Recommended for readers 8-12
Rick Riordan introduces his new imprint with Aru Shah and the End of Time, author Roshani Chokshi’s adventure through Indian mythology.
Aru Shah is a 12-year-old Indian girl who has a hard time fitting in at school, so she… embellishes the truth… to keep up with her wealthy classmates. The thing is, they all know she lies, and she’s become a target of derision over it. She lives with her archaeologist mother in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, and tells her friends that there’s a cursed lamp in the exhibits. Naturally, they show up, demanding her to prove it. Ignoring her mother’s advice to never touch the lamp, Aru lights it and unwittingly releases The Sleeper – an ancient demon – who’s going to awaken the Shiva, the god of destruction, if Aru can’t make things right in time. After discovering that Aru is the reincarnation of one of the legendary heroes, the Pandava brothers, she sets off on a mythological adventure where she’ll learn more about herself and her mother than she could ever have imagined.
I was so excited to read Aru Shah, especially after finishing Sayantani Dasgupta’s brilliant The Serpent’s Secret a couple of weeks ago. Indian mythology is an area I’ve never read much about, and it’s time that was remedied. Aru is on a quest to save her family and friends, and she’s not alone: she’s got a Pandava sister she meets on the way, and a disgraced god-turned-pigeon to guide her as she seeks out the weapons that will stop the Seeker. There’s great world-building, with humor and a sense of wonder as Aru meets gods and goddesses she thought existed only in myth; the character development is great for people unfamiliar with Indian mythology, as each god, goddess, and demon gets enough of an explanation to keep readers in the story. There’s a glossary at the end to help readers with the origin tales of Indian myths featured in the book.
You know who to give this to: the Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles/Magnus Chase/Riordan readers who love world mythology; the kids who read Serpent’s Secret and wanted more? Now you can give them Aru Shah and tell them that Rick Riordan Presents has Mayan and Korean mythology coming up next. Aru Shah and the End of Time has starred reviews from School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, and Kirkus.