Thanks to NetGalley and Rick Riordan Presents/Disney Hyperion for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
Synopsis: 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 Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep and 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, ‘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 a phenomenal beginning to this new middle-grade series by YA author Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes). A fantasy based on Hindu mythology, the two main characters, Aru and Mini, are completely relatable and despite their vulnerabilities, wind up putting the “Grrrr” in girl power. The story is beautifully told and is fantastically diverse. It also has all the thrilling action, adventure, and laugh-out-loud humor that Rick Riordan is himself famous for.
This is the first book in the new Rick Riordan Presents imprint which empowers other authors to write stories inspired by mythology and folklore of their own heritage. Roshani has three more books planned for the Pandava Quartet, which I can’t wait for. Sadly the next book, Aru Shah and the Song of Death doesn’t come out until next April so I’m going to be on pins and needles waiting for that. However, as part of this new venture put together by “Uncle Rick”, J.C. Cervantes’ book, Storm Runner, which is a contemporary mystery based around Mayan mythology is coming out in September. And in January 2019, Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee goes on sale. This is said to combine Korean mythology and space opera! To say I’m excited about this new imprint, doesn’t quite do my feelings justice. These are the kinds of books that if I was still a children’s librarian, I’d be pushing them into the hands of every middle-schooler who walked through the door!