Series: Pandava Quartet #1
Also in this series: Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes, Aru Shah and the Song of Death
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on March 27th 2018
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: MG (No romance; Slight MG level violence)
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?
You guys, I think I could sit here and gush all day about this book! Just everything about it—love the characters, the setting, the pacing. And then there’s the writing … the book took me a little longer to read than usual because I sat down and underlined every line that I loved. And there were a lot of them. I regret nothing.
What Fed My Addiction:
- Fantastic middle grade voice. The main reason I started underlining my favorite quotes was because I’m using this as a study of how to nail middle grade voice—which is tough, trust me. If I can get my book even halfway to this level of amazingness, I will die and go to writerly heaven. Chokshi manages to make Aru funny and sarcastic and flawed and still oh-so-lovable. I think that just about every middle grader on the planet will be able to relate to Aru in one way or another.
- So funny! I challenge you to read this book and not laugh your way through it. There are so many fun and quirky characters, especially Boo, the all-powerful … pigeon.
- Hindu mythology. This book is chock full of Hindu mythology, and Chokshi even includes a fun glossary at the end of the book! The stories make for exciting and imaginative adventures, and Chokshi uses them to their fullest. There is never a dull moment in this book!
- Focus on friendship. The friendship and sisterly bond that Aru forms with Mini is wonderful.
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. Honestly, I can’t think of anything. I guess I sort of wished Aru’s mom hadn’t been absent, but it ends up being essential to the plot, so …
Even though this book gives us a satisfying conclusion, I can’t wait for the next installment of the series! Aru Shah is everything you could hope for in a middle-grade heroine!
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen.
She grew up in Georgia, where she acquired a Southern accent but does not use it unless under duress. She has a luck dragon that looks suspiciously like a Great Pyrenees dog. Her work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Uncanny Magazine, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She is the 2016 finalist for the Andre Norton Award, and a 2016 Locus finalist for Best First Novel. Her short story, The Star Maiden, was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.
Some people just do MG so well. I’m really glad to hear you loved this one. It sounds fantastic, and I LOVE that it can make you laugh. 🙂
I feel like Chokshi really shines with her MG!!
I have to read this book. I just finished The Ambrose Deception and loved the voice and found it to be spot on middle grade. Now reading Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World for a different middle grade voice (a bit younger and more introspective so far). Thanks for the post and review!
Did you like Ivy Aberdeen? I’ve been curious about that one.
I did enjoy Ivy Aberdeen, especially the family relationships.
Good to know. Thanks!
This sounds fantastic. I don’t read a lot of middle grade but I may have to branch out a bit for this one. I love a book that can make me laugh. Add in some great characters and writing and I am sold. Great review!
This book is definitely worth branching out for!
I’m so glad this is finally out because I’ve been meaning to get my hands on it for forever, haha 😀 Though I usually tilt more toward young adult, a good middle grade novel makes me so happy because it’s so difficult to nail the voice. I’m glad you loved this so much because this review makes me all the more excited to pick this up 🙂
I tend to gravitate to YA too, but this was a MG I think a lot of YA readers would appreciate.
I don’t read a lot of middle grade, but I am DYINGGGG to read this! I’m getting lots of Percy Jackson vibes from the reviews I’ve been reading so far, with the funny tone and the mythology. Hindu mythology would be interesting to learn about, too! So glad you loved this, Nicole! Lovely review as always! ♥
Even if you’re not a huge fan of MG, you should definitely pick this one up!
I don’t actually read middle grade much but I do know that my little sister does so I will recommend it to her! She also really loves mythology – especially Greek and Norse. But I don’t think she has come across Hindu before so it would be something new for her as well.
My recent post: http://oliviascatastrophe.com/2018/04/march-wrap-up-2018/
Definitely rec this one to your sister!!
I was so excited when I heard Riordan was launching this imprint. What a brilliant way to share mythologies from all over the world. This book sounds wonderful, and I know I am looking forward to reading it. Great review!
I’m going to be reviewing the next book in the imprint too, and now I’m even more excited to read it!
This sounds so cute! Good middle grade books are just joyful to read.
I agree! That’s a great word for it!
I’ve been interested in this MG for a while now. It’s sounds so magical and imaginative! Creating lovable characters that are also sarcastic, funny and flawed is such a skill! as it is to master grade voice. I totally agree! You’ll get to writerly heaven. You’ll see!
It’s spectacular—definitely read it!
This book sounds so amazing and I have this on my must purchase list for when my kiddos are older. I’m so happy to hear you loved it so much!
I handed it off to my daughter right away. I think she’ll love it.
[…] out my review of the original book if you’d like to know more about why I love this series so […]