BOOK REVIEW OF- Rafflesia: The Banished PrincessBy- GAUTAM

BOOK REVIEW OF- Rafflesia: The Banished Princess


•       Paperback: 397 pages
•       Publisher: Leadstart Publishing Private Limited; First edition (20 March 2017)
•       Language: English
•       ISBN-10: 9352017161
•       ISBN-13: 978-9352017164


“Rafflesia: The Banished Princess”
The curtains draw up. Lights are dimmed. The musical is about to
begin. As the beautiful princess descends on stage, the mythical
creatures from her kingdom come alive. Flickers of brilliant colours
blaze across as mesmerising music pulsates from one corner of the
theatre to the other. A fairy tale is about to unfold…

As young children, we often come across things that stay in our hearts
forever. For Appu, it is a fairy tale about a beautiful princess. He
lives with her in a world filled with the magical creatures from her
kingdom until the real world beckons. A reluctant Appu steps into it
as a striking young man and struggles to find his place.

What follows is an evocative tale of love and loss, friendship and
betrayal, as the story travels through the snow-peaked mountains of
Arunachal to the golden deserts of Jaisalmer, the tulip gardens of
Holland to the lush greens of Kerala. Does Appu find what he had set
out for? The answer lies in Rafflesia — The Banished Princess because
in her story, lay his!”


Rafflesia is usually a parasitic plant which lacks chlorophyll and
bears a single very large flower which smells of carrion, native to
Malaysia and Indonesia. But the author very beautifully uses a
metaphor to describe his title amalgamating both Rafflesia and the
banished princess. The cover and the title gives us a hint that Fairy
tales are not our escape from reality as a child; rather, they are our
reality — for mine was a world in which good and evil were not
abstract concepts, and like fairy-tale heroines, no magic would save
me unless I had the wit and heart and courage to use it wisely. I
remember a quote which stated that the fairy tale, which to this day
is the first tutor of children because it was once the first tutor of
mankind, secretly lives on in the story. The first true storyteller
is, and will continue to be, the teller of fairy tales. Whenever good
counsel was at a premium, the fairy tale had it, and where the need
was greatest, its aid was nearest. This need was created by myth. The
fairy tale tells us of the earliest arrangements that mankind made to
shake off the nightmare which myth had placed upon its chest. Its
absolutely true that Once upon a time fairy tales were told to
audiences of young and old alike. It is only in the last century that
such tales were deemed fit only for small children, stripped of much
of their original complexity, sensuality, and power to frighten and
delight. Rafflesisa revolves around a beautiful plot keeping the theme
of fairy tale and childhood in the backdrop.


You know, it’s pretty easy reading this book to see why I was angry
and confused for all those years. I lived my life being told different
stories: some true, some lies and I still don’t know which is which.
Children are born innocent. At birth we are very much like a new hard
drive – no viruses, no bad information, no crap that’s been downloaded
into it yet. It’s what we feed into that hard drive, or in my case
“head drive” that starts the corruption of the files. Appu’s character
in the plot beautifully demonstrates that we all start out knowing
magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside
us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our
destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right
out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and
combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow and told to be
responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And
you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling
were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew
made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in them.
Another aspect which the book demonstrates is fairy tale and
imagination. There’s a flame of magic inside every stone & every
flower, every bird that sings & every frog that croaks. There’s magic
in the trees & the hills & the river & the rocks, in the sea & the
stars & the wind, a deep, wild magic that’s as old as the world
itself. It’s in you too, my darling girl, and in me, and in every
living creature, be it ever so small. Even the dirt I’m sweeping up
now is stardust. In fact, all of us are made from the stuff of stars.
We plan our lives according to a dream that came to us in our
childhood, and we find that life alters our plans. And yet, at the
end, from a rare height, we also see that our dream was our fate. It’s
just that providence had other ideas as to how we would get there.
Destiny plans a different route, or turns the dream around, as if it
were a riddle, and fulfils the dream in ways we couldn’t have
Appu’s journey of growing up was very beautifully conveyed through the
book. When you’re born a light is switched on, a light which shines up
through your life. As you get older the light still reaches you,
sparkling as it comes up through your memories. And if you’re lucky as
you travel forward through time, you’ll bring the whole of yourself
along with you, gathering your skirts and leaving nothing behind,
nothing to obscure the light. But if a Bad Thing happens part of you
is seared into place, and trapped for ever at that time. The rest of
you moves onward, dealing with all the todays and tomorrows, but
something, some part of you, is left behind. That part blocks the
light, colours the rest of your life, but worse than that, it’s alive.
Trapped for ever at that moment, and alone in the dark, that part of
you is still alive.
Rafflesia is story which says that growing up is never straight forward.
There are moments when everything is fine, and other moments where you
realize that
there are certain memories that you’ll never get back, and certain
people that are going to change, and the hardest part is knowing that
there’s nothing you can do except watch them. Even a flower looks
bright and beautiful, it’s parasitic. Such is life. We grow up.
Planets like Tiny get new moons. Moons like me get new planets.





And lastly the novel will force you to say your childhood that ‘I
won’t ever leave you, even though you’re always leaving me.’


Overall I would like to rate the book 42 on a scale of 50.
4 stars out of 5
1.      Originality of the plot and sub plots- 8/10
2.      Net emotions in the story- 9/10
3.      Usage of words and phrases-8/10
4.      The title, cover and the illustration-9/10
5.      The net impact on the readers- 8/10

Reviewed by-
Sayan Basak

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