Friday, March 23, 2018

ARC Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the End of Time
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Series: Pandava Series (Book 1)
Publication: Rick Riordan Presents (March 27, 2018)

Description: Best-selling author Rick Riordan introduces this adventure by Roshani Chokshi about twelve-year-old Aru Shah, who 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?

My Thoughts: Aru Shah is a seventh grader who lives in the Museum of Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta. Her mother is often gone on archaeological trips which leaves Aru lonely and prone to making up stories when she talks about her life to other students at the Augustus Day school. They go off on exotic vacations; she stays home waiting for some attention from her traveling mother. She uses all sorts of lies to make her feel better about herself.

One day, when some kids from her school who have been bullying her come to try to catch her in her lies, she decides to light a magic lamp that her mother has told her to avoid in order to impress them. Lighting the lamp frees an ancient demon whose job it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Now Aru has nine days to defeat him or watch the world end.

Aru does have a guide. Boo is a pigeon who is a reincarnation of Shakhuni, an ancient king who has some actions to atone for. Aru learns that she is the reincarnation of one of the ancient Pandava brothers who were heroes of the Mahabharata poem. They were created to save the world which seems pretty daunting to a twelve-year-old who goes off on her adventure in spiderman pajamas armed with her great imagination. She also meets Mini who is also one of the reincarnated Pandava brothers and who is another twelve-year-old. Mini is smart but more than a little neurotic.

Their adventures take them off to the Otherworld where they meet beings from Indian mythology and have adventures in a magical Costco and the Kingdom of the Dead. Along the way they become friends and learn a lot of things about each other and about themselves. They also learn that they are both more talented and braver than either could have imagined.

I liked the setting. I enjoyed learning more about Indian mythology. I liked both Aru and Mini who were great characters. I liked the humor of the juxtaposition of modern day middle school kids and ancient mythology. I can't wait to read more in this series.

Favorite Quote:
"Does that mean I get to do magical things, too? Do I get powers? Or a cape?"

"There shall be no capes."

"A hat?"

"No."

"Theme song?"

"Please stop."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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