The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.
To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.
Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)Review:
How am I supposed to explain how much I loved this book? I wasn’t going to read this because of all of the negative or average reviews. All I have to say is, what is wrong with you people?? This book has been (wrongly) compared to Six of Crows. I slightly understand the comparison, but this story was so different.
We follow several different characters who all have different goals, but they’ve become a family of sorts and I loved every single one of them. I’ll start with Severin. He’s our damaged boy. I adored him. He’s supposed to have inherited his parent’s ring and become the patriarch of his family, but that right was stolen from him. His goal is to change that and reinstate his family, to become the patriarch that he was always supposed to be. After his parents died and his birthright was stolen from him, he was moved from home to home until he came into his monetary inheritance. I really liked the bits and pieces we got about each of his foster fathers. He also has a brother, Tristan.
Tristan is an awkward nerdy kid and I freaking loved him. He has this horrifying pet spider that he loves dearly. I don’t like spiders, but I loved Tristan. He’s like the little brother of everyone in the group. I adored how much everyone loves him. He’s a sweet little bean and I would die for him.
Laila is from India. She’s a dancer and loves to bake. That’s my kind of lady. She has an interesting history that I won’t specify because I thought learning about her was a part of the journey that is this book. She has a really interesting ability that is to be able to see the history of any object. I thought this was really cool, but also, I’m still curious about whether or not she can do the same with living things. Laila’s goal is to find a book that helped create her. I’m very intrigued by this book and I think it has something to do with the events of the next book.
Enrique is biracial (Filipino and Spanish). He’s a historian that loves to learn about the past. I thought his internal struggle with appearing more Spanish than Filipino was really interesting. I really thought he brought an interesting point of view to the story. He’s also bisexual, though the word is never used he says that he’s interested in both men and women. I really liked Enrique. He was the comedic relief of this friend group and I’m always a sucker for the funny guy. I also totally ship him with Zofia.
Zofia was a little science nerd and I love her. She’s Jewish which I thought was nice because I don’t see all that much representation for Jewish people out there. She’s also Polish and moved away from her sister to go to school. I believe that Zofia is somewhere on the Autism spectrum but I don’t know whether that’s been confirmed anywhere. She has issues with certain social cues, clothing materials, and I loved her so much. She’s incredibly smart and is the mad scientist and mathematician of the bunch. She loves to create but was not treated well when she tried to go to traditional schools.
Then there’s Hypnos, who isn’t a part of this found family at the beginning of the story. He manages to worm his way in though. I didn’t know whether or not we could trust him, but I grew to love him. He’s the patriarch of one of the last two recognized Houses. He hires the group to steal something from the other House. Obviously shit hits the fan and nothing goes as planned. I liked Hypnos. He was flirty and fun, but never quite trustworthy for most of the story. I’m definitely interested to see where his story goes in the next book.
Overall, I adored this book. I love Roshani’s writing. It’s just absolutely beautiful. She built a fascinating world with characters I would die for. Please read this book right now.

Quotes:

“Nothing but a symbol? People die for symbols. People have hope because of symbols. They’re not just lines. They’re histories, cultures, traditions, given shape.”

“Make yourself a myth and live within it, so that you belong to no one but yourself.”

“Her mother’s voice rang in her ears: ‘Don’t capture their hearts. Steal their imagination. It’s far more useful.”

