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October 10, 2021

My Rating - 4 out of 5 stars

Publisher - Rajmangal Prakashan
Genre - Fiction
Publishing year - 2021
Language - Hindi
ISBN - 978-9391428365
Pages - 142

Balidanam by Manu Saunkhala

Book Review - 

This is my second read by Manu Saunkhala. His first book, Reserved: One Won was about a love story where the caste became the main villain. In contrast, Balidanam is a mythological fiction that revolves around the enmity between two siblings for the throne. The change in the genre by the author worked for me well because I ended up enjoying reading this story. 

Plot - It is based on 4000 years ago in a dynasty named Prithayani, where Ashravan rules and is blessed with twins after a long wait. From birth, the twins, Rudra and Laxam, realized that they both were treated differently by their father. As a result, one is considered the next king, while another is treated as an outcast due to a disability. 

This creates a massive gap between the brothers and changes their attitude toward the world. Both were competitive and tried to prove themselves as the best warrior. The years they spent in hermitage and growing up in different groups also made them more aloof. But only one can be the king, and who that be? Their ambitions made them do good and bad things, leaving the king to make some hard choices. 

Characters - At first, I did sympathize with Rudra, but as the story progressed, I realized that he was not perfect. His anger gets the best out of him, and the way he handles the situation can be better. 

Laxam is portrayed flawlessly; the readers need to know his immoral and corrupt side, which the author described correctly. But I hope he grows as a person and realizes how wicked he is, and show some penance in the next part. 

Maitreyi was described as a strong warrior, but her fortune made me shiver while reading this book. She deserves so much better and a chance to prove herself and seek vengeance. 

Apart from these, many characters in the story keep the flow steady. I believe there are chances for the betterment and growth of all the characters, but I want these three personas to take a 360-degree turn in the future. 

Narration - The story is fast-paced and short. The author introduced the main villain Kalketu, ruler of Kakaran, in the second-last chapter. The fib contains vicious politics and Balidanam practice that creates internal conflicts in Prithayani, leading to one of the Prince's exile. 

Language - I must say that Manu Saunkhala worked on the suggestion that I gave him previously because this time, the words he used were way better than those he used in Reserved: One Won. While I do find a few errors, I think they can be avoidable. 

Conclusion - Overall, the novel is gripping and a page-turner. I'm looking forward to reading the second part of the series. 

Trigger Warning - The book contains violent and obscene scenes towards women, so don't give this book to someone below 18 years old. 

Recommend to - If you're looking for a quick Hindi fictitious read, this book is a good fit. 

Grab your copy from - Amazon IN Amazon US

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