Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

I don’t usually read books about India or books written by Indian authors. I was asked to read this book by my mother; she wanted me to try it out first and see if it was any good before she read it. I was a bit skeptical about it because I didn’t know too much about the topic so I thought that would affect my enjoyment of the book. But I’m glad to say that this book was better than anything I could have imagined!

Draupadi knew she was meant for greatness. After all, she and her brother were no normal humans; they were born out of ritualistic fires and each of them had a destiny to fulfill. But where her brother was trained for combat and showered with attention, Draupadi is left alone with only plans of marriage to think about. Although she understands her place in this world dominated by men, she cannot help but wonder if there is more to her destiny than just marrying the “right” person. She is about to find out that her marriage and the events that follow will lead to the greatest war known to man – and it will all be because of her.

So this story is actually based on an Indian epic called the Mahabharat. It is purported to have been written by a sage and it serves as a code for Hindus for how they should live an honorable and good life. My own knowledge of the epic comes from bedtime stories told to me by my grandfather hence it is not very complete. But in order to enjoy this book, I didn’t need to know the story that well at all. The original story is from the perspective of men but this novel was only from the female perspective, which made it extremely interesting. The storyline was great, the writing was incredible, and there was even a small glossary and list of characters provided so you didn’t feel lost when reading it! I loved this book, I truly did. And I can’t wait to read more by this author!

0 thoughts on “The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

  1. I haven’t had much exposure to Indian mythology, with The Star-Touched Queen actually being my only exposure, so this book sounds really intriguing! I find Indian mythology so interesting, so I can’t wait to delve into an “Indian epic”. Thank you again for this recommendation! πŸ™‚

    1. I’m sure you will love it, as it revealed a great deal to me about my own heritage that I never knew. The main character is so strong and she breaks so many stereotypes of women in the Indian culture. Definitely one of my favorite retellings I have ever read! I hope you like it and please do let me know what you think about it!

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