Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta

Just once Kiranmala would like to dress as something other than an Indian princess for Halloween.  All her life her parents have told her Indian stories full of demons and magical creatures and they have insisted that she is a princess and dressed her accordingly for Halloween.  On her twelfth birthday Kiranmala arrives home to find that her parents have vanished and there is a rakkhosh demon in her house, sent to eat her.  Two boys on flying horses arrive and whisk her away and Kiranmala now realizes that her parents' stories were true and she actually IS a real Indian princess.  With the help of the two brothers, their horses, a magical map, and an annoying, talking bird, Kiranmala sets out to find and rescue her parents.

This is a great mythological adventure for younger readers.  I have seen gushing reviews about it being the new Percy Jackson but I don't think that's going to be the case because kids are resistant to other mythologies and they have no background in Eastern folklore.  However, this book is a good introduction to that and there is plenty of action and comedy to keep them rolling along through the unfamiliar parts.  And also some gross bits with disgusting rakkhosh demons.  And some serious Daddy issues.  In fact, DasGupta hits all sorts of high points for early middle school readers which is part of what I didn't like so much about it - it felt a little too planned out and not as naturally evolving as I would've liked.  With that said, however, I still think it will be fun for my sixth graders which is why I plan to use it on my reading program for them next year. 

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