You have to agree with me that it was Amish Tripathi’s Shiva Trilogy that triggered reader’s interest in the Indian mythology fantasy fiction and all of a sudden market was flooded with books in this genre. Authors began to explore various mythical characters and churned out one bestseller after another much to the delight of the readers.
In the past also fiction based on mythology were written. Devdutt Pattanik’s interpretation of various Indian mythical gods were extremely popular among the readers and widely read. But it was the Greek and Roman mythology, which interested people more than the Indian mythology.
The reason could be simple. Greek and Roman mythology was presented in the more adventurous manner and full of action. Just look at the Percy Jackson series written by Rick Riordan. Indian readers are crazy about it. But Amish Tripathi brought about a revolution and his Shiva Trilogy opened the eyes of the Indian readers that our mythology stories are equally intriguing.
In Shiva Trilogy series, the author Amish doesn’t follow the known and usual storyline of God Shiv. The one we have seen in numerous TV serials. Instead, he develops his own story, tracing the journey of the Lord Shiva from a common man to being elevated and revered as a God. He also deftly included all the distinguished features of Lord Shiva with his own rational explanation.
Initially there were no takers for Amish’s debut novel. Every publishing house rejected his version of Lord Shiv citing that people of India doesn’t like playing around the image their beloved Gods. He went on to self published the novel and distributed sample copy of the first chapter. Surprisingly, people read the sample chapter and start returning to bookstore demanding the whole book.
Westland was quick to take action and took the publishing rights of the book. I am sure the other publishing house must be cursing their stars for rejecting a potential blockbuster novel and were not aware of reader’s changing mindset.
All the three novels in the series: The Immortals of Meluha, The Secrets of Naga and The Oath Of Vayuputras are action packed and adventurous. The fresh storyline and awesome interpretation of Lord Shiva blew away the minds of readers.
While the first two books in the series were fantastic. The third one was rather not up to the expectation. Nevertheless, it is a must read series.
This book is my personal favourite and I recommend it anywhere and everywhere, whenever an opportunity arises. Please don’t get me wrong. I have no tie up with the author. It is such a fantastic book that you will feel like recommending it to everyone.
The three sisters of Sita : Mandavi, Urmila and Shrutikirti merely find mention in the epic Ramayana. In fact, they don’t even have any minor role to play. My grandfather had many interpretation and discourse on the Ramayana. And I used to frantically search his collection just to read something more about these three sisters of Sita.
And when I heard about Kavita Kane’s Sita’s Sister, I felt my long awaited wish was finally fulfilled. The author in her book Sita's Sister brings out the heart warming and heart wrenching stories of these four sisters with Urmila as a focus. Urmila’s character was both strong and vulnerable that you can’t help but fell in love with her.
The love and unity between the four sisters was similar to that of the four brothers and how all four of them kept the family united in the most testing period. It was so captivating to read.
It was so refreshing and explosive to read the love story of Lakshman and Urmila for a change. As we all know Ram and Sita were the protagonists of the original epic. If you are a lover of this genre, then this is not to miss book.
Next highly recommended book which comes to my mind is Manthan by Utkarsh Pandey. It is about Kalki, the tenth avatar of Vishnu.
In the book, Kalki had been depicted as an ordinary boy who had to work hard in order to become a saviour. His character reminds me of Harry Potter. Kalki’s parents were killed. An evil superpower was behind his life.
The author had kept the Kalki’s character grounded. He gets angry, makes mistakes and was vulnerable yet he was learning and growing wise and strong each passing day with experience.
The various mythical characters, both minor and major, gods and demi-gods have been effortlessly used in the storyline making it interesting and engrossing to read. The story is full of dangers and adventure. And the best thing is that the storyline is highly unpredictable. Curiosity will make you turn page after page. You just can’t guess what is about to happen.
Manthan is the first installment in the Kalki Chronicles series. The next book is expected by the end of the year 2018.
Menaka is always looked upon as an apsara and a seductress. But there is more in her than credited. She is a wife, a mother, a lover and above all a woman and an individual. Kavita Kane has written a terrific book and it will forever change your perspective about Menaka.
You will also thoroughly enjoy this mythical fantasy novel for the author’s stupendous way of writing. She has raised her own writing standards. There is a thin line difference between sensuous and sexuality and the author have maintained it miraculously. A must read.
