Friday, April 20, 2018

A Pigeon, Sass, and Hindu Mythology

Title: Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Release Date: March 27th, 2018!

From Goodreads...
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?

My Review!
Was she a heroine if all she did was fix a mistake she made? Or was it heroic because she was willing to fix it in the first place?

A particularly good book had a way of opening new spaces in one's mind. It even invited you to come back later and rummage through what you'd learned.

Here are just a few examples of one of the many reasons why I loved Aru Shah and the End of Time, and just reading another Roshani book in general. Roshani once described her writing as lush/decadent, and IT IS A SCIENTIFIC FACT. It’s like those expensive chocolates you only buy every once in awhile because they’re just that damned good. I loved that this felt middle grade, but that also contained the author’s signature flair. Of not just style, but humor and feels and beautiful nuggets of wisdom and heart.

Aru Shah is a love story as much as a fantasy where Time is running out for two heroines to stop evil from destroying their world. But not romantic love. It is a love story between a girl and her mother, who is equal parts absent-minded and there for Aru when she needs her. Her mother always told her not to light the lamp, but the pressures of fitting in and wanting friends so desperately that you’d do anything to make them like you, push Aru into making a mistake. But it’s a mistake she tries her hardest to fix.

That’s what makes her a heroine to me. Her ability to look at her choices, at the not-so-great ones and say she’ll do better, and step up to the plate. No one else can do it. And she’s so daring, and abundantly clever, and she’ll do whatever it takes to wake her mom up so she can tell her how sorry she is. But Aru goes through her share of whining. She’s not perfect. That’s what endeared me to her as much her cunning, strength, and badass I can do anything attitude. I loved her voice and her spirit SO MUCH.

But this is also a story of found family, of two young girls who have great destinies and who form a bond of friendship through the trials and tribulations of fighting a demon who wants to kill them. I thought Mini was a refreshing counterpart to Aru, and I loved watching their relationship grow throughout the course of the book. And they weren’t alone; they had Boo, their pigeon companion who insults them as much as he helps them out. So many times I was laughing out loud from his and Aru’s banter!

Hindu mythology is absolutely fascinating, and I loved that Roshani brought these tales and heroes and gods to life. I’d remembered a few from her previous stories (the Dharma Raja!!), but so much of this was new to me, and I find myself so excited for the rest of this series. It’s going to be right up there with Percy Jackson, guys. Aru’s journey so far already has been humorous, fun, and full of mischief and bravery, and I know the other books will be much the same. I CANNOT FREAKING WAIT!


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