Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi
Aru 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, they’re turning people into heartless fighting-machine zombies. If that weren’t bad enough, somehow Aru gets framed as the thief. If she doesn’t find the arrow by the next full moon, she’ll be kicked out of the Otherworld. For good.
But, for better or worse, she won’t be going it alone.
Along with her soul-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 that their enemy isn’t at all who they expected.
I adored Aru Shah and the Song of Death. I think I might have liked it even more than book one!
Someone stole a bow and arrows and created “the heartless”. They were all males and were basically zombies. Uloopi blamed the Pandavas and gave them a mission to retrieve the stolen property in ten days or these lose their Otherworld memories and be banned from there.
Aru, Mini, and Brynne are joined by Aiden even though he’s not a Pandava. Brynne and Aiden are actually best friends, but this is the boy from school that Aru crushed on. Their quest took them into a place under water and full of creatures. They have so many different battles just to make it to the person who stole the bow and arrows. There are still a lot of issues between Aru and Brynne, but they start to work well together. As much as I love Aru and her humor, I have such a soft spot for Mini. I love her germ phobia and how she knows everything about dying from things. She’s also just the sweetest. Mini gets taken, so the group must work together to face their worst nightmares to rescue her.
I love Roshani’s characters and humor. But more than anything, I love her storytelling. There were so many Gods and myths throughout the book. It’s tough with the names, but I learn so much. I think this is incredible for young children. Because I don’t want to ruin everything that happens with their adventures, I’m just going to share some quotes that I really loved.
She was ARU SHAH. Devourer of Twizzlers and Swedish Fish. Bearer of a Ridiculously Powerful Lightening Bolt. Daughter of the God of Thunder and Lightening. Vessel of Movie Quotes.
And anyway, families weren’t like a box of standardized-test-taking number two pencils. Families were like a box of assorted-color Sharpie markers: different, kinda stinky (but not in a bad way), and permanent whether you liked it or not.
Ratri bowed her head. “I do it not for you, but out of memory for a friend who has lost their way…It is my hope, Pandavas, that you always see well. Remember, in one light something may seem monstrous, and in another it is perhaps not so terrible after all.”
I’m sharing this next quote because we need more of this in books. And seeing it in middle grade was awesome.
“Be honest,” said Yellow Stripe. “Does this helmet make my head look far?”
“Fat is not bad,” said Red Stripe, rolling his eyes. “Stop looking at those magazine covers. They’re totally enchanted.”
Brynne paused to raise her left fist in solidarity and kept moving.
Aru’s mom had taught her that many tales from around the world were similar. That didn’t make them unoriginal or bad, but rather proof that people cared about and were frightened of the same things no matter where they lived. Each culture put their own spin on the same universal story, keeping it alive in many different versions.
I really can’t say enough about this book. There were no flaws for me at all. I gave this 5 stars and cannot wait for book three.
Have you read the Pandavas’ books? Are you a fan of Roshani Chokshi? Do you enjoy reading mythology and folklore from countries and religions different from your own?