The Serpent’s Secret
By Sayantani DasGupta
A fun middle grade adventure featuring a bull-headed 12-year-old female protagonist, Kiranmala. I really enjoyed the introduction to Bengali folklore as I am not familiar. I liked the world-building of the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers full of vibrant colors, magic, and shifting maps. I really enjoyed the comic relief of Tuntuni (the talking bird).
However, I didn’t connect well with the first person writing or the gibberish rhymes of the rakkhosh (demons), but the latter could be a lack of exposure to Bengali tales? I appreciated the character development of Kiranmala as I don’t think I would have finished the book if there were too many more snarky, mean, and downright cruel remarks. I did like the touch of astronomy incorporated to develop an intrigue on the subject.
By Paulo Coelho
Overall I didn’t mind the book or the message, but I think I would have liked it more if I read it 10 years ago. I was a little surprised that there was actually a material treasure to be found at the end, considering the religious tones carrying the entire book along. I enjoyed the audiobook narration while reading this short but predictable story.
Audiobook Performance: ★★★★½
The Daughter of the Pirate King
By Tricia Levenseller
I was really happy to find this book on the shelf shortly after visiting the Whydah Pirate Museum in West Yarmouth, MA. However, I quickly became bored with it after the initial excitement of finding not only a book quench a thirst for a story at sea, but also with a kickass female protagonist. I ended up putting it aside for months but I decided to give it another chance and finish it. I really wasn’t in the mood to read the first of a series for a new attempt at a YA paranormal romance that happens to take place at sea. I found Alosa to be mostly talk and very little action as the story progressed and when it really came time for action, she was a helpless damsel in distress.