Saturday, March 3, 2018

Review: The Serpent's Secret

Title: The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, #1)
Author: Sayantani DasGupta
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Page: 368
Genre: Fantasy
Review copy: ARC via publisher
Availability: On shelves now

Summary: Meet Kiranmala: Interdimensiional Demonslayer

(But she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish later that day and a rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories—like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess—and a wealth of secrets about her origin they've kept hidden.

To complicate matters, two crushworthy Indian princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’re here to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and slay demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld (who may or may not want to kill her) and the rakkhosh queen (who definitely does) in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…

Review: This book. With the very first sentence readers know this is going to be a wild ride. Kiranmala's birthday is described this way, "The day my parents got swallowed by a rakkosh and whisked away to another galactic dimension was a pretty crap-tastic day." If you are wondering, rakkosh are carnivorous, snot-trailing demons with horns, fangs, and talons who also happen to speak in rhyme. 

The Serpent's Secret is an amazing adventure with princes, flying horses, demon queens and more. Kiran is obviously astounded by this whole series of events, but she is not one to run away from a challenge. She jumps into the fray in spite of fears and with the help of her new friends she goes on a quest for her parents.

I loved Kiran's voice. She has a fabulous sense of humor and made me laugh over and over again. She has a fun way with words. When I would just say hurry up, she says things like, "Let's move it along, haven't got all night here. On a bit of a pre-apocalyptic deadline." She's also loyal to those she loves and will do just about anything for them. I am a fan.

Dasgupta provides a great author's note at the end that includes information about the traditional folktales that were inspiration for this story. They are tales from West Bengal, India and were the stories that Dasgupta heard as a child from her relatives when she visited. 

Recommendation: You will definitely want to get this book as soon as possible especially if you enjoy exciting adventures with plenty of humor. Kiranmala is fabulous and I can't wait to share her with students.

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