Summary: Aru Shah and her sisters–including one who also claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter–must find their mentors Hanuman and Urvashi in Lanka, the city of gold, before war breaks out between the devas and asuras. Aru has just made a wish on the tree of wishes, but she can’t remember what it was. She’s pretty sure she didn’t wish for a new sister, one who looks strangely familiar and claims to be the Sleeper’s daughter, like her. Aru also isn’t sure she still wants to fight on behalf of the devas in the war against the Sleeper and his demon army. The gods have been too devious up to now. Case in point: Kubera, ruler of the city of gold, promises to give the Pandavas two powerful weapons, but only if they win his trials. If they lose, they won’t stand a chance against the Sleeper’s troops, which will soon march on Lanka to take over the Otherworld. Aru’s biggest question, though, is why every adult she has loved and trusted so far has failed her. Will she come to peace with what they’ve done before she has to wage the battle of her life?
Review: Aru Shah and the City of Gold is the fourth book in the Pandava Quartet. So, I’m going to preface by saying, if you haven’t read the first three books, you shouldn’t read this review. But you can find my spoiler free review for the first book here. I won’t be summarizing this book because so many things happen and also because there is a convenient summary at the beginning of this post. So, when this book starts, we’ve just met Aru’s sister, her biological sister. This huge twist was revealed in the end of the third book. We get to know her sister, Kara, as the book progresses. I think what I love most about this series is the Aru Shah is decidedly imperfect. She is flawed. She makes mistakes. She upsets her Pandava siblings. I loved this aspect of the story. Aru makes mistakes and she learns from them. We follow along as she makes amends for those mistakes and made sure to do better in the future. I also love the found family aspect of this story. We have the Pandava siblings, who all have the reincarnated souls of the original Pandava’s. They are some of my favorite siblings. I’m a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of the twins. I feel like because they’re so young, they’re held back from being a part of the quests that the siblings go on. I’m hopeful that we will see them participate more in the final book. There are so many things I love about this series. The characters are the number one, but the mythology that we see in this story is fascinating for me. I didn’t know much about Hindu mythology, so I really enjoyed learning all about the well-known figures. Overall, I loved this book just as much as I’ve loved all the previous books. I think the mythology and the world is so much fun. It’s exciting and full of adventure. The characters are incredibly easy to love and you can’t help but root for them. I also have to say that Chokshi’s writing always stands out and this book is no different. I highly recommend this series.
War between the devas and the demons is imminent, and the Otherworld is on high alert. When intelligence from the human world reveals that the Sleeper is holding a powerful clairvoyant and her sister captive, 14-year-old Aru and her friends launch a search-and-rescue mission. The captives, a pair of twins, turn out to be the newest Pandava sisters, though, according to a prophecy, one sister is not true.
During the celebration of Holi, the heavenly attendants stage a massage PR rebranding campaign to convince everyone that the Pandavas are to be trusted. As much as Aru relishes the attention, she fears that she is destined to bring destruction to her sisters, as the Sleeper has predicted. Aru believes that the only way to prove her reputation is to find the Kalpavriksha, the wish-granting tree that came out of the Ocean of Milk when it was churned. If she can reach it before the Sleeper, perhaps she can turn everything around with one wish.
Careful what you wish for, Aru… Review:
I have a fierce love for this series. I love Aru Shah with my whole heart. So, I’m not sure how I’m going to explain my feelings for this book. I might just keep this short and tell you to read it a hundred times and then end it. Just kidding.
We’re following Aru, Mini, and Brynn as their trying to save the world from the Sleeper. There’s also Aidan and Rudy that tag along with the girls. I love this found family so much. We find two new Pandava sisters at the start of this story. Twins named Sheela and Nikita, who have very interesting abilities. I loved how quickly the three pull Sheela and Nikita into their loving arms. I love that even though most of them have families to go back to that are loving and supportive, these sisters (and Aidan and Rudy) have made a family of their own. The found family aspect of this story was so wonderful.
The stakes have never been higher for this group. They’ve failed a few minor missions and are feeling lower than low. So, they take off on their own without permission from the higher-ups. I loved the nonstop action of the story, even while they were just traveling from one task to the next, they were met with challenges that they faced bravely and always together.
Overall, I adored this story just like all the previous books. I am already dying for the next installment to know what happens next. The friendships are wonderful, the writing is amazing. I adore the world and the mythology that this story centers around. I love everything about this book and the rest of the series. If you haven’t read it yet you’re really missing out.
Aru Shah is only just getting the hang of this whole Pandava thing, when the Otherworld goes into full panic mode. The god of love’s bow and arrow have gone missing, and the thief isn’t playing Cupid. Instead, the culprit is turning people into heartless, fighting-machine zombies. And, if that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the weapon within ten days, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. Forever.
