Saturday, October 19, 2019

Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate by Bharat Krishnan– Book Review

Book: Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate
Author: Bharat Krishnan
Genre: Mythology, middle grade, children's
Number of pages: 72 pages
Publication date: 8 October 2019

Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate by Bharat Krishnan is a collection of 25 short stories on Hindu mythology, covering topics like karma, dharma, kama, and more. The book also includes several artworks that give some visual to the tales.

Growing up, Krishnan fell in love with Hindu mythology, but when he went to research, he discovered that there were no texts on the rich Hindu mythology, at least none that were "targeted towards kids my age then." Hence, Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate became a project that was born on 8 October 2019.

In the intro, Krishnan explains the reason he wrote Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate, saying: "I wrote this book because I wanted my loved ones to hear about Rama and Krishna and Saraswati as they also learned of Thor and Hercules, of Horus and Ra, of Noah and Moses."

After every tale, Krishnan highlights why he added that particular story. In some pieces, Krishnan makes comparisons with other mythology, Greek, Egyptian, along with Christian references.

An important point to remember about Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate is that "In Hindu mythology, time and again, we find that good and evil are meaningless words. It is the actions that go behind those words that matter."  I struggled with this a bit as I read, feeling that good should conquer evil but as you read, you will notice that some characters can be good or evil, depending on the story and situation.

The book opens with "The Egg Came First," the story of how the Hindu gods were created. As you move along the book, you'll notice more bits on creation. The Brahman, the supreme being of infinity, had 10 children, including Vishnu, the Preserver, who appears in many of the stories in various forms. From the Brahman's thighs, demons were created and later we see a witch as well.

Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate on my Kindle.

In Hindu mythology, and as Krishnan puts it, "balance is key…and what seems right in one instance may not be so in other cases."

I loved the story of "The Elephant God" as I have often been curious about Ganesha. I liked how several of the story titles had literary references, like "The Lady of the Lake," which is reminiscent of King Arthur's Camelot and "The Lion King."

The story titled "Ganesha's Hubris" is a five-star piece. I felt like it was a kind of fable and therefore highly recommend it.

"A princess once prayed to the sun that she would have a boy, but she did not consider the truism that sometimes not getting what you want is a marvelous stroke of luck…" This is how one story opens. It's a powerful tale that had me wondering who's side I was on and why I couldn't sympathize with the mother in this story, Kundi.

The longest story carries the name of the collection "Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate" and is a remarkable piece. however, it's considerably bloody and violent compared to the rest of the stories.

I liked "Fish Justice" which is reminiscent of Noah's Ark and introduces the concept of Dharma in the Hindu way of life. "Dharma serves as the basis for law, the notion that people have a duty towards one another to fill societal roles that transcend self-interest," Krishnan explains. I wish this would be something cultures can recognize because it would make life more peaceful.

In the story "The Lion King" one particular speech reminded me of Macbeth and the punned words of the three witches.

I would have liked an explanation of the "boons" that people in the stories ask the gods for because there were several instances where people requested them and the gods gave them readily. It seems to be a concept in Hindu mythology.

One of the things I liked about Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate was the use of Indian and Hindu words. They are often followed by the English meaning between brackets, but it gave an exciting feel to the stories.

Remember, it's better to read the stories in Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate in the order in which they were included in the book. You might be able to change the order after the first 5 or 6 stories, but as a reader, I recommend you maintain the order.

Unlike previous short story collections, I don't feel like I can rate each of these separately. That said, I found Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate by Bharat Krishnan to be an interesting introduction to and telling of Hindu mythology. Some stories were more exciting than others, some ideas were a bit confusing. But overall, I enjoyed the book and highly recommend it.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Connect with Bharat Krishnan via Twitter and Facebook.

Note: I received a free digital Advanced Reader's Copy (ARC) of Love, Pride, Virtue, Fate from its author Bharat Krishnan in exchange for an honest review. This did not in any way affect my review.

Note 2: This book review comes a little later than I had intended.

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