Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet #1) by Roshani Chokshi
When three classmates show up at her home slash museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture to confront Aru Shah about lying, she decides to impress them with stories of the artifacts in the museum. Such as the cursed Lamp of Bharata. Trying to save face, she lights the lamp and releases the Sleeper. Now Aru must stop the Sleeper from waking the God of Destruction, or everyone in the world will be frozen in time.
First, let me just say, I loved this book. In the same thread as Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson, Chokshi writes the story of a young girl taking on challenges, except this time with Hindu mythology as it’s center. Personally, I think it’s better, but that’s just because I find Greek and Egyptian mythology stuffed down our throats in elementary school. Since I strive to learn more about other countries cultures this was just a treat.
The story follows Aru Shah as a young girl who just wants to be accepted by her peers and to feel loved by her parent(s). Now if you didn’t feel that way when you were twelve, you’re honestly, probably the oddity here.
As a middle grade book, this book was just non stop fun. While in the adult mindset I might think- impossible and childish. But in the vein of middle school reads it was just fantastic. From the hilarious chapter titles, the blend of the real world meets Hindu mythology (Such as a the night market being inside of Costco!) to the non stop action as our young heroes (ahem, heroines!) take on challenge after challenge. The book just makes for continuous enjoyment.
The World Building
As I said earlier, I adore other cultures, and that includes their mythologies. In the last year I have had the joy of encountering a lot more fantasy that has been inspired by these cultures, and just really adds some extra flavor from the medieval castle with elves type of fantasy.
If you have never read a Chokshi book, than you probably don’t know, but she does a fantastic job of creating a beautiful creative world that surrounds her characters. The way she writes just add color and life to an ancient world. It’s the type of descriptions that have me daydreaming while I am sitting at work.
I just loved having these modern day pre-teens running around saving the world and encountering all the things from their bed time stories. There is so much depth to Hindu mythology and I can’t wait to see what Chokshi does in the next book. Regardless, if we had books like this when I was in middle school I think it would have inspired me to kick start my cultural studies at an earlier age.
Aru Shah is funny. The comments that Aru makes throughout the book had me LOL’ing, because so much of what she says is just the unfiltered thoughts that I would probably have. Except, my mouth is just a little more filtered because you know, adulting can be hard. My favorite thing about Aru was that she was brave. Not in the sense that she can take over the world, but that she was willing to do what it took to save her mom and the rest of the world. She was brave in the face of her failures and confronted them as well.
Minnie is just a little cupcake. I adore her and her germophobia and brainy ways. I thought she balanced Aru so well by checking her in her wild imaginations while also just being the supporting friend that she needed.
SUCRÉ- When We Were Young