For better or worse, she won’t be going it alone. Along with her Pandava sister, Mini, Aru will team up with Brynne, an ultra-strong girl who knows more than she lets on, and Aiden, the boy who lives across the street and is also hiding plenty of secrets. Together they’ll battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.
But Aru’s biggest challenge may be in her own mind, where the words of the sleeper resonate: You were never meant to be a hero…Will she be able to prove him wrong this time?
This second installment in the Pandava series has all the humor, action, and imagination that made Aru Shah and the End of Time sparkle. So tear open that packet of Oreos and pull up a chair. Review:
Roshani Chokshi she has done it again and created a middle grade book that I just could not put down. I read this in two sittings. I borrowed the audiobook from my library and waited until I was driving back home from visiting my parents (which is an eight-hour drive) so I could listen to the whole thing in the one car ride. But I couldn’t wait. So, I listened to an hour or two and then the next day listened to the rest. There’s something about this series that I just really love.
Our main character, Aru, is flawed but learning. She acknowledges that she has flaws and maybe she isn’t doing the right thing. She’s clever and thoughtful and tries her best to make sure she’s doing the right thing. She’s learning about herself and learning to accept the new things she’s learning. I just adore her inner dialogue. She had a lot of insecurities that she tries to work through in this book and I appreciated that because it’s something that many struggle with.
Mini was missing for most of this story but the parts she was around for were great. She’s still nerdy. She’s still smart. She’s besties with Aru and I just think they’re the cutest friends.
Then there’s our new Pandava’s. Brynne is kick ass and doesn’t let anyone push her around. I thought Brynne’s fiery attitude was an interesting addition to this friend group. I think she really challenged Aru and that made for some good lessons. I thought Brynne was really interesting because she was a great example of a person that puts on a scary face and lots of attitude to hide her own fears and insecurities. She really brought attention to the conversation of making an effort to get to know someone before you just say their mean and leave it at that.
Finally, Aiden. The mysterious boy across the street. Aiden is dealing with a lot in his personal life, but still puts on a brave face and does his part to help the girls. He’s really the bridge between Brynne and the girls. He’s her best friend and I really enjoyed their friendship. He has his camera wherever he goes and I loved that. I think the twist that involves him was interesting. It definitely made me laugh.
There were a few things that I didn’t totally love about this book. But these things really didn’t detract from the book at all. The beginning had me a bit confused. The story jumps right into the action. The cast is battling some of the heartless and it was just chaotic and it took me a minute to figure out what was going on. Aside from that, there were so many pop culture references. This is something that I actually enjoy. It makes sense to have these things mentioned in a current story. But I think it’s really going to date the book in a few years. But I still liked it. The giant crab talking about Moana and The Little Mermaid really was my favorite.
Overall, I loved this book. I loved the characters. They were interesting and complex. The interactions they had with one another were the best and kept me laughing. I just love this friend group and I cannot wait to see who else we meet in the next book. I think the world that’s shown to us was incredible. The Otherworld was intricate and completely fascinating. I adored the mythological aspects of the story. I felt like I was reading and learning so much. I just adore this series, this world, these characters. Go read them asap. Find my review for the first book, Aru Shah and the End of Time, here.
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? Review:
I adored this book. I’ve recently tried out reading some middle-grade books because I’ve heard so many people raving about a handful of books that are in this age range. I picked Aru Shah up specifically because I’m trying to read all the books for the SFF Awards (more information on those here). I’ve always loved mythology and superheroes and things like that so it wasn’t a huge surprise that I enjoyed this book. But it surprised me just how much I loved it.
I listened to the audiobook and really enjoyed it. The short chapters made it seem like the story was flying by. I felt like I was getting through the story so quickly, probably because I was just genuinely enjoying the story. I was laughing and just all around having a good time listening.
Aru Shah was funny and entertaining. But she was flawed and made mistakes. I loved her. She was silly and curious, passionate and fun. She made mistakes but never let those mistakes define her. She recognized what she was doing wrong and made a point to do better and try to make up for her mistakes.
I also adored Mini. She was nerdy and smart and exactly what Aru needed in her life. I think she was a great addition to the story. I loved the relationship that they developed in this story.
I don’t want to just go on and on about the relationships because those were my favorite things. (Yes, I’m thinking of our girl’s favorite pigeon.) Also, the way that the story ended let the perfect amount of wanting more; wanting to know what adventure the girls will go on next and how they will find their other brothers and sisters.
Finally, the mythology. I adored the parts of the story surrounding the Indian mythology because it’s not something I’m particularly familiar with. So, after finishing this story I feel as if I’ve learned a lot, but also had a great time while doing so. I can’t wait to learn more about the Pandava brothers and the other various gods mentioned.
Overall, I just enjoyed every minute of this audiobook and I cannot wait to spend some more time with these characters and go on more adventures with them.