[Book Review] Ponniyin Selvan

As I mentioned in my earlier book review post where I reviewed Stephen Hawking’s A brief History of Time, I started reading Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki and got completely engross in it. It is the main reason you didn’t see any blog post from me in the last few weeks, even though I took a resolution to write at least one blog post a week.


Ponniyin_SelvanPonniyin Selvan is a Tamil historical fiction novel written Kalki based on real events. It narrates the story of Arulmozhivarman (later crowned as Rajaraja Chola I), one of the kings of the Chola Dynasty during the 10th and 11th centuries.

It was originally published as an ongoing series in the Kalki weekly magazine in the 1950’s and ran for about three and a half years. It is now published in novel form and comes in 5 volumes with a total of about 2200 pages.

Reading Speed

This book was my first serious fiction reading in Tamil and it took me exactly two months to finish it. Each page took me about 2 minutes to read and in total I spent about 75 hours to finish the entire series at an average rate of 2 hour every day 🙂

Yes, it is a massive book but it was very engrossing and I spent literally every free minute I had in the last two months to finish it 🙂

My Review

The book is definitely a page turner and if you have interest in history then you will find it very difficult to put it down 🙂

The author gives you vivid description of the ancient Tamil nation, politics and culture. Most of the times I felt as if I was living among the characters and I am planning to visit the places that are mentioned in the book.

The book has an excellent and interesting story-line and has strong and well portrayed characters from both genders. I am pretty sure I will be able to remember most of the characters for a very long time since they left an lasting impression.

If you can read Tamil then don’t miss this book. If you can’t read Tamil then at least read a translation. You can thank me later 🙂

My Rating

My rating for the entire series is 5 out of 5. If you look at the individual books in the series, then except for the 4th book I would rate 5 and 4 for the 4th book.

Next Books

I am going to take a break from reading Tamil books for a few weeks since I have spent 2 months reading only Tamil, but I have added the other historical novels by Kalki like “Parthiban Kanavu” and “Sivagamiyin Sapatham” which are about the Pallava Dynasty to my to-read list.

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  • Samura says:

    Hi Sundar, Would you be able to read and write review for my book ‘Semmaari’ which is a tamil novel in Action-Thriller genre. Please let me know

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