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Pandava #2

Aru Shah and the Song of Death

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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.

304 pages, ebook

First published April 30, 2019

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About the author

Roshani Chokshi

44 books10.4k followers
Roshani Chokshi is the award-winning author of the New York Times bestselling series The Star-Touched Queen, The Gilded Wolves and Aru Shah and The End of Time, which Time Magazine named one of the Top 100 Fantasy Books of All Time. Her adult debut, The Last Tale of The Flower Bride, was a #1 Sunday Times bestseller. Her novels have been translated into more than two dozen languages and often draw upon world mythology and folklore. Chokshi is a member of the National Leadership Board for the Michael C. Carlos Museum and lives in Georgia with her husband and their cat whose diabolical plans must regularly be thwarted.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,123 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
May 25, 2023
Aru Shah and the Song of Death was even more fast-paced than the 1st-book. How the heck did Chokshi work that magic!?

In this installment, the second in the Pandava Quartet, evil is afoot in the Otherworld.

The God of Love's bow and arrow have been stolen and the thief is using it to create a heartless zombie horde.

The Gods suspect Aru of the crime, but she had nothing to do with it. Seriously, she is telling the truth this time, but they need her to prove it.

She is given until the next full moon to find the thief and return the stolen items, or risk banishment from the Otherworld forever.

Luckily for Aru, she is not facing this task alone. She is joined by her Pandava soul-sister, Mini, as well as the recently-discovered, third reincarnated Pandava brother sister, Brynne, and the cute new boy across the street, Aidan.

Together, this quartet will do whatever it takes to prove Aru's innocence and return the Otherworld to normalcy.

They travel through dangerous territories, battle scary creatures and learn to love and trust one another; although somewhat begrudgingly.

I thought the inclusion of Brynne and Aidan added a great deal to the story. It felt like it grew so much complexity just by adding their personalities into the mix.

This entire story had the classic quest feel that I live for. I especially enjoyed the little LOTR references thrown in; a charming nod to one of the most epic quests of all time.

I am really looking forward to continuing on with this series. After the first book, I could have stopped there. I enjoyed it, but could have been happy with it as a standalone.

I continued on because this one had such high ratings and I am so glad that I did.

I am completely attached to these kids now. There's no turning back. I will be with them until the end. Pandavas unite!

Profile Image for Jananie (thisstoryaintover).
290 reviews13.8k followers
May 28, 2021
The amount of love I have for the entire concept of this series ❤️ loved getting to see more characters from the epics in this one and the overall hilarity and awesomeness of these characters! I've said it before and I'll say it again, representation means so so much 🥺💗 Really excited to see how the story develops in the later books and for more Pandava sisters!! ✨
Profile Image for Tova.
636 reviews
September 24, 2020



Is it just me or does that creature look like the crab from Moana who is obsessed with shiny things (but like with Maui's hook thing)?? I love this cover though.
Profile Image for Ashley Nuckles.
190 reviews7,204 followers
July 5, 2020
I don’t know what more to say other than HECK YES! I absolutely loved this second installment in the series and can’t wait to pick up book three! Aru is so snarky, and between her and the new characters introduced, Brynne and Adrian (and obviously the beloved Mini), there’s so much adventure and so many hilarious golden moments!
Profile Image for Mango.
237 reviews316 followers
May 27, 2021
“Remember, in one light something may seem monstrous, and in another it is perhaps not so terrible after all.”

Before starting the review, I have a couple things to say:

-This was a reread. Previously, I did review this book. However, back then I was clueless on how to write reviews. But if you really want to read my first review, brace yourself and scroll down to the very bottom.

-This review will contain spoilers from "Aru Shah and the End of Time." Read at your own risk.

With that out of the way...let's go onto the review!

Wow. This book was just as great as the previous one! I didn't think it was possible to develop the characters even more, but Chokshi somehow did. Not only that, but she delivered a just as captivating plot with amusing and engrossing writing.

Let's start with the plot:

Aru has won. For the time-being. She made the antagonist, the Sleeper retreat. However, not for long. The Sleeper will return soon, and will bring terror down onto the world.

Now Aru, along with her Pandava sister Mini train with Boo, Hanuman, and Urvashi. They ready themselves for the Sleeper. They train not only with their weapons, but also with their mind.

Unfortunately, everything changes when Aru and Mini meet their third Pandava sister, Brynne, the soul daughter of Vayu, the god of wind.

When the three sisters meet, they are in a tough spot. Someone has stolen the bow and arrow of Kamadeva, the god of love!

