Customer Review

Reviewed in India on 6 September 2017
Actual rating 4.5 (but I didn't want to give it 4 stars here!).

Why I was intrigued towards reading this was because of the title itself: Harappa. I have never read anything about this civilization, of course except the course books. So, when I got a chance to review this book I, I grabbed it instantly. And I was not disappointed at all.

The story starts when Vidyut Shashtri, the main protagonist of the story, is called upon to Varanasi where his great-grandfather, Dwarka Shashtri, is on deathbed. Vidyut is a successful entrepreneur and an eligible bachelor who lives with her girlfriend Damini who is a journalist. When Vidyut reaches Varanasi, his great-grandfather starts telling him the story of the curse that has been brought upon his entire generation and the humankind by his ancestor Vivasvan Shatri.

Parallel to this story is running another story, including Vivasvan Pujari as main Protagonist, in 1700 BCE during the great Harappa civilization or the Indus Valley civilization. Vivasvan Pujari is the chief priest of the city and he was soon to become the lead person of Harappa. This was not acceptable to Priyamvada, the wife of Vivasvan’s best friend and brother-in-law Pundit Chandradhar. She conspires against him with dark forces and ultimately turns every person in Harappa against him. This ultimately leads to the destruction of Harappa and put a curse on Vivasvan’s bloodline.

In present, the story goes to Rome where an assassin is planning to kill Vidyut and thus sends a person Romi to Varanasi to kill Vidyut. With the help of his friends, Vidyut managed to save himself. The story then reveals various secrets.

Character building and plot development
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I guess the plot is the main and strongest part of this story. The plot is constructed so well around different eras that you don’t feel that you suddenly jumped from one time period to another. All the events are well connected and fast paced. The author has maintained a very good level of thriller and suspense throughout the book. Vineet Bajpai has cleverly crafted the storyline. He doesn’t provide with too much secret at one point and just left the other parts simply boring. In fact, he has unfolded the secrets one by one leaving the readers to want more. There are so many twists and turns that you keep turning on the pages.

As this is the first book in the series, the details of the main antagonists were kept short. The main focus was kept on the storyline and the and the characters involved. All the characters are well developed. Each character has been presented according to their era. I haven't thought that the writer would present the environment of Dev-Raakshasa Matth in such a modern way. The author has also portrayed some of the female characters pretty bold. The description of all the food provided in Matth was so tempting!

Writing
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The author has used such a simple and easy language that anyone can understand easily. At the same time, it doesn't feel like a writing of an ordinary author. The storyline progresses flawlessly and smoothly, going from one era to another. The writing keeps the reader engaged. One main thing to highlight here is that author has used many Hindi language words (as expected by an Indian author in most of the case), but he has told the meaning of each word in English too. This, I guess, will not stop a non-Hindi reader from reading this masterpiece.

The writing of the author shows how much research has been done about Harappa and Varanasi. The description of Harappa felt as if it is coming straight from a famous history book and many times it made me believe as if all the things were real. The description of Kashi/Varanasi is equally beautiful. It is evident in the author's writing that he follows Hinduism devotionally. I loved how he has described his bold thoughts about religion.

"The succession of horrors and violence that Harappa was about to withstand had never been witnessed before by mankind, but hereon would be endured again and again. Each time man would shed the blood of innocents to quench the unquenchable thirst of one demon. Every era would hear the shrieks of suffering millions, only to satisfy the insatiable hunger of one tyrant who wanted it all for himself. And it was going to begin soon."

What I didn’t like
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The main thing that I didn’t like was the use of words like “yaa” in conversations between Vidyut and Damini and sometimes with Naina. The use of those words was not fitting with the story well. Also, I felt that the story was a little slow in the beginning.

Final Thoughts
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Mythological fiction is a recent trend in India and though I haven't read much of this genre, I know that it isn't always the case that an Indian author pulls such a great and engrossing story. Vineet Bajpai has perfectly mixed up the fantasy and contemporary, the past and the present. The story ends with a cliffhanger and many questions remained unanswered. It left me hooked till the last page and I really wish the second book comes soon and it is as good as this. Harappa was such a refreshing read. It would be no surprise if this gets adapted to a feature film :P If you are into this genre, then I would definitely recommend it to you.
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