- Grade Level: 2 - 3
- Series: Sita's Fire Trilogy (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Mandala Publishing; Ill edition (August 9, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781608878710
- ISBN-13: 978-1608878710
- ASIN: 1608878716
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 41 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Shadows of the Sun Dynasty: An Illustrated Series Based on the Ramayana (Sita's Fire Trilogy) Hardcover – August 9, 2016
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About the Author
VRINDA SHETH was born in Sweden and was raised on stories from ancient India. She began writing while studying classical dance in Kalakshetra, South India. Vrinda has a BA in English from the University of Florida and lives in Florida with her husband and daughter.
ANNA JOHANSSON is a self-taught watercolor artist from Sweden. Her artwork is inspired by the mystical yoga tradition of ancient India. She lives in Florida with her husband. When she is not creating art, she enjoys spending time with her granddaughter.
This mother-daughter team have worked together on the Sita’s Fire trilogy for over a decade. Their first book won an Independent Publisher Book Award, received an honorable mention at the New York Book Show, and was a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards. Anna and Vrinda have nurtured their relationship and their respective crafts through their joint artistic ventures.
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The other part of this book that must be mentioned are the illustrations. It is rare to find a non-children's book with illustrations as such, but they are extraordinary. Detailed and mystical, I feel that they greatly enhanced the reading experience and helped me understand a culture that I am unfamiliar with. Well done!
The story - as told by Vrinda Sheth - begins with Manthara, a young woman turned bitter and whose soul grows as twisted as her deformed spine. She becomes the foster mother to King Ashvapati's only daughter, and is determined to make the fiercely beautiful princess the most powerful royal in the world. Her strongest lesson to her charge: love is the ruin of all. Our princess Keyi, however, is not immune to love. Despite her warrior-like skills and stubborn free spirit, she is taken as King Dasharatha's third wife. He and all his wives are barren, and after years of battles with monstrous blood-drinkers - Dasharatha is finally desperate for an heir. His desire for one is not selfish - he needs a son to carry the line of the Sun Dynasty, the line of men that are destined to defeat Ravana, the ten-headed demon king and creator of the blood-drinkers, who rapes and steals women. So begins the ritual to bring fertility to his family, from which four sons are born. One among them, Rana, is quickly fated to be the chosen heir. Mayhem, jealousy, great love and immense grief follow from there.
This is no picnic book, to be sure - this will take you a good chunk of time in a recliner to read. I can assure you, however, that it is well worth the effort. A stunning work.
The basic story is that of the prince Rama who was cheated of his throne and sent to exile. Here he battles a demon who has kidnapped his wife Sita. The pure descriptions of this battle and the beautiful story of good and evil, kings and queens and a feminist hero. Makes this a good read. Not only is this a great story but the book is illustrated beautifully. My favorite pictures being the ones of the animals ( a peacock, the horses, the swans).
One of my favorite characters is Manthara. She is a troublemaker. And she gets into unique situations. She has a well developed background and a lively attitude. I enjoyed the complexity of family relationships and the struggle and internal betrayal of the story. Although the book was a little on the long side, I would recommend this novel to anyone who liked myths and ancient tales of good versus evil.
But not only was the artwork beautiful, the words were so thoughtful and had so much depth. I literally read this book from front to cover in two days and know that this will be a go to for me. Vrinda Sheth has a true art in telling a story that has so many dimensions and gives life to the role women have played in the story of Ramayana. When I finished this book, I was compelled to learn more about the story of Ramayana and saw that Vrinda Sheth was able to develop the female characters - it is interesting to see her take on the queen and princess and their motives behind their actions. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants to have a great read or anyone who has the passion to step outside of their norm and learn more!