In lieu to present our mythology in a different way Anand Neelakantan has completely turned the original story upside down. He became famous for writing mythical fantasy book from the antagonist's point of view. He has done that to the epic Mahabharata, in his Ajaya series.
There are total two books in the series. They are Roll of The Dice and Rise of Kali.
Now the first book Roll Of The Dice is a fantastic read. The author has shown Duryodhana who was renamed as Suyodhana as a saviour of downtrodden, a champion of lower caste people, generous and innocent person. And mind you the author does it convincingly. While the Pandavas were the antagonist. And the author has completely manipulated the character of Krishna as an opportunistic and
The second book Rise of Kali is an average reads. It is more about how Suyodhana has transformed into Duryodhana. I didn’t find it so interesting but first one is mind boggling. Now liking a book or not is a matter of personal choice. Shouldn't be taken on heart.
If you are in a mood to read the re-telling of Mahabharata then I have three mind blowing recommendation for you.
The first one is Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni’s The Palace of Illusion. It is a wonderful and enchanting re-telling of the Mahabharata from Draupadi’s
point of view.
She has been portrayed as a fiercely independent and ambitious woman. Draupadi is a fairly complex character and the author has managed to bring out her side of the story in the most elegant and eloquent style.
But the author does not follow the exact original storyline and takes liberty in adding her imagination wherever possible to suit the storyline of the book. For example, Draupadi of Chitra always felt like an unwanted child as his father desired the son who could take the revenge for his insult from the hands of Drona. Then she was secretly in love with someone etc.
Originally written in Marathi
language, this one book, Mrityunjaya by Shivaji Sawant, has completely changed the hatred air around the character of Karna into one of sympathy and respect. It is such a powerful novel that you will read a few pages and then have to stop in order to reflect and introspect. The book is thought provoking for its revolutionary take on society norms and rituals.
Unlike the original storyline where Duryodhana was the champion of Karna, Shivaji Sawant has lend a forceful voice to the protagonist and through him the author vehemently criticizes the caste system and importance of status over merit. You just can’t die without reading this classic regional literature. It has now been translated into English, Hindi and Gujarati. So whichever language you are comfortable with. But do read this book without fail.
Bhima the second Pandava is the strongest among the five brothers but often dismissed as glutton with only muscles and no brain. He is actually a lonely character who find his solace in food. The author M.T.Vasudevan Nair has done a commendable job in giving voice to Bhima’s grievances, his helplessness and unfairness towards him.
Randamoozham is a classic masterpiece written in Malayalam language. It has been recently translated into English language as Bhima The Lone Warrior by Gita Krisnankutty. Many a times it happens that the real essence and core of the original book are lost during translation. But not in case of Randamoozham. The translation is of top notch. You will enjoy the translated versio Buy Heren just like the original one.
Heartwarming books on Ramayana always touches me to the core, but Liberation of Sita by Volga blew me away. It touched my soul. Self-realization journey of Sita as visualized by the author Volga taught me many life altering lessons.
Liberation of Sita is yet another classic novel, originally written in Telugu language, you just can’t afford to miss. It is an engrossing and enlightening read where four minor characters Surpanakha, Renuka, Urmila and Ahalya propels Sita on the path of self realization. Sita gathers courage to break free from the external authority and take charge of her own life.
The book is set from the time period Sita was abandoned by Rama till he again ask her to come back in his life.
No reading list on Indian Mythical fantasy is complete without the mention Devdutt Pattanaik’s books. He has written so many books on Indian god and goddess, on the epic Ramayana and Mahabharata, special interpretation for children that we can safely say he has earned a PhD degree in Indian Mythology.
Many wonderful books are written by Devdutt Pattanaik like myth mithya but here I want to include my personal favourite which is Sita An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana. Title of the book might suggest that it is a retelling of the epic from Sita’s perspective. But that is not the case. The entire book is the collection of many interesting stories with three chapters, especially, dedicated to Sita.
There are three chapters, one in the beginning and last two chapters of the book which is about Sita. She has been depicted as a single mother who in spite of all the difficulties brings up two extraordinary boys, all by herself.
These were the top ten Indian Mythical fantasy books. All are a must read if you enjoy reading this genre. Do let me know in the comment section which one are your favourite so that I can include them in the list as well. If you like this list of best Indian Mythical fantasy books, then do share it on Facebook and Twitter and spread some book love.