Book review | Upon A Burning Throne (Part 1) by Ashok K. Banker

Author: Ashok K. Banker

Genre: Fantasy fiction

No. of pages: 352

Published on: 14th May 2019

Published by: Simon & Schuster India

Format: Paperback

My rating: ★★★★☆

In a world where demigods and demons walk among mortals, the emperor of the vast burnt Empire has died, leaving a turbulent realm without a leader. Two young princes, Adri and Shvate, are in line to rule but birthright does not guarantee inheritance: Any successor must sit upon the legendary burning Throne and pass the test of fire. Imbued with dark sorceries, the throne is a crucible that incinerates the unworthy.

Adri and Shvate are not the sole heirs to the empire, there is another with a claim to power, another who also survives. When this girl, whose father is the powerful demonlord Jarsun, is denied her claim by the interim leaders, Jarsun declares war, vowing to tear the burnt empire apart – leaving the young princes Adri and Shvate to rule a shattered realm embroiled in rebellion and chaos.

This has been one epic read. It's epic. I might quite not be able to explain the plot because saying anything about it might be a telltale giveaway. It has multiple character arcs and story arcs that converge into one big picture. Though few of the arcs haven't met their completion yet, these might face major development in the second book of the series. 

The book is heavily inspired by the Mahabharata. Some main characters are even slightly deviated counterparts of Mahabharata's characters. So you'll expect a lot of similarities. The characters are something that stands out in this book. You have the evil demonlord who has a rightful claim on the throne and wants it back; you have the brotherly princes who stick close to one another and who are trying to keep the throne from going into the wrong hands; you have the revered widowed Queen Mother of the kingdom and the grandmother of the princes who has her own secret past; and you have the undisputably strong demigod and the princes' uncle who guides them.

Upon A Burning Throne is a stupendous mix of fantasy, gore and action, with a twisted story and complex characters. You will love to hate some and hate to love others. The book is a legend in its own way. I especially loved the fight scenes. It was straight out of some period drama movie. This book had two major war scenes, both have their own standing, in no way similar or bland, yet just as epic in their own way. Also, it's commendable how the author has captured the dirty politics of war, the massacre in war and war strategies. It was equally scary and fascinating. The book enthralled me, making me want more of it. It was a helluva wild ride and I am definitely looking forward to the next book's release. 

This was my second Ashok K. Banker book and I am just as amazed as I was after reading the first book. The author's ability to sketch of complex characters and their detailed personality quirks is something that I admire a lot. Even his dialogue writing blows my head. He has portrayed authoritative dialogues or dialogues depicting submission in the best way possible. You can literally feel the emotions behind each dialogue. 

The book is one epic masterpiece and it's highly recommended to readers who love fantasy in period dramas and a lot of action. 

Ashok K. Banker is the author of more than sixty books, including the internationally acclaimed Ramayana series. His works have all been best‑sellers in India and have sold around the world. He lives in Los Angeles and Mumbai.

I received a copy of the book from the publishers in exchange of an honest and unbiased review. 


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