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Publisher's Summary

The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. It is told by Panchaali, wife of the Pandava brothers, a fiery female redefining for us a world of warriors, gods, and the ever-manipulating hands of fate.

The novel traces the princess Panchaali's life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father's kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war involving all the important kings of India. Meanwhile, we never lose sight of her strategic duels with her mother-in-law, her complicated friendship with the enigmatic Krishna, or her secret attraction to the mysterious man who is her husbands' most dangerous enemy.

©2008 Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Palace of Illusions

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    446
  • 4 Stars
    152
  • 3 Stars
    78
  • 2 Stars
    27
  • 1 Stars
    12
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    420
  • 4 Stars
    91
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    24
  • 2 Stars
    8
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    3
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    351
  • 4 Stars
    121
  • 3 Stars
    47
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    5

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

timeless story

I didn't realize until I was part of the way through this listen that it was anything more than a work of fiction. Imagine my surprise when I started seeing the names of characters from Palace of Illusions in the actual book I was reading. Upon doing a little internet searching, I discovered that Palace of Illusions is actually a re-telling of the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata, told from the point of view of Draupadi, the main female character.
You will not always like or sympathize with Draupadi--she is a pampered, self-centered, vindictive woman who doesn't appreciate what she has until it is gone. Her story is compelling, however, and the reader does a wonderful job, using subtle changes in her voice and accent to characterize the many different people in the story. This one is definitely worth your time. A note of caution, however--the author's previous books on audible, from The Brotherhood of the Conch, are aimed at upper elementary or middle school aged children. The Palace of Illusions is probably not appropriate for children of that age.

42 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

I have read Mahabharata from several authors and every time I listen to the story some new thought always occur. I am very picky about authors who re-write what Vyasa has written. I downloaded this book due to my wife's insist and I am not at all disappointed.
The great epic has been told from Panchali's view point and the reader has done an excellent job.
I will recommend this book for anybody who are interested in religious mythologies and Mahabaratha itself is a very thought provoking story and this book will introduce you to that.

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

I have read Mahabharata from several authors and every time I listen to the story some new thought always occur. I am very picky about authors who re-write what Vyasa has written. I downloaded this book due to my wife's insist and I am not at all disappointed.
The great epic has been told from Panchali's view point and the reader has done an excellent job.
I will recommend this book for anybody who are interested in religious mythologies and Mahabaratha itself is a very thought provoking story and this book will introduce you to that.

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant!

Divakaruni did a wonderful job of introducing me to the Mahabharata. She is a master of simile and metaphor. I am sad that this story ended. It inspired me to read through the Wikipedia entries on this Indian epic, on Princess Draupadi (Panchaali), on the Pandavas and Kauravas, and the battle of Kurukshetra. Though it tells the story from the viewpoint of the key woman in the tale, it is not "chick lit" but a compelling tale of gods, demigods, sages and humans, with a climactic battle that seems like harbinger of nuclear holocaust.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good listen

I got this largely because audible doesn't have any recordings of the Mahabahrata. ( I am never sure if I have the H in the right spot, please forgive.) Last time I looked audible was not lacking in "classics" how is it possible they fail on this? Seems rather a crime to me really.

2 days after I went searching for a recording of the Maha and this came up in the search, I saw this story recommended on a fantasy read list on the Tor website. So I came back for it

Its a good story, plenty of intrigue, plenty of magic. First person narrative ALWAYS puts me off. Every wicked thought is worse and every kind thought sounds self- serving. For me, that means there cannot be love for a story, because I don't trust it.

The central idea is to tell the story from the woman's point of view... but I am not sure that she comes off as a genuine- to - period woman. If you enjoy considering issues like that, and I am just the sort of nerd who does, then this is worth your time. I did listen through, and that's not something that I can say for many first person audiobooks. Wish they would get a copy of the Mahabarhata- yeah I think that's right- then I would listen to this again.

The performance is terrific, couldn't be better

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Exotic melodrama

I can't help but think that I would have enjoyed this book much more if I had been familiar with the Hindu mythology upon which the events are apparently based. As it was, a fairly simple plot has been so embroidered with such an excess of baroque melodrama that the book became overly long, complex and ultimately, tedious. Except for the main characters, it was difficult to keep track of the many peripheral figures, at least in an audio format, an obstacle which was compounded by of the foreign-sounding names to a speaker of English. The writing is beautiful and the narration well-done. I would have liked to have enjoyed and to have learned more from this book, but unfortunately its over-saturated prose made that very difficult.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A meditation on the Mahabharata

I picked this up because I am a fan of the Indian classic, and it didn't disappoint. The narration complemented the story perfectly , and my heart was broken at the end. The story, told from Draupadi's perspective, fascinated and it serves as an enlightened counterpoint to the original text. I will be looking for more from this author, and from this narrator.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A good read

The story divulges from the original epic of Mahabharata on some instances. The narration was amazing. The story is beautiful, yet filled with sorrow and left me feeling sad

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

Not only is the story amazing, but the narrator’s work is too!! This is now one of my all time favorite books!! Just beautiful!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful wonderful wonderful

This is a fairy tale for adults. Entrancing to listen to this. I enjoyed every minute. A must listen for anyone interested in the Bagavad Gita, it will be entertaining even to people who didn't know they had an interest in Indian mythology. I'd recommend it to anyone.

6 people found this helpful