Aru Shah and the End of Time (A Pandava Novel Book 1) (Pandava Series) Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-07-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 0 user ratings

"4 Stars

Trust Rick Riordan when he recommends a new series!!

Hindu mythology? Middle-grade heroines?! A quest to save the universe from a demon and the End of Time?!! Sign me up!!

I loved this first book of the Pandava Quartet! It was so much fun and full of adventure. Honestly, I was a bit worried going into it that it was going to be a cookie-cutter imitation of Percy Jackson, but I was pleasantly surprised by the originality. It took a little to get into it because of my skepticism, but as the story progressed the pages were dripping with magic!

Aru and Mini are awesome together and the perfect complement for each other. Aru has a fantastic imagination and Mini is smart as a whip! They are both completely relateable and I was cheering them on the whole time. *Elbow bump!*

I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series. This has piqued my interest in Hindu mythology and the Mahabharata, so I hope there is a kid-friendly guide on that soon?!
" said.

"Eh. I didn’t love it, It was okay. I think it was just aimed too young and it really felt young.

So this is along the lines of Percy Jackson, Magnus Chase, of the Kane Chronicles, but for me it fell a bit flat. It is based on the Hindu mythologies and follows a young girl Aru who accidentally unleashes a demon.

I think for me I really struggled to identify with Aru. She is constantly telling lies to impress her much richer friends and gets into trouble. It is probably true 12 year old behavior, but I felt she was a bit bratty.

I really liked the mythology. I think that was my favorite aspect of the story. The character Boo (a pigeon) was great too. I do have to say many of the characters came and went as needed and there wasn’t much character depth.

I dunno just overall I didn’t really connect and it felt really young, but it was a fast read and I can imagine younger readers really enjoying this.
" said.

"Aru wanted her life to be as exciting as the children who went to her school, so she made up stories that weren’t true. She never realized that living in a museum with her archeologist mother could be a rich adventure all on its own.

When Aru is challenged by three of her fellow students regarding a cursed lamp, she is prepared to show them the truth of her words, but first she will disregard the warning to never, never light the priceless lamp. Aru never expected to free the Sleeper that lay within and now the ancient demon is on a mission to awaken the God of Destruction and only the reincarnations of five Hindu Pandava brothers can save the world. For a girl who never felt equal to her classmates, Aru will discover she is so much more than anyone could have imagined, but she has still broken a trust…

ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME by Roshani Chokshi is a magical tale for middle grade readers about a young girl who felt inferior to her classmates only to find she is very special in the most amazing ways.

Ms. Chokshi has told a marvelous, fantasy tale filled with the angst of an insecure young girl who wants to be accepted by her peers, but first she must accept herself. Moments of humor, excitement and adventure create a rapid-fire tale that will hold younger readers’ interest and peak their curiosity with myths, magic and the mysteries of legends.

I enjoyed this tale, but at times, I felt it was written for adults who enjoy middle grade reading. Many humorous little snippets referred to things one would expect an adult to understand, not a middle grade reader. All in all, this little adventure is both delightful and entertaining with a hidden lesson or two on the way!

I received a complimentary ARC edition from Disney Hyperion

Series: Pandava Quartet - Book 1
Publisher: Disney Hyperion (March 27, 2018)
Genre: Children's Fantasy
Print Length: 368 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For Reviews & More:
" said.

"I know this is gonna be one bad review in a million good reviews for this book, but I'm going to share my thoughts on it anyways. Reading this book, I was horrified. I wish I never read it. I put it down several times, but picked it up again because I wanted to see just how far the author will take it. Each page revealed a different atrocity. My last thought when I finished it was "This book needs to be off the shelves, now."

Basically, Valmiki is The Hipster on the Anthill, Hanuman is a big ape who wears a blazer, Urvashi wears a salwar kameez, saat is the number six, the seasons care about instagram, Bollywood is all about slapping each other and "invisible wind", Shakhuni(AKA Shocky) is a freaking pigeon, all the God's vehicles/vahans are stolen, the numbers one and two are dogs in the land of death, pronounced ick and dough, the palace of the Pandav's is an emotional wreck, Dharm Raj's danda is nicknamed Dee Dee, and this is the first of a series of atrocities.

First of all, I have a question/s for the author. You claim to be a Hindu. Are you fine with the world dismissing your religion, beliefs, and way of life, as mythology? Are you fine with the western world dumping Hinduism in the same pile they dumped Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and various other mythologies? Are you absolutely fine with the fact that the Hindu Gods are now the content of Rick Riordan's FANDOM WIKI PAGE? Are you fine with the world understanding Hinduism the way you portrayed it in this book - silly, comical, childish, stupid? If a living, breathing, actively practiced religion can be made such a mockery of as you have done to Hinduism in this book, surely the same thing can be done to Christian and Islamic mythology? Or do we dare not call christianity and islam mythology? When last did you watch a Bollywood movie?

