The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series #1)

The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series #1)

by Sayantani DasGupta

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(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. 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 in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781338185720
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date: 02/27/2018
Series: Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series , #1
Sold by: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 49,238
File size: 20 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Sayantani DasGupta is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed, Bengali folktale and string theory-inspired Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond books, the first of which -- The Serpent’s Secret -- was a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Best Middle Grade Novel of the 21st Century, and an EB White Read Aloud Honor Book. Sayantani is a pediatrician by training, but now teaches at Columbia University. When she's not writing or reading, Sayantani spends time watching cooking shows with her trilingual children and protecting her black Labrador retriever Khushi from the many things that scare him, including plastic bags. She is a team member of We Need Diverse Books, and can be found online at and on Twitter at @sayantani16.

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The Serpent's Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
erika Madden 4 months ago
Sataring a great female lead. you will not want to miss out!
YoungMensanBookParade More than 1 year ago
No great story ever starts without a feisty, dauntless leader and The Serpent’s Secret is no exception. Kiranmala is a regular sixth-grader living in a rickety fixer-upper house with skeletal hedges and raggedy trees in Parsippany, New Jersey. There is an emphasis on Indian culture in her home. From saris to sweet rasgollas to folk tales, Kiran’s parents are the definition of diversity, but to Kiran, they are also the definition of unusual. They always dressed her as an Indian princess for Halloween which also happened to be her birthday that she finds very odd. In a strange twist of fate, on her twelfth birthday, her parents disappear. They are swallowed by a rakkhosh demon and sent to another dimension. Two Indian princes, Neel and Lalkamal, who are from another dimension come to help Kiran rescue her parents. This alternate dimension is known as the Kingdom Beyond the Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers. It’s a whimsical world of wonder, lush valleys intersected by several rivers, talking birds, beautiful castles with spires studded with precious gems and carved decorations. There are also demon lands, wells of dark energy, kingdom of serpents, and black holes there. In her quest to find her parents, Kiran learns the truth about her birth and her biological parents. Neel is the oldest of two brothers, has a special secret of his own that will trigger many enticing revelations in this book. Kiran’s discovery of this secret sets the story in overdrive, creating twists and turns of adventure, from interdimensional demon slaying to stealing the Python Jewel from the Serpent Kingdom! She discovers a dark secret about the Serpent Kingdom and the scar on her arm. Along with some help from Neel and Lal, Kiran displays traits of what it takes to be a fearless princess. She inspires all girls to rise against all odds and achieve the impossible by pursuing this quest till the end and not giving up on those who love her. The Serpent’s Secret is the first book in the fantasy fiction series written by Sayantani Dasgupta and is a must read for 8-year old’s and above. Desiring to be “normal” is an internal conflict faced by Kiran in this story. I think this is very relatable for kids coming from immigrant families, as the value of being unique is a theme reflected throughout this book. Trying to balance two different cultures at home and at school is not easy for a middle school girl. All these moments have been fantastically narrated by the author in this book. There is also a lot to learn from this book about Indian culture and folklore, which will provide some perspective to those needing more exposure to diversity. There are vivid descriptions about the parts of the setting, such as the palace and bazaar, which resemble those of India. I enjoyed reading about the studded, glassy jewels and the golden spires of Neel’s palace and the exotic smells of the food and spices of the bazaar. The imagery brought me back to India while reading this book. There are several riddles in the book that I enjoyed solving as the story developed. These are the reasons why I give The Serpents Secret 5 stars. Kiranmala has me on the edge of my seat for the rest of the series! Sonika M, 14, Metropolitan Washington Mensa
AthenaFreyaG More than 1 year ago
THIS IS THE MG FANTASY I'VE WANTED TO READ SINCE I WAS A CHILD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It features a mythology that I haven't read about before, and the world building is so immersive and full of life. The heroine, Kiranmala or aka Kiran, is a fierce girl who makes mistakes and learns from them, who is brave and clever and resourceful. She's the girl I wanted to read about when I was a kid. If you love any of Rick Riordan's books or any books published by his imprint, then this is the book for you. I can't imagine a better role model for young girls and boys. Not to mention that the world is so addictive and well-written with Indian mythology and folklore shining brighter than the sun. Don't hesitate even for a second to buy this book. THIS IS THE MG BOOK WE ALL MUST READ! I can't wait for book two to be released. 5 stars aren't enough for this one, not by a long shot. This is the best MG I've read in a long time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Because i'ts Mystery I'm in - This Girl Loves Mystery
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