“I don’t want to be their equal. I don’t want them to look us in the eye. I want them to look away, to blink harshly, as if they’d stared at the sun itself. I don’t want them standing across from us. I want them kneeling.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
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…
Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes (Pandava Quartet #3)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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
She is the princess of Bharata—captured by her kingdom’s enemies, a prisoner of war. Now that she faces a future of exile and scorn, Gauri has nothing left to lose. But should she trust Vikram, the notoriously cunning prince of a neighboring land? He promises her freedom in exchange for her battle prowess. Together they can team up and win the Tournament of Wishes, a competition held in a mythical city where the Lord of Wealth promises a wish to the victor. It seems like a foolproof plan—until Gauri and Vikram arrive at the tournament and find that danger takes on new shapes: poisonous courtesans, mischievous story birds, a feast of fears, and twisted fairy revels. New trials will test their devotion, strength, and wits. But what Gauri and Vikram will soon discover is that there’s nothing more dangerous than what they most desire.
A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2)Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, though they are companion novels and not truly a series. I loved this second book much more than the first. All of the things that made me not totally adore the first book were resolved in this book. I’ll stop being vague and get right into it.
First of all, it’s an enemies to lovers trope which is always a good time for me. Gauri is the princess of her kingdom and Vikram the prince of his. They are at war. When Vikram gets invited to the magical Tournament of Wishes, but is told he must find and bring his partner. The moment he sees Gauri, he knows she is the one he was told about.
I loved Vikram. He seems like he doesn’t take anything seriously, but he does. He just has that positive personality that means he makes jokes at the wrong times and is just generally an upbeat person. I really loved him. I think the contrast of Gauri’s character was so well done. She’s a warrior and all she wants is to be the leader to her people she knows she can be. I really enjoyed both characters accepting their desires and facing their fears.
Their banter had me cackling. I really loved their constant teasing and shots at one another. It was definitely my favorite part of this story. We really got to see their relationship for and develop together as we also got to see them grow individually. This was something I missed in the last book because the characters already had a past together. Also, the timeline wasn’t at all confusing like it was in the first book which I appreciated. I also really loved that we get to see bits and pieces of the previous book. The characters didn’t play a huge part, but we saw them and I enjoyed that.
I loved this world that we were in. The magical and the mythical were well explained and honestly so fascinating. I was completely captivated by this world and all of the characters in it. I adored the romance, especially the ending. I have loved everything I’ve read by this author and I’m not really excited to pick up the first book in her newest series.

Quotes:

“A story had no owner ship. A story could break its bones, grow wings, soar out of reach and dive out of sight in the time it took just to draw breath. It meant we weren’t walking a cut path. We carved it into existence with
every step.”

“It felt silly to say that he couldn’t bear to lose her. He never had her. She was not a thing to be possessed. But her entrance in his life had conjured light. And losing the light of her would plunge him into a darkness he’d never find his way out of.”

“Surviving isn’t just about cutting out your heart and burning every feeling into ash. Sometimes it means taking what ever is thrown at you, beautiful or grotesque, poisonous or blissful, and carving out your life with the pieces you’re given.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Summary:
Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…
But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.
The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)Review:
After reading Roshani’s middle-grade books, I was interested in picking up one of her YA releases. I loved her writing in her other books and short stories that I’ve read so I was excited about this one.
I did really enjoy The Star-Touched Queen, despite the few points that had me wildly confused. I liked our main character, Maya. She was the outcast daughter because of the horoscope she was born with. Most of the others avoided her and blamed bad things on her. Regardless of this, she’s trying to work on skills and learn. She spies on her father’s meetings and keeps up with the local politics. So, she already knows when her father comes to tell her that she must choose a husband. I really liked Maya. She’s swept up into an unfamiliar place and does her best to stay positive and figure out what she’s gotten herself into.
I also really liked Amar. I liked that we didn’t really know what he was hiding either, but that we were given hints to try and figure it out. I wish there had been an easier way for this pair. At first, I thought their relationship was sort of insta-love, but after learning the memories that Maya had lost, I really loved them together.
My biggest complaint about this book was that sometimes I found myself just wildly confused. I felt like the timeline was never very clear and that made bits and pieces of the story really confusing. It got better in the second half of the book.
I love the world and the mythology involved in this story. I really enjoyed all of the mythical beasts that were talked about and introduced. I also really love Kamala.
Finally, Roshani’s writing is absolutely stunning. I could have highlighted half of this book if I had gone into the story intending to annotate. I didn’t, but I love the writing. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and it would have been a five-star read had I not been so confused in the first half of the story.

Quotes:

“I wanted a love thick with time, as inscrutable as if a lathe had carved it from night and as familiar as the marrow in my bones. I wanted the impossible, which made it that much easier to push out of my mind.”

“The truth,” said Amar, taking a step closer to me, “is that you look neither lovely nor demure. You look like edges and thunderstorms. And I would not have you any other way.”

“My star-touched queen,” he said softly, as if he was remembering something from long ago. “I would break the world to give you what you want.”

“The worms do not take heed of caste and rank when they feast on our ashes,” the Raja said. “Your subjects will not remember you. They will not remember the shade of your eyes, the colors you favored, or the beauty of your wives. They will only remember your impression upon their hearts and whether you filled them with glee or grief. That is your immortality.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

Summary:
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.
Aru Shah and the Song of Death (Pandava Quartet, #2)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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

GoodReads Review:
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?
Aru Shah and the End of Time (Pandava Quartet, #1)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.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.