Hachette Audio. Apr. 2022. 17:22 hrs. ISBN 9781549193651. $26.98. FANTASY
Patel’s debut novel reimagines the life of the infamous queen Kaikeyi from the Ramayana, the Sanskrit epic poem that’s a key legend of Hinduism. Patel’s portrayal of the brave but flawed queen more sympathetically examines her entire life and what compels her to exile her stepson Rama from the kingdom. As a child abandoned by her mother, Kaikeyi discovers scrolls filled with magic and develops her own power: she can enter the binding plane to view the strength of her connections to people around her and send psychic suggestions through them. As an adult forsaken by the gods, Kaikeyi uses her abilities to gain influence in the kingdom of Ayodhya and leverages her position to make a better world for women—until her plans clash with the gods’ destiny for her family. The audiobook is long but will fly by; narrator Soneela Nankani keeps the pace up and delivers has nicely accented pronounciations of Hindi names.
VERDICT Patel’s reimagining takes listeners on a fantastical journey and introduces them to gods.
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