I'm not usually a huge fan of middle grade books, but I am drawn to all books about mythology. And the fact that this one has so many more things that I LOVED, I knew I needed to have this in my hands. I'm so glad I didn't look over this one. On her twelfth birthday Kiranmala finds out all the stories her parents have ever told her (no matter how weird they were) were true. She finds this out at the worst possible time: her parents are missing, she's being chased by a rakkhosh demon, and the two princes on her doorstep are super annoying. Unfortunately, those prices are the only things that can help her get her parents back. So she heads to another dimension to fight demons and avoid getting eaten by other demons. I loved the writing style in this! When the synopsis said it was for fans of "Rick Riordan," I was a bit iffy because I LOVE Riordan. But let me tell you, Dasgupta has her own style and its wonderful. Kiran was a joy to read about and I loved being inside her head while on her adventures. I also really loved the characters. Everyone knows that the tween stage where you're finding yourself is a bit awkward. Dasgupta did a great job in making Kiran feel like an authentic tween, Indian princess. For her to be in other dimensions and fighting Serpent Kings, she was still worried about things like boys and whether or not someone was upset with her. I loved that she was so REAL. The only thing I thought was lacking was the world-building. I would have loved to know more details about the other dimension where she visited. It seemed that she was only telling us what the setting was exactly where Kiran was and I get that, but it would have been nice to tell us more about the Mountains and more about so many of the other places that are mentioned in this book. With the way the places where Kiran is is described, I expect the other places to be just as interesting as those places. I hope we get to see this in the next books in the series. This bow shooting Indian princess stole my heart! I love her and I can't wait to see what else she does in her upcoming stories. Thank you Dasgupta for a MG princess of color! I can't wait to see what she does next in her purple boots and sari!
Nobonita-TheBengaliNomad More than 1 year ago
** I received an Advanced Readers Copy from Scholastic Press in exchange for an honest review.** The Serpent’s Secret is a middle-grade fantasy adventure story. It is also an immigrant story, of a Bengali(Indian)-American girl trying to fit in between two cultures. I've only been living in the U.S. for three years, and even I have an identity crisis every now and then. Therefore I can’t imagine what this would be like for someone having cope with balancing two cultures throughout her life. And as a heroine in her pre-teens, Kiranmala portrays this common dilemma reasonably well. Furthermore, gone are the days where the phrase “prince charming” is only synonymous with the image of a handsome man with blonde hair and blue eyes. In Kiranmala’s story, a prince charming can also be a desi boy in a silk turban. I know I’ve mentioned this before but may I just mention one more time about HOW MUCH I wish I had this book during my early teens? Back when I thought that I’d outgrown tales of Rakkhoshes and tuntuni? Even if one is unfamiliar with Bengal’s folktales and culture, I really hope that they pick up The Serpent’s Secret and (more importantly) enjoy it because this book is a vivid renovation of my childhood tales. Also, the end of the book contains some detailed information on the sources of these folklore characters (so that no one is left in the dark regarding the context behind the story-building). Kiranmala is a strong and feisty female lead whom I couldn’t be more proud of. But the attraction she feels towards the princes shows that a strong personality doesn’t condemn feeling attraction towards the opposite gender. One does not have to cancel out the other. This, for me was a very important aspect of the story. Considering the target audience, the concept of desiring another was well incorporated into a fun and adventurous plot. The Serpent’s Secret also contains some good humor to please its readers. From references like ridiculous desi ads to common American middle-schooler dilemmas, its humor creates a bridge between two cultures. Here are some of my favourites (Please note: Quotes taken from an Advanced Copy and may slightly vary in the final copy of the book): On poking fun at government repulsion of undocumented immigrants: “Those upstanding royalty, citizens, animals, and demons holding papers (this way) While the second said: All the rest of you good for nothing undocumented scoundrels (this way)” On poking fun at desi commercials: Lazy? A slowpoke? Running from a rakkhosh? Try Mr. Madan Mohan’s motivational motion device! (PATENT PENDING) Also, did I mention how much the occasional “Hau!! Mau!! Khau!!” made me smile? Back when I was a child baba (my father) would come home from work and yell “Hau!! Mau!! Khau!! Manusher gondho pau!!” in a scary voice and this would make me squeal in delight! “Hau!! Mau!! Khau!!” has no particular meaning; it is considered to be the scary sound that a rakkhosh makes. “Manusher gondho pau!!” on the other hand, means that “I smell human flesh!!” So basically, it’s a typical rakkhosh punchline. Final verdict: This is an amazing story: it is well written and has some fascinating world building in it. And hopefully once it's out, it will generate a new fandom. I am counting on everyone who reads this book to convert into an avid #Neelkamala , the details of which you’ll have to find out **by reading the book**. Once you’ve read i
BarbGogan More than 1 year ago
IF YOU LOVE PERCY JACKSON, YOU WILL LOVE THIS! I am a K-5 school librarian and got this weeks early from our Scholastic Book Fair. I devoured it in one sitting and loved it! We have 2 copies (which we only do for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rick Riordan books, etc.) and both have long waiting lists. If you have a child that likes Percy Jackson (mythologically-based fantasy with a strong dose of middle school humor), they will LOVE this book! So far we have had more boys read it than girls (in case you still wonder if boys will read a book with a female main character) and all my students have been enthusiastically recommending it to their peers. If you have Desi kids, you may want to let them read it first! Can't wait for the 2nd installment!