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The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta


“In the name of the Garden State Parkway, how many times do I have to tell you guys?” I jogged down the front steps. “For the last time already, I am not a princess!”

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta is the first book in a new middle grade fantasy series called Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond. I’m not sure how many books the series will end up being. There’s not much information out since this book barely came out at the end of February, but there will definitely be a book two.

This is an ownvoices novel with an all Indian cast that draws from many different folktales and children’s stories from West Bengal, India. I knew that from simply reading the novel, but in the author notes at the end Dasgupta lists the different stories she used. The number that she layered together along with all the science elements was seamless, and created a rich world that I’m sad to have to leave now.

Kiranmala has grown up being told all her life she’s an exiled princess. She doesn’t believe her parents until her twelfth birthday when they disappear, two princes appear on flying horses to help, and a demon smashes through her kitchen. Even then, she’s slightly skeptical, but determined to do whatever she has to in order to get her parents back.

The whole story reminded me of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan, but I think I connected to Kiran and Neel and Lal even faster than with Percy and Annabeth. They were all so real, and their relationships and inner struggles were so complicated and well done while remembering their young ages.

I loved this book if that wasn’t obvious. I could gush more about it, but I think I’ll end it here so you can go out and get it yourself even quicker. I’ll be waiting anxiously for any news about book two.

5 stars