I picked it up primarily because I was intrigued by its title, and must say I wasn't disappointed a bit! The plot is a fine blend of a completely fictional story &characters along with the famous characters from Mahabharata (which again is debatable if it is fiction or not). The author almost crosses over the fine line of historically charged tales and characters that you have grown up believing and listening to from Mahabharata, and mixes it with a completely make- believe new set of characters and plots, that it leaves you forgetting what is what and makes you absorb in the entire story as it is.
The story explores stereotypical "roles" each gender carries out to adhere to the society one lives in, and questions how the classification of being a male or a female gets altered or is affected when one assumes the role of a gender other than, that of yours.
Dont ask how, but King Yuvanashva gives birth to his son, but that makes him a father or mother?
After queen Shilavati's husband dies, she takes over and rules the kingdom justly and fairly and never lets her kingdom feel the absence of a true king for years. But does that mean she can be called a king?
Shikhandi once a woman, borrows a man's genitals from a yakhsa to prove to her newly wedded wife that she is a man. But what is Shikandi truly? A man or a woman?!
There are many such bizarre twisted situations and plots that is thrown in between the length of the book, that is supposed to leave one thinking.. so what IS it that really makes up for one's gender-construction...(which, I dont think is very pleasant thing to do!) is it the physical attributes, or is defined by the responbilities ones plays out, or is it all "in the mind" after all.. :-p.
Whatever it is, frankly I dont think the book is supposed to be all thought- provoking or even is a story that you will want to remember and re- tell to your grand children one day!!!!!!!!
Nevertheless, it is an interesting read and a book that I would say is a pleasure to own.