So far (as usual), I’m doing a better job of keeping up with reading than reviewing for my #CybilsReadDown challenge. I have Charlotte of Charlotte’s Library to thank for the Advanced Reader’s Copy of this again, though it came out at the beginning of March and is now generally available .
The Chaos Curse. Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond Book 3 by Sayantani DasGupta. Scholastic, 2020. 978-1338355895. Audiobook on hoopla; ebook and audiobook on Libby.
This book picks up right where the last book, Game of Stars, left off. Kiran hopes she’s going to be celebrated as a hero for freeing Neel and outwitting her father, the serpent king Sesha. Unfortunately… not so much. Sesha is trying to take over the world, and Neel’s father the raja has run away. With crown prince Lal trapped in another dimension, that leaves Neel to be crowned raja. Does he even want that, and will it change his relationship with Kiran?
There’s not much time to ponder, as Sesha’s megalomania now involves merging all the stories of the world into one unified storyline. That means that even in the Kingdom Beyond, familiar characters from Bengal legends that Kiran and her team meet keep flickering out and being overwritten by characters from the Brothers Grimm or other Western stories. And why are there blue butterflies everywhere?
Even as Kiran worries that her friends will soon forget who they are in the face of this, Kiran sets off with the obnoxious and jokey bird Tuntuni and a new companion, an erudite and gender-neutral tiger named Bunty, through an intergalactic clothes dryer of a wormhole to rescue her friend Prince Lal. But did the wormhole even take her to the right version of reality?
As in previous books, the action is nonstop, there’s a great edge of humor, but also a lot of underlying deeper thoughts about prejudice and the importance of diversity. Kiran has to come to terms with her own underlying prejudice against rakkhosh in general and Neel’s mother in particular, even though she has some good friends who are rakkhosh. Action-driven books are, as I’ve said before, not my thing in general, but Kiranmala has won me over. There’s enough snarky feminist and diversity-driven values, plus my general interest in world folk tales, to keep this a series I want to follow. Also, my daughter is a big fan – she listened to it on hoopla as soon as it came out, and got partway through reading again in print – and she loves for us to be able to talk about the series. Give this, still, to fans of the Rick Riordan Presents books.