Book review: Slayer of Kamsa by Ashok K. Banker

February 15, 2014

Pages: 325
Rating: 3/5

I bought this book because I got it for only Rs. 49 at the Kolkata Book Fair 2014. It didn’t have an attractive cover and the Hindu god Krishna wasn’t as interesting to me as Shiva but only Rs. 49 for a brand-new book from a reputed publisher like HarperCollins is too good a deal to pass up. Krishna is often depicted as a child so this might be why the cover is glossy and has childish illustrations.

The quality of the book is quite good – the paper is thick and the font-size perfect. Marking down this book from its MRP of Rs. 250 is a ploy to hook readers into reading the rest of the Krishna Coriolis series (there have been six books published so far).

For a novel that is based in ancient India it contains jarring bits of idiomatic English like “fat chance”. This is not restricted to narration but sometimes occurs in dialogue as well. For instance at point a demon says, “..THIS REWARD OF ETERNAL LIFE IS GIVEN UNTO ME AS MY JUST DESERTS FOR PAST SERVICES RENDERED”.

I read an interview where Banker says that he reads a book a day for pleasure. Separate from several hours of research reading. It seems that such a prodigious amount of reading has resulted in some unintentional stylistic influence on his own work. This is not at all a bad thing but a stiffer, consistently formal style would have fitted well with the theme of the novel and the era it is based in.

Apart from this small problem with stylistics I enjoyed reading this book. More so because I was unfamiliar with the story of Kamsa.

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