And unfortunately, Aru and Brynne are framed for the theft. With the Council suspicious of them, Aru, Brynne, Mini, and a boy named Aiden from school are given 10 days to prove their innocence.

This plot was so action packed! Chokshi weaves in Hindu mythology brilliantly into this fun-filled adventure. Chokshi also puts several plot twists in there. Of course, I already knew the twists since this was a re-read, but I still loved reading them nevertheless.

Not only that, but Chokshi gave me an altogether different perspective on Hindu mythology. She made me look at heroes and villains differently. She opened my eyes and helped me realize that not all villains in the myths are pure evil. They had lives too, and had a reason for their bad deeds. I also came upon the realization that the gods aren't all perfect. They have made mistakes too which led to many world disasters. I appreciated this fresh new perspective.

To conclude, this was a great plot! It was fast, engrossing, and incredibly wild.

Continuing onto the characters:

These characters were amazing! Not only did Aru develop even more in this book, but Chokshi tosses some more characters in there. How does she do it? She is truly a wizard when it comes to writing.

Aru: Our main character! Going through Aru's journey in this book has just convinced me more that we are spiritual sisters. I really loved Aru's personality. She was smart, funny, sarcastic, and imperfect. She had so many realistic flaws which made her seem so relatable and I could emotionally connect to her.

Not only do I love her personality, but I really enjoyed watching her go through her internal conflicts. With her father as the Sleeper, Aru throughout the book is confused whether she is doing the right thing. Is she evil because of her genes? Or is she good because of her Pandava blood? She is still trying to figure out her identity, but I really liked how she overcame this. Aru sucked it up and decided to look danger straight in the eye.

Aru definitely grew a LOT. She learned how to be more supportive of others, not to judge people before you get to know them, and best of all, she formed several beautiful friendships.

I really loved Aru, and I am proud to call her my spiritual twin lol.

Mini: I really liked Mini too! But honestly, Mini wasn't portrayed as much in this book as its prequel, so I don'thave as much to say about her. But I found Mini's personality amusing. She was always prepared with things just in case some odd incident happened. I really liked how Mini was kind of the mom of the group (she and Aiden). She would always try to fix conflicts and make everyone get along.

I didn't get to see as much character development in her as I wanted, but I hope I'll be able to see more of her in the next book.

Brynne: Brynne is a ~mood~. I really liked her personality, her growth, and her conflicts.

Brynne is the third Pandava sister, the soul daughter of Vayu, the wind god. However, she is not like Aru and Mini. She is part asura.

Brynne is stubborn, and has a quick temper. However, under that tough layer, she is very generous, kind and compassionate. I really liked her journey, adjusting to both Aru and Mini. At first she was very grumpy and snarky towards everything Aru and Mini did.

But throughout the journey, Brynne learned to trust her soul sisters and started to be more compassionate and caring.

Not only did Brynne grow a lot, but she did all that despite her being part asura. Since she is part asura, no one trusted her and stereo-typed her immediately. I found it really cool how Brynne ignored this discrimination and focused on her goal. Excited to see more of her in the next book!

Aiden: Aiden was okay. I don’t really have much to say. I liked Aiden’s will to bring the group together, and I found it amusing how he was known as the Ammamma (grandma) of the group. But I still think his personality traits were a bit bland.

However, I did like how he faced his conflicts. Everyone had huge expectations for him, being the son of a famous apsara. I liked how he ignored all that crap and carved his own path. I hope I will grow to like Aiden more in the the future.

Additional note: I liked Aru’s nickname for him:

Ending with the writing:

Awesome plot, lifelike characters, and just as great writing! Chokshi's writing is so funny, I was smiling almost all the time, reading the Pandavas' and Aiden's dialogue. She cracked jokes and yet wrote the action scenes flawlessly. I also really enjoyed all the amusing references she made to The Lord of the Rings, Moanna, and Harry Potter. It made me laugh so hard.

To conclude, I really like this style of writing! It was written really realistically in the mind of a 13 year old.

Overall, this book was quite enjoyable! It was a collection of witty dialogues, high-stakes adventure, and amazing characters. Looking forward to the next book!

Amazing as always, review to come!
First review: This book is awesome! Indian mythology is spectacular, and I am thrilled that there is finally a book based on it!
Profile Image for Taylor.
486 reviews138 followers
June 15, 2021
"The song of death was like ice creeping across a windowpane, and a warning shout unleashed a second too late, and water closing over your head, and the silent chime of a moment that has been forgotten forever. It was impossible and painful and, ultimately, inevitable."


