Kaikeyi A novel

Vaishnavi Patel

Book - 2022

""I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions-much good it did me." So begins Kaikeyi's tale. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on grand stories about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned vast oceans to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they offer the devoted and the wise magnificent boons, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land prospers. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniousl...y banishes her mother, her own worth measured by how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear. Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the ancient texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. She uses it to transform herself from overlooked princess into warrior, diplomat, and most-favored queen, determined to forge a better world for herself than the one that gods and men have granted. But as the demons of stories Kaikeyi grew up hearing threaten the cosmic order, her will clashes with the path that the gods have chosen for her family-and especially that of her beloved son, Rama. And she must decide if her resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak...and what legacy she intends to leave behind"--

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Subjects
Genres
Fantasy fiction
Historical fiction
Mythological fiction
Fiction
Published
New York, NY : Redhook 2022.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 478 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN
9780759557338
0759557330
Main Author
Vaishnavi Patel (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In the traditional epic the Ramayana, Kaikeyi is immortalized for using her two boons to banish golden, beloved Rama and ensure that the crown would go first to her own son. Despite Rama's later forgiveness of her actions, Kaikeyi has gone down in history as a jealous and power-hungry woman; this novel reimagines that narrative. Here, Kaikeyi uses her talent with a chariot and a magical gift of manipulation and intuition to gain power and improve the lot of women within Kosala, all despite being forsaken by the gods. She grows close to Raja Dasharath and keeps their kingdom from plunging into disaster more than once—fighting demons and making subtle moves to maintain peace. But the gods have their own plans: they want war, bloody and black and white, against the asuras. The gods have chosen Rama as their hero—and Ravana, Kaikeyi's friend, will be their villain. The novel is compelling and rich, drawing on the source material while furnishing its characters with new complexity and motivations. Fans of Madeline Miller's Circe (2018) will fall hard for this story about a woman determined to do what's right for her kingdom and its women, walking the fine line between rebellion and convention. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* In the traditional epic the Ramayana, Kaikeyi is immortalized for using her two boons to banish golden, beloved Rama and ensure that the crown would go first to her own son. Despite Rama's later forgiveness of her actions, Kaikeyi has gone down in history as a jealous and power-hungry woman; this novel reimagines that narrative. Here, Kaikeyi uses her talent with a chariot and a magical gift of manipulation and intuition to gain power and improve the lot of women within Kosala, all despite being forsaken by the gods. She grows close to Raja Dasharath and keeps their kingdom from plunging into disaster more than once—fighting demons and making subtle moves to maintain peace. But the gods have their own plans: they want war, bloody and black and white, against the asuras. The gods have chosen Rama as their hero—and Ravana, Kaikeyi's friend, will be their villain. The novel is compelling and rich, drawing on the source material while furnishing its characters with new complexity and motivations. Fans of Madeline Miller's Circe (2018) will fall hard for this story about a woman determined to do what's right for her kingdom and its women, walking the fine line between rebellion and convention. Copyright 2022 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Patel's mesmerizing debut shines a brilliant light on the vilified queen from the Ramayana. As the only girl of eight royal siblings, Kaikeyi grows up knowing her value as a person is determined by her eventual marriage. When her mother is banished, Kaikeyi is forced to take up her duties in the royal court. In between all her new work, she turns to the palace's scrolls on magic and learns how to enter the Binding Plane, where she can exert a magical influence over others using the invisible strings that connect her to them. Then Kaikeyi is unwillingly married off to the Raja of Kosala, where her lack of friends and allies means the bonds of the Binding Plane operate differently. Still, Kaikeyi earns her place at her husband's side, wins the love of her subjects, and raises a son, Rama. Throughout her life, Kaikeyi often recalls a story her mother told of a woman who could not avoid the punishment of man, even when the fault of her actions fell upon a god himself—but the tale's true message is lost on her until it's too late. Readers familiar with the source text will be wowed by Patel's reimagining, while those new to the story will be won over by its powerful, multilayered heroine and epic scope. This easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller's Circe. Agent: Lucienne Diver, the Knight Agency. (Apr.) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

""I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions-much good it did me." So begins Kaikeyi's tale. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on grand stories about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned vast oceans to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they offer the devoted and the wise magnificent boons, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land prospers. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, her own worth measured by how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear. Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the ancient texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. She uses it to transform herself from overlooked princess into warrior, diplomat, and most-favored queen, determined to forge a better world for herself than the one that gods and men have granted. But as the demons of stories Kaikeyi grew up hearing threaten the cosmic order, her will clashes with the path that the gods have chosen for her family-and especially that of her beloved son, Rama. And she must decide if her resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak...and what legacy she intends to leave behind"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

The only princess of the kingdom of Kekaya discovers she possesses magic when she revisits the ancient texts she used to read with her banished mother and transforms herself into a warrior to make a better world for other women.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER!"MYTHIC RETELLING AT ITS BEST." —R. F. Kuang, author of The Poppy War A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi is the story of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana. It is a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—of an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me. So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear. Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her. But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.PRAISE FOR KAIKEYI:"A powerful, feminist retelling of the epic...Patel resets the balance of power, creating an unforgettable heroine who understands that it isn’t necessarily kings or gods who change history." –The Washington Post"Easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller’s Circe." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)"Utterly captivating from start to finish." ?Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch’s Heart   "Brave, compassionate and powerful." ?Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne  "A lyrical and evocative retelling, full of power and grace." ?Ava Reid, author of The Wolf and the Woodsman  "Compulsively readable and infinitely compassionate." ?Roshani Chokshi, author of The Gilded Wolves   "A thought-provoking, nuanced new look at one of humanity’s most foundational stories." —S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass

Review by Publisher Summary 4

"Patel’s mesmerizing debut shines a brilliant light on the vilified queen from [the Indian epic] the Ramayana....This easily earns its place on shelves alongside Madeline Miller’s Circe." –Publishers Weekly (starred review)“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.”So begins Kaikeyi’s story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharat prospers, and how they offer powerful boons to the devout and the wise. Yet she watches as her father unceremoniously banishes her mother, listens as her own worth is reduced to how great a marriage alliance she can secure. And when she calls upon the gods for help, they never seem to hear.Desperate for some measure of independence, she turns to the texts she once read with her mother and discovers a magic that is hers alone. With this power, Kaikeyi transforms herself from an overlooked princess into a warrior, diplomat, and most favored queen, determined to carve a better world for herself and the women around her.But as the evil from her childhood stories threatens the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family. And Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak—and what legacy she intends to leave behind.A stunning debut from a powerful new voice, Kaikeyi reimagines the life of the infamous queen from the Indian epic the Ramayana, weaving a tale of fate, family, courage, and heartbreak—and an extraordinary woman determined to leave her mark in a world where gods and men dictate the shape of things to come.Praise for Kaikeyi:“Mythic retelling at its best.” ―R. F. Kuang, author of The Poppy War“Utterly captivating from start to finish.” ―Genevieve Gornichec, author of The Witch’s Heart  “Brave, compassionate and powerful.” ―Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne “A lyrical and evocative retelling, full of power and grace.” ―Ava Reid, author of The Wolf and the Woodsman “Compulsively readable and infinitely compassionate.” ―Roshani Chokshi, author of The Gilded Wolves  “A thought-provoking, nuanced new look at one of humanity’s most foundational stories.” —S. A. Chakraborty, author of The City of Brass “Fans of Madeline Miller's Circe will fall hard for this story.” ―Booklist (starred review)