When I received this book, I was a little worried since it is exam season, and Rafflesia the Banished Princess looked like a rather long read. But, even though the book is quite thick one can finish it in a few hours.
Rafflesia the Banished Princess is a story about a person, from his boyhood to his adult life. And through this journey, we find ourselves in a path that we have travelled. Experiences, life’s lessons, the people we meet through this journey of life, our family, friends – all are responsible in some part for shaping our personality. And Rafflesia the Banished Princess takes care to portray all characters, no matter how small, rather well.
The book, Rafflesia the Banished Princess, is split into three parts – a prologue, book one and a very short book two. The prologue takes off brilliantly and then you are thrown into old memories. This style is used throughout the book – the to and fro between the past and the present. And somehow, it is not distracting but enhances the appeal of the story.
The story itself is, to put it plainly, about Appu’s life. It covers everything he has gone through in his life. Trials and tribulations; love and heartbreak; friendships – forgotten and abandoned; successes and failures – everything that has shaped the man is featured in this story. The truly remarkable thing about Rafflesia the Banished Princess is that all characters come with their own story. And Gautam has handled this very well, displaying well thought of characters and their tales. Plots and subplots are aplenty in this book as there are many characters and everyone, plays a part that is well written.
Appu himself is relatable. He is a kind and good person with a good support system around him. He often seems to be lost and withdrawn, an introvert. But, a few good friends are better than an entire posse for anyone. And that he has – Some who understand him more than himself and some who would lay their lives for him! Often we find Appu thinking back, when a certain incident triggers a memory, we go live the memory with him. And this is how we find ourselves experience Appu’s happiness, sorrow, heartbreak, desolation and hope.
Once you begin reading a book, you will definitely have a few favourite characters. It tends to happen with every book. But with Rafflesia the Banished Princess, there are so many well defined and crafted characters that one is spoilt for choice. Still, I do have my favourites. Rahul and Naanujaan are some of my favourites, other than Appu. Of course, everyone deserves a grandfather’s presence in their life but a good friend is an essential entity as well.
I could not possibly do justice to describing the entire plot of the story if I wanted to because the author has been thorough and done the job brilliantly. And so, I shall just say that it is the story of Appu – who he was, who he becomes and how. His life’s story is a fantastic read.
There are some incidents in the book that showcase human nature at its worst – selfishness, greed, jealousy etc. But then, there is plenty of text in Rafflesia the Banished Princess to prove that there are good human beings around us as well. We just need to take the time and effort to find them. There is definitely someone out there who wishes us well and thinks of us often.
Despite a few errors (which could have been avoided with diligence) Rafflesia the Banished Princess stands apart with its intricate storytelling and roller coaster of emotions in all of its pages. I definitely liked it!
I received a copy from Writersmelon in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.