Monday, March 5, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta

ARC, 338 pages
Release Date: February 27, 2018
Published by: Scholastic
Read from: February 28-March 3, 2018
Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, #1
Source: Publisher (I received a copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for a just and honest review. This did nothing to influence my review.
For fans of:  Fantasy, Mythology, Middle Grade, Sparkly Covers, LOL, Diversity, Action, Adventure, 

     (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…


     I'm not usually a huge fan of middle grade books, but I am drawn to all books about mythology. And the fact that this one has so many more things that I LOVED, I knew I needed to have this in my hands. I'm so glad I didn't look over this one. 
"Zuzu knew perfectly well that I was allergic to anything remotely prnicess-y."
pg. 7
    On her twelfth birthday Kiranmala finds out all the stories her parents have ever told her (no matter how weird they were) were true. She finds this out at the worst possible time: her parents are missing, she's being chased by a rakkhosh demon, and the two princes on her doorstep are super annoying. Unfortunately, those prices are the only things that can help her get her parents back. So she heads to another dimension to fight demons and avoid getting eaten by other demons.
"My head was spinning. Spells. Dimensions. Black holes. And my... expired spell scent? Like, eww!"
pg. 43
     I loved the writing style in this! When the synopsis said it was for fans of "Rick Riordan," I was a bit iffy because I LOVE Riordan. But let me tell you, Dasgupta has her own style and its wonderful. Kiran was a joy to read about and I loved being inside her head while on her adventures. 
"Don't be such a 2-D!"
pg. 56
     I also really loved the characters. Everyone knows that the tween stage where you're finding yourself is a bit awkward. Dasgupta did a great job in making Kiran feel like an authentic tween, Indian princess. For her to be in other dimensions and fighting Serpent Kings, she was still worried about things like boys and whether or not someone was upset with her. I loved that she was so REAL.
"Kik ri gi!" the creature crowed. It was suddenly looking much happrier. "Into my stomach with thee!"
pg. 71
     The only thing I thought was lacking was the world-building. I would have loved to know more details about the other dimension where she visited. It seemed that she was only telling us what the setting was exactly where Kiran was and I get that, but it would have been nice to tell us more about the Mountains and more about so many of the other places that are mentioned in this book. With the way the places where Kiran is is described, I expect the other places to be just as interesting as those places. I hope we get to see this in the next books in the series.
"My father won't care what you look like. Now, my stepmothers, that's another story. [...] Lal's mom and the other queens, they're kind of sticklers for how people dress and junk like that."
pg. 225
     This bow shooting Indian princess  stole my heart! I love her and I can't wait to see what else she does in her upcoming stories. Thank you Dasgupta for a MG princess of color! I can't wait to see what she does next in her purple boots and sari! 
Overall, I give this


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