Review by: Colleen
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Was mythology without Rick Riordan a hit or miss?
As most of you probably know, Rick Riordan recently developed his imprint “Rick Riordan Presents…” in order to further expand the number of different cultures and mythologies that middle grade books explore and represent. The first book of this imprint, Aru Shah and the End of Time, is based on Hindu mythology and was written by Roshani Chokshi, someone who grew up hearing stories all about the Hindu gods and goddesses.
I was just as excited as I was skeptical going into this book for a few reasons.
- I wasn’t sure how I would react reading a book described as “Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon” without the usual cast and crew from Rick’s books.
- It’s been awhile since I’ve read a mythology based book, especially one where my knowledge of the mythology is (unfortunately) at a minimum.
- I wasn’t quite sure if I would like how the mythology was modernly portrayed without feeling like it had already been done by Rick.
- However, I absolutely loved Roshani’s other two books (A Star Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes) and the mythological tales that were intertwined in them.
- Hindu mythology wasn’t something I knew much about, and stories like these are my favorite way to learn about new cultures and myths by far.
So, did Aru Shah and the End of Time, meet my high expectations?
Yes, yes it did.
This book was such a delightful read. As expected, Roshani Chokshi writing style flowed beautifully and made all of Aru’s adventures vivid and colorful in my mind. She was able to capture the sassy-ness of your typical seventh grade girl with acute accuracy and I found myself smiling even when Aru and her newfound sister Mini were in the face of imminent danger.
An important theme that ran through this story is the power of girls and women and children. Aru and Mini continuously find themselves being overlooked or doubted because they are just young girls. Much to the surprise of many gods and monsters (and even a palace), Aru and Mini prove themselves to be extremely smart and worthy heroines. I really enjoyed this spin that Roshani put on the Pandava brothers by having reincarnated them as girls instead instead of boys.
Many of the struggles that Aru and Mini face are relatable to readers of all ages and genders. They both wonder what makes them heroes and how they fit into not only the world of mythology but in their lives at school and with their families.
I laughed and smiled and gasped (and maybe, maybe cried just a tad bit) and overall I just really enjoyed this book. It’s definitely something to pick up if you’re on the fence about it or if you’re just looking for a fun, new adventure to go on.