The Serpent’s Secret – Saturday’s Pick

The Serpent’s Secret – An Action-Packed Fantasy

The Serpent's Secret and Game of Stars are the first two books in this series.
The Serpent’s Secret is action-packed and laugh-out-loud funny.

I had some difficulty finding the perfect book for my granddaughter’s twelfth birthday. For sure, I wanted a book about a brown-skinned girl. It had to contain the action necessary to capture the attention of a sixth-grader. My goal was also to find a book filled with values and courage. It needed to be a book that would inspire my granddaughter to reach for the stars. The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani Dasgupta is just such a book.

From the very beginning, the book was laugh-out-loud funny. I have to admit; I even enjoyed the demon snot. (Warning: It’s everywhere!) The story contained monsters, princesses, and princes. This book is everything a pre-teen girl is looking for in a good read. Kiranmala is a delightfully created character. Also, she is courageous, respectful (most of the time) to her parents (who by-the-way aren’t her parents). She’s tenacious in her attempt to protect her family and friends.

So, when two princely young men from a different dimension show up to protect her from the rakkhosh demon (What’s that?) demolishing her childhood home in New Jersey, the adventure is on. Who are the people who raised her and who are her birth parents? How can she be human and have an unspeakable monster for a father?

I love how the author used Indian folklore to spin this story. Storytelling shared through the generations is becoming a lost art. I thank the author for being true to her native heritage. The author’s notes in the back of the book do an excellent job of explaining many of the myths used in the story. After reading it, I know you’ll want to pick up a copy for your middle-grade student right now.

The Serpent’s Secret Book Description

MEET KIRANMALA:
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. As it 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 to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . . .

Praise for The Serpent’s Secret:

“This is a series starter that rivals Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief. A breathtaking adventure.” — Booklist, starred review

“Will appeal to those who like their adventures fast and furious.” — School Library Journal, starred review

“A refreshing take on the hero’s quest…laugh-out-loud funny and extremely engaging.” — Kirkus Reviews

“Never a dull moment for our ordinary-girl-turned-demon-fighting-princess Kiranmala in this hilarious, action-packed romp. Also, there is snot. It’s, like, everywhere. This combination of crucial elements is everything I love in a book. A brilliant beginning to a fresh (and potentially sticky) new series!” — Lisa McMann, New York Times bestselling author of The Unwanteds

From the Author

Hi, I’m Sayantani DasGupta, author of the Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond. It’s a middle-grade fantasy series, which includes The Serpent’s Secret, Game of Stars, and the to-be-published Chaos Curse, as well as several other academic books.

I’m a pediatrician by training, but I teach now in a field called narrative medicine. As a child, I grew up hearing stories about brave princesses, bloodthirsty rakkhosh and flying pakkhiraj horses.

When I’m not writing, reading, or teaching I spend time watching cooking shows with my trilingual children. I also protect my dog, Khushi, from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. I’m a team member of We Need Diverse books

The Serpent's Secret is only one of the books this author has written.
Other Books by the Author

After You Read The Serpent’s Secret, You’ll Want to Continue with Game of Stars

Saving the multiverse is no game

So, when the Demon Queen shows up in her bedroom, smelling of acid and surrounded by evil-looking bees, twelve-year-old Kiranmala is uninterested. After all, it’s been weeks since she last heard from her friends in the Kingdom Beyond, the alternate dimension where she was born as an Indian princess. But after a call to action over an interdimensional television station and a visit with some all-seeing birds, Kiran decides that she has to once again return to her homeland, where society is fraying, a terrible game show reigns supreme, and friends and foes alike are in danger. Everyone is running scared or imprisoned following the enactment of sudden and unfair rules of law.

However, things are a lot less clear than the last time she was in the Kingdom Beyond. Kiran must once again solve riddles and battle her evil Serpent King father — all while figuring out who her true friends are, and what it means to be a hero.

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