Monday, October 17, 2022

The Forgotten Palace and the betrayed prince by Shalini Ranjan (Book Review: 4.5*/5) !!!


27th Book of 2022


I remember reading Shalini Ranjan’s book named “The Imperfect Deception” just 3 months back. As I had liked how she had balanced the story and most of her thoughts synched up with mine in terms of issues like marriage and parenting, I didn’t take much time in ordering her new book on Kindle named “The Forgotten Palace and the betrayed prince” which released just 2 weeks ago on my birthday- 4th October. This 365-pages book has a tagline - “A time travel romantic fantasy”. Frankly speaking, I get very scared when I see a book mentioning its story based on fantasy-related elements because there have been instances when I could never relate with author’s imagination. Another factor – time-traveling as a concept can be very tough to understand hence, I was again skeptic about how easy it would be for me as a reader to go through this.


I must tell you – Shalini’s writing style made both these elements so easy for me that I could very easily read such a long book without getting confused. The treatment given to these complex structures of storytelling and concept tells you about the author’s vision while writing the book. I must also specially mention how beautiful her command over English language is. The way she forms her sentences – the word she uses to define her characters or their expressions – the size of paragraphs – the ease in the conversation between different characters – everything has been articulated very nicely. Both- author and editor should be credited for the same. I could not find typos in the book which is generally not the case with Kindle and self-published books.


The character of Priya is given a very proper description that you are able to understand her at every juncture of the story. Her decisions, confusions, stands are not an easy-going thing but the way her character is established makes you empathize with her and you stand besides her throughout the story. Her relationship with her granny, friend Anjali and Simran, Arnav, Satya, Devyani, Mansukh, Siddeshwar, in-laws are dealt very significantly where you are able to comprehend her connection with them well enough. Even though the story is written in a form where you might feel it’s a love triangle which involves Priya, Arnav and Satya but the time-traveling concept makes the reading experience very fresh and distinct.


In the 1st half, there’s a confusion as to how the character of Priya time-traveling between two different eras – in 15th Century and 21st century but it eventually becomes crystal clear with the way author starts unveiling things. I started enjoying the unsaid explanations as I wanted to understand if this is really happening or author will give it a psychological disorder turn at the end of the book. Also, the time-traveling aspect makes the love story interesting as you know that the protagonist will have to choose one of the two eras for her future and which one would she go with. And in case she chooses both – how is it going to become a possibility. Author has kept such surprising factors wrapped very strategically and its only in the final pages where everything gets confirmed to you.


There are many beautiful philosophical statements included along with the story that will stay with you as a perspective. There are couple of intimate scenes in the book and I must say that they are very sensuously written. You will crave for someone while reading it. Every scene is handled so differently than the other tells about the author’s writing prowess about how she can give the same thing different treatment every time. Shalini also ensures that she covers the new-age romance and its issues very effectively. How exes come back in life and make your current relationship problematic. How it becomes bit difficult for the girl to adjust after marriage with in-laws and new rules and regulations. How the expectations in relationship change after marriage. How loyalty and infidelity are another issue which raises trust issues after which marriage never remains to be the same. How having friends is so important at every step of your life as you need someone in whom you can confide. There are many such guiding factors in the story that will make you feel as if you are also getting to learn about life along with it.


The whole 15th century aspect is nicely dealt with – showing a very rich family who are living in palace with all the luxuries lying around them. The whole family politics and issue are structured well. The way Priya gets accommodated in their story while time-traveling and the way the character from the current life is connected with this family is very nicely scripted. I just felt problems with the name of the characters. Most of them start with D and it becomes tough to remember who is who in case you are not reading the book in one or two sittings. I wish if author could have given unique names to make it easy to remember.


Overall, this book is a very fresh read and I haven’t read anything like this before. I have become fan of Shalini Ranjan’s writing after this and I must say, she is someone who needs lot of attention and appreciation for her work. Read synopsis of every book written by her and not a single story has an easy-going plot. There’s some out-of-the-world element in every book. I give this particular book 4.5 stars out of 5. Yes- because of great story – and – the way author kept the book a perfect page-turner without a single boring chapter even when the book is 350+ pages. Recommended!






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