ARC Review: The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff

“A young Indian woman finds the false rumors that she killed her husband surprisingly useful–until other women in the village start asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands–in this razor-sharp debut.”

The Bandit Queens blurb

Title: The Bandit Queens
Author: Parini Shroff
Genre: Literary
Pages: 352 (Kindle)
Publication Date: January 17th, 2023

My Rating: ★★ ¾
Read: 7/8/2022 – 7/9/2022


Full disclosure, I have no knowledge of the real-life aspects of this story portrayed in this book. I think if it was something I was well-versed in I might have enjoyed it a bit more. The things I didn’t like about the book are a total preference thing as opposed to the book itself.

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but I was drawn to the cover and the summary given had me hooked. While the book lived up to it, I just had a really difficult time getting into it. It’s a more aggressive plot than I like, which again, is something I might have realized if I’d known the origins of the story. It was definitely interesting. I’d be curious to look into the history more before looking through a fictional lens.

Aside from the plot, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. The dialogue flowed nicely, however, the amount of italicized words became a major distraction for me. The emphasis ended up getting lost. I didn’t mind it so much when explaining new words and culture but in the regular flow of things, it became irksome.

I’m glad I gave it a go. I can see it becoming a popular book upon its release. I certainly learned something and was able to immerse myself in another culture for a little while which is always enjoyable.

Thanks to NetGalley and Ballentine Books/Random House for providing me with a free ARC copy to read and review.

Likes & Dislikes:

What I liked:

  • Inclusion of Hindi words. It added a lot to the atmosphere of the book.
  • The plot. A woman in Geeta’s position makes for an action-packed story.
  • The wit. For as dark as some of the themes and scenes were, there was a good balance of levity.
  • The cover art! It has the same vibe of the 1960s film Charade‘s opening credits.

What I didn’t like:

  • Some brutal scenes. I half-expected them but it ended up being more than I could take at the time of reading.
  • Heavy language. Just not my thing.
  • As I mentioned in my main review, the overuse of italicized words. I’m all for it as an illustration or moment of emphasis (and in the case of this book, singling out the Hindi words), but there were italicized words on nearly every page and it lost all meaning.


I’m kind of bummed I didn’t really enjoy this, but I had no expectations to begin with since it’s something fairly different from what I usually read. I didn’t hate it, so that’s always good! I’d read another book from this author again.

Where to buy the book:

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