Oh, how I love this colorful, heartwarming middle-grade series.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death is the second book in the Pandava Quartet, and a wonderful sequel to Aru Shah and the End of Time. I can't say a lot about this second installment for fear of spoilers, but Aru and Minnie must team up with two new characters in order to find the god of love's stolen bow and arrow.

These two new characters include Brynne, a super-strong girl who seems to know more than she lets on, and Aiden, a boy who lives across the street and is also hiding some secrets. The four must battle demons, travel through a glittering and dangerous serpent realm, and discover that their enemy might be more than meets the eye.

Middle-grade usually isn't my thing, but Roshani Chokshi has managed to make me fall in love with just about everything in her Pandava Quartet. I adore Aru, who's sassy and awkward and entirely herself, and Minnie is an adorable, lovely friend for our main character. What could have been a mere rehash of the first book turned into a new and fresh adventure with the addition of Brynne and Aiden, who are wholly fleshed-out and completely lovable. I loved this group of four so much, and the friendships among them are super sweet.

The Lord of the Rings references were also extremely welcome. It made me love these dorky kids even more.

As always, Roshani's writing was as beautiful and vibrant as the world she's crafted in this series. The rich colors of the Otherworld spring off the page, and new and interesting lands offer a lot of wonder and intrigue. Aru and her friends battle a giant crab-monster, demons, and humanoid-serpent creatures, and I was delighted by the Hindu mythology interspersed throughout the plot.

"You should never seek help from the Lord of the Waters," said the crab darkly. "He is fickle and unpredictable, just like the ocean. The sea has a temper. Also, it keeps things it likes. Bright baubles that catch its eye. Pretty girls and boys who look at their reflection in the water for too long...never realizing that the water is looking back."

What continues to surprise me about this middle-grade series, though, is the story's heart and maturity. Our young characters are faced with difficult moral questions in this book, driven by a "villain" that garnered quite a bit of sympathy. Aru and her friends learn about the nature of stories, and how they can be manipulated and even warped as time goes on.

History is written by the victors, as they say.

And really, I'm just so grateful that the Pandava Quartet puts diverse characters and girl power at the forefront. There isn't any unnecessary romance, each and every one of the female characters are unique and strong in their own way, and the male characters are multi-faceted and supportive. I love this series so much, and if I ever have kids, I'll definitely be putting these books in their hands.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death had a surprising amount of nail-biting action, wonderful adventure, lovable characters, and an emotional story at its heart. I can't wait for the third book, The Tree of Wishes. I already miss these characters too much!


"As Aru’s mom had always told her, sometimes villains do heroic things and heroes can do villainous things, so what did it mean to be one or the other?"
Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,052 reviews156 followers
March 6, 2021
After the not so impressive first book in the series, this turned out to be better. Also, I chose to ignore all the things that I hated in the first book and decided to go with the story only and I enjoyed it better than the first one.

Aru and Mini are training as Pandavas when Aru is accused of stealing The god of love's bow and arrow that she should return or choose to forget anything about this otherworld. Aru and Mini along with Brynne and Aiden set on this quest to retrieve the bow and arrow and find the thief. I liked the story as it progresses from one God to another and a quest full of dangers where things actually felt dangerous to me unlike the previous book. I liked Brynne's and also Aiden's background. In fact, I want to know more about Aiden's ex-apsara mother more than anything.

This kept a steady pace and writing was easy to read. All four of them had things to do as per their abilities. Aiden's smolder made me laugh. Aru was a little less annoying. Mini was adorable. I am on fence about Brynne. Aiden is interesting because of his apsara abilities. Looking forward to reading the next in the series.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for rachel, x.
1,727 reviews867 followers
January 8, 2023
#1) Aru Shah and the End of Time ★★★★★
#3) Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes ★★★★☆
#4) Aru Shah and the City of Gold ★★★★☆
#5) Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality ★★★★☆

Trigger warnings for .

Representation: Indian-American mc & scs.

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Profile Image for Alexandra Elend Wolf.
615 reviews269 followers
August 21, 2019
3.5 stars

"The song of death was like ice creeping across a windowpane, and a warning shout unleashed too late, and the silent chime of a moment that has been forgotten forever. It was impossible, painful, and ultimately, inevitable."

After reading Aru Shah and the End of Time last year and enjoying it deeply I was more than excited to get my hands into this one.