Why did you write this book?

Secondly, I do acknowledge that your research was well conducted, and that the target audience is
8-12 year olds. Still, you wouldn't find a christian children's book telling the events of the bible in such a way, where Jesus speaks slang words, shakes his fist, and can't make proper decisions - which, by the way, is how a conversation between Shiv and a demon, Bhasmasura (in the book its spelt Brahmasura) as he asks for a boon, went in the book:

Shiva: Why, though?
Brahmasura: ☺
Shiva: No, seriously, why? That's a horrible wish.
Brahmasura: ☺
Shiva: I ... ugh. Okay. Fine. You will regret this! *shakes fist*
Brahmasura: ☺

I was so horrified at this that I actually put the book down to wonder whether I bought a fake, altered copy of the book. No way in history that Shiva was ever portrayed as such. Yet there it was, even though Shiva is such a supreme GOD - as supreme as Jesus to christians. Nobody would write a conversation like that with Jesus, not even in a children's book, now would they? Christians would never tolerate such a thing. So why are we Hindu's tolerating it? Why are we allowing this author to portray our religion like this?

That conversation is an excerpt from the glossary section at the end of the book. From the very first page we can witness hordes of things such as the above conversation. The amount of times a "typical Bollywood movie" was described:

-page 40: "... she had imagined something from a Bollywood movie. Lights glittering. A wind - out of nowhere - making her hair fly, and everyone breaking into a choreographed song and dance at the exact same time."
-page 57: "Vayu, Lord of the Winds, stirred a slight breeze. He was dark skinned and looked like the handsome star of a Bollywood film."
["Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior, had a gentle smile on his lips. He was light skinned and looked like the handsome star of a Hollywood film." Note: I assumed his skin complexion based on his race.]
-page 134: "3. You could show up like an actor in every Bollywood movie, with an invisible wind blowing through your hair and everyone suddenly dancing around you."
[Something wrong with invisible wind?]
-page 200: "Her mother's flight out had been cancelled, and they'd spent the whole day inside, snuggled together on the couch. They'd eaten ramen while watching a Bollywood film where everyone got fake slapped at least once ..."
-page 277: "Bollywood: India's version of Hollywood. They produce tons of movies a year. You can always recognize a Bollywood movie, because somebody gets fake-slapped at least once, and every time a musical number starts, the settings changes drastically. (How did they start off dancing in the streets of India and end up in Switzerland by the end of the song?)"
[I suppose the fight scenes in Hollywood movies are real, and they really kill of each other, and musically's like La La Land don't count as people breaking into song and dance at the exact same time.]

You wanna watch a good Bollywood movie? I suggest the latest release Padmavaat. Or if you're into action, try Dhoom 3. Comedy? Try Golmaal, or Welcome, or Hera Pheri. Horror? Try Pari. Want to learn about Indian culture from India itself? Try Bajirao Mastani, Chennai Express, Bahubali. Want to learn about Hinduism? Watch the series Mahakali, or Hanuman, or Mahadev. I'm truly curious as to which movies the author watched.

But the Bollywood thing is the least of the mockery. Read these descriptions of Hanuman:

page 48: "Then there was monkey-faced Hanuman, the trickster who had famously helped the god Rama in his fight against the demon king."
This is true, Hanuman is half monkey and he did help Ram fight the demon Raavan, but do we want the world to refer to Hanuman as "monkey-faced"? And this is describing something called the "Council" (which does not exist in Hinduism) consisting of names like Hanuman, Uloopi, Surasa, Jambavan, Kubera, and Urvashi who are "Guardians" and "worthy of worship but they were often considered seperate from the main league of gods and goddesses" - please tell me when Hanuman was ever considered separate. The GOD who we chant and dedicate the Hanuman Chalisa to? And according to this book, the council "gather on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and during full moons and new moons, and also for the season premiere and finale of Game of Thrones." Would anyone ever dare to say that Jesus and his apostles gather to watch Game of Thrones???

page 279: "Hanuman (HUH-noo-mahn) One of the main figures in the Indian epic the Ramayana, who was known for his devotion to the god-king Rama and Rama's wife, Sita. Hanuman is the son of Vayu, the god of the wind, and Anjana, an apsara. He had lots of mischievious exploits as a kid, including mistaking the sun for a mango and trying to eat it. There are still temples shrines dedicated to Hanuman and he's often worshipped by wrestlers because of his incredible strength. He's the half brother of Bhima, the second-oldest Pandava brother."
[Once again, I acknowledge the author's research.]

page 281: " describes how the god-king Rama, aided by his brother and the monkey-faced demigod Hanuman ..."
page 282: "Vayu is also the father of Hanuman, the monkeyfaced demigod."
page 269: " "This way," said the monkey-faced demigod, bounding ahead of them."

