Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani ChokshiAru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Series: Pandava Quartet #1
Published by Rick Riordan Presents on March 27, 2018
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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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?

I’ve been excited for this book ever since I saw it described as “Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon.” First of all, you guys know I’m a HUGE fan of books with mythology and mythology retellings. And I’ve loved Sailor Moon ever since I was a little girl. Not only do I 100% support these comparisons, but I also had MAJOR Hocus Pocus vibes (lighting the black flame candle = lighting the Lamp of Bharata) and – weirdly – A Wrinkle in Time vibes. I don’t totally get why I had A Wrinkle in Time vibes because I read it in elementary school and remember VERY little about it. But, for whatever reason, it kept coming to mind.

So yeah… Between all those spot-on, epic comparisons and the gorgeous world and mythology, this book definitely did NOT disappoint. Roshani Chokshi’s writing is absolutely gorgeous and lyrical, and her characters are fierce – I was rooting for them right from page one!

I loved Aru and Mini. They were strong, fierce female heroines. They both made mistakes and had some fumbles, but they always got right back up and pushed forward. I love the way their friendship evolved from beginning to end, and can’t wait to see what happens next for them in book two.

Boo reminded me of Zazu from Lion King. I also had major Mulan/Mushu vibes with the whole “I’ll restore my honor!” thing.

I loved the way this book ended, and what it means for the second book. I’m hoping we’ll get some more background info on Aru’s mom, the Sleeper, and the original Pandava Brothers. I’m anxious to see the rest of the reincarnations of the Pandava’s, too. With the Sailor Moon comparison, I can’t wait to see them all together. I’m curious to see the dynamic and how they work together, if they clash, etc… You know, I’ll just admit it: I’m hoping for a Sailor Moon/Sailor Mars dynamic between Aru and one of the other girls, haha. The Moon/Mars dynamic always had me hysterical!

I know my review was a bit babbly and all over the place, but hopefully I got my point across – I LOVED this book! I had a really hard time articulating why, but it was just really fantastic. It comes down to the mythology, the comparisons, the writing, the world, and the characters. It was all just magical and wonderful and I REALLY need book two in my life ASAP!!!

So, overall, if you love books about mythology, I HIGHLY recommend this book. Also, if you’re a Sailor Moon fan, you’ll love the girl power!

Side note: A great side-effect of reading and loving Aru Shah and the End of Time? It FINALLY has me in the mood to re-read The Star-Touched Queen. You see, the first time I read TSTQ, I was going through some very stressful, upsetting Life Stuff. I should have LOVED TSTQ!!! But my Life Slump made it difficult to focus and I couldn’t get into ANY of the books I read during that period in my life. I’ve been meaning to re-read TSTQ for a long time now, with the hope that I’ll enjoy it more now that my Life Slump has eased up. The fact that I loved Aru Shah has me VERY hopeful that I’ll love TSTQ this time around!


Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani ChokshiThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on April 26, 2016
Pages: 342
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you're only seventeen?

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.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

I was HIGHLY anticipating The Star-Touched Queen. I’ve been excited for it since before it had a cover and an official synopsis. The title drew me in, as did the description that came with the Publishers Weekly deal announcement. While there were MANY things I loved about this book, it didn’t wow me the way I had hoped. But I don’t think that was the book so much as this slump I’m in…

You see, I seem to be in a Life Slump. All the books I was most excited for in 2016? Not enjoying as much as I’d expected to. And I KNOW it’s not the books, it’s me. Sadly, The Star-Touched Queen was another victim of this Life Slump and it was hit the worst because I was in the middle of reading it when my beloved chocolate lab had to be put to sleep. If you’ve been following my blog for a long time and if you follow me on social media, you know my chocolate lab was my baby. So this was a particularly devastating blow for me – but also one more thing in a string of bad blows in the last year. And my reading has definitely suffered for that – but more about that later (I’m working on a blog post about all this). Back to the review!

Anyway, I still did love many things about this book, including the gorgeous writing and the world. I didn’t dislike the characters but I felt a little detached from them, which was disappointing because I wanted to LOVE them. I’m a huge fan of mythology, though and the Hades/Persephone myth is one of my favorites, so I really loved that aspect of the story and the characters. I also loved seeing the Indian mythology twist on the tale, since I’ve only really read retellings of the Greek mythology version.

Though I didn’t love the characters as much as I’d hoped to, Maya was definitely intriguing. She grew so much from the beginning of the story to the end. This book had a small cast of characters, so saying she had the most character development of all the characters is a bit of a stretch, but it’s the truth. I definitely liked the chemistry between Maya and Amar – the snarkiness and the love-to-hate relationship.

I LOVED this world, especially the Night Bazaar. The Night Bazaar reminded me of the marketplace in Aladdin’s Agrabah, mixed with the darkness and quirkiness of Hercules’s Underworld (Disney’s version of both these places, to clarify) – It was so gorgeous and fantastical! And that’s mostly thanks to Chokshi’s beautiful writing and epic descriptions. I felt like I was in the world, experiencing the story as Maya. Chokshi definitely nailed the idea of “show don’t tell.”

The last ten page of the book were the absolute BEST. I know that seems weird to say, but they were truly my favorite part of the entire book. So much happened, so many things were answered and so many things finally made sense. I might have been a bit disconnected from the characters in the beginning, but I loved the way Maya’s story ended. It was perfection and couldn’t have ended any better or any other way. I know there’s a sequel in the works, but I don’t know if it’s with the same characters or if it’s a companion, but I’m REALLY hoping it’s with Maya and Amar again. I NEED to know what happens next!!!

So, despite my Life Slump effecting some of my enthusiasm for this book, I still did really enjoy it and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who loves mythology. It’s the kind of book that I could see myself reading again, after this Life Slump is over and things have calmed down, and I think I’d enjoy it twice as much! I’m eager to see what Roshani Chokshi comes up with next, whether it be a sequel or companion to this book or something else entirely.