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.
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.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.