Kaikeyi
by Patel, Vaishnavi






""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"-





Vaishnavi Patel is a law student focusing on constitutional law and civil rights. She likes to write at the intersection of Indian myth, feminism, and anti-colonialism. Her short stories can be found in The Dark and 87 Bedford's Historical Fantasy Anthology along with a forthcoming story in Helios Quarterly. Vaishnavi grew up in and around Chicago, and in her spare time, enjoys activities that are almost stereotypically Midwestern: knitting, ice skating, drinking hot chocolate, and making hotdish.





*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.





*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.





As mythological women like Circe and Ariadne find their ways onto the bookshelves, here comes a reimagining of Kaikeyi, an interesting antihero. She was one of the most despised queens of Indian mythology, pitting herself against the gods in the epic poem the Ramayana. A pivotal character, Kaikeyi demands that Rama be sent into exile to delay his ascent to the throne. Patel recasts the Ramayana as a power struggle between women who want to participate in politics and public service and men who would rather they stay home, obedient and subservient. Patel begins her novel with the wrenching moment when young Kaikeyi, only daughter to the king of Kekaya, wakes up to find her mother has been banished with no explanation. In her absence, Kaikeyi decides to develop herself as a warrior. We feel her pain when her twin brother, Yudhajit, tells her she's more a brother than a sister to him: "Don't take offense. It's a compliment. Who wants to be a woman?" Soon it's time for her to marry, and her father, who rarely speaks to her, demands she wed the childless Dasharath, king of Kosala, who lives far away in the city of Ayodhya. She agrees to take her place beside Dasharath's two other wives if he promises that it will be her son who will ascend to the throne. As she comes of age, Kaikeyi learns in the palace scrolls that she has magical powers of connecting to others in a Binding Plane. There, she uses invisible strings to deepen her bonds with her husband. Then, through an intervention by the gods, the three queens give birth to four sons, Kaikeyi's own being Bharata. She develops close relationships with each boy, including the true heir to the throne, the great Rama, who calls her ma. The young prince is immature, confused by his own divine powers and the conservative stewardship of a holy man. Kaikeyi's desire to teach him the consequences of youth and patriarchy leads to a showdown between them. Patel's Kaikeyi is not a spiteful woman who wants to place her son Bharata on the throne for her own power. Instead, she is afraid of the growing influence of godmen in her kingdom. She is a revolutionary who attempts to be an equalizing figure, trying to find a balance for her citizens in a patriarchal kingdom. With spellbinding twists and turns, this is a political novel and very much a feminist one. Copyright Kirkus 2022 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






Terms of Use   ©Copyright 2022 Follett School Solutions