Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel is a retelling of the life of the eponymous queen from the Ramayana, an Indian epic poem.
In the kingdom of Kekaya, Kaikeyi is the only daughter among seven brothers. Out of all her brothers, she is the closest to Yudhajit, her twin. Although not particularly close to either of her parents, it still comes as a shock when Kaikeyi’s father announces that her mother has left the kingdom with no explanation.
Seeking comfort in the library’s scrolls, Kaikeyi learns she carries a power that will aid her throughout her life, despite her gods forsaken status.
While she is still testing out the boundaries of this power, Kaikeyi’s father informs her that she is to be married in short order. To gain some semblance of control of the situation, Kaikeyi agrees to the marriage on one condition, which her soon-to-be husband swears to uphold.
Upon their marriage, the story follows Kaikeyi as she finds her place in a new kingdom. And as she tries to ease the constraints that dictate women’s lives during these times.
Review of Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
This beautifully written debut is told entirely from Kaikeyi’s perspective. The tone effortlessly shifts from the voice of a young girl to one of a mature adult as Kaikeyi grows.
Initially, I found Kaikeyi to be a bit bland and stubborn, but as she came into her own, she became a much more likeable character. Not that all characters need to be likeable.
I love learning mythology, so learning some Indian mythology was just what I was looking for.
By the end, my heart was pounding, and tears were streaming. I don’t know if this is the last I’ll see of Kaikeyi, but I hope not.
I recommend this to those interested in mythology with a fresh feminist perspective.
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Expected Publication: 26 April 2022
Thank you to Redhook Books for providing an arc via Netgalley and a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.
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