DasGupta, Sayantani

The Chaos Curse

(2) 4-6 Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond series. Illustrated by Vivienne To. In the final installment of the trilogy, rumors of an alliance between evil Serpent King Sesha and the Demon Queen result in protagonist Kiran and friends, including the newly crowned Raja Neel, forming a resistance group of demons and humans to save the Kingdom Beyond Seven Oceans and Thirteen Rivers. Kiran leaves the Kingdom Beyond and travels across dimensions back to her native New Jersey, on a mission to rescue Neel's brother Prince Lal, aided by helpers: a bird, a gecko, and a gender-nonbinary tiger. But ever since Neel's coronation, Kiran has noticed something odd: reality is mixing with elements and characters from familiar tales, mashing stories from different cultures together (Pooh and Piglet appearing in a scene from a Bengali nursery rhyme, for instance). New Jersey brings further confusion: Kiran's parents have rejected their Bengali identities, and her best friend and her worst enemy have swapped places. But encounters with mythological Greek and Norse figures confirm her suspicions: she is in a different reality, and baddies have formed the Interdimensional Multivillain Anti-Chaos Committee to "destroy diversity" and collapse the multiverse into a singularity ruled by Sesha. DasGupta tackles metaphysics along with ideas of prejudice, colonization, erasure, and the importance of narrative complexity. Exploration of multiple realities also allows Kiran's development in recognizing her own biases and prejudices, in the Kingdom Beyond and in her life as a Jersey middle schooler.


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