Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Book Review: Lanka's Princess

Book: Lanka's Princess
Author: Kavita Kane
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Genre: Fiction|Mythology
Pages: 298
Price: 295 INR

Surpanakha, Ravan’s infamous sister—ugly and untamed, brutal and brazen. This is 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 perpetrator of war? Or was she a victim? Was she Lanka’s princess? Or was she the reason for its destruction? 

Surpanakha, meaning the woman as hard as nails was born as Meenakshi—the one with beautiful, fish-shaped eyes. Growing up in the shadows of her brothers, who were destined to win wars, fame and prestige, she, instead, charts up a path filled with misery and revenge.

Accused of manipulating events between Ram and Ravan, which culminated in a bloody war and annihilation of her family, Surpanakha is often the most misunderstood character in the Ramayana. Kavita Kané 's Lanka’s Princess tells the story from the vantage of this woman more hated than hateful.

My Review:

"Lanka's Princess" tells the story of Surpanakha, Ravan's sister. She is the protagonist of this book and I must say that the author has beautifully brought her into life in the pages of the book. It was interesting to know all the major characters of Ramayana through Surpanakha's eyes. 

The book starts on a very interesting note where we see Lord Krishna talking to a woman with a  hunchback known as Kubja after coming to Mathura. He recognizes her at once and the woman also senses an uncanny familiarity when Krishna talks to her. Later, after some days, Krishna heals her deformed body and tells her that she was Surpanakha in her last birth. Then Krishna starts narrating her story to her. 

The prologue of the book totally won my heart. I was hopeful that this book will be a great read and I am happy to announce that the book lived up to my expectations. The epilogue was also beautifully written. 

Surpanakha was born as Meenakshi to Kaikesi and Rishi Vishravas. She was loathed by her mother as soon as she was born. Her mother's extreme fondness for Ravan and her father's fondness for Vibhishan made Meenakshi feel abandoned. She felt only her middle brother, Kumbhakarna loved her. The childhood incidents of Meenakshi were beautifully narrated, especially the one in which she attacks Ravan with her nails because he killed her pet. 

The girl who yearned desperately for love and attention from her family finally found love in Vidyujiva, her husband. When her husband got killed, she felt she had lost everything in her life. Destruction of Ravan became her only goal, which ultimately resulted in the great war between Ram and Ravan.

The way the author has shown the metamorphosis of Meenakshi (the girl with golden eyes) into Surpanakha (the woman as hard as nails) is praiseworthy. She made the character of Surpanakha so human that anyone can relate to it. The girl who craved love throughout her childhood became the victim of revenge. Although she wanted to destroy Ravan, she suffered more destruction in the process. The last chapter of the book where Urmila, Lakhman's wife makes her realize that she was the victim of her own wrath was poignant.

"None of us are innocent, all of us are guilty of our actions.",said Urmila. "But we have to take onus for those actions, should we not? You cannot blame it on others or on fate to have created our fortunes and our misfortunes. It is us, Surpanakha , we have none to blame, or absolve, but us. There is no escaping our responsibility."

The book is fast paced and very engaging. There is not a single dull moment in the book. However, there are a few typos and editing errors. 

I will go with 4 stars.

If you are interested in knowing Surpanakha's story, you must read this book. 

 'I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.'

Indian Bloggers


  1. Hey, that sounds interesting. It always is, when you see an age old epic through the eyes of a character who was not the protagonist.

  2. Often our knowledge of mythology is rooted in and colored by the serials we watch based on them. The book is indeed one I would love to read.....I will keep it in mind....Thanks for pitching about it....

  3. Hmmm ! Appears to be quite an interesting and impressive book. Hearty thanks for sharing your take.

  4. The very theme, the central thought is so interesting that I would definitely like to read the book at the soonest possible..thank you Purba for this intro:)

  5. I am amazed as how the modern authors get so much detail into the life of characters and bring out beautiful stories against common perception :) I am reading palace of illusions and will pick this up after :) thanks Purba, loved the review :)

  6. I've heard about the book from many sources. Now, after reading your review, I'm going to read it very soon. :)

  7. Interesting review of the book.

  8. Looks like a very interesting book! Thank you so much for sharing!

  9. It seems a worth read. I love to see the story from different perspective.

  10. Quite an interesting read dear.. thanks for sharing! :)

  11. It truly sounds interesting!


Would love to hear your thoughts on the post!