Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane – Book Review

Lanka’s Princess



Surpanakha, Ravan’s famous sister. Ugly and untamed, brutal and brazen—this is often how she is commonly perceived. One whose nose was sliced off by an angry Lakshman and the one who started a war. But was she really just a perpetrator of war? Or was she a victim? Was she ‘Lanka’s princess’? Or was she the reason behind its destruction?

Surpanakha, which means the woman ‘as hard as nails’, was born as Meenakshi—the one with beautiful, fish-shaped eyes. She is often the most misunderstood character in the Ramayana. Growing up in the shadows of her brothers, who were destined to win wars, fame and prestige, she, instead, charted out a path filled with misery and revenge.

Accused of manipulating events between Ram and Ravan, which culminated into a bloody war and annihilation of her family, Kavita Kané’s Lanka’s Princess makes us see the familiar events unfold from the eyes of a woman more hated than hateful…

Book Review:

Mythological fiction is my all time favourite and when it comes from Kavita Kane, then the book is definitely expected to raise expectation. Though I have read a lot about the author’s earlier three books in the same genre, Karna’s Wife, Sita’s Sister and Menaka’s Choice, this is the first time I have got the opportunity to read her.

“Lanka’s Princess” is the story of Surpanakha, Ravan’s sister, who is the protagonist of this book. Surpanakha, the one perceived as ugly and unwanted, brutal and brazen – one of whose nose was sliced off by Lakshaman, is notoriously famous for her contribution in the epic and it was surely an interesting idea to present a book depicting all the major characters of Ramayana through her point of view.

The beginning of the book is very interesting with Lord Krishna talking to a woman with a hunchback known as Kubja after coming to Mathura. He recognizes her at once and heals her deformed body. He also tells her the fact that she was Surpanakha in her previous birth and narrates her story to her. Surpanakha which means the woman as hard as nails is one of the misunderstood characters of Ramayana.

We have all grown up hating this character of Ramayana. In this novel the author, Kavita Kane, has shown the story and characters of Ramayana through her eyes. The author has not tried to defend or justify her wrongdoings. But she has tried to reduce the hatred for this character.

The book is very well researched giving a lot of information about Surpanakha, which was not known to many. The plot and concept is very innovative and fresh. The narration of the book is simple and easy to understand. The conversations are very well described.

Overall the book is fast paced and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Recommended for readers interested in mythological fiction.

** I received a review copy of the book from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **

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