Genre: Fantasy Age Range: MG Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Yes - fifth and final book
The Pandavas only have until the next full moon to stop the Sleeper from gaining access to the nectar of immortality, which will grant him infinite power. But how can Aru, Mini, and Brynne hope to defeat him without their celestial weapons?
The Sleeper and his army are already plundering the labyrinth, and the sisters can’t even enter. Their quest to get in will have them calling on old friends, meeting new allies, and facing fearsome trials, like…performing in a rock concert?
When the moment of confrontation finally arrives, it’s up to Aru to decide who deserves immortality, the devas or the asuras. The most unexpected answer will come from a most unexpected place.
Blurb taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
The finale to the Pandava series is another funny adventure packed with mythology woven throughout to create a world-in-parallel-to-ours that is about to destroy everything.
I know I’ve said it before, but I each time I read the next instalment, I’m so impressed by the voice. I saw a discussion once between MG authors where they mentioned that voice is one of the most crucial things to get right for MG, and Roshani Chokshi has absolutely nailed it here. It’s funny, it’s engaging, it’s “aged” with every book to match a growing Aru.
The narrative voice is what holds this book together and makes it into the bundle of fun it is. We’re not just following along on an adventure, but getting all of Aru’s opinions and observations about events. It is a great example of stream of consciousness narration. Not to mention the many many pop-culture references that help build up Aru’s frame of reference.
While Aru is the main narrator in this book, there are a smattering of chapters from other perspectives scattered throughout. Bryne and Mini each get a chapter of their own when they hit the “transformation” part of their arcs, and Kara gets three or four chapters, to see her confusion (and also what the villains are up to.) It was nice to get inside the other girls’ heads for a bit, given (particularly Mini and Bryne) have been around for most of the series.
ARU SHAH AND THE NECTAR OF IMMORTALITY is as jam-packed with creatures and stories from Hindu mythology as ever. These are characters and events that could all easily get stories of their own, but are carefully juggled with one another to give a rich (and highly dangerous!) world for Aru and her friends to journey through, meeting heroes who have been forgotten and horses made from terrors. It just shows how much the stories in these books are just the tip of the iceberg of the complex and evolving body of mythology that inspired it. The glossary at the back also urges the reader to research further too.
While I wish this series didn’t have to come to an end (and yes, we’ve already had one book more than initially announced) it wraps up so well. The characters all get to complete their journeys and face off with the big bad in a suitably spectacular final battle.
Read my reviews of other books by Roshani Chokshi:
Pandava (this series):
- ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME (#1)
- ARU SHAH AND THE SONG OF DEATH (#2)
- ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES (#3)
- ARU SHAH AND THE CITY OF GOLD (#4)
The Gilded Wolves:
- THE GILDED WOLVES (#1)