Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel
By Vaishnavi Patel
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Retelling, Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 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 story. The only daughter of the kingdom of Kekaya, she is raised on tales 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 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 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.
This was such an interesting book and a different read compared to all the retellings of Greek myths out there. I did not know anything about Kaikeyi and the myths surrounding her before going into this book previously. After I finished I went on a major research spree and loved how the author retold her tale in a better light.
The story was well written and kept me interested even though it was quite long. I loved the relationship between Kaikeyi and her husband. I also enjoyed how the book introduced women's rights into the story. This was an amazing story and the author ended the book well.
Overall, easily a 4-star rating from me and I would recommend it to those who love a good mythology retelling. I do think there were some parts that were slower but it was interesting to see a villain retold into a hero. I look forward to looking more into the stories behind this book.