Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Aru Shah ad the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

Summary 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?
I love that Rick Riordan is stepping behind other authors writing about different types of mythology. Before reading this, I had little to no knowledge of Indian mythology, and I’m so glad for this introduction. Indian mythology is fascinating! And I kind of want to go learn more about it now.
That being said, it did read a lot like a Rick Riordan book (filled with quests, mythological creatures, and battles against enemies). However, I didn’t find the over-arcing plot to be quite as compelling as the typical Riordan fare. For some reason, it was really easy to put the book down. Maybe too much ended at the end of a chapter and I needed more cliffhangers to push me forward? Or maybe the transitions weren’t very strong. Or maybe it was just too much plot in one book? It could have maybe been two books to finish this first part? I’m not really sure why it was so easy to put down.
I did love the flawed characters. I loved that this was a girl-centric story. No boys needed to rescue these female warriors to be. And I loved their flaws. Aru kind of reminded me of the hero of Mini’s favorite book: The Golden Compass. She’s a lot like Lyra when it comes to imagination and coming up with stories/lies. Yet, she’s not quite as endearing as Lyra. She starts the story off by doing something stupid for all the wrong reasons, so I guess she kind of had to earn her respect from me. And she did earn it. And Mini was an awesome character too. She’s kind of afraid of everything.
All in all, the characters were great, the mythology was super interesting, the girl power was fierce, and the concept was good. Something was missing in the plot for me and I can’t quite put my finger on it. I wish it was harder to put down. I’ll definitely keep reading these books. The next one already looks promising with the boy across the street. I give this a 7/10.

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