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Book Review: Sita: Warrior of Mithila by Amish Tripathi

Twisting the delicate fabric of an epic and then writing it down to suit the modern times is a tough task. But Amish Tripathi has always been brilliant in this genre. In his recent novel, Sita: Warrior of Mithila, he has yet again given a new life and meaning to a celebrated character of Ramayana. In the prequel of the book, Scion of Ikshvaku, Amish was not able to convince the audience that much. Has Sita done that job?

Since the beginning of time, Sita has been celebrated as an ideal wife, one who follows her husband, even gives a character test to the world by burning herself. We have been listening to stories about how she was kidnapped, how she kept faith in her husband. But Amish’s Sita is not the typical Sita we know.

She is the Princess of Mithila, and a warrior, and The Chosen Vishnu who will eradicate the world from all devilish elements, including Raavan. When I started with the book, it seemed like a regular story of Sita’s background, but when it reached the point where she was chosen to lead the Vayuputras and Malayaputras in a war towards Raavan, I sat up straight in my chair, awestruck and silently applauding the genius, Amish Tripathi, for bringing out such a different side of this celebrated woman.

In Sita: The Warrior of Mithila, you also get to read the background of the Ikshavaku series. How two powerful tribes, protectors of the divine land of India came together to find the one who would eradicate the land of all devils and diseases. How Guru Vishvamitra and Guru Vashishtha parted ways, and cannot see eye to eye. You get to meet a new Ram, a true Kshatriya but with a feminist point of view, who doesn’t mind if Sita is the Chosen Vishnu. Even when Sita shares the secret with him, he shows trust and shares that if required, he will follow her lead towards their ultimate goal in life. You get to meet Hanuman, who is a silent protecting shadow, and Jatayu, who is entitled to Ram and Sita’s protection during their exile in Dandak forest but has a dark past. There’s Bali, who is hurt during a Jallikattu program when Ram and Lakshman try to save him. You also get to meet Maya, the coolest Assasin I’ve come across ever since I started reading mytho-fiction!

For me, Sita: Warrior of Mithila started out as perfect read. But slowly and gradually as I was nearing the climax, I could feel my interest go down in the story. The magic of Amish’s writing was not completely there. Something somewhere was definitely missing, maybe because I was reading the same chapters which I have read before in Scion of Ikshvaku?
I understand that some of the chapters were important to be placed so that if somebody who hasn’t read Scion of Ikshvaku, could pick up Sita: Warrior of Mithila and enjoy it thoroughly. But what about people who have ardently read the first part and had to go through the same chapters again?

Also, the structural detail of ancient cities has always been there in Amish’s writing which is important for a reader to imagine the whole background setting where the scene is taking place. However, too much of structural detail may also make the reader lose interest in the story. And that’s what happened with me.

I would have loved to know this new Sita more, but somehow she got lost in the narration which was generally dominated by discussion on law, governance, and morality.

All in all, Sita: Warrior of Mithila is a good book that could have been great! It can definitely win a spot on your summer reading list. I had huge expectations out of it, especially after how the first part went. I won’t say that I absolutely detested it, but something could have been done.

Now I am really looking forward to Raavan: Orphan of Aryavarta since the first look and chapter of the book is thrilling, and I am silently praying that please let the third part be a 5* for me.

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