Monday, December 11, 2017

Middle Grade Monday: Arc Review: The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta. Illustrated by Vivienne To. Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1. 368 p.Scholastic Press/ Scholastic Inc., February 27, 2018. (Review of arc received courtesy of publisher)

Twelve-year-old Kiranmala goes to sixth grade in Parsippany, New Jersey, has the misfortune of having Halloween as her birthday, and is regularly embarrassed by her immigrant parents, who insist on loudly discussing her fiber intake and insists that she is really an Indian princess. When she returns home from school on Halloween expecting to celebrate her birthday, she finds her parents are missing. They have left a curious birthday card though. It contains foreign money and some sort of map along with instructions not to try to find them. She settles in to an evening of handing out candy to trick-or-treaters when two boys about her age ring the bell. She's confused when they call her princess and seem to think she should know them. They want her to come with them. She just wants to find her parents. She's convinced to go with them when a giant, snot-spewing monster destroys her house and tries to eat her.

It seems Kiranmala really is an Indian princess and her twelfth birthday was the expiration date of the spell protecting her from her father, the Serpent King. She travels to a parallel universe with the two princes and finds she needs to rely on her wits as well as the many Bengali folktales her parents plied her with throughout her childhood. 

This debut and series starter hits the ground running and doesn't let up. A kick-ass heroine + epic world-building + snarky and hilarious dialogue = one memorable ride! Fresh, funny and relatable, give this to your Percy Jackson fans whom you want to branch out to other mythologies. I have quite a few fans of Sarwat Chadda's Ash Mistry trilogy who will love this. Really, any reader looking for fast-paced adventure and laughter will gobble this whole.

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