Kaikeyi is a story about gods and family, love and sacrifice. It’s perfect for fans of the Ramayana, those who love historical fantasy, and readers who love complex heroines. While Kaikeyi feels a bit like a slow burn, I enjoyed watching her character develop. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
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.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
Kaikeyi’s character is, hands down, my favorite element of Kaikeyi. As a side character in the Ramayana, she is given her voice. What is her true story? Because we all know that the women who seek changes in society, to upset the power of men, are always villains in history. Her story is one of sacrifice and fighting against sexism. Driven by family, Kaikeyi consistently rises to the challenges, to fight for what matters, and try to do what’s right.
I found myself being moved by the decisions she has to make. Her capacity to love, to learn, and to fight. Her rise to power and passion for women’s rights. Kaikeyi’s character development had to be my favorite element. It’s about how we have to question what’s around us, to find agency in our own ways and on our own terms. However as a whole, Kaikeyi asks readers about our place in the world. Are our actions truly our own or are we walking on a path obscured from us?
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The hands of fate begin to creep and unsettle the peace before the storm. Throughout Kaikeyi we see the threads come together with a reflective quality. If you’re searching for a book that unfolds across the pages, that focuses on character development, then pick this one up. If you are a fan of the Ramayana, Kaikeyi is a must read. And if you love the idea of a complex heroine who is forced to make difficult decisions! Find Kaikeyi on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.