Blog Tour: Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse by Sangu Mandanna

Written by Sangu Mandanna
Illustration by Nabi H.Ali
Published by Hodder Children’s Books
(an imprint of Hachette Children’s Group)

Thank you so much to Sarah Farmer and Hachette Children’s Group for inviting me to be part of the Blog Tour, and for providing me with a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse is Kiki’s second adventure into her magical sketchbook Kingdom of Mysore and which she refers to as Kikiverse!   This can easily be read as a standalone as it gives some cleverly interwoven snippets into the first adventure which allows the reader to dive straight into this adventure although, I must say that, even you haven’t read the first adventure, these snippets are definitely going to make you want to pick it up.

I’m going to start by saying that I absolutely LOVED this exciting, fast-paced adventure that I devoured in a single sitting.  It transported me seamlessly into a richly imagined, vivid world which blends aspects of Kiki’s life in London with her knowledge of India and its Hindu mythology creating a magnificent tapestry of mythology, creativity and fantasy that was utterly fascinating and a real feast for the imagination.

Kiki has left behind her magical kingdom and returned to London with a friend from that adventure, not expecting to ever be able to return.  Imagine her surprise when she returns from school to discover that she has an unexpected visitor who should never have been able to enter her world.  Lej, one of her rebel friends from Mysore, tells her that the kingdom is in grave danger and needs her help. The River Kaveri has vanished leaving no source of water.  Kiki is determined to help, leaping into her sketchbook, back to Mysore, and into another thrilling, action-packed adventure …

When Kiki cannot paint the River Kaveri back into existence, she learns its story:  more than 100 years before, the kingdom was threatened with destruction by the demon, Sura, and in order to save it, Princess Kaveri became a river, but she was betrayed … Will Kiki and her rebel Crows be able to break the curse, free the Princess and save the kingdom? Is there more than one truth within the myth?

Just wow!  I absolutely couldn’t put this down as I was taken on the most exciting, action-packed adventure brimming with danger, twists and revelations that made me gasp.  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but suffice to say that nothing is quite what it seems!  There is a real warmth which flowed through the messages and characters, especially those relating to kindness, healing and forgiveness, and is something I really enjoyed in the story and which made me really invested in it.   

Kiki is the MOST wonderful character: kind, creative, courageous and determined, but also dealing with mental health issues related to compulsiveness and anxiety. I loved that she opens up to her mum about her OCD, talks about her feelings, accepts herself, and gets help which I think is such an important message to help young readers who may be struggling with their own mental health, and to encourage empathy in others. I loved the camaraderie between Kiki and the Crows, the group of friends she created in her world. There is plenty of opportunity for quick-witted humour, support and disagreements through these friendships which made the relationships feel really authentic. I must mention Simha, the lion and Numa, the gargoyle: I guarantee these two will make you giggle!

This is a dazzling delight of a story, perfect for readers of 9+ who will be transported into an unforgettable adventure to save a kingdom.  I so hope that there will be more adventures for Kiki and her friends as this is a world I’d love to return to.

Author

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. She lives in Norwich, in the east of England, with her husband and kids.

Do check out the other stops on the Blog Tour:

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