Interestingly enough, the story resumes a very short time after we left Aru the last time. I thought this was gonna spend some years, apparently not.

“Just because he is a hero doesn’t mean he cannot also be a monster.”

Like its predecessor, this was a fun ride.

I had a blast following Aru and her friends around. Discovering more of this culture that is so rich and full of adventures. We got to go deeper into some stories and discover some new ones.

The whole concept of a soul song is very pretty.

“Sometimes the best kind of love was just loving yourself.”

Even though I really enjoyed this, right now, there's only one thing going through my head, this book was way too similar to Aru Shah and the End of Time.

We had, basically, the same structure than we did last time. Sure, we get added more people but the rest is pretty much the same. Structured based there are few differences.

Sure, this time we are also playing detective because we don't know who the bad guy is.

“No one can take your place if you make room for them. Trust yourself more than you distrust others.”

In the end, I did enjoy the book.

I had fun and it helped me get out of a pretty terrible reading slump. It's an easy book to read. And the characters are easy to like.

For being the second book in a series this book was actually really good. I had a blast reading it for sure.

Full review to come.

I wanted to read this book ever since finishing "Aru Shah and the End of Time" it definitely was one of my most anticipated releases of this year.

Chokshi's writing style was delightful in the last book and really refreshing so I'm pretty sure I'm gonna have a blast reading this book.

Do I have expectations? Yes. I hope that doesn't end up playing against me but I honestly doubt it.
Profile Image for Ashley.
828 reviews483 followers
May 30, 2019
Star Rating : 5 STARS!

I’m doing my happy dance. I can’t. stop.

I loved this so much. Literally. So. Much.

RTC so much to say ! So much to love ! Plus I’m too busy singing and dancing with glee.

vvv THEBEST vvv [the instant the first WORD to this lyric was said, I think I died of happiness. After singing it through, of course. Three times. One of my favorite parts of Mulan😊]

We must be...
Swift as the coursing river,
With all the Force of a great typhoon ,
With all the Strength of a raging fire ;

[Ah, Aru, how I love your amazing references. I kind of cherish the ones, too, that make me wonder how some readers younger than me would understand or “get it,” haha. The ones that are pretty obscure had me going 🧐🤓 that is so freakin awesome! I am loving this! Hopefully it gets readers curious enough that they look them up; it’s how we keep those sorts of things alive 💛💛💛]

Mysterious as the dark side of the MOOOOOOONNN!
Profile Image for Sahitya.
1,053 reviews215 followers
July 1, 2019
I’ve been so excited to read this sequel since I finished the first book a couple of weeks ago. It was such fun and I completely fell in love with the characters and I’ve been waiting to know what happens to them next, and this book was just as spectacular.

While the previous book gave us an introduction to this world of reincarnated Pandavas and prophecies and the Otherworld, we get to go deeper into it in this one. The plot is slightly different this time around, because the characters are more on a quest to prove their innocence of the theft for which they have been blamed. The author does a great job keeping the pace quick and consistent throughout, there is never a dull moment and the humor is totally up to the mark. There are also numerous pop culture references, especially LOTR which I really enjoyed but what delighted me more were the references to Bollywood, Indian dance and music and a certain beloved cricketer. I actually thought Roshani was pretty excellent at making sure the humor and references were very organic to the story and never felt too much. We also go much deeper into some of Arjuna’s story in the Mahabharata and Surpanakha’s story in the Ramayana. I liked the analysis of the epics from a more neutral perspective, that even heroes do wrong things sometimes and we don’t always know the complete story. There is also an underlying theme that two wrongs don’t make a right, and everyone has the choice to make the right decisions despite what has happened in the past. These are things that we probably realize while reading our epics but don’t want to voice our opinions because that’ll make us unpopular, but I liked that the author didn’t shy away from these discussions. This was a very quick read and pretty much finished the book in a single sitting.

I completely fell in love with Aru and Mini in the first book and it was great to meet them again. Due to reasons, we don’t get to see Mini or Boo for a significant portion of the book, and I really missed their banter. But Aru is more delightful than ever and definitely more confident about her abilities too. She has grown very attached to the Otherworld and the various celestial beings, which makes the idea of losing it all very scary for her, but she is also worried that is not capable of being a hero and will ultimately disappoint her found family. But despite grappling with these issues, she never loses sight of her mission and is always thinking very quickly on her feet to get everyone out of troublesome situations. We also get introduced to new characters Brynne and Aiden, who are guarding their own personal family secrets but have to team up with Aru and Mini for the quest. Brynne has used to working alone always and is well trained, so she is not interested in having to tag along with Aru but slowly they start to grow on each other and I loved the progression of their relationship. Aiden on the other hand is like a peace keeper and mother hen wrapped up in a single package, always making sure they don’t fight amongst each other and also have everything that they need to keep up their sustenance. I loved this new dynamic between the gang, and I’m also very excited to see who else will be joining them in the future books. And finally, that revelation of which Mahabharata character Aiden is reincarnated from was hilarious and quite unexpected and I just couldn’t stop laughing at the way it was handled.

