2016 · 2016 Favorites · 2016 Reads · BOOKS · Brunch Book Challenge · Mythology

The Palace of Illusions – Book Review

Title: The Palace of Illusions

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Rating: 4/5


One of the greatest epic of all time- Mahabharata told from Draupadi’s perspective. How her birth had a prophecy that she will change the course of history, she will marry five husbands, become queen of queens, own the palace of illusions, lead a glorious life, but will lose her fortune because of her ego, pride, impatience, arrogance and anger that will lead to the greatest war in the history; which will lead to the death of her own children, brother and other loved ones, kill millions of people and render women homeless, helpless and as widows. A war in which the brothers, cousins, father, son, uncle and grandfather will fight against one another for the quest of power and supreme existence.

How she feels when her father uses her as a pawn at swayamwar to get her married to Arjun, only to gain his ally to fulfill his vengeance against Drona.

How she longed to find love and compassion after wedding, that was foiled by manipulative Kunti who made her to be shared by all her five sons; thus making Arjun not completely love her. She easily sees through Arjun’s frustration blaming her, when she is married off to his other brothers. The anguish, frustration she feels when vyasa blesses her to bed with one brother each year and go to the next one as a virgin, every new year.

Her secret love for Arjun’s arch rival Karna whom she had insulted during swayamwar by asking his father’s name and making him ineligible to participate in it. How she yearns for Karna’s approval and liking and secretly tries her best to please him.

Her frustration and disappointed when she is publicly humiliated by Duryodhan and Karna at their palace during her disrobing ceremony – and her five husbands and Bheeshma are helpless and sit with their heads hung in shame.

Her curse during the disrobing ceremony that causes the greatest war killing millions and plotting family members against one another.

How every virtue of dharma was manipulated and abused by both Pandavas and Kauravas, in their blind quest to win the war by hook or crook.

Her sacred friendship with Krishna and how she confides her problems in him and ponders over his cryptic advices.

She introspects if she could have easily avoided the greatest war by controlling her temper, ego and impatience; but the damage is already done.

She spends her last moments trying to blame herself for all the bloodshed, humiliation, anger and vengeance she caused to her brother, husbands, Karna, Bheeshma and her people in general.

She profusely thanks Krishna for being her guiding light and a great companion and friend throughout her life. She is indebted in krishna for being her only savior during her disrobing ceremony, even when her own husbands couldn’t protect her dignity.

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