Bending the stories from mythology and creating something new is a very tricky business. And I have always loved a book which bends the characters or plots in such a way that keeps me hooked till the very end. Warjuna by Krishnaraj is one such latest entrant in this list, and I must say I am deeply impressed with the writer’s skill to pick up the best from Mahabharata, Krishna, and Arjuna and set them up in a very different background setting altogether.
Wararjuna is the first book in the coming series of mythological fiction which is set in The Age of Atulya. The world has recently started to recover from the age of Pralaya and inhabitants are trying to settle in a new world. But the Gods have a different plan. Enter Hayacrees, a ruthless army of dark powers that have been recently spotted marching towards Bharata. As one by one kingdoms start to fall in their way of darkness, there seems to be no hope for people until a Prince from the kingdom of Wagharr, Arjuna appears out of nowhere to be their savior.
The story opens with Arjuna traveling across a desert along with his kingdom’s survivors, who have recently fallen in the way of Hayacrees. Safety of a handful of woman and children is given to Arjuna by his father. But during their journey, he encounters magical powers and divinely inspired people who leave him physically hurt and spell bounded.
When Arjuna opens his eyes next he is being tended by a Vaidya who keeps a deaf ear on his claims that he was with his kingdom’s survivors. He doesn’t realize that he is a part of a divine plan, plan of Krishna who has other plans for him on his mind.
With Kanha, the King of Dwarka for support, Arjuna tries to reach out to help as much as he can. But things aren’t as easy as they seem. Many times he loses in faith in Kanha, and other times he is fighting a war he wasn’t supposed to be a part of. Burdened with guilt and grief, he begins his journey back home to Wagharr and his kin but is shocked to see what he witnesses there. Hayacrees are not the only one running for a new World Order, the enemy is bigger than anything Warjuna can imagine. A supernatural alliance of Mahayogis and Suparnas will need to travel beyond the realm of man to discover the architect behind the Hayacree invasion.
Now as I mentioned in the beginning of this review, twisting mythology and its characters is a pretty tedious task and I have seen it go wrong many times. But Krishnaraj is superbly talented in this case! Not only he managed to twist the characters, but he also puts them in a new setting where they are fighting a new war together. The soul of each character is the same, with Arjuna being the Great Warrior he was and Krishna being as secretive and mysterious as he can be.
I found the storyline of Warjuna pretty interesting, and it kept me hooked most of the time. The storyline is well written and the narrative is smooth. Though there were some unnecessary incidents included in the book, especially in the beginning of but those can be ignored since they don’t hamper the story in any way. There are ample of characters in the book, different Kings from different kingdoms, but it doesn’t leave the reader confused. But I am not sure if everybody would be able to keep up with the character count that Warjuna has.
Overall, Warjuna is a solid opening to the upcoming series. The idea is fresh and interesting, and the book keeps the reader engaged. All in all, it’s a pretty good read if you are looking for something different in mythological fiction.