Book review – Asura : Tale of the vanquished by Anand Neelakantan

Disclaimer : If you’re an adherent Vishnu follower or Brahmin or not a Dravidian or  narrow minded or not up for twisted plots then kindly please ignore reading this book or the review because you might not like this book very much.


The good deeds of the victor would be exaggerated and the bad deeds obliterated from memory. And if the doings of the victors could not be justified by prevailing moral codes of society, he would be elevated to godhood, for who could question a god ? In this way, my country produced many Gods. Every person who had won by whatever means, had become a god or avatar. For vanquished, it would always be the other way round.

The book that’s up for review today is “Asura : tale of the vanquished” by Anand Neelakantan. It is an interpretation of Ramayana, from a different perspective i.e., the Ravana’s side of the story and so the author likes to call it “The Ravanayana” pretty interesting right ? We often forget that the victors get to write down the history and the voices of the defeated vanishes away in thin air. This book is one of the very rarest books which tells the story of vanquished as suffixed on the title. Anand Neelakantan exhibits certain strong points through this book, which cannot be denied by anyone who is in their right sense. In simple words this is an absolute eye opener to the readers who had been listening and reading only one side of the story for so many uncountable years. And isn’t it unfair to judge the characters and take sides by only seeing one side of the coin ?


So to talk about the book, firstly the title, the blurb, the cover and everything hauled a great amount of attention towards it. Many of the books which creates hype, most of the time fails miserably to match the expectation and definitely this doesn’t fall in that category. Surprisingly it did justice to the initial expectation it planted on the hearts of the readers, in fact it even surpassed it. The book has two perspectives one from Ravana’s and the other is Badra, a commoner in asura empire who happens to be a great believer and follower of Ravana. Since it is in the perspective view of the Asura side, it doesn’t mean that the author has glorified the characteristics of Ravana drastically or written something that he is not. The author has pinpointed all the flaws in Ravana’s side. For the first 200 pages he was brutally truthful about Ravana’s mindset, character and inner voice, if you’re looking for a heroic Ravana and a perfect man you want to see in a hero then you’re unluckily up for a disappointment. After 200 pages, Anand Neelakantan has beautifully flourished the character of Ravana, how he had grown matured over the years of experience. The parts after the introduction of grown-up Sita into the life of Ravana was written down magnificently, this is when the story gets heated up and transforms into an ultimate page turner. The book also points out the flaws in the Deva clan, the shortcomings and deceitful tricks followed by Rama and his followers which had been justified for so many years quoting Rama is a God and whatever shortcuts he followed is for the ultimate well-being of the people. The few of the things done by Rama which seemed unjustifiable was, him not following the rules of the war properly and constantly doubting Sita about her character, purity and chastity by forcing her to do Agnipariksha (an ancient way of testing woman for chastity by going into pyre) repeatedly. We already knew Ravana was a villain but at least he stands by his ethics and rules. Rama on the other hand who is the hero, and is a man of good heart but with many shortcomings which is unacceptable for a god or hero. Aren’t gods and heroes are meant to the perfectest being in the universe ? This is when the readers who aren’t biased, gets a doubt so who is the hero and who is villain ? This flicker of doubt burns like a forest fire inside every reader’s heart and mind.

All the characters in this epic had their own super role to be played which helped the story to take its course in the right path. This book unwrapped many things which were hidden under the rock for so many years. Few new major things said in this book which we have heard once in a while like a grapevine but had never seen in movies or series or never read anywhere authentically are, that Sita is the daughter of Ravana. Asura clan was the creator of the Indus Valley civilization and ruled the entire of India until Aryan invasion. It was a well civilized society where everyone was equal and women were treated respectfully and was empowered. There was no such thing called as discrimination or caste based separation. These were commendable trait for a race that has been vilified for so long. Asura’s culture was cosmopolitan culture and their way of living was way better than that of the Deva’s which denies people their basic rights and was an exact opposite to the Asura’s. They are also law abiding people who goes only by rules. Ravana like depicted in the myths wasn’t a man with ten faces, he was as humanly as any of us, the ten-face thing was written  metaphorically. He was a man with ten inevitable emotions which are essential for a human, those emotions are INTELLECT, ANGER, PRIDE, JEALOUSY, HAPPINESS, SADNESS, FEAR, SELFISHNESS, PASSION and AMBITION. And finally Ravana was a Tamil King and the period under his kingship was considered the happiest of all time. 


On the whole it was a wonderful book the writing was great. The way of writing was very contemporary, one could easily able correlate with current scenario of day to day life. And this book is going to stay in my favorites list like forever. I  personally love Ravana even before starting the book for no particular reasons and this book gave me every possible reasons to love him and that’s why I love this book. After finishing the book first I had a mixed feeling and then the vivid picture unfolded and now here I am as a strong fan and follower of Ravana. 

So if you love mythology or Villain or looking of another side of an existing story, then what are you waiting for ? Go grab this book and tell me how you feel about it. 

I’m giving this book  🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

The link to get this book is :

Happy reading folks!!!!



  • Meenu Annadurai

    Meenu Annadurai is the founder & editor of The Nerdy Bookarazzi. Meenu is a Customer Specialist by day and a writer by night. She published her debut novel 'A Place called Home' with Half-Baked Beans which is now available on Amazon. She is insanely addicted to her bookshelf and super possessive about them. She is in a serious relationship with her current Book Boyfriend. [email protected] Annadurai Meenu