The Chaos Curse, by Sayantani DasGupta

The Chaos Curse, by Sayantani Dasgupta (middle grade, Scholastic, March 3 2020) is the third book of Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond, and it's just as wild and exciting a ride as its predecessors!

Kiran doesn't get a chance to stop and catch a breath after her last adventures, but must rush home to Parsippany New Jersey to save Prince Lal, who is imprisoned in a tree in the back yard of her sworn enemy from middle school.  There are a few other things on her mind, too, most notably the fact that her evil serpent king father and Prince Neel's mother, the demonic queen of the Rakkhosh, are about to get married, and the odd appearance of stories that don't belong in the Kingdom Beyond.  Winnie-the-Pooh and Piglet are the harbingers of a larger unraveling, one that's being ironically being caused by the Serpent King's determination to make everything part of a single story.

But chaos is an essential part of all the universes, and Kiranmala finds herself one of its chief defenders.  With an enigmatic prophecy from her moon mother, and the occasional appearance of Albert Einstein, to guide her, she whirls through a maze of dangers and stories (including a dragon from Norse mythology....) that untimely takes her and Neel on a visit into the past.  And in her travels she realizes at the heart of her mother's prophecy, and the best weapon against the dangers of a single story, is love.

Wow.  This book is so fast-paced, and so full of sensory heft (extraordinarily vivid images, tastes, sounds), that after reading it I felt like I'd been at a party lit by flashing lights with music playing that you can't help but dance to.  Readers who love this sort of story will not be disappointed!  The Bangladeshi stories from which Sayantani DasGupta draws inspiration make it fresh and wonderful to those not familiar with them, and I imagine make it warm and delightful to those who are.

There's lots of humor, lots of magic, and there's even a nice bit of pro-tolerance message presented through the angle of the Rakkhosh/human divide being lessened by friendship, and the whole business all the stories of the world being crammed into one master story.  On a lighter note, there's even a bit of middle school friendship drama, and a bit of age appropriate crushing and angsting for those who are fond of those real-world elements in their fantasy.

Not my own personal cup of tea (I'm not a bright lights, lots of action person), but the warm and moving ending closed the story with a blanket of peace that let me take a breath and appreciate the whole thing.  It's.an excellent ending point (for now? I'm not sure) to this great series!

disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher

1 comment:

  1. Wow! There is really a lot going on here! Thanks for telling me about this one.


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