The Serpent's Secret - Sayantani DasGupta


(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 had this book on my desk for a little while already, and it kept calling to me, but things got in the way. Today, I had two flights of free time and I devoured this novel!! Holy crap, it's so much fun! I can't wait for the next words to come from the imagination of Sayantani DasGupta.

From a punny little bird, to a land of strange and miraculous occurrences, to a royal family with enough drama to rival Downton Abbey, DasGupta's narrative weaves a magical adventure for young readers, featuring one of the most kick-butt young women to grace a book cover in recent years. Kiran thinks everything is going normally for her, until her parents disappear and she is whisked away by two young princes who don't seem to fit in at all in New Jersey (and not just because of the flying horses they ride!) When she is forced to confront a history she knows almost nothing about and a murderous Snake King who may be her biological father, Kiran begins to understand just how much she has to learn.

In typical tween style, Kiran and the two princes banter humorously, fight at the slightest injustice, and hold grudges about as long as an ice cream cone lasts in the desert. The world that DasGupta builds is confusing, but not in a bad way; some of the lands literally change places on a whim and sometimes even show up where you least expect them. Kiran encounters a world where people might be demons, and demons might contain entire universes, and sometimes help can come from seemingly horrifying places.

This is a real gem of a story, and one that you won't soon forget! Get this one on your pre-order forms ASAP!

Highly Recommended

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out February 2018)


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