Author Roshani Chokshi has created a niche for herself with her multiple series of works targeted at young adults featuring characters reminiscent of fairy tales from all around the world.
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As part of the Rick Riordan presents series, she has been writing the Pandava series that follows the journey of young heroines as they traverse the magical Otherworld and its expectations from the teenage girls, who have been recognized as the modern day warriors for the side of Devas. We have reviewed the first three books of this series here at Thinkerviews:
- Aru Shah and the End of Time
- Aru Shah and the Song of Death
- Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes
- Aru Shah and the City of Gold
Continuing our reading journey of the Pandava series books by author Roshani Chokshi, we are now sharing the review for the fifth instalment called Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality.
|Book Title||:||Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality
The Pandava Series - 5
|# of Pages||:||384 (Paperback) 557; (Kindle EBook) 384 (Hardcover) 679 Minutes (