Asura is the story of Ravana, the not so great asura king. It starts right from his birth and goes beyond his death as the story is told from the point of view of two people. One is Ravana himself and other is Bhadra, a slave of Ravana.
Asura by Anand Neelakantan has nothing to do with the original epic Ramayana. Anand has just taken a few characters from the epic but otherwise weaved his own story which is difficult to say was a good one.
The first half of the book was like reading the boring chapters of Indian History from school text books. Anand seems to heavily borrowed from our Indian history. It was like reading about warring Rajput clans and they were defeated by Mughal invaders. In the case of this book, Asura were the ruling dynasty who were invaded by Devas under the leadership of Indra with protection of Vishnu.
After this Asura and Deva boring fights saga ends, begins the story of Ravana the king of Lanka. He is a hot head ruler who is arrogant and stubborn. He always takes wrong decision but is saved at the right time by his council members or by Bhadra and earns the glory which he does not deserves.
Sita is the daughter of Ravana and he consider Ram to be unworthy husband thats why force ably kidnap her and refuse to give her away out of fatherly feeling for her, led to ultimately destruction of his entire clan.
We all know Ravana as a very intelligent and knowledgeable Brahmin asur and great Shiv devotee but is blinded by anger, arrogance and lust which led to his downfall.
Anand quite well depicted negative side of his character and completely ignored Ravana’s knowledge and wisdom.
Verdict: I likes our old epic Ramayana better. Asura by Anand Neelakantan has nothing worth while to offer. It is not the Ravan which we know as kids seen on TV and read in books or heard from our elders.