TITLE: Rafflesia: The Banished Princess
PUBLISHER: Frog Books ( An Imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)
Now if you go purely by the title and believe it is one of those fantasy stories that children enjoy or one about a beautiful princess then you are in for a surprise. No it is something different, something where a book by the name just forms part of the protagonist Apurva’s life. So don’t be mislead. Look forward to something different, something new.
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 mesmerizing 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!
PLOT/ STORY-LINE:- ‘Rafflesia: The Banished Princess’ has more to do with the protagonist Apurva’s story than with that of a princess by the name. It is just a key to understanding the protagonist who attracts the attention of all he comes into contact with.
The plot/ story-line is interesting and throws up umpteen possibilities of understanding the protagonist. While to some he may come across as demure and one with a lack of confidence, to another he may come across as an sensitive person, soft and one with a heart of gold who is hesitant to take up challenges not due to lack of confidence but due to circumstances beyond his control. Whichever way you view him, you are sure to be intrigued by him.
As we turn the pages of the book we get an insight into the life of Appu aka Apurva right from childhood to adulthood. In fact the story oscillates back and forth between the two phases of his life i.e. childhood and adulthood his struggles, his friends, his family, the shaping of his personality, career and much more. The book is a sort of a psychological fiction that opens your eyes to certain realities, realities that those lucky not to have gone through the life such as that of Apuva, miss.
The plot holds immense potential and the author has done justice to it. Yes there are some areas that are confusing and one may have to go back and forth once in a while to understand certain things, but overall the story is interesting and engaging especially in the latter half.
The climax if you may say so again leaves room for various interpretations. It is open- ended so you can let your imagination take flight and weave your own story from where the author leaves. 🙂
There are twists that one may not anticipate and there are turns that at times are pleasant and bring a smile to your lips. There are also places that are sure to moisten your eyes. In short, the story of Apurva and those in his life are sure to move you.
Is there romance? No
Is there an element that hints at a thriller? No
Then what is it that appeals to the reader? I can’t put my finger on it, but I just know it is appealing.
CHARACTERIZATION: The main characters are well- developed with their imperfections. The quiet and sombre Apurva compliments the extrovert and boisterous Rahul. At times one comes across an innocent child in the adult Appu.
The characters of Misha, Trina, Sujata and Abair are also well- fleshed out.
Is there any one character with whom I’d like to have got acquainted more? Yes, that of Amala. I feel her character had more potential.
LANGUAGE: – Simple and easy to understand.
EDITING:- Needs to be tightened. A few grammatical errors and typos here and there act as stumbling blocks that need to be cleared before the book goes in for a reprint.
An interesting read but…. before you pick it up, let me warn you it is not a short read. The book is one of around four hundred pages. I’ll give the book 3 on a scale of 5.