What more can I say except if you enjoyed Aru Shah and the End of Time, stop wasting any more time and pick this up immediately. If you haven’t read this series but love middle grade adventure fantasy novels, then this one is just perfect. This book was fun, delightful, fast paced with an amazing group of characters who will keep you smiling throughout.
Profile Image for Maëlys.
296 reviews276 followers
November 13, 2020
☆ 4 / 5 ☆

Aru Shah and the End of Time (Book 1): 4 / 5

“Once a story stops being told. it dies. Unless people find pieces of it later, polish them up, and breathe new life into them.”

In this instalment, Aru has to clear her name from the theft of Kamadeva’s bow and arrow. The thief is using them to create an army of Heartless zombies and men keep disappearing in the mortal world. To save these people and escape eviction from the Otherworld, Aru and Mini have to ally themselves with their new Pandava sister, Brynne, and her friend Aiden.

I really enjoyed the pacing of this book, the plot was fun and it was easy to just be along for the ride. The writing style is very fun and humoristic (even if there are a little too many pop culture references for my taste) and suits the story well, making it all a very enjoyable experience.

Roshani Chokshi highlights the importance of stories and the different perspectives a story has. Even though it calls Aru to be patient, to listen carefully and to see, it doesn’t use having the full picture as an excuse for wrong doings either.

“I have seen your nightmares, Aru Shah. They grow in my land, after all. They are seeded with moments of doubt, watered with the pain of tears not shed, and pruned by the ghosts of paths not taken. But that does not make them true.”

Aru has grown so much as a character already! She definitely still has her moments of doubts and is still thinking about the Sleeper, who he is to her; and the impact he has on her. But she is slowly starting to trust more and more people and it just makes my heart happy to see her make friends with the new characters we’re introduced to.

Brynne is the new Pandava sister they meet in this book, but unlike Aru and Mini she hasn’t grown up in the mortal world. She’s half asura which means she’s had to face the prejudice of many Otherworldly people and strives to be the best to prove she is worthy. It’s heartwarming to see her trust in Aru and Mini and just be open to a friendship with them with no reservations.

We also meet Aiden, part aspara and always prepared (food, tissues and advice always at the ready), whose goal is to make his mother happy again. I think that the “secretive” thread that was going on with him fell a little flat for him but it was so minor that it truly didn’t hinder anything, but I could’ve done without it.

We don’t get to spend as much time with Mini in this one, but she’s still a very wholesome character and I’m just waiting eagerly for the day she feels fully confident in her abilities. Overall, the dynamic between these four characters really worked out well and showed different issues friends can have than in the first book while still putting understanding and compassion at the forefront.

I think Roshani Chokshi is also very good at making minor characters that are distinctive and stand out on their own. My heart totally goes out to a certain grumpy DMV sage.

And hopefully I’ll be able to read the 3rd book before the last one comes out this time around!! ♡

Profile Image for Cory Marie.
261 reviews94 followers
April 26, 2019
Roshani Chokshi can really do it all. The humor in this is so on point, and even though there was some pretty stressful action scenes, this wonderful book was so full of perfectly woven mythologies and endearing friendships. “Rick Riordan Presents” books are a gift to readers everywhere, and I can’t wait to get my hands on even more of these beautifully diverse stories!!
Profile Image for Niharika✩ .
111 reviews81 followers
June 26, 2023
“There are certain horrific moments in life when the only way to fix an awkward situation is to be awkward.”

4.95 stars

Is there a Fantasy book I've loved SOOO much? NO! Is this a new favourite? IT WAS ALWAYS A FAVOURITE! *deep breath* I gotta calm down.

Aru Shah and the Song of Death is based on the Mahabharata, an old Sanskrit poem. Each character is based on one of the Pandavas. Namely, Yudhishthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva.

