OK. So, what do you get when you mix Dragon Ball, the Kang-ow world, and Musashi together? Throw in a bit of ancient history into the cocktail, and voila! You get Pandaya Sriwijaya: Dendam dan Prahara di Bhumi Sriwijaya. (Such a long title, eh?)
Title: Pandaya Sriwijaya: Dendam dan Prahara di Bhumi Sriwijaya
Author: Yudhi Herwibowo
Publisher: PT Bentang Pustaka
Year: September, 2009
Price: Rp 53.000,- (Gramedia)
Why in the world did I buy this book? Because I needed reference for writing about local ancient history, and didn't really trust other publishers so I went for a more familiar publisher. (Bentang, I believe, has published Dee's Perahu Kertas and Hirata's Laskar Pelangi series, if I'm not mistaken) It wasn't much of a mistake, I suppose, the book turned out to be passable for a story, but it wasn't as intriguing as I expected to be, and the writing style wasn't so distinct.
The way the author writes reminds me of those classic Kang-ow series. (You know, the kung-fu Chinese, I-Thian-To-Liong, etc. Btw, are those books still available in bookstores? I believe my copies have been diminished by termites.) Herwibowo gets very detailed in explaining each characters history and why they end up where they currently are, but IMHO he fails to explore the characterization of the roles. For example, Agiriya aka Sangda Alin who could've been a tragic awesome heroine, ends up being... rather useless and, well, she doesn't give much impact to the story in the end. Also, Tunggasamudra, who is supposedly the main character of the whole story, seems to be a sidekick when compared to Panglima Samudra Jara Sinya--whom we don't really get to know that well at all.
But I suppose, the magnet of the stpry lies within the intricities of the occurences within the kedatuan and its surroundings. (Thus, the excrutiatingly long tag line upon the title: Dendam dan Prahara di Bhumi Sriwijaya.) These happenings are strongly strung together, in an intense way that keeps the reader glued to the story, wanting to know the outcome of the various wars and battles. Though the answer comes rather prematurely, it still is quite inviting for a good read. I myself finished the book within four hours, without interruptions. Pretty good.
It's interesting how the author recreates the entire environment and background setting of the story, noting that it is set more than a thousand years ago. The settings are very well-detailed, and believable, so that the readers can imagine how exactly each scene happens.
Overall score: 3/5
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