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Kaikeyi

by Vaishnavi Patel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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255688,209 (4.15)None
Before she was cast as Indian mythology's most jealous queen, she had her own story....The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, Kaikeyi is raised on stories about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharath prospers, and how they offer the devout and the wise powerful boons. 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 demons of her childhood stories threaten the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family--especially that of her beloved son, Rama. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak...and what legacy she intends to leave behind.In the spirit of Circe, Ariadne, and The Witch's Heart, this stunning debut reimagines the life of Kaikeyi, the vilified 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.… (more)
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Showing 5 of 5
This is a story about Kaikeyi, a young woman self taught in the ways of magic who forges her own path in a world where women are overlooked and underrated. From princess to queen, she navigates the world of men around her to influence change. This story is rooted in Indian culture and mythology.
( )
  ArcherKel | Aug 17, 2022 |
fiction/reimagining of Ramayana queen's life and reasons for banishing her step-son hero in Ancient Indian civilization (with artistic license).

very readable mythic adaptation with magnificent storytelling; I think I liked this one even more than Circe. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 23, 2022 |
I ended up really enjoying this! I wasn't sure what to expect and I'm not super familiar with Hindu beliefs, but I ended up getting really interested in Kaikeyi's story. Kaikeyi was the first born to royalty but as a twin and as a female, not much was expected of her. Her twin brother would one day take over the throne and get to make all the decisions. Thankfully she and her brother were close so he took her seriously and allowed her to train as a warrior and speak her mind. Even though she is a female she has warrior's s skill and a sharp mind. When she finds an old scroll that teaches her how to access the blinding plane - she discovers that she can exert her influence over others. When her brother agrees with her father about marrying her off to a neighboring kingdom she feels betrayed, even her new skill won't save her. She will have to start her way on the bottom as a third wife and find a way to use her skills to obtain power and use it to help other women. There are many rich layers to this story and it reads as an historical/fantasy/adventure drama. Very exciting. ( )
  ecataldi | Jun 1, 2022 |
I knew next to nothing about the book or the author but was super excited (just look at that cover)! Also thought it'd be pretty cool read. I enjoy mythology but must acknowledge I don't know much about Hindu mythology or South Asian mythology in general. So I was a little intimidated going into the book not knowing much but was at the same time a little tired of the retellings of the Greek/Roman (no offense to the fans or authors, of course, just trying to expand my reading diet!). So I thought this epic would be fun and interesting.

We follow the life of Kaikeyi, who grows up watching her mother banished, her life reduced to what she can bring in an alliance via marriage, the sons she can bear, etc. So we follow her life, which I understand is a bit of a retelling from what is considered the "standard," where we get the story from Kaikeyi's POV.

How well this works is not something I'm sure I can really assess. As others have noted, there is a trend to retell these myths from the POV of minor characters, the villains, the ones without voices in the original stories, etc. Initially this was intriguing from Kaikeyi's early childhood to her mother's banishment, etc. Court intrigue, a girl who has lost her mother, who has been reduced to what she can bring to marriage, etc.

But once Kaikeyi gets married I found the book to be extremely dull. From what I read, this book takes liberties (which is good or bad, it all depends and I really couldn't say) with the original and I do have to agree: there does feel like an attempt that tries too hard to redeem Kaikeyi and/or make this story something else.

Overall I thought it was too long, too slow, and was something that just dropped my attention after awhile. It could be my lack of familiarity, it could be that it wasn't the right fit.

For the right person I'm sure it'd be a great read and it might be a fun book to have in a college course or such looking at retellings of famous myths or in a course that is specifically about Hindu mythology, etc. I borrowed this from the library and would recommend it as a borrow. ( )
  HoldMyBook | May 12, 2022 |
India, myths-legends, royalty, historical-novel, historical-research, history-and-culture, cultural-exploration, cultural-heritage, family, family-dynamics, friction*****

This story is representative of the mythos of a part of the world of which I have an inadequate understanding. But then, I have only limited understanding of the myths and practices of the First Nations of my own continent, and what I know of the Norse comes from fiction and movies.
I have seen where some readers have taken issue with the myth interpretation here, BUT IT'S FICTION FOLKS! Therefore, I totally enjoyed the story and the telling of it!
I requested and received a free e-book copy from Redhook Books via NetGalley. Thank you! ( )
  jetangen4571 | May 6, 2022 |
Showing 5 of 5
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vaishnavi Patelprimary authorall editionscalculated
Nankani, SoneelaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pompilio, Lisa MarieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
ShutterstockCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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To Ajji, Aai, and Ananya, three generations of strong women
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I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions - much good it did me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Before she was cast as Indian mythology's most jealous queen, she had her own story....The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, Kaikeyi is raised on stories about the might and benevolence of the gods: how they churned the vast ocean to obtain the nectar of immortality, how they vanquish evil and ensure the land of Bharath prospers, and how they offer the devout and the wise powerful boons. 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 demons of her childhood stories threaten the cosmic order, the path she has forged clashes with the destiny the gods have chosen for her family--especially that of her beloved son, Rama. Kaikeyi must decide if resistance is worth the destruction it will wreak...and what legacy she intends to leave behind.In the spirit of Circe, Ariadne, and The Witch's Heart, this stunning debut reimagines the life of Kaikeyi, the vilified 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.

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