Kalki has become my favourite mythical character these days and I love to read books on him mainly because unlike previous two Avatars of Vishnu – Ram and Krishna, there is not much seen or read about him. There is something new to read each time you pick up a book on Kalki. Naturally the book Dharmayoddha Kalki Avatar of Vishnu by Kevin Missal was on my TBR from a long time. Finally got a chance to read the book.
The last book I read on Kalki was Manthan by Utkarsh Pandey. It was a riveting read, but Kevin has crafted his Kalki on a completely different line. Kalki is a fairly unexplored character so for imagination and creativity, the sky is the limit.
The title of the book is Kalki but the focus was more on Kali, the adversary of the former. So the story is more about the rise of Kali which is something different tried by the author. Normally, I have seen the other way round. Atrocities of evil are at the zenith and the rise of the hero. But in this book, Kevin has shown how the evil rise to the power.
Now Kali and Kalki both were administered with the same elixir potion called Soma which gave them superhuman strength and power. The only difference is one became evil and other grow up to become a saviour. You can guess who becomes who.
Dull First Half
In the first half of the book, Kalki was in action. He had raw powers, but he remains out of action most of the time because our hero in making, each time, gets himself caught by the soldiers of Kali and his friends had to bail him out. So he remains in prison most of the time and Kali in action.
Racy Second Half
But the real action begins in the second half, which was adventurous and interesting to read. The narrative becomes fast paced and intriguing. There was a tinge of suspense and thrill due to a lot of political game play and murders. Also a new character was introduced in the second half, which actually infuses energy into the novel, which was seriously lacking in the first half.
If I write about the characters, then Kali was the best portrayed figure in the book. He was anything but evil in the beginning. He was portrayed as someone who was cunning and shrewd of course brave as well. His transformation into evil has been depicted gradually but skillfully by the author.
Kalki has been shown as a regular village boy who had tremendous strength, but he was no match for Kali mainly because he was not trained to fight warfare, he was not an organized planner nor clever. His actual rise is yet to take place when Kali will look him as a threat.
These days not a single mythical fantasy novel is released without the immortal or Chiranjeevi characters like Parashuram, Ashwathama, Hanuman, Vibhishan and in this book it is Kripacharya who has been shown as drunk guru who barely managed to guide Kalki and his friends in their initial fight against Adharm.
I really loved the characters of Durukti and Padma. There is so much intensity and inner turmoil in these characters like a huge firepot of boiling emotions steaming and howling inside them. They further infused life into the story.
For his story, Kevin has weaved a completely different world with different timeline anddifferent, but relatable names like Mahabharata war is named as Mahayudh, Ram is Raghav, Krishna is Lord Govind and similar other changes. The setup of the story is not modern time, but primitive setup, but this doesn’t deter the author from using words like lass, mate, darling, love etc.
Jacket of the Book
The cover of the book seems to be inspired from the book Sita Warrior of Mithila. Well, I find striking resemblance. Just a personal observation.
All in all it is a well thought book. After the sluggish and fairly predictable first half, the novel takes off beautifully in the second half. It was racy and daringly adventurous to read. There are some good fight scenes and a rescue scene in the latter half.
And of course book ends with a secret conversation so readers have no choice but to wait for the next book to release to know to will happen next.