This is such a beautiful, primordial story … the Adi Kavya, the first epic. I loved it. Despite its length (900 pages) it is very dynamic and contains a lot of philosophical teachings. The characters are archetypal, eternal (Rama, Sita, Hanuman) and the narrative is one that does not age. I developed such a love for Hanuman and for Sita … Yet, her suffering is heart-wrenching, the outcome of it, really sad. That is why I would not re-read it, and would not give it 5 stars. In The Mahabharata, Panchali (and womanhood) triumphs. In the Ramayana, it suffers beyond bounds.
I also did not understand the Rakshasa (a force of evil) character Ravana. His story is told after the abduction is resolved but it does not quite fit for me, he remains bookish, wordy and two-dimensional.
I still learned so much reading this … about Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, about love and desire, about loyalty and about engineering and magic. It was a brilliant read.