Actual rating: 2.5There were times when I believed this book to be five-star worthy, but these moments were too few and far in between. Now, having finished the 400-odd pages that comprise the first instalment of the highly acclaimed Shiva trilogy, I can’t even bring myself to round up the rating to three.Let’s start with the plus-points: I thought the story was brilliant. Amish Tripathi’s imagination is fantastic. The idea that Gods were originally humans, elevated to divine status by their karma, is awe-inspiring. The twists and turns are well-executed and keep you guessing. The way the author has so seamlessly combined history with mythology is astonishing. Really, I loved the story.However, awesome stories don’t always make awesome books.The biggest letdown was the writing. I felt the author tried too hard to flower up the language by using big, ostentatious words repeatedly, and the effort showed. It reminded me of an essay by a school kid, who’s just learnt a new word and is eager to use it at any opportunity he might get. Seriously, isn’t ‘kindness’ a much better substitute to ‘munificence’? And isn’t ‘arrogant’ a lot less conspicuous than ‘supercilious’?And because the writing was so contrived, it was impossible to connect to the story. It felt like a really long bedtime story that you simply read for the sake of reading and maybe, falling asleep.The characters were nothing new. And throughout the book, I was painfully aware of the fact that the characters were just characters: fictional, fake elements of the story. I couldn’t empathize with them. I couldn’t visualise them in flesh and blood.And the end isn’t exactly an end. You could call it a cliff-hanger, except it didn’t really make me want to run to the library and get the next book. At the most, it made me curious, but that feeling didn’t last too long.The Immortals Of Meluha is like a movie with a promising plot, that is unfortunately botched up due to sloppy editing and uninspiring performances. And yes, there’s a sequel. So I guess I just have to wait and watch.