Book Review: ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH by Roshani Chokshi (Middle Grade Monday)

I received a review copy of the book as part of an upcoming blog tour for the third book. It has not affected my opinions.

Tittle in blue above three children facing a shadowy monster with red eyes.
Genre: Fantasy (Mythology retold)
Age Range: MG
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 2



Book cover for ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH: Girl holds a lightning bolt surrounded by blue paisly patterns under the white title

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.

Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


This sequel was just as much of a delight as the first book (if a little tricky to read thanks to a formatting issue).

It’s fast paced, kicking off right in the action and trusting that the reader will remember enough about the general tone of the series to dive right into a fight in a supernatural super market with zombies and sentient trolleys. From there, the internal logic is simply a chuckle-fest of the smolder-power and demon on-the job training  – plus everything in between.

There are references to the Lord of the Rings and comic book heroes that makes Aru so relatable and distinguishes her voice from the other characters. It really feels like you’re reading the conciousness stream of a twelve-year old, full of hyperbole and snark. Then there’s Mini’s hygiene obsession (a little too topical at times when she kept reminded them to elbow bump rather than high five!)

The new characters also add to the story. Aiden is the first crush with a complicated family situation, but a strong dash of emotional intelligence – particularly when it comes to Byrnne. She pushed Aru just enough to facilitate growth, but not enough that their surliness with one another got irritating. A few of the “don’t bully others” and “everyone’s family looks different” messages were a little on the nose at times, particularly Aiden and Byrnne were used to show the messages.

I’m excited to read the next book! The ending actually hints towards the third book, and I’m hoping the Sleeper makes an appearance, and I love the dynamic with him being Aru’s biological father. I can’t wait to see her confront her doubts about her own worthiness, thanks to him, once she comes face to face with him. Plus I think there’s a lot more to be revealed about him and his motives thanks to all the little hints Roshani Chokshi has been sprinkling throughout the two books so far…

Read my reviews of other books by Roshani Chokshi:

Middle Grade:

Pandava (this series):

Young Adult:

The Gilded Wolves:



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