The main character, Aru, is a reincarnation of Arjuna and her best friend, Mini, Yudhishthira. As this is the second book in the Pandava Quartet series (I haven't read the first) Aru and Mini already know each other pretty well. When they're accused of stealing Kamadeva's, the god of love, bow and arrow, they are met by the reincarnation of Bhima, Brynne. Brynne is part asura, and asuras are hard to trust due to their demonic timeline. So she is bullied and accused of anything that goes wrong. As a result, she's very defensive and smug. Earning her trust takes a lot of time. And going on a quest with her is no easy feat. The three, along with Aiden Acharya, head out to return the bow and arrow to their rightful owner.

I absolutely love this book. It makes me feel closer to my country's history in my own way! It felt good to read something so historical yet modern.

The writing was... oh god! It was so relatable.

“Aru glared. 'Well, you swim in your own toilet!'
The fish did not have an eyebrow to raise villainously. But its tone managed the effect well enough, 'And you'll never know when I use the ocean as a toilet. Enjoy the mystery.'
It flapped its tail and swam off.”

It wasn't history. It had so many references from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. But it was all modern.

I need to move here. Now.


Aru : Aru is... she beats herself up. Inside. She's afraid. She's loyal. She'll fight. She's impatient.

Brynne : Brynne, as I said earlier, has Asura blood. Which means well... quote unquote, she is bullied and accused of anything that goes wrong. As a result, she's very defensive and smug. Earning her trust takes a lot of time. And going on a quest with her is no easy feat.

Aiden : Brynne describes him as a 'grandma'. It's clear why. He's always trying to make everyone get along. And I love Shadowfax!

Mini : LOYAL. SWEET. HEALTHY. HYPER. Mini is AWESOME. She is the ultimate best friend. And a clean freak.

"'The germs, Aru,' Mini hissed."

Overall, I'm in love with this book. And I'd reccomend it to Fantasy lovers. It's sort of obvious that Indians will understand it better, but eveybody can read it.
Profile Image for Obsidian.
2,791 reviews962 followers
June 17, 2019
Not too much to say here except that this was fun ride with Aru. I think that Chokshi did a great job with the adventure story-line while still giving a fun flavor to old stories that Aru, Mimi and the newest additions have heard about. We also had a great set-up into the next book as well.

'Aru Shah and the Song of Death" has soul sisters Aru and Mimi trying to track down a thief who stole the god of Love's bow and arrow. Coming across someone that they believe stole it, Aru and Mimi come across the third Pandava,Brynne. After being summoned before the Guardians, the three Pandavas are told either they find out the name of the thief who stole the bow and arrows or they will be banished and the Pandava cycle will have to start again. Boo is also not allowed to help them so the three girls along with Aru's next door neighbor Aiden all have to go and find the bow and arrows before time runs out.

Of course the three girls have trouble ironing things out and working together and it doesn't help that Aru is a little jealous that Brynne appears to be best friends with Aiden, the boy that Aru had a crush on in the last book. Thank goodness that Chokshi doesn't do any of that love triangle nonsense in this book though. We have the three girls slowly learning to trust each other and figuring out more and more how their powers from the brothers work exactly. I thought that Chokshi did a great job with developing not only Aru but everyone else as well.

Aru still doubts herself at times and doesn't feel that confident as a Pandava (very reminiscent of Sailor Moon). Mimi is still obsessed with good hygiene and Brynne seems obsessed with food. I thought Aiden was a nice addition and am interested to see where that whole story-line with his parents is going.

The writing was very good and I laughed at all of the chapter headings. Some of the headings spoiled what was to come though, but still made me crack up. There is also a lot of pop culture references in this which made me laugh (Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Bollywood, etc.). The flow was very good and I enjoyed getting to see more of the world of the Pandava's in this one.

The setting of the Night's Bazaar and other locations have always been my favorite part of this series and the other one that Chokshi wrote (The Star-Touched Queen). We get to see some old and new characters in this one which was good.

The ending left things nice and tidy with a hint of what the next book will be about. I loved that this book was focused on the three girls becoming friends and also family and that Aiden was just all of their friend. Please no love triangle hint or jealousy in the next book. It's refreshing to just see a boy and several girls being friends.
Profile Image for Nicole.
212 reviews34 followers
June 23, 2019
Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Aru Shah fights Otherworld monsters and saves the day again - this time, without the Spider-man pajamas. Now with double the friends!

I liked the second installment in the Pandava Quartet, but only after I embraced all the modern-day meme references and general wackiness that was most of the dialogue. Aru Shah and the Song of Death is a good sequel, but you have to get into the fact that this book is childish since it's aimed at children, obviously.

