Book review #2 The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Book: The Palace of Illusions

Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni



[Disclaimer, the review is gong to be a teeny tiny bit spoilery, but it won’t hurt your reading experience, so continue reading 🙂

So you probably MUST HAVE seen how fascinated I am with Mahabharata these days. It is JUST THE BEST !! I have expressed how I feel about it in quite a few of my earlier blogs so you are free to check them out (but first read this one)

BECAUSE I was soo fascinated by Mahabharata, I planned on getting a few books on it, cause, why not?

But I wanted some different kinds of book on mahbharata. I know about all the major events so I didn’t want a book covering those points AGAIN from a third person’s perspective.

So I “researched” and found two books where the protagonists are the powerful, legendary women, Draupadi and Gandhari.

THE PALACE OF ILLUSIONS is from Draupadi’s perspective and that is the book we are talking about today.

Book review #2 The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Image source: Quora

Basic Synopsis:

This book, as already told, is from Draupadi’s perspective. A little highlight about her; She is the daughter of Panchal Naresh Drupad (King of Panchal, Drupad)

One of the most “out of the world” thing happens to her, which at that time was a big taboo, she “accidentally” gets married to 5 PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME !! (for further details one has to read the book or has to research about it)

She doesn’t get the love from her father and her only support is her brother, who along with time too gets involved in his warrior world

With time she becomes strong, rebellious, outspoken, a queen, and a slave.

Draupadi is such a remarkable lady that I thought that it would be PERFECT to read the whole Mahabharata from her perspective.

This book covers all the main events where Draupadi was involved in or even in the incidents where she was simply the spectator.

Further analysis:

  1. This book was a nice read overall.
  2. According to me, It wasn’t “fantastic” or a “masterpiece” as I heard from many people. Reasons? Well here they are:
  • It wasn’t very character-driven. None of the characters could shine well
  • The book managed to cover only the fairly known events, which is NICE. But when a book is written specifically from one character’s perspective, especially a character from an EPIC like this which has many versions, I would expect the author to include few incidents taken from stories and folks which aren’t popularly known. Also because the book has been labelled as fiction, these kinds of small details can be included (this is what I think k? )

This can be a VERY good point of the book for the people who are only interested to know the main events, or a DOWNFALL of a book for people like me who like to know a lot more than what is normally presented.

  • The author introduces the element of Draupadi having MORE feelings towards Karna then to her own husbands, the Pandavas.

This kind of perspective I have heard and read before and personally,


It depends you see. I dont feel as if it is practical.

Authors try to bring out some new elements but that doesn’t mean that it is the truth and THAT is why the books are labelled as “fiction”

The reason I didn’t like the “Karna-Draupadi” cliché in this book was that to bring out this opinion more, the author has portrayed the Pandavas as careless, non-loving and incompetent if not together which is not true.

They all loved Panchali and took care of her. Having more than one wife was back than normal for kings. A part of this books reflects Draupadi’s jealousy towards the other wives of Arjun and her throwing tantrums which is so not the Draupadi explained by Vyasa which is what my next and last point is about

  • Draupadi’s potrayal was done crudefully.

I couldn’t sense the power, anger, authoritarian ability from Chitra Banerjee’s Draupadi. She seemed kinda childish, and not powerful. She seemed drab and one of the most exceedingly obnoxious moments of her life, the cheer haran was explained in just one chapter and the rest of the chapters seemed disjointed. I couldn’t feel the impact of her curse, cause she was talking about it, for what it seemed “casually” for such a devastating thing.



Thank you for staying this long !

I hope you enjoyed this review. I am still not the most CRITICAL review authors but I think I did a good job here

I rate this book a 3.5/5

Until next time


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