Title: Kiki Kallira Breaks A Kingdom
Author: Sangu Mandanna
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Page Count: 352
Published by: Viking Books for Young Readers
Date Published: July 6, 2021
You can find it here: Amazon, Bookshop.org
Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier. Did she lock the front door? Is there a terrible reason her mom is late? Recently her anxiety has been getting out of control, but one thing that has always soothed her is drawing. Kiki’s sketchbook is full of fanciful doodles of the rich Indian myths and legends her mother has told her over the years.
One day, her sketchbook’s calming effect is broken when her mythological characters begin springing to life right out of its pages. Kiki ends up falling into the mystical world she drew, which includes a lot of wonderful discoveries like the band of rebel kids who protect the kingdom, as well as not-so-great ones like the ancient deity bent on total destruction. As the one responsible for creating the evil god, Kiki must overcome her fear and anxiety to save both worlds–the real and the imagined–from his wrath. But how can a girl armed with only a pencil defeat something so powerful?
This is such an amazing middle grade fantasy, that although it has all the “typical” fantasy elements – magic, new worlds, an eclectic cast of young characters, and a “big bad”, Kiki Kallira reads wholly new and unique.
The writing is smooth, smart, and the plotting is perfectly paced for a read that is very difficult to put down! With a strong focus and discussion on anxiety, this middle grade elevates itself by bringing great insights and conversations to middle grade readers, many of whom are experiencing similar emotions to Kiki in these pandemic times. Kiki is relatable, flawed, kind, and you root for her every step of the way.
Imaginative, funny, and compelling, this delightful middle grade features a great core group – The Crow Club – of extremely likeable, fully realized characters that shine with their own unique voices. From kindly, talking lions, magical palaces, Gods and beings of Indian mythology, Kiki Kallira Breaks A Kingdom is a gripping, exciting, and emotional read, with an ending that is pitch perfect – no more, no less than necessary. Easily one of my favourite middle grade reads of 2021.
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