The Kumaon Secret Society Series by Olivier Lafont is off to a promising start with ‘The Rise of the Midnight King’. It is the beginning of a gripping saga featuring a group of children who meet in the village of Devagarh, high in the Kumaon hills. They reunite each summer to go on adventures (this year with a new addition), solve mysteries and collectively take on anything the world throws at them. Together they form the KSS – Kumaon Secret Society and embark on escapades as a team.
The book straddles the worlds of fantasy and magic realism. The children themselves have mysterious superpowers that they are yet to discover. They constantly come across a myriad of mythical creatures, all of which have been woven into their surroundings.
In this book, the KSS investigates the disappearance of all the cats from Devagarh. The trail brings them to the mysterious village of Yakshagarh. This village is unlike any they have ever come across and a whole new world is revealed to them.
This is an interesting read for children, as it brings together mystery, fantasy and adventure. Lafont has managed to maintain a balance between the fantastic and realistic, culminating in an unusual read.