But perhaps the most peeving part of Hanuman's description was his entrance(he and urvashi enter at the same time, and they are having a conversation):
page 50:
" To the left of the celestial dancer, a deep voice let out a powerful laugh."You really hold on to a grudge, don't you? Hasn't it been a millenium since he ruined your outfit?" The monkey demigod Hanuman materialized in his throne. He was wearing a silk blazer and a shirt patterned with forest leaves. His tail flopped over the back of his chair, and from one of his ears dangled a jewel that looked like a small crown.
"It wasn't my outfit, you big ape," snapped Urvashi.
[Silk blazer??? Shirt patterned with forest leaves???? You big ape?????!!! Hanuman looked up to Urvashi as a mother. Author, again I ask you, do you want the world to see Hanuman wearing a freaking silk blazer? This is how he looks:

As for Urvashi:

page 50: "Aru turned to see the most beautiful woman in the world sitting on the throne labeled URVASHI. She wore black leggings and a salwar kameez top that would have appeared as simple as white spun cotton if it didn't glimmer like woven moonlight. Around her ankles was a set of gunghroo bells. She was tall and dark-skinned and wore her hair in a messy braid. She looked as if she'd just stepped out of dance rehearsal. Which, given the fact that she was the chief dancer of the heavens, was probably true."
Salwar Kameez? Seriously? Not to mention that she gives Aru and Mini and MEHENDHI MAP. Why are you working on such stereotypical ideas of Indians?
This is an actor who played Urvashi in the series Sankatmochan Mahabali Hanuman (Note: NO SALWAR KAMEEZ):

Among more childish and stupidly portrayed scenes:
-Draupadi coming home to her five husbands, page 60: "Imagine walking in your front door, calling out, Honey, are you home? and hearing: Yes dear! Yes dear! Yes dear! Yes dear! Yes dear!
-Arjun invading his wife and brother's privacy when it was their year to spend together, page 61: "He could've just knocked on the door and shouted, Bro, I left my bow and arrow. Could you hand 'em to me? It'd be like asking a friend to pass you some toilet paper under the stall if you're in a pinch."
-Hanuman describing his childhood, page 66: "When I was young I mistook the sun for a fruit. Got in a lot of trouble for that," he said, sounding more pleased with himself than guilt-ridden. "I clashed with a planet, and threw off a scheduled eclipse. Your father, Indra, was so mad that he used his famous lightning bolt to strike me down from the sky. It hit me in the side of the face, which is how I earned the name Hanuman, or 'Prominent jaw'."
-Describing the first time Shiv and Ganesh met: "A Parvati is getting their home ready for Shiva's return, she tells Ganesh not to let anyone through the door(Guests can be a nuisance.) So Ganesh, being a good kid, says "Okay!" When Shiva strides up to the door, shouting, "Honeyyyy, I'm hooooome!" Ganesh and Shiva look at each other, frown, and at the same time say "And you do you think you are?" .... "Shiva lops of Ganesh's head. Which I can only imagine was supremely awakward for the family. To avoid a big fight with Parvati, Shiva goes out and grabs an elephant's head, sticks it on his son's body, and bam, now its fine.

If that does not sound like mockery. Seriously. It's actual sentences in the book. Dear Author, you are making Hinduism sound like rubbish stories that have no moral intent, no teachings, no essence. Why did you write this book?

I don't understand what other readers find interesting or thrilling about this book, or the story. If the world thinks that Hinduism as portrayed in this book is interesting, what would they say when they really start reading about Hinduism? If Harry Potter was burned because it portrayed witchcraft and sorcery, this book should too. I want this book to be banned and the series stopped. Plain and simple.

Hinduism is not "underrepresented" - maybe in the west it is, but I'm definitely NOT supporting this book, Aru Shah and the End of Time, to stand as a representation. Hinduism is not "mythology" - its not dead, the way the west killed the greek gods. if Rick Riordan dismisses the living religion as such, then the same should be done to christianity and islam. Hindus are being quiet. But - bring on the Rick Riordan imprint of christian and islamic mythology, and then watch the uproar.
" said.

" What a warm, funny, enchanting book. I can’t wait for #2! " said.

" This was a really cute book! I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next one!Full RTC " said.

" *4.5This was everything I wanted from it, this book gave me such a nostalgic feeling for Rick Riordan’s books, there were similarities but was completely unique and it’s own story. This book was beautiful, inspirational, and action-packed, this book is female empowering with the female main characters who just inspire others.Full Review " said.

"This book gives me a huge Percy Jackson vibes and it's about Hindu mythology. Sounds like a treat! *fingers crossed*

Rating: 4,3
" said.

September 2018 New Book:

You Maybe Interested In Other Reviews: