I don’t typically read middle grade books, but I was so entranced by the synopsis for Roshani Chokshi’s Aru Shah and the End of Time that I had to pick up a copy. I was immediately hooked, and it was a serious struggle to slow down and savor each chapter. ❤️ (Because we won’t be getting the second book in the Pandava Quartet, Aru Shah and the Song of Death, until next year! 😭) This is the first book published by Rick Riordan’s new imprint with Disney — Rick Riordan Presents — and it’s a delightful tale full of Hindu mythology and familiar coming-of-age themes. To read more about Rick Riordan Presents, click here! And to read a short synopsis of Aru Shah and the End of Time, click here.
What I Liked: This book was so much fun! 😄 Aru and Mini — her “sister,” another reincarnated Pandava — are sent on a quest to awaken their celestial weapons and stop the Sleeper from stealing them. It’s a pleasantly fast-paced adventure, and we meet so many funny and memorable (and occasionally scary!) characters along the way. One of my favorites was Boo — short for Subala. He’s stuck in the form of a pigeon (much to his irritation) and charged with guiding and protecting Aru and Mini. While this book was partly inspired by Sailor Moon, Boo reminds me a lot of Kero from Cardcaptor Sakura — prone to crankiness, with a strong sense of duty and a weakness for sweets. 😋🍬
If, like me, you’re reading this book as an adult, it’s helpful to remember that Aru and Mini are just kids. I say this because there were definitely moments that had me like, “Why would you do that?!” or, “Uh, that’s sort of rude to say… 🙄” But this is what makes these two girls so real! I’m sure I was the same way when I was a kid. Their quirks and shortcomings make them human, and it shows that even heroes — I’m sorry, as Aru and Mini would say, “heroines” 😁 — struggle and grow.
Chokshi makes Hindu mythology very accessible, and I appreciate that the book has a glossary, just in case you’re feeling a little lost. While I’ve never read Riordan’s books, I imagine that he’s done much the same for both Greek and Norse mythology, and readers who are interested in learning about different gods, stories, and traditions will likely enjoy this book.
Oh, and Aru wears Spider-Man pajamas for pretty much the entire book, which, speaking as a big superhero fan, is pretty awesome. Just saying…
What I Disliked: That I have to wait a WHOLE YEAR to find out what happens next! But in all seriousness, I can’t think of anything that bothered me or jolted me out of the story. I’m very excited to meet Aru and Mini’s other “sisters” and see where their next quest takes them. 😊