Aug 052023
Magnetic Meenakshi and Fantastic Folklore: A Middle-Grade Mystery [Review]
Rate this Book / Post

Book Title: Miracles for the Maharaja – Book 3 of The Meandering Magicians series
Author: Aditi Krishnakumar
Publisher: Duckbill (an imprint of Penguin Random House India)
Type: Paperback
Pages: 236 pages
Recommended age: 10 years onwards (the publisher’s recommendation is for 13-17 years)

If you ask me what my comfort read is, other than middle grade, it would be P G Wodehouse and mysteries. So when I was asked to read Miracles for the Maharaja, I was super excited to read it. It ticked multiple boxes – Indian middle grade, mystery and promising to be scintillating writing.

As I opened the book, I was welcomed by a poem on the inside front cover, that continued to the inside back cover. How delightful. It told of the most famous heroes of the house of Pur and in a very poetic manner, gave a good sense of the various people and how they were remembered, and loved.

Or not.

As the story started, the characters came alive. So many of them — that I had to keep going back and forth to keep track. Of course there had to be many — after all, the princess, Vasundhara, was getting married. And the house was full. Only, there was one little problem. The groom, Ravi, was kidnapped. And to make things worse, the kidnapper has asked for the Fire of the East as ransom.

“Fire of the East” — But wasn’t that a legend? The gem that was rumoured to amplify even a minor magician’s power to potentially world-ending levels. Of course it could not be real!

Unless it was.  And if it was, how dangerous would it be if it were to fall in the wrong hands? In the hands of the kidnapper for instance! 

Like all legends, the story around the fire of the east, is also hidden in folklore and like the stories that I’ve heard growing up, it has couplets with riddles, that hint at how to find it. 

Our protagonist – my very favourite character from the book Meenakshi is given the job because of some technicality. If it’s not her, but anyone else, they would be in the breach of the accord. What a spunky character Meenakshi is. And she’s no miss-goody-two-shoes. She’s intelligent, brave, unconventional, and loves playing in the areas of grey. Doesn’t mind smuggling in a griffon even if its illegal — just uses a teeny-tiny spell to make it invisible. 

While Meenakshi and her friends go looking for the fire of the east, Nalini investigates the disappearance of the Sprite – Ravi. After all, if anything were to happen to Ravi the sprites would start a war with magicians and celestial dancers. And that would be the beginning of the end!

Thus starts an adventure and a mystery. 

This story is like in any good Indian story I loved hearing as a child. Stories that involve kings and queens and magic and paris (fairies) and apsaras. 

The characters are vibrant. The setting is great. The language is superb. 

I should have loved it. But I didn’t.

In all of the fun, somehow the plot was getting lost. I would have liked to see the plot develop more cohesively and see the plot threads close more satisfactorily. Nevertheless, a good read.

There are other books in The Meandering Magicians series by the same author.

If you enjoyed this review and wish to be a part of this adventure & mystery, you can buy the book from Amazon (kbc affiliate link),


Disclaimer: Mandira is part of the #kbcReviewerSquad and received this book as a review copy from the publisher. She is the author of the award winning book Children of the Hidden Land.

Write a Comment