Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review—Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Publisher: Disney/Rick Riordan Presents
Published: March 27, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: Print ARC
Rating: 5 Stars

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?

Aru Shah and the End of Time is clever, funny, and enriched in Hindu mythology—bringing us a heroine that’s both relatable and easy to fall in love with. Tisha I Chokshi first came onto my radar when her novel The Star Touched Queen came. Wow. What a book! Much like TSTQ, this story is well written—beautifully, I might add. I can’t tell you enough how wonderful I think the book was. That very first page, I just knew I was going to love Aru. If I had to use one word to describe my reading experience, it would be magical. 

“Until now, the Pandava’s have always appeared as fully grown people, not squished bundles of hormones and incompetence.”

All Aru wants is to fit in; to be part of the crowd. She’s quirky, fun-loving, and has no idea about any kind of prophesies or that all the stories she grew up listening to, are real. When she lights the lamp, her whole world is changed. Now it’s up to her and a gang of new friends—the reincarnated Pandava Brothers, protagonists from Mahabharata—to help save the world. The adventure Chokshi takes us on is deeply imaginative to the point that it’s as if the words somehow jump off the page. 

“Great. Because nothing says Come at me, Demon like a pigeon sidekick.”

Once Aru has awakened Sleeper, then its up to her to not only save the world but her family and friends who are all frozen in time. Does this not sound like a great book to you? We have a pigeon, goes by Boo (thanks to Aru) that’s the comedic relief and a guardian. I truly found his character refreshing and fun. I think all ages will really appreciate the story and everything it had to tell us. I know that there will be more books and for that I’m so happy. 

The cover is so beautiful and represents the book so well. For me, middle school grade books are what I like to call 50/50. Half of them can catch my interest and the others, well, I don’t end up liking them all that much. I’m having to say that Ari’s book is probably one of the best I’ve read; and no that’s not an exaggeration. I’m about to start it again for the second time. Mark your calendars! Books that have the ability to take you completely away from your life, are keepers. 

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an unbiased and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


About the Author:
Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen and A CROWN OF WISHES. Her middle grade debut, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME, will release April 3, 2018 with Disney/Rick Riordan Presents. Her next young adult novel, THE GILDED WOLVES, is slated for Winter 2019. Chokshi's work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She was a finalist in the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the Locus Top Ten for Best First Novel. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award.

Pinterested in A CROWN OF WISHES? Check it out here!

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