Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Aru Shah and the End of Time

34967819Chokshi, Roshani. Aru Shah and the End of Time
March 27th 2018 by Disney/Rick Riordan Presents
E ARC provided by the publisher

Aru lives with her mother in an apartment attached to the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Georgia, and her mother travels frequently for her work, leaving Aru with a babysitter. The children at Aru's school are much more well off than she is, and Aru has taken to lying about her life. When three children from her school show up at the museum (while Aru is still in her pajamas, no less), she feels a need to show off and lights the Diya of Bharata when she is pressed. She's always been told not to, and with good reason-- when the lamp is lit, everyone freezes and an ancient god known as the Sleeper is released. Aru discovers that she is a descendant of the Pandava brothers, who are warrior princes, and that she must save the world from this ancient evil. Luckily, she has the help of another unsuspecting Pandava, Mini, who isn't thrilled about being pressed into service but is prepared and resourceful. The girls, aided by a pigeon they call Boo, must enter the Kingdom of Death to retrieve three keys that will help them defeat the Sleeper. They must travel to many different places and ask for help from characters from Hindu mythology, and during the quest learn some secrets about their own lives. Even if they manage to save the world now, how long will it stay saved?
Strengths: This fast paced adventure follows a formula similar to Riordan's own books-- a character finds out that she is descended from the gods and must go on a quest, meeting mythological characters along the way, in order to restore order to the universe. The characters are worked in to the plot nicely, and the notes at the back help with some aspects of Hindu culture and history. I am glad that Riordan' is seeking #ownvoices writers for these stories, which will be very popular with my fantasy readers, who will wait eagerly for more books.
Weaknesses: I was not overly fond of either Aru or Mina. Also, I am still a bit confused about the difference between the Hindu religion and Hindu mythology. My guess is that the stories walk the same fine line as the Christian story of Noah and the Ark; it's in the religious canon, but considered by most as more allegorical than historical.
What I really think: Definitely purchasing, although the book could have benefited from tighter editing. Also, since I am not familiar with Sailor Moon, any homages to it were lost on me.

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