Updated: 4 days ago
Indian mythology as a genre has grown over the past few years. What with Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Roshani Chokshi, and Falguni Kothari, Christopher C. Doyle is another addition to this burgeoning list of names. With the Pataala Prophecy being the first book in this series, he starts off strongly.
However, a not-so-distinct trait of this book is that it explores Indian mythology from the eyes of a 15 y/o teenager (strikingly similar to the Percy Jackson book series by Rick Riordan, even the Aru Shah series by Roshani Chokshi). The cover page is a bit weird as well, although the second book improves a lot in this aspect. Still, it's based in India, so I would recommend this book to all the Indian teenage Young Adult(YA) book lovers, who were waiting for someone to explore this setting...
Talking about the pros of this book. Firstly, while most books in this genre explore the great epics like the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and so forth, this is probably the first book which talks about the time before us mortals when the Devas and Asuras ruled the roost. I was particularly fascinated by the author's knowledge of the ancient texts as evident from the multiple Sanskrit mantras mentioned in the book. While most YA books sorely lack in the philosophical aspect and sometimes come out as childish and cringy, this book and its sequel have temporary flashes of brilliance, where the author perfectly balances fact and fantasy the reader is left completely engrossed.
Coming to the cons. The character development is really slow. The relationship between Arjun and Maya, the principal protagonists, is not explored properly. Even when the so-called 'Saptas' come together, a lot is left to the reader's imagination to figure out what exactly is taking place. While the author builds up a climax, he fails to do justice at the end, failing to explain elaborately. The ending is rushed and even the sequel ends on the same line. In my opinion, the chief concern of this series is that it tries to explain a lot of stuff at the same time - multiple storylines and a BiG PropHecy, failing to do justice to either. At such a point, the reader gets bored, and the curiosity to know what happened dies down.
All in all, I would give this book a 3.5/5.