Monday, July 2, 2018

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1) by Roshani Chokshi

Twelve-year-old Aru Shah lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her mother, a renowned archaeologist and curator of the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture. In fact, they live in an apartment over the museum, so Aru is pretty familiar with all the valuable artifacts her mothers has acquired over time. Because her mother travels so much, Aru is often left in the care of security guard/babysitter Sherrilyn, who is actually more interested in watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta than she is in Aru, giving Aru a lot of time to fill.

Yet, all Aru would really like is a little more attention from her mother and a more exciting life. To compensate, she finds herself lying about her life to the kids at her snooty private school, a school her mother really can't afford. Which is why, one Monday morning, when she opens the front door, she find three angry classmates determined to prove she's a liar by demanding that she show them a cursed lamp she had bragged about.

Showing them the lamp just isn't good enough, and they demand that Aru light it. Which she does, figuring she can put out the flame immediately after so she doesn't get into trouble with her mom. But, the lamp isn't just any lamp, it's the Diya of Bharata and when it is lit, legends says, it "awakens the Sleeper, a demon who will summon Lord Shiva, the fearsome Lord of Destruction, who will dance upon the world and bring an end to Time."

To Aru's dismay, lighting the lamp seems to cause the three students and her mom to freeze in place. Then, she discovers that she is a descendant of the five Pandava brothers, warriors and heroes who once had great powers and weapons. Now, every generation produces five Pandava successors, but only one who can light the lamp. And now that the lamp has been lit and released the Sleeper, Aru must find a way to stop that demon from reaching the Lord of Destruction. Luckily, Aru will have some help. A guide named Boo, who seems to be a fallen god reincarnated as a pigeon, and Mini, another 12 year old. Mini may be allergy obsessed, but she is also a descendant of the Pandavas and has no choice about helping Aru. As soon as the lamp was lit, her family froze as well.

Accompanied by Boo, Aru and Mini are taken to the Court of the Sky, where they learn that their quest is to awaken the celestial weapons before the Sleeper does it. To do that, Aru and Mini first go to the Kingdom of Death where they will find the Pool of the Past. Looking into the Pool, they will discover how the Sleeper can be defeated once and for all.

So, the first task in their quest is to find the three keys that open the Door of Death so that they don't have to die in order to get into the Kingdom of Death. Easy Peasy, right? And this is just the beginning of Aru and Mini's adventure to stop the end of Time from happening.

Aru Shah and the End of Time is an exciting adventure/quest story based on a mix of Indian mythology and Hindu religion. And though some readers (myself included) may not be as informed about Hinduism or Indian myths as they are about other religions and legends, this is a good place to begin learning about them. Author Roshani Chokshi has woven in a lot of background information into the storyline in such a way that the reader can understand the unfamiliar without a problem. But in case you need more, there is a glossary of terms, gods, and places referred to in the story.

I found that Roshani's writing was clever, funny, and snarky with some seriousness thrown in, making this a fun, fast-paced novel. Interestingly, for all I liked reading Aru Shah and the End of Time, I didn't really much for the characters of Aru and Mini. Aru is to my mind a little too snarky and Mini a little too hypochondriacal. Hopefully, these characteristics will be toned down a little in the next book. I certainly felt sorry for Aru not having her mother around as much as she would have like, but I also didn't like the lying to make up for what she felt was lacking in her life.

Bottom line, though, is that I'm pretty sure kids are going to love Aru and her adventures.

Two things I noted while reading: Roshani was obsessed with and used to write Sailor Moon fan fiction infused with Indian mythology. My Kiddo was also obsessed with Sailor Moon (in fact, I still have her books her), so I understand the connection - Sailor Moon was also charged with the task of saving the world from destruction by Evil.

And Roshani, I owe you a pack of Twizzlers - what I learned reading Aru Shah is well worth it. I love the idea of introducing and exploring other mythologies for young readers.

In fact, here is an interesting article about just that from the LA Times featuring Roshani Chokshi, Rick Riordan  and Aru Shah and the End of Time written by Gwenda Bond

This book is recommended for readers age 9+
This book was an EARC received from NetGalley


  1. Mythology fascinates kids--and adults-- so it is refreshing to have books that expand beyond the limitations of Gree, Roman and Norse mythology. Sounds like a winner!

  2. This is one I already had my eye on, so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing with #diversekidlit!


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