The Palace Of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Genre – Fiction (Mythology)

No. Of pages – 360

Rating – 4.5/5

Mythology has always been a subject of doubt and belief since ages. Some doubt it to be mere stories, other believe it to be the proof of our birth and existence. This controversy has given birth to fiction mythology – a genre that always keeps us wondering about what must have happened. And to add to this genre, Divakaruni has written this book that gives us a whole new perception towards the biggest war in hindu mythology – Mahabharata.

The Palace Of Illusions is the narration on the greatest war – MAHABHARATA – by the female protagonist – PANCHAALI. The book is the entire story of her life – her birth, her marriage with the Pandavas, her family, her friendship with Krishna, her motherhood, her insult by the  Kauravas and her revenge through the great war of Mahabharata. While we always look at the war from a male perspective, this book gives you an insight from a female perspective – what she felt, how she understood things, what were her emotions and why she did whatever she did.

The title does go with the storyline as the centre of Panchaali’s life was her beloved Palace Of Illusions and it was also the reason for her emotion of vengeance towards the Kauravas. The cover too, is elegant and beautiful, just like the story and narration.

The language is simple but beautiful. The writing style is like water, flowing along the way with no breaks or glitches. The storytelling is done gracefully, just what you can expect from Panchaali. Character development is on point for Panchaali but a little weak for the other characters given the fact that this entire book is centred around Panchaali. The usage of words too, is on point, with no tough yet appropriate words. The only thing to be mentioned was that though all the scenes were described efficiently, the major scenes (like Panchali’s feelings and emotions when she was being insulted etc.) were finished of without the elaboration required.

The concept is different, very different. It is rare to see these great stories from a female point of view, and it has been done very well. You see how these great women too carry so many emotions in their heart and thoughts in their brain while taking the toughest decisions in their lives. They fear, they sacrifice, but they don’t give up and always put their responsibilities first on there priority list. The ending, especially, is a blissful experience.

I loved the experience of reading a story I already know so much about from a fresh perspective. I am too much into mythology but I never imagined what the females of the whole story could have gone through. Though this book is fiction, it did evoke a lot of new questions that I need to think upon. The storytelling was beautiful and I was completely lost in Panchaali’s world for the entire time. As I finished this book, I felt like something else, somewhere, has ended. Therefore, I highly recommend this book to all the story, mythology and fiction lovers. Also to the people who want to do some fresh and different reading.

Amazon link – Click here

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