Hello Readers. Today I am going to talk about this book by Chitra Banerjee called, The palace of illusions. This is a book based on the Mahabharata. It is a mythological retelling from the eyes of one of the most important characters in the Mahabharata, Paanchali. She was the Princess of Paanchal, Daughter of King Draupad, wife of the 5 sons of Kunti and Pandu, the Pandavas.
We all must have at least once in our lifetime heard about the story of the Mahabharata and how it took place. But this story is different. It tells you about Draupadi’s life, how she was born, about her life during the days she spent in her fathers kingdom. Her bond with her brother, Dhrishtdyumna and Krishna, her childhood friend. Most of all, it tells you about the Mahabharata, the war of Kurukshetra, from Draupadi’s point of view.
All of you must be knowing the basic story of Mahabharat, so I’ll spare you the details and directly jump on to what I felt about the book.
This is my first ever mythological re-telling novel because I always felt that it would be very difficult to understand the terms and the high language. I am very much interested in this genre, and so I gave it a shot. And I am really happy I read The palace of illusions. The language is very easy to understand. From what knowledge I have of Mahabharata, the story is more or less the same. A few things which I have never heard about were :
1.] Draupadi’s and Karna’s (Kunti’s eldest son whom she left on the riverbank the day he was born) Love story. Yes. I researched a bit about it on google and there are a few who say this is true. But it was a new thing to me. 2.] The tiff between Kunti and Draupadi. I have only watched serials about the Mahabharata and unknown to this. I always thought of Kunti as a sweet, gentle person. 3.] From what I know, Draupadi loved Arjun and Shubadra’s son, Abhimanyu. But there is no such mention in the book.
Apart from this, everything was pretty much the same as what I have heard from parents or the Tv series. The book is written really well. It shows the reader a different angle of the war that took place, the way Draupadi, a woman saw it. Her struggles throughout her life, her fear and her strengths, how it all moulded her to be the strong woman she was. Also, her role in the war of Kurukshetra. How she supported her husbands all throughout their life, even in the forest. Her friendship with Krishna, who was always there for her. Her bond with her brother, Dhristdyumna. Everything was written in a simple way. At some places I felt that the chapter or that particular scene was incomplete or abrupt. It could have been a bit better and detailed. But it gave the gist of it.
If you are reading this book then make sure you read it in a day or two, without many distractions or halts. It will be a bit difficult to catch up if you pick the book after a week. Also, if you are wondering why the book is called The palace of Illuions, you will come to know while reading. I would recommend you to read the book if you are really interested in mythology but don’t understand a lot of tough words and language.
Thank you for Reading it. Let me know in comments if you liked my review or if you would want me to add something in my future reviews. If I had to give stars to this book, I would give a 4/5. It was a great read.