Book Review of Antim by Dr Neetika Modi
Being divine does not make them perfect; even Gods have made mistakes.
What are your thoughts on Kalki, the avatar of Lord Vishnu, aka the saviour of the world, whose identity is nevertheless a secret?
I have read quite a few mythological books, several of them based on Kalki, and yet I have to say this for my latest read, Antim: The Last Avatar by Dr. Neetika Modi. I was speechless, and how! Meticulously researched and brilliantly interweaved, this scintillating piece of mythological writing by Dr Neetika Modi is surely a labour of love and has been written after a lot of research, debilitation and fact-checking. Also, along the way, in the process, Neetika has managed to assimilate and bring forth some of the most powerful characters of the mythological diaspora.
In the main plot, Shukra unleashes a diabolically devilish plan to destroy mankind, seeking revenge for an ancient insult at the hands of Lord Vishnu and wreaking havoc upon the whole world. As the entire human race along with the world stays in a lurch, tipping away towards the brutality of dark forces and deadly viruses, crimes for one are increasing, and how! The Eight Immortals, namely Mahabali, Ashwathama, Vibhishan, Ved Vyas, Hanuman, Kripacharya, Markandeya or Parashuram, are nevertheless trying to correct the wrongdoing and are waiting for their saviour to appear and save humanity from such a predicament. They will go to any lengths to do so, even if that might mean creating a god themselves.
And that is what transpires. Kalki Avatar, which happens to be mankind’s last hope to survive in this world, is where the story takes us next. The birth of the avatar and how Kalki has to reveal his superpowers while at the same time trying to take on his nemesis whilst also fighting the battles that are encumbered within his walls Whether he is successful or is humanity poised to spiral downwards to their final fate, you’ve got to read the book to discover the rest of the Vedic lore, which has been retold brilliantly by Neetika here.
I must commence by stating how she has beautifully layered the tale by providing suitable back-hand information and character detail to each one of them while narrating this epic saga. Be it anyone—the Nanda twins—Rudr and Tarini, the 8 immortals—Pragnya, Vishnuyasa, Raj, Sumati—any character in this epic ensemble saga, each has been picturized and depicted so brilliantly that one can only fathom the amount of relentless effort and time Neetika must have out to discover and outline the facts revolving around these to be able to portray them perfectly in this narrative. Even Kapi, as we know him, the Perpetrator of Evil, truly came across as what he truly was—evil. A dark soul indeed, this protegee of Shukr was visibly one of the negative forces in the tale, and Neetika has managed to bring in that villainous vibe of his presence between the pages.
Coming back to Kalki’s avatar, the only force that can save the world from tilting towards the wrath of the dark forces of the Kali-yuga, well, his identity, which is kept a secret till the time is deemed feasible, well, the story, despite being complex, proceeds at a breakneck speed, and I could feel Kalki’s enigmatic presence too, throughout, deciphering the positive transformation and flamboyance the character was poised to bring about to the entire tale. What stumped me was how Neetika manages to interweave so many variable idiosyncrasies, such as time travel, super-tech stuff, mythical weapons and mythology, zombies (they are the walking dead, actually!) and even Vedic folklore so seamlessly. It reflects that the narrative is truly a labour of love with the kind of meticulous detailing and research that have been presented in this one.
Yes, you name it and this epic saga delivers it all. Be it time travel, folklore, or a rich mythological backdrop, Antim surely rendered me surprised and super speechless with the array of multi-faceted splendour it managed to play with its plot.
You must be wondering what I meant at the start when I mentioned that even Gods have made mistakes. It is just that we as humans have always felt that God, being the supreme force, is too perfect and pristine enough to commit a mistake. This narrative challenges those old-school misconceptions while showing us how even Gods who existed in our universe at the start of the Kaliyug era were prone to committing errors and have perfected along the way. A great musing to ponder and a wonderful perspective to put in a narrative, I’d say.
All in all, the epic fantasy read of the year, Antim: The Last Avatar by Dr. Neetika Modi, is one book you have to put on your TBR today!
So, a great recommendation for you all before I sign off with my last book review of 2023, peeps. Have a superb New Year 2024 and stay tuned with us right here at Booxoul for the best in the fields of education, travel, food, finance, fun, fashion, entertainment, tech and all things bookish.
Adios Amigos and a happy new year 2024 in advance, my lovelies!