Title: Aru Shah And The Song Of Death
Series: The Pandeva Quartet
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Genre: Middle Grade, fantasy
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
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.
Sophmore slump? I don’t know her!
I was a little worried going into the book because sometimes the second book in a series slows things down a bit, but here, we had the opposite happening! The time jump meant that we know Aru and Mini had some time to bond, to learn, to grow up a little before their next adventure.
And what an adventure it was! The inclusion of new characters allowed more character growth for Aru and Mini – Aru having to keep learning to think before she talked, to see things from new points of views, and Mini reconfirming her place in the world, and allowed us more insight into the world as well.
Brynne could be a frustratingly wilful character, especially in the beginning, but one gets the sense that her past has formed her, and she is still young. She is growing, she and Aru are both familiarly headstrong and stubborn so of course they butt heads. And yet, we get the sense that they will also be wonderfully protective of one another as they grow up. Her love for food, especially, was very relatable, and Roshani’s many, many descriptions of food made me so hungry. Reading in the middle of the night was not good on this front.
Aidan was an interesting character too. What looks like Aru’s first crush turns into a friend, a partner and someone to depend on with secrets of his own. I loved his back and forth with the girls, and his motivations were really sweet. The reveal about him was not what I expected but it was also somehow not out of nowhere, and I loved it.
I cannot wait to jump into book three, because we’ve got Hira also to fully get to know like we did Brynne and Aidan, and two more sisters to find? I’m excited!