Aru Shah and the Song of Death – Roshani Chokshi

Aru Shah and the Song of Death (Pandava Quartet, #2)

Aru Shah and the Song of Death by Roshani Chokshi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Aru Shah and the Song of Death is the second book in the Pandava Quartet by Roshani Chokshi. Chokshi’s writing felt a little more like herself in this book and less like it was trying too hard to sound like Rick Riordan. As much as I love his writing style and pop culture references, they felt forced from Chokshi in the first book (and although it was still prevalent it felt more natural from her this time around.) There were some pop culture references that were woven into the plot and genuinely made me laugh out loud.

We were also introduced to some new characters in this book. Aru and Mini are their usual selves, although Mini isn’t present for some of the story so we get to experience a new dynamic. As usual, they’re sent off on a dangerous quest – but in this instance, if they do not succeed in time they will be kicked out of the Otherworld. It has hints of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Aru is being accused of the theft and is tasked with getting the item back to clear her name with her merry band of friends…) but is unique enough that I didn’t feel like I was reading a retelling of the Lightning Thief.

The two new main characters that join Aru’s crew are Brynne and Aiden. I loved both of them, after we had the chance to get to know them. Brynne can be rough and hard to get along with, but over the course of the book we get to know her, her backstory, and she becomes a more realized character. I appreciated that depth and it makes you like her more. Aiden was adorable, with his love for his camera, his constant assertions that he’s not a Pandava (even though Gods keep calling him one, I had a feeling this would be important and the answer was amazing.)

I still love that this is a book based on Hindi mythology and since it is middle grade, I think that it is incredibly accessible to most readers. I really enjoyed learning about new people (or Gods), places, and legends from mythology. I actually enjoyed the second book more than the first and I am engaged in the narrative of these characters, so I cannot wait to see where Aru’s journey takes her next.

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