**3.5-stars rounded up**
12-year old, Aru Shah, doesn’t quite fit in. It’s not just the fact that she lives in an actual Museum, The Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture.
She attends a school where the vast majority of children are very wealthy. Aru is clearly not.
Her Mom frequently travels procuring artifacts for the museum, but even when she is around Aru doesn’t garner much attention from her.
This aspect of the story was fairly frustrating to read about actually. I wanted to grab her Mom and shake her, but I digress.
Aru feels lonely and frequently embellishes stories about her life, in order to gain attention or acceptance from her peers.
Unfortunately, she does it so much, she has a bit of a reputation as a liar.
When three classmates show up at the museum and challenge Aru to prove the validity of one of the stories she has told, that the Lamp of Bharata is cursed, she feels compelled to light it.
A lamp she has been told, numerous times, in no uncertain terms, to never, ever light. Yeah, she lights that.
Even though it is only for a moment, this one act ends up putting the entire fate of the world in jeopardy by freeing the demon trapped inside.
The demon, known as the Sleeper, is tasked with awakening the God of Destruction, who, as the name implies, will destroy everything. Luckily, the rest of the world is frozen in time, providing Aru with a chance to undo what she’s done.
Aru sets out on an epic quest, along with some new friends, to try to stop the Sleeper.
Tying in the legends of the Hindu epic poem, The Mahabharata, Aru Shah and the End of the Time is a fast-paced adventure, full of heart and valuable lessons.
I had a lot of fun with this story and can definitely see why it is so popular.
Parts of it were a bit too chaotic for my tastes, but overall, I felt it was really well done.
Aru, as a character, was interesting. I had so much sympathy for her. I felt bad for her. It hurt my heart how alone she felt in the world.
I am hoping in the next book, her Mother redeems herself a little bit, because after this one, I’m pretty much furious at her. Sure, I understand she had her reasons for what she did, but they’re not good enough for me.
I did love the relationship between Aru and Mini. It was so pure. Pretty much every moment with Mini filled my heart with glee. She’s just so precious.
I definitely plan to continue on with this series. I am hoping to learn so much more about these characters, this world and the myths and legends behind it.
Honestly, I feel the whole Rick Riordan Imprint is a gift.