Aru Shah and the End of Time
By Roshani Chokshi
Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.
The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
Disclaimer: The publisher provided me with ARC of Aru Shah and the End of Time through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
As a kid, I grew up reading Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Kane Chronicles, The Hero’s of Olympus, and basically any other Rick Riordan novel available to me. From these books sprang my love for all things mythology, and I’m so, so excited about Rick Riordan Presents so future generations can learn all about different mythologies through characters they will grow to know and love throughout their life times. Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi being the first book by Rick Riordan Presents has me very optimistic about the future of this imprint.
Before even entering Aru’s world I loved Chokshi’s writing style from her previous novels, and I knew she would do an absolutely fantastic job. Aru Shah is a twelve year old girl who lives with her mother above the Ancient Indian Art and Culture. She has a bad habit of lying, and ends up getting caught in a web of lies by her three class mates. As a result, she lights the Lamp of Bharata, freezing everyone in time, releasing the Sleeper, and setting Aru off on the adventure of a life time. I don’t really want to say too much about the plot in fear of spoling anything, but it was just so much fun to go on the adventure with Aru, Mini, Boo, and everyone else. It was wonderfully paced, and there was never a dull moment. I really learned so much about Hindu mythology through this novel, and it has even inspired me to go out and do some of my own research to learn some more.
What I think really made me enjoy this novel was Aru herself. Chokshi gave her such a fantastic voice and a sense of humor that I found very Percy-esq that made this book just so much more enjoyable. There was a moment in the very beginning of the book where Aru made a reference to the song “A Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash, and I knew from that moment forward that I absolutely loved her. Overall I think Chokshi did a fantastic job with the novel as a whole, and I can’t wait to see where she goes with the rest of the Pandava Quartet.
In conclusion, I give Aru Shah and the End of Time four out of five stars for being fun, hilarious, and a great entrance into the Pandava QuartetI highly, highly recommend this for young readers, anyone with any interest in Hindu mythology, and anyone who grew up loving Rick Riordan novels as much as I did.
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