The Serpent’s Secret’
By Sayantani Dasgupta
Book One in the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publish Date: March 2018
Series: Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond (Book #1)
Genre: Middle grade Fantasy
Purchase Locations: Book Depository Booktopia Amazon Audible Dymocks
MEET KIRANMALA: INTERDIMENSIONAL 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.
This was a story I thoroughly enjoyed from beginning to end. I am a huge fan of both middle grade novels and mythology so this was a book I devoured. I loved learning about the Serpent King, the Moon Goddess, the Rakkhosh and Tuntuni.
The heroine of our story could not be a more perfect representation of a strong and smart female character, perfect for this age group. She is willing to trust but is weary of placing all of her confidence into others, including two boys whose job it is to protect her.
Kiranmala is a fantastic and diverse character, along with the other secondary cast of the book. Her best friend Zuzu is a Greek immigrant and her family are also immigrants to the USA. I love that this allows a broader group of middle grade readers to connect to at least one character.
Throughout the story I was on the edge of my seat, constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next. With exciting characters being introduced from different Hindu myths I was excited to meet and learn about them all.
This book is an amazing read for anyone looking for a diverse mythological read. It will definitely not disappoint and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.
Neelkamal and Kiranmala, heed my warning well
Your families will crumble, your life an empty shell
Unless you find the jewel in evil’s hidden room
Cross ruby seas full of love beneath dark red moon
In a monster’s arms be cradled and cross the desert wide
In the Mountains of Illusions find a wise man by your side
On a diamond branch, a golden bird must sing a blessed song
Follow brother red and sister white, but not a moment too long
If your heart’s fountain, set the pearly waters free
Let the golden branch grow from the silver tree
The magical bird’s every song will shower bliss on you
Ease of reading: 8/10
Character Development: 8/10
World Building: 8/10
Quality of Writing: 8/10