Girl Starts Apocalypse to Impress Classmates
Aru Shah loves to embellish the truth about her life. Like when she sold a "vintage" penny for two bucks to one of her classmates, and when she said she had a pet rescue elephant, even when it was really a stone elephant salvaged from the temple.
But her embellishments come back to bite in her the butt when three of her classmates show up on her doorstep with a video recorder, ready to expose her lies to the rest of the school. Unless she proved she wasn't completely full of crap.
But there was only one thing that Aru hadn't embellished: the lamp of destruction. If it was lit, it would start the end of the world. Aru didn't think lighting it for her classmates for a split second would cause that much damage but she was very wrong.
Now, she and an anxiety-ridden girl named Mini had only days to prevent a demon called the Sleeper from waking the God of Destruction. With a pigeon named Boo to help, a magic compact, and a gold, glittery ball, the two girls travel to divine dimensions and the underworld to save their own world.
First of all, the summary above is my over-simplification of all the awesome things that go down in Aru Shah and the End of Time. This is a masterpiece disguised as a young adult fantasy adventure book.
Aru and Mini are both awesome characters who seem like the most unlikely heroes in the world, even by YA standards. Aru's a compulsive liar while Mini carries an EpiPen just in case she has a bee allergy.
But, that's the cool thing about Hindu mythology: no one's perfect, not even the heroes. And this book definitely showcases that.
Aru and Mini work really well together and even though Aru isn't the most likable at first, she definitely grew on me. Her reaction to talking to a cute boy is fantastic and despite all her faults, she's always up for trying to fix her mistakes and save her friends and family.
This is the first book in the Rick Riordan Presents collection, and it's the first book in the Aru Shah series. I'll definitely be reading the next one in the next year or two.
There were only a couple of things I didn't care for, like one scene involving a lot of writer humor. Aru cracked a joke about annoying books starting with the main character waking up and remarked that first drafts were never good.
It's possible Aru subscribed to Writer's Digest and lurked on Twitter's writing community like I did in middle school, but if so it wasn't mentioned and felt really out-of-character for her.
The other issue I had was when Aru and Mini were trying to get out of the Underworld. They met Wish and Time who talked about thinking orange skin and bad hair was enough to keep a former demon out of elected office.
Is Trump a former demon? Sure. I'd buy that. But I don't know if political humor is really appropriate for a YA novel, and it definitely annoyed me. I'm already bombarded by Trump news and jokes in my real life, I certainly don't want to think about him in my fictional lives.
But these two issues are both incredibly minor and the rest of the book far outweighs them. Fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson will love Aru Shah and her world-saving adventures.