trusts...but that is it. Usually in his stories, he weaves current affairs without fail. Lack of which also supports my theory of ghost writers.... but again... its a theory.
Overall, the book leaves me unsatisfied. The narrative, the characters and story had great potential...but sadly falls short on delivering it to the fullest.
It also came as a surprise to me that this isn't a trilogy, instead a series. While the story has the elements that needs to told/unfolded.... I'm afraid that a narrative this vast can easily spiral into an unending and uninspiring offshoots. Like at one point there a 'literal' mention that animosity between Vishwamitra and Vashishth is a story for another book...And frankly, it makes me apprehensive about the whole, more than 4 books in the series.
as a whole, i wouldn't stop you from reading Raavan. But I wouldn't be recommending the series with as much pleasure, as I did Shiva Trilogy either.