The Palace of Illusions, by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (21 June − 29 June)

After an aborted attempt at reading The Other, I abandoned realistic fiction and picked up another book about deities. I was not disappointed.

The Palace of Illusions tells the story of an Indian princess who was born out of a fire as a sort of throw-in with the son her father asked for. The son, Dhri, was called upon to kill his father’s greatest enemy, but it is the daughter, Panchaali, who is to be the catalyst for the event. The novel tells the story of Panchaali from her youth until the end of her life, and it tells it in a really engaging way by giving away the ending and most of the important points of the story really early in the book. Panchaali, the narrator, goes to a fortune-teller early on who tells quite a bit of the story, and at the end of each chapter she says things like, “Later, when this REALLY IMPORTANT thing happened, I understood why I shouldn’t have done this stupid thing here” that totally spoil what’s going to happen. I kept reading because I needed to know how it happened. Really cool.

Rating: 9/10

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