Book Review: Abhaya


This is my first attempt at a proper, written book review, and hence I shall do it my way. Gear up, folks.

In a brilliantly written book, Saiswaroopa Iyer takes you back to ancient India, to the timeline of the Mahabharata when Lord Krishna was the fulcrum of morality. The story is about Princess Abhaya, daughter to Lord Dharmaasena of the small kingdom of Anagha, allies with Dwarka (Ruled by Krishna Vaasudeva) and Indraprastha (Ruled by the Pandavas). Abhaya, as her name tells you, is fearless in voicing her own opinions and standing up for what’s right. Anagha falls out with their neighbouring Kingdom Avanthi and suffers a devastating attack by Avanthi. Lord Dharmaasena passes away defending his kingdom and Abhaya takes her people to Indraprastha on the advice of Krishna. She realises that the Shakta practitioners had a role in leaking out crucial information of Anagha to the soldiers of Avanthi, and the trend tends to repeat with young maidens being abducted. She decides to decode the plot, and in begins a tale of conflict, bravery, love, sacrifice and righteous victory.

I’ll make this clear, this is EXACTLY the type of book I love. Brilliantly written, engrossing, captivating and more importantly, educating. Saiswaroopa Iyer uses the tools of history to paint – in my opinion – a very accurate caricature of modern Indian society. I will not make analogies, I’ll let you do that. Saiswaroopa moves between protagonists’ tales amiably and that is a mark of a very good writer, and I have learnt a thing or two. But probably the most beautiful thing I like about the book is it’s relativity to the readers. With lines like,

“The poets, the bards, the rishis, all of them have the heart of a woman. Rather, those who cannot see the feminine side of the universe never get to become a Kavi or a Rishi.”

you cannot go much wrong. All in all, I give it a solid 8.5/10, with my only tinge of wistfulness being that it could have been more detailed, as it is a magnificent storyline concept. But the best thing that excites me? The book ends with a rather open ending – and I am sitting with my fingers crossed for a sequel.

And oh, Shyeni and Vikrama = OTP!

You can get your copies at:


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