Book Review: SISTERS OF THE SNAKE by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

Title in white on orange next to two desi sisters with braid
Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 3.5 stars
Series: yes - first book of duology


Book cover for SISTERS OF THE SNAKE: title in white on orange below two sisters with dark braids forming a snake with a red stone behind them

A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.

Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive.

When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical.

A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


It took me a while to get into this book simply because the switch premise felt very rushed, despite being about a hundred pages into the book. It felt like a lot of contrived moments to get them into that position of meeting, and then like neither of them even stopped and thought for a moment about it.

I didn’t understand why Ria agreed to it – what she was getting out of it given her friend was waiting for her. I could almost write Rani’s rush off as in character desperation to leave but there was no way I could explain Ria. And then neither of them told the other how to act to pass as the other, it was just “good luck” and tossed into the deep end. And yet they somehow got away with it?

That set up (or, rather, what felt like a lack of set up) took me ages to get past. It stretched my believability to its limit and so I really struggled with the start because I just did not buy what was happening.

However, once I got past that, about 200 pages into the book, I began to sink into the story and was able to put my issues with the start behind me. This is a Prince and the Pauper retelling with an Indian-inspired world and mythology. It’s a fun premise and setting, which is why I picked it up originally. However, I had read it after THE IVORY KEY, which has a similarly inspired hunt for a magical object (similar to Rani’s storyline, though without twins) I was drawing comparisons.

The ending is interesting. It really does feel like a standalone that then had the villain disappear rather than die to give it another book, as that is the only thing that isn’t really neatly tied up at the end. And it has a pretty long denouement of a first book in a YA duology, which adds to the feeling of being a standalone that had another book added.

This makes for a satisfying read on the whole, but it does does make you wonder how much of the sequel will have been set up . I will probably finish off this duology, but it might take me as long to get around to as this book did.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: SISTERS OF THE SNAKE by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

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