Release Date: March 27th, 2018
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Genre: middle grade, fantasy, urban fantasy, mythology
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?
R E V I E W
I think I’ve made it pretty clear over time that I am a big fan of Rick Riordan. I love mythology and I love learning through his books. When Riordan announced that he was going to publish own voices authors take on mythology I was beyond excited. Aru Shah and the End of Time was no exception of this. I fell in love, fast. One reason was that it was a female lead, something we don’t typically see in Riordan’s work. An Indian female lead is something that holds incredible importance, and just to see Hindu mythology accurately represented. Here are two reviews I found by own voices reviewers: one and two.
12-year-old Aru Shah has a habit of telling lies. She lies about basically everything to the people at her school so they don’t look at her as weird, the joys of being middle class in a rich school. One day she’s caught out in the lie when three people from her school come to where she lives – she lives in a museum, like how cool is that?! Things turn pretty nasty quickly with one of these three kids recording Aru as an attempt to get her to tell the truth. Instead, she decides to light a lamp that, as her mother says, is cursed. Unfortunately for Aru, the lamp is cursed. A powerful individual is let free and everyone around her is now frozen in time. With the help of a pigeon guide, Aru discovers she has the soul of the great Pandava brothers. Along the way, Aru meets one of her sisters (because there are no brothers in this generation) and must go on a quest in order to stop the powerful individual she let go free. Simultaneously she must come to terms with being a demigod and how much her mother has hidden from her. Oh, and the best part? Aru must do all this in her spider-man pyjamas as if that isn’t a look.
I really loved Aru Shah and the End of Time. It was such a thrilling tale of mystery, surprise and, my favourite, humour. The writing of this particular story came across as pretty flawless. I also know, that if anyone reading this is like me you’re expecting this story to be basically identical to Percy Jackson. I’m here to say you’re wrong. This book completely holds its own and, dare I say it, is even better than Percy Jackson in some ways. It was truly such an important book and I am desperately waiting for book two!
Anyway, let me jump into a more detailed version of what I did and didn’t like about Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi.
L I K E S
✗ HINDU GODS > GREEK GODS
Hear me out, I grew up learning about the Greek gods in school. When I picked up Percy Jackson for the first time I had a big understanding of all the variations. It made it a little boring for me, honestly. I know nothing about Hindu gods. This particular topic wasn’t taught in my schools (I went to 9 over 13 years, as a little fun fact). I know own voices books don’t exist to teach the public anything but I really did love learning about the Hindu gods. I have been deeply curious about the mythology for some time and I don’t trust Google, so it was just great to read something that I was unfamiliar with.
Also, the Hindu gods weren’t as big of jerks as the Greek gods in Rick Riordan’s books, also a positive for me.
✗ THE CHARACTERS ARE HILARIOUS
The humour in this book is amazing. I was giggling and smiling almost the entire book and I’m not even the target audience. It was just such a fun journey that I can’t screech and rave about this book enough. The humour was similar to that of Percy Jackson, dry and most of the time from the main character being unable to shut up, but I just feel as if this particular style was better suited for the target audience. It felt like I could give this book to one of my cousins and she would be laughing along with me.
✗ I LOVE BOO
Boo is the pigeon guide that Aru and her Pandava sister Mimi are given. He’s not exactly the best guide nor does he really have the patience for two young preteens, but man was he hilarious. His character really brought Mimi and Aru together, and just the whole idea of a pigeon leading two girls on a quest makes me chuckle. To be fair though, I despise birds so the fact I even found this amusing shocks me a little.
✗ FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS
If you’ve known me for a little while you know I am a big pusher of female friendships in books. I live for them. I love when two girls support one another rather than tearing each other down. Mimi and Aru gave me this. The two are young and it would have been easy to write two girls that hated each other but Roshani Chokshi didn’t, and I loved it. The girls obviously bickered and struggled at some points, but they’d also only just met and been informed they were sisters which can put a strain on any time making friends.
2018 is the year of supportive friendships and I’m here for it.
✗ CANT WAIT FOR BOOK TWO
Do I have to elaborate on this? After the ending of Aru Shah and the End of Time, I desperately have grabby hands for book two. This series will also finish when I’m 24 and if you don’t think I’m going to read every single one, you’re wrong. I am here for this series.
D I S L I K E S
✗ I FELT ARU SOMETIMES STEPPED BACK IN THE STORY AND HER VOICE GOT LOST
I’m really just nitpicking here, but it did feel as if Aru got lost at points. Obviously this a big quest and a whole bit about discovering who you are but I just wanted more. It did seem at points that Aru was morally grey but in truth, she is simply a preteen trying to find her place in the world and her identity. I’m interested to see if she does become morally grey throughout the course of this four book series. I stand by the fact though there should have been a little more focus on Aru’s feelings and emotions at some points.
Overall, Aru Shah and the End of Time blew my socks off. I was not expecting anything that this book delivered and I’m slightly annoyed that it took me so long to even pick this up. The hype really stands true for this book, it is well deserving of your money and your time.
Happy reading everyone!
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