The Palace of Illusions – Review.

Currently on Loan from the Library:

Nothing at the moment.  Or at least nothing I’m actually reading.  It has been gorgeous outside.  So the boys and I have been out and about looking over our new surroundings.  Which translates into no reading, and not much progress on the knitting.  But oh so much fun!

Other Books I’m Reading:


I just want to start by saying that The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is a interesting and engaging read.  The Palace of Illusions is a retelling of the Mahabharata through the eyes of Princess Panchali wife of the five Pandavas.  I am not in any way familiar with the Mahabharata.  Although my very basic research reveals it to be one of two epics of Ancient India.

Pancahli is born of fire, along with her brother in a ritual their father the king is preforming.  The thing is the King only really wanted the son.  Specifically the warrior son the ritual was supposed to give him.  Early on it is foretold that Pancahli will cause a horrible war unless she can hold her words, hold her curse, and something else I can’t remember right now and can’t look up as I’ve returned the book to the library.  Naturally, she fails on all three counts.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story.

Having driven off the man she really loves because she can’t hold her words, Pancahli is married off to the five Pandava brothers.  That is, she is married off to all five at the same time.  What follows is a civil war epic with innumerable twists and turns. Think the War of the Roses Indian style.  Only more epic.

Much of this book reminds me of that moment in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when I turned to my husband and asked, “What is it with all the flying people?”  There are more than a few nuances I’m sure I’m missing in my reading of this book.  Those nuances would surely add much to my enjoyment of The Palace of Illusions.  So, I’m going to have to venture past my Wikipedia research and try some actual books on Indian mythology.  Which could be really interesting.

Just a note. There are no scenes of corporeal exuberance in this book.  To spite the five husbands.  So no need to be worried about that.  However, like most war epics, there is a good deal of blood shed.  But nothing graphic.

Enjoyability: This book is a solid four star read for me.  But I’m sure that is my own fault.  Chitra Divakaruni is clearly a very talented writer.

Where to read this book: Anywhere really.

Further reading:  Reading?  Ha!  I’m going out to play.


Posted on June 2, 2012, in Fiction, Reading, review and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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