In a Facebook group we are both in, TBR & Beyond, Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Choksi was a group read. We both want to read more middle grade, so we decided to join in. The sypnosis sounded really interesting. Did Aru Shah and the End of Time meet our expectations? Keep reading to find out!
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?
Isabelle: This cover is so cute! I really enjoy the colors and the illustrations fit the story very well. The cover speaks to both middle graders and older people enjoying MG books in my opinion.
Candyce: This cover is gorgeous! The colors and drawing style are amazing and fit this book so well! Aru Shah and the end of time is a book that belongs on everyone’s bookshelf.
Isabelle: Aru Shah was pretty much exactly what I was expecting and hoping for in this book. It’s also pretty clear this is a book in the Rick Riordan imprint as it follows the same concept as his books. And that’s not a bad thing at all! In this book we get so much hindu mythology and I loved all of it. I love reading MG fantasy and this was another book filled with adventure, friendship and humor. There were some quiet references in here and I loved the messages in this book. The plot wasn’t really surprising but so much fun to read! I know Candyce was a bit disappointed with the ending but I liked how it set up for the rest of the series. The end of the ending (does that make sense?) ensured that I would be picking up the second book as soon as it comes out. I’m so curious!
“Aru was twelve years old. Even she knew that half the time she didn’t know what she was doing.”
Candyce: Aru Shah and the End of Time was such a cute read. The writer gave us a story filled with mythology (I loved learning new facts about this culture). Roshani Choksi gave us a book filled with humor, friendship, family and several references to things happening in the world these days. I loved that our hero in this story fought her monsters in Spiderman pyjamas. This book is a good example of how important friendship and family can be and that lying does have consequences. While I understand that this series has more books coming, the ending kind of fell a bit flat for me. It’s not that I’m not happy with the ending, but with all the excitement during the book, the ending was kind of boring. The very end of the book left me excited for the second book. I will definitely be picking up the next book. Roshani Choksi also has a couple of young adult books. After reading this, I’m curious to see how she does that genre.
“Why should I say thank you?” asked Mini. “I knew you could do it.”
Isabelle: I loved Aru! She is a lying all the time but at the same time I found her narration so honest. She was very honest about why she was lying and what she was feeling. I really like that contrast. Aru just wants to have attention from her mom and fit in with the kids at school. Lying is NOT good but I can certainly understand why she does it. I liked how Aru developed during the story, she started to appreciate her life a lot more. Who wouldn’t want to live in a museum?! She also started to realize why her mom does what she does and how much she loves Aru. Aru is also pretty bad ass and can’t wait to see her develop as a heroine. She won’t just let fate decide what will become of her and she will do her own thing.
“I believe that the world could be different. I believe that our destinies aren’t chains around our necks, but wings that give us flight.”
I absolutely adored Mini! She cracked me up every single time; ‘and then you’ll die’, ‘and then you could die’, ‘and that will kill you’, and so on and on. I also liked how prepared she was and all the stuff she had put in her backpack for this adventure. The relationship between the two was so cute and I loved the development. This kinda of friendship is why I adore middle grade books so much.
It was also super interesting reading about all the characters based on gods, demigods, demons, and what not from Hindu mythology. I love learning this way and was happy with the little guide in the back haha. All those names can get a bit confusing but since it was all so well done I don’t think I got confused at any time.
Candyce: Aru has a tendency to lie a lot, but I understand why. Going to a school where all the kids go on exotic trips while their on break and have so much more than she does, makes it hard to feel welcome. Aru wants to be liked and have friends and thinks that lying will help her. The one thing I love the most about this is, even though she’s a liar, she’s honest about doing it in this book. Aru is very aware that her lies won’t always help her, but she tries. I am jealou of Aru, I mean growing up in a museum has to be amazing! I loved how Aru developed during this book. She starts to realize that she does have people who love her and that she may need to approach others in a different way. Aru learns to understand her mother more. Aru is also very brave. I don’t think I would’ve handled being thrown into a world like that and dare to do everything she did.
“Love looked different to everyone.”
Mini was such a fun character. Even though Aru was scared, she just kept on going. Mini was more careful and told Aru the risks of what they were doing. I could relate more to Mini. She was full of facts and it was clear she loves to learn. Mini had her own developing in this book as well. She learned to believe in herself and in her friendship with Aru. I’m looking forward to learning more about Mini.
Boo, their enchanted assistant is a pigeon. I loved his character. It’s clear he doesn’t want to be the one to help them, but in the end he cares about that a lot. There is clearly more to his story than we got this book. We were told who he is, but I would definitely love to learn more about him.
Isabelle: This was such a fun, interesting, and amazing world to read about. Roshani wrote all the places so well, I could picture all of it. I particularly enjoyed the opening to the Night Bazaar <3
Candyce: I think Roshani Choksi did an amazing job at creating this world. She brought Hindu mythology to life and made learning about this culture so fun. The way she wrote this book made me feel like I was there. Every location was described in a way that I could see it while I was reading. My favorite location was the library. It sounded like a magical place filled with books I would love to read. The books literally came to life. This book definitely set up this world for the next books. I can’t wait to see where she takes us next.
We both really enjoyed this book and are looking forward to the second one. Mythology is always interesting when used in a story. What is your favorite mythology to read about?