The biggest issue for me with Immortals was the lack of antagonistic context. Or as K would say- Villain kidhar hai, boss? Holy wars for the triumph of good over evil are just dandy, but some of us would like to know who we’re fighting and why they suck so much before we’re on the battlefield. It’s just common courtesy, really. To be fair, this will be covered in Part Dos of the Trilogy so perhaps I nitpick. For me at least, this stuck out like a sore thumb.
The characters are a tough sell. Shiva is a likable fellow- if you leave behind all your preconceptions about how The Supreme Being should act in a given social situation. At the very least, this Shiva makes an effort to take said preconceptions and hit them over the head with a shovel repeatedly. Like I said, fun guy. His character arc leaves a bit to be desired. His affection for Brihaspati- while understandable- is abrupt and surprisingly out of place. Especially when it’s put in direct contrast with his rather muted relationship with Bhadra- supposedly a childhood friend and constant companion. Does not compute.
Sati is understated, but well used. Daksha holds his own as an oblivious but well meaning ruler- he achieves just the right balance of naïve and irritating. Parvateshwar gets a lot of screen time- almost as much as Shiva, so can’t complain there. Oddly enough, my favorite character was the one who had roughly four lines of dialogue and showed up in the last thirty pages of the book- Princess Anandmayi. She was hilarious and I would have paid to see her interact more with Sati and Shiva.
There are other aspects of Shiva’s character that just sort of come and go. His family life is unknown and has been left that way. In fact, his introduction itself gives the impression of permanence- as if he has always just sort of been there. Which is a fair enough illusion to maintain, actually. My main problem is with The Incident of His Past hinted at so ominously across the book. While traumatizing, I find it a very far stretch to imply that it spurred his guilt complex so much and scarred him for the rest of his life. For God’s sake, he was barely eight. Again, does not compute. He also abandoned his decision to have a peaceful dialogue with the enemy rather quickly. Surprising, since this was his stand from the very beginning. It should take more than that to turn a man towards war.
There are minor dialogues which seem to have been airlifted off of Hollywood to give this book a more international feel. The Pandit’s call for anyone who opposes the yagna to ‘speak now or forever hold his peace’ reminded me of a Catholic Wedding. Why would anyone oppose a yagna for whatever reason? It’s a tribute to the gods- that's always a good thing. Sati’s quote of ‘come back victorious or don’t come back at all’ also brings images of Sparta(aaa!!!) to mind. It does not really correlate with the normally mild mannered Meluhans either. Although, come back with your shield or on it is just that damn classy. I’d use it too.
The crusher for this book is probably the typos. Immortals of Meluha- at least the Kindle edition- is rife with errors and typos of the worst kind. You know it’s bad when they can’t spell ‘his’ right. Utterly inexcusable.
All in all, a good attempt by a first time author. At best, a fantasy novel and at worst, a severely overworked plot. I place it somewhere in the middle. I’d recommend it for a light read- as long as they fix the @#$%^%& typos.