Twelve-year-old Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in at school. While her classmates are jetting off to family vacations in exotic locales, she’ll be spending her autumn break at home, in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, waiting for her mom to return from her latest archeological trip. Is it any wonder that Aru makes up stories about being royalty, traveling to Paris, and having a chauffeur?
One day, three schoolmates show up at Aru’s doorstep to catch her in a lie. They don’t believe her claim that the museum’s Lamp of Bharata is cursed, and they dare Aru to prove it. Just a quick light, Aru thinks. Then she can get herself out of this mess and never ever fib again.
But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees the Sleeper, an ancient demon whose duty it is to awaken the God of Destruction. Her classmates and beloved mother are frozen in time, and it’s up to Aru to save them.
The only way to stop the demon is to find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers, protagonists of the Hindu epic poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death. But how is one girl in Spider-Man pajamas supposed to do all that?
Anyone who knows me knows that anything based on mythology will pique my interest, so when Rick Riordan started the Rick Riordan Presents line I was super excited. I finally got around to picking this one up and was not disappointed.
Chokshi’s writing is beautiful and the personalities she creates for her characters are very individual. Aru grows a lot in this book, but she still has flaws and still has things she needs to work on. This is something I really appreciate as it keeps her more human and easier to identify with.
I can’t wait to get to the second book and see how the characters grow even more. I have a feeling even more backstory will be revealed and we will learn more as the series goes on.