I am delighted to host the final blog tour stop for Sangu Mandanna's wonderful sequel 'Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse.' My full review of this follows and if you click on the link there's an exclusive Q&A with author Sangu Mandanna about her influences and decisions on writing about a character with anxiety and OCD and why creativity is so important. You also read my review of the first book, 'Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom', here.
Kiki Kallira has always been a worrier, but now she needs to be more a warrior. She can also bring her drawings to life - in fact, she's created a whole kingdom, a Kikiverse, inspired by Hindu mythology, her own wild imagination and elements from her family's past. But when a mysterious curse threatens her kingdom and her band of rebel friends, the Crows, how can Kiki use her powers to overcome her anxieties and save them?
'Kiki Kallira Conquers a Curse' is a brilliant sequel that cleverly expands on its predecessor in both its mythological world-building and its sensitive and compassionate understanding of Kiki's anxieties and OCD. I really admire how Sangu Mandanna weaves a magical plot, full of twists and turns, with Kiki's continual understanding of her own powers; powers which are because and not in spite of her brain's over-worrying. Children will love Kiki's world of ice beasts, angry Gods, cunning witches, ghosts and her loyal band of rebel Crows, which includes a talking lion! Fun and humour collide in the high-stakes action: chariots charge, waves flood, spells are cast... but there's also so much wisdom about finding your own strength, being enough and accepting mistakes against the limitations of the world you inhabit. Without giving too much away, I thought it was brilliant that one particular character shows up in Kiki's kingdom to offer lots of sage advice. Here's an example of the wisdom that is woven throughout the story:
'...no matter what universe you're in and no matter how much or how little power you have, some things will always stay the same. Your kindness. Your strength. Your creativity.'
I think Kiki Kallira is a brilliant and necessary creation for children. Messages concerning mental health and creativity are so important, especially in the world we live in currently. More than that, the Kiki Kallira series radiates with power: power of the imagination, of the heart and of the relationships that nourish us.
Thank you to Hachette Books for including me on this blog tour and sending the copies for me to review.