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Aru Shah and the End of Time

Review

Aru Shah and the End of Time

From author Roshani Chokshi comes a new fantastical middle-grade adventure, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME. Chokshi is probably most well-known for her previous young adult work, THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN. Chokshi’s newest work is the first book to be published under Disney’s newest imprint, Rick Riordan Presents.

Seventh grader Aru Shah is just like everyone else in her seventh grade class. Filthy rich, cosmopolitan and a jet-setter on the weekend. Well, at least that’s what she tells everyone. Aru actually lives with her busy mom at the town’s local Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, and most of her time is spent helping visitors and fraternizing with ancient statues.

"ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME was able to beautifully weave culture and humor, to create a story about a quirky, valiant young heroine who is just as lost in the world as the rest of us are...."

Unfortunately, Aru soon finds herself caught in her web of extravagant lies, and is confronted by her classmates who want some proof about Aru’s wild adventures. Unable to provide it, Aru ends up lighting a supposedly cursed lamp in an attempt to reclaim her honor. However, the lamp is definitely cursed, and ends up releasing the Sleeper, a legendary demon who will freeze time, and everyone Aru loves in an attempt to awaken the god of destruction. Now Aru, along with her guardian pigeon and new allergy-ridden companion, Mini, must work together to stop the Sleeper from destroying the world as they know it. And, of course, Aru’s Spider-Man pajamas help too.

ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME is fabulous. Chokshi manages to translate Rick Riordan’s famously humorous writing and wit into her story, while continuously maintaining her own voice as a writer. Aru and Mini are heroines who every young girl should be looking up to and seeing portrayed within literature. Aru is bold and daring, yet blunt and unafraid to admit her flaws and shortcomings to herself. She struggles with who she is and the pressure she puts on herself to be like everyone else.

Mini, meanwhile, with her epi-pen and battle with self-doubt, begins to gain more confidence in herself and how powerful she is continuously as the story unfolds. Aru and Mini are absolutely hilarious, and their dynamic working together is one of the best aspects of the story all-around. Being all alone, Aru and Mini are forced to bond with each other, subsequently becoming each other’s own family, despite feeling alone in the world. Aside from that, Mini and Aru are epic heroines, and are unafraid to say it. Though afraid of the future and the task at hand, they know how powerful they are, and begin to take more pride in it as the story progresses.

Aside from characters, Chokshi beautifully crafted a plot that felt familiar, but never felt reused or left me wanting more. Not only is this read insightful about a culture and history that belongs to so many, yet ignored by more, but it also takes creative liberties where needed, creating a fun presentation of cultural values around the world. On a similar note, the insight this provided about American-Indian culture was fascinating, as it presented an identity struggle not seen in many books today. From seven-headed horses to grumpy pigeons, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME was able to beautifully weave culture and humor, to create a story about a quirky, valiant young heroine who is just as lost in the world as the rest of us are (only, a bit more is at stake for Aru).

While of course this book is perfect for fans of anything Rick Riordan, such as the Percy Jackson series or the Heroes of Olympus series, it really expands to a much broader audience than that. To anyone who is looking to grow their list of favorite female characters (or favorite animal sidekicks), this book is a shoe-in. However, don’t let the middle-grade label throw you off. This is a book for the young and the old, as long as your appreciate laughing yourself silly every once in a while.

Reviewed by Savana W., Teen Board Member on March 26, 2018

Aru Shah and the End of Time
(A Pandava Novel #1)
by Roshani Chokshi