Song of Death has all the mayhem and mischief of the first book so if you liked Aru Shah and the End of Time, you're going to like the sequel, too. There's no downgrade in the second book in any sense - there's still the same humor and fun from the beginning of the series.

I was a little overwhelmed with the references in the beginning of this book. You know the giant blue crab thingy on the cover? He's supposed to be the brother of the crab monster in Moana. Yeah. And that's just one of the sea creatures with a Disney movie sibling in that chapter. All you can do is accept the craziness and move on with the book (which makes it better, actually).

Every age group can love Aru Shah and the Song of Death. I know I enjoyed it overall, and I can't wait for the third book in the Pandava Quartet series.
Profile Image for Lata.
3,773 reviews208 followers
May 24, 2019
Total fun. Since book one already introduced the idea that Aru and Mini are essentially reincarnations/manifestations of two of the Pandava brothers, I was already comfortable with Roshani Chokshi's myth-based world. And since I had also read child's versions of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana at least 20 times each, many of the gods, demigods, rakshasas and other beings were familiar.
This time, we have two more kids along for a new quest. The story picks up shortly after book one, and it's again pretty much non-stop action, punctuated by an occasional argument between Aru and Brynne (another Pandava), and Aidan (repeatedly insisting he's not a Pandava). There's lots of humour; Mini's fears and worries figure again, though there are more sources for comedy. There's again some nice picking apart of the misogyny that's rife within the hindu myths.
Aru grows a little more in this book, too. Aru and Mini, having worked out how to work together well, have to now learn to accommodate Brynne's and Aiden's talents and skills. And while the four kids' interactions provide plenty of chuckles, Chokshi also grounds the kids' lives in the messy realities of non-nuclear families, giving the story some deeper moments amidst the mayhem.
Profile Image for Fanna.
992 reviews533 followers
May 5, 2020
May 5, 2020: This book is perfection and not just because it gives me a middle-grade fiction woven with Hindu myths & legends that I have grown up reading or listening but because it is written in a way that the young audience and a vast majority of adults too can easily see important themes like body shaming, bashing gender stereotypes, accepting pronouns that an individual chooses, and bullying from a right lens. Full review to come!

This book counts for Asian Readathon [featuring an Asian character you can relate to; I relate to all of the characters as an Indian], SteelCrowReadathon 2.0 [features an animal], Hype-A-Thon [magical elements], and the South-Asian Reading Challenge!

May 4, 2020: I honestly just finished reading the first book and you bet I'm going to binge-read this one because when Aru & Mini can go on another quest so quick, the least I can do is honour their bravery by picking up this book immediately after loving End of Time so much.
Profile Image for Mila.
771 reviews65 followers
May 9, 2019
This was such a great sequel to an already great first book and I'm officially in love with this series. I loved all the characters, the story was full of adventures and I personally found the jokes to be very funny. So this book was all kinds of awesome and I can't wait to read the next one!
Profile Image for Roaringwave.
329 reviews59 followers
September 21, 2021

It's been so long since I read a middle grade book (other than rereads), and it was so nostalgic for some reason. One of the things that I love about middle grade books is the fact that the plot is not as predictable because the authors actually have unique ideas (*gasp*) and the same tropes are not reused until you can tell the end of the book from the summary, and it was kind of nice to see that again.
Profile Image for Jenny Baker.
1,286 reviews194 followers
June 17, 2019
I love this series. It's so much fun! Great audiobook narration. It's a shame this series is so underrated. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for belle ☆ミ (thisbellereadstoo).
1,800 reviews145 followers
January 13, 2022
Overall, lots of fun and laughter. I’m fully immersed into the Hindu mythology that’s filled with gods and myths that I’m not familiar with. I love that we’re exploring so many new places and learning about the stories pertaining to each gods and goddesses. It’s fascinating. I loved the meanings that can be derived from the Pandavas. They’re learning about love, about trust and about themselves. With two new characters into their gang, they’re trying to figure out how this team would work out.

Brynne was an absolute brat when Aru and Mini first met her. She was horribly cocky and has an insatiable desire to prove that she’s superior. However, there’s a reason why Brynne is acting this way and hiding behind this facade. As she started to realise that Aru and Mini weren’t out to bully her, she becomes less hostile.

