Roshani Chokshi is one of my favorite authors. I feel like every book I read of hers I become more in awe of her. I have adored reading the Pandava Quartet. The writing is different than Chokshi’s YA books but in the best way. They are hilarious, have plentiful amount of puns and references, and heartfelt all at once. Keep reading this book review of the second in the quartet!
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.
Aru Shah and the Song of Death immediately immerses you in the action. I have had so much fun listening to the Pandava Quartet on audio book. The narration makes the action come alive. It brings back memories of having my mom read to me before bed. Seriously – so relaxing! As an adult listening to this series, the amount of references and wry humor or Aru make me chuckle. I cannot imagine the fun to be had listening as a middle grade reader!
While I adored the conversations about friendship and the action, what I loved were the conversations Chokshi brings up. Aru Shah and the Song of Death feels contained, while also advancing the major story line. But what I loved was how it discusses both being judged for our lineage, without getting to know us, and the power of stories in the wrong hands. Brynne is constantly distrusted for her legacy and Aru discusses how unfair it is. At the same time, Aru Shah and the Song of Death discusses ethics and villains.
Our story, our truths, are always prone to the workings of other hands. Whether they use our story for good, or turn us into a villain, the mark we leave on the world matters. Stories and legends have true powers. They can alter how we are treated, how those we love are seen, but also how we see ourselves. Aru Shah and the Song of Death examines the perspectives of stories. The ways truths are bent and distorted. There are always two sides to every story and what happens when we don’t believe the stories from those we trust? No one wants to be defined for their worst mistakes only.
Aru Shah and the Song of Death examines the ethics of answering wrongs with wrongs. With how we react to what happens to us. We have a chance to fight for revenge, for justice, or to accept forgiveness. The second in the Pandava Quartet made its mark on my heart for its thought provoking themes alongside the exploration of friendship. Find Aru Shah and the Song of Death on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, Bookshop.org & The Book Depository.