Updated: Oct 17
Sons of Darkness
Author : Gourav Mohanty
Genre: Grimdark Fantasy (based on Indian Mythology)
Published by Leadstart Corporation
MRP: Rs: 599/-
The average millennials in our country these days are all about Game of Thrones this and Lord of the Rings that. Not very interested in our own EPICS. In a recent survey I conducted between friends and family, I figured that almost none of the people from the “Gen-Z” (some even from the Gen-Y) are only aware of our legends in the most borderline manner. None of the intricate details of the epics were known to them. Sure , they’ll answer if you asked them about the Pandavas or the Kauravas, but that’s about it. So maybe as a starting point, tell them about these stories in a way that will grab their interest. This book can help do that. The pentalogy planned is based on the Mahabharata, the events of this book covering events like Draupadi’s swayambar and the Battle of Mathura among others. Do keep in mind that this book is in no way or form a replacement of the original texts, as the author has taken the creative liberty to change some things (and not minor things, let me tell you.).
Also with the book, the author brings the first Grimdark fantasy from India. Grimdark is a subgenre of speculative fiction with a tone, style, or setting that is particularly dystopian, amoral, and violent. Imagine the Mahabharata set in the universe of A Song of Ice and Fire. Yes, the book is THAT grotesque. Even if one is not from India and not familiar with the Epics at all, the book is still enjoyable. All the houses and alliances and characters are listed at the front of the book for reference later to avoid any confusion. The illustrations cover design by Michaela Alcaino and Jennifer Bruce are stunning. The most fun to read thing is hands down the magic system which is slowly unveiled throughout the book. We just get small doses and glimpses of it in book 1 and will hopefully get more in the next books.
The characters are spectacularly written. Especially the female characters like Satyabhama and Mati. Even the male characters like Karna, who has been picturised many a times, the author manages to provide a fresh perspective on the character. Some people might have difficulty about reading about characters who they consider as Gods in grotesque details such as Krishna, but I insist(as does the author) keeping your reservations aside for once and reading it as is. While for most people , The Pandavas are the main focus of the Mahabharata, they appear only briefly in this first book. As the Mahabharata is very vast, the author leaves no stone unturned write about different fragments of it. The book is multi-narrative, with no single protagonist which is a breath of fresh air in the fantasy genre at least for me. No prophesized one or chosen one or any such thing.
One thing which was kind of off putting for me was the language. Banter and the use of abusive words is fine, but it gets a little excessive at times. Else the book is really well written and edited. Did not feel like I was reading a debut author’s work at all.
Honestly speaking, I had picked the book up after reading several good reviews from a bunch of people I follow and the book lived up to my expectations and beyond. That rarely happens. I am known to be a nit-picker while reading. I hardly had anything to nit pick here.
Buy the book from here: https://amzn.to/3ChZQxZ (affiliate link)