Aiden’s a not-so-new character but we got more of him this time as he goes on a journey with the Pandava sisters. I love that he’s always capturing moments with his beloved camera because that’ll be me. I chuckled out loud when his role was revealed. At home, Aiden is struggling with his mom’s unhappiness. He doesn’t know how to help her and feels powerless. I loved how Roshani Chokshi dealt with this issue, showing young readers that love from yourself is more important than the validation you get from others.

Aru and Mini are hilarious. Despite her desire to be a great warrior, who can balance on her two feet and not trip on a rock, Aru can be clumsy at times. She stumbled a couple times throughout the book but she comes back stronger every time. Although the Sleeper doesn’t make an appearance in this one, Aru still has lots of insecurity surrounding him and his identity as her father. Regarding Mini, our favourite walking encyclopedia, I wish there were more of her. In Aru Shah and the Song of Death, she remains a fierce and loyal friend of Aru Shah. As compared to the rest of them, Mini doesn’t face as much of a personal dilemma or home problems.

I LOVED and enjoyed all the pop culture references in this book. The despecito and taylor swift song blasting scene was hilarious. The scene with the crab AND teasing it with the crab in Moana, MASTERFUL! Scattered throughout the book was lord of the rings references and droppings of Gandalf’s famous phrases like “YOU SHALL NOT PASS”. I had so much fun!

For a bunch of 12 year olds, they’ve showed a great deal of maturity, dealing with moral issues and understanding that stories can be warped into something that holds little of the original truth. I loved the friendships and the characters.

Beautiful and colourful story with lots of character growths and Indian mythology! I can’t wait to dive further into this world and see what kind of trouble will find Aru and her friends in the future.

books in the series:
1. aru shah and the end of time: ✰✰✰✰
2. aru shah and the song of death: ✰✰✰✰
3. aru shah and the tree of wishes: ✰✰✰✰
4. aru shah and the city of gold: ✰✰✰✰
5. aru shah and the nectar of immortality
Profile Image for Brenda Waworga.
606 reviews678 followers
June 16, 2019
After being disappointed with "The Gilded Wolves", "Aru Shah and The Song Of Death" restored my trust for Roshani Chokshi

What i love so much about this series is The Hinduism Mythology story combine with adventure and humors! (about Pandava Brothers) its like learning and adventuring at the same time

Now talking about the Villains, i love how Roshani wrote them with tragic background stories, it makes me feel the story have mo depth

If you love Middle Grade Fantasy and also love to learn more about Hindu Mythology, i totally recommending this series ❤️
Profile Image for Johanna.
571 reviews40 followers
April 1, 2023
I adore these characters! They are awesome group and I loved their banter. I just would have loved to have more of those! This was so action-packed that I started to wish to get less action and more discussions.
Profile Image for clem.
526 reviews377 followers
August 15, 2020

i’m so disappointed, i don’t want to talk to anyone.
Profile Image for Ratna.
168 reviews5 followers
January 30, 2022
i fly through these books! it made me so happy that brynne was telugu…i’m literally bursting with pride!!!
Profile Image for baileyyy (firebreathingreader).
112 reviews54 followers
June 8, 2020
Ya’ll I loved this one too. Review to come but lemme just say these books have truly touched my heart in a way no book has before and I wish my younger self had had these when she was going through identity crisis after identity crisis over being biracial and not belonging to anything.


My review of the first book includes a lot of my continued thoughts about the books: fun, whimsical, and in general fantastic.

I was a little concerned at first because I couldn't connect/care about Aiden and (mostly) Brynne but by the 100 pages mark I was completely sympathizing with Brynne's struggles and liked Aiden. I absolutely love the friendship between the Pandava sisters and Brynne's addition to the group was definitely a good one. Also, Brynne is bisexual. It's not said in these words but she says that she wants to date a guy or girl who can beat her in arm wrestling and it's so casually mentioned and I loved that because I felt realistic to middle graders just casually thinking about who they'd like to date.

I said this in my review of the first book but omg the inclusion of the mythological elements is so beautiful and creative and every time they interact with a god/goddess it's absolutely enchanting and their domain is just so cool and keeps drawing the reader in with the promise of more interesting environments.

Something that was a LOT more noticeable in this book was the pop culture references. I flip flop back in forth in general in regards to my feelings about pop culture references but I loved them in this book. The mix of these ancient gods and creatures and their shared dislike of Despacito? Fun to read and relatively topical, showing their involvement and participation in the human world. I think they contribute to the overall feel of the books and the humor Roshani Chokshi adds in.

Final Statement: This series is lining up to be a favorite of mine and I can't wait to read the third.
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