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.