Why should boys have all the fun? In this epic tale that pulls heartstrings, Kaikeyi fights for her place in history.
Good to know
Based on a classic
Why I love it
Author, Juniper & Thorn
The best retellings are ones that surprise and enthrall, yet feel so resoundingly true and timeless that you can picture yourself hearing them for the first time huddled by firelight. Gods, prophecies, magic, monsters—these essential elements of fantasy are given striking new life in Kaikeyi, a reimagining of the vilified queen from Hindu mythology.
Kaikeyi lives in a world shaped by the whims and ambitions of men, her value determined by the arrangement of stars and potential marriage alliances. Not content to be a passive daughter or a silenced wife, Kaikeyi cultivates a secret magic, one which allows her to manipulate the capricious threads of power around her. Through guile and nerve, she elevates herself to the status of warrior, diplomat, and, eventually, the king’s most valued advisor and confidant. But in defying destiny, Kaikeyi puts herself in the path of angry men and vengeful gods—and the choices she makes will determine not only her legacy but the future of all women in her kingdom.
Like Kaikeyi’s enchanted threads, Vaishnavi Patel weaves an intricate tale of motherhood, fate, courage, sacrifice, and the nuances of female power. Turn off your phone and huddle around your proverbial fire: this story is compulsively readable, infinitely complex, and—in every sense—magical.
“I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.”
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.