The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1)
INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMON SLAYER
(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 . .
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.
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!