The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1)

4.0 (2)
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Release Date
February 27, 2018
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(Only 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 and a drooling 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 how she comes from a secret place not of this world.

To complicate matters, two crush-worthy princes ring her doorbell, insisting they've come 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 battle demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld and the Rakkhoshi Queen in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . .

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2 reviews
Who you are could be so much more.
(Updated: August 25, 2021)
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This excellent middle-grade novel was entertaining and perfect for 12-year-olds; as Kiran, our main character is 12 years old. Being raised by culturally different parents than her classmates makes her feel embarrassed and out of place. Her parents dress her as an Indian princess for Halloween and erect an elaborate snake pit around their house every year.

I like books that immerse me in a new culture. I don't know much about the case in the many references to the Bengali fairytale throughout the book. I may not know what a rakkhosh is, but I still got goosebumps whenever the rakkhosh made an appearance in the story. I think this book will open up your child's eyes to another world beyond the one they interact with every day. It may give them a bit of push to learn more about Bengali, fairy tales, and other cultures.
A great start to a new series, and I am eager to see what lies in the future for Kiran and her culturally different family. What will Kiran do now that she knows she truly is an Indian princess? Also, I loved the variety with the riddles and puns and thought my favorite side character was tuni the bird. Pick up the Serpents King in late February.
The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1)
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Rakkosh Attacks in New Jersey
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Kiranmala has always been irritated by her parents' insistance that she be an "Indian princess" for Halloween, since her life is anything but princess-like: her parents run a convenience store, and their house is the only run down one in the neighborhood. She enjoys hanging out with her friend Zuzu, but runs into some problems with a mean girl in her class, but that is of little consquence when she returns home to find her parents gone and a cryptic note left on Halloween night, which is also her 12th birthday.Things move quickly from there, with two boys, dressed as Indian princes, show up at her door. Neel and Lal are cute but annoying, but when a rakkhosh attacking her house! Luckily, the princes have swords as well as flying horses, and tell Kiran that her parents have been sucked into another dimension, and in order to rescue them, she needs to travel with them. They manage to get through the portal in the Kingdom Beyond, and go to the princes' palace. Unfortunately, Neel is the son of a demon, so even though he is older, Lal is the heir to throne. Due to Kiran's inexperience with their world, Lal and a friend of his are turned into gold and silver spheres by a demon, so Neel must rescue them while helping Kiran with her parents. There are lots of adventures, creatures to be fought, and secrets to discover along the way. There is a sample of the first chapter of the next book at the end of this one, but I can't find a title or date of publication.
Good Points
This had lots of action as well as demon snot. How can you go wrong with that? Kiran is a great character who doesn't want to be saved by the princes, and her acceptance of the fantasy world crashing down around her is realistic and humorous. I love that we are seeing more books with different mythologies. The notes about the traditional stories at the back of this book were very helpful.

I could have used a little more set up at the beginning, but middle grade readers will not mind the lack of build up as much as I did. I really wanted to know more about Zuzu and hope that she is able to join Kiran on an adventure!

This is an excellent fantasy adventure that I will be definitely purchasing for my school library. It will be great for readers who loved Armstrong's Loki's Wolves, Ursu's Chronus Chronicles, McCaughrean's retelling of Greek myths, and Lough's Fire Wish. This is not part of the new Rick Riordan Presents imprint from Disney Hyperion, but it's great to see Scholastic embracing a similar style of #ownvoices fantasy!
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