Book Review: The Mahabharata Code - Yet Another Retelling of the Mahabharata, or is it?


Title: The Mahabharata Code: Yet Another Retelling of the Mahabharata, or is it?
Author: Karthik K B Rao
Genre: Fiction, Mythological, Fantasy
Pages: 234
Publisher: Notion Press

Rating: 3.5/5


Wow! I have just finished this book and, honestly, I have mixed feelings. The Mahabharata Code by Karthik K B Rao is a retelling of the Indian epic Mahabharata, in a very unusual way, to say the least!

Narayan Rao (NR), who works with NASA, is assigned a project, along with some others,  to travel to a mysterious planet that has sent an invite in the form of a code - Atithi Devo Bhava (meaning, Guest is like God). Since, the message is in Sanskrit, the team familiar with Indian mythologies is sent. NR, his wife Srishti and his team reach the planet, Prithvilok, and are in for a surprise. They meet the saint Vyasa who needs the team's help to restage the Mahabharata here. They agree but as the epic is carried out, NR realizes that his own son, Krishna, is a pawn in Vyasa's plan. He wants to quit and return to earth but it is too late. Krishna is growing up thinking he is a true form of Vishnu himself but how will NR convince him otherwise, especially when his son has been brainwashed by Vyasa himself? Will Vyasa actually recreate the entire epic, including the war? And what will happen when Krishna faces the fact that he is a normal human?

Ok. Technicalities first. The story toggles from one narration to the other, from different character's perspective. But I found it to be rather confusing, especially in the beginning. I couldn't really figure out where the story was going. The writing is very casual but connects to the reader well. The different characters from the Mahabharata epic are nicely described, very relatable. The main protagonist ,NR, is in a confused state right from the start. He keeps questioning his actions/decisions/thoughts. Overall, a well written book, except for the narrative, as pointed out earlier.

Now, I will give you my thoughts about what I liked about the book. The idea. I like the idea that, in the near future, we would hope to find another planet and travel all the way there, very probable. I also enjoyed the idea of putting a modern twist to the epic. Techniques and gadgets far advanced than what we use today, highly likely that's what it was like in reality back then. But that's about it. Apart from these points, I don't think I ever got to like anything more in the book. I'll tell you why.

The main problem for me, is the details in the story. I understand and applaud the author's imagination but I really wish it was done more tastefully. Right from the beginning, I was confused as to what was happening. The story is like a modern take on the epic. Don't get me wrong here, I love these changes and wish that it really did happen this way! But it wasn't convincing enough. There are bio metrics on weapons which would operate only with the fingerprints of a particular person/s, transmitters to communicate with anyone, anywhere, Shiva is a scientist and Brahma had a laboratory where he experiments on lab made babies, and Prithvilok's galaxy is named Coffeeway!

The story sounds really cool, especially since we have grown up to the epics, but I feel that someone who isn't familiar with these wouldn't comprehend at all. The book is predominantly for the Indian readers. 

Like I said, I love the ideas but sadly, not convincing enough due to its casual nature in which it was written, perhaps. Nevertheless, I did not feel like putting the book down at any point simply because I just had to know what happens towards the end. 

Overall, I think The Mahabharata Code is a decent read but I honestly think the ideas have potential and should be explored further. 


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 *** This book was sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. ***


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