No Title
Aakangshita Datta
KIKI KALLIRA BREAKS A KINGDOM by Sangu Mandanna Hodder Children’s Books, 2021, 352 pp., 445.00
November 2021, volume 45, No 11

There used to be a time, long ago in most of our childhoods possibly, when we would have real, vivid and intense dreams, dreams within dreams, where we would experience physically acts of falling from a height, slipping, running and even as we awoke, our hearts would continue to race. Sangu Mandanna’s ninth adventure fantasy novel is a quick paced, vividly descriptive work of art and imagination.

Kiki Kallira is the protagonist, recounting her life in the first person. She loves sketching and draws up characters from the Indian folklore of Mysore. Even as these characters come alive, threaten to destroy the real world, there is a parallel narrative of great courage and bravery displayed by Kiki—alluding to an aspect of herself that remains mostly hidden.

The novel is full of nuggets of precious wisdom, for instance, when Kiki says she never believed her silly ideas and sketches would actually ever matter—what Kiki ends up sketching is a whole parallel world populated with colourful characters, including a Lion that can talk, protects the Crows Rebel Gang against the Asuras, and sips Tea and all her drawings are alive, including the looming peril of Mahishasura who is looking for a crack to get into the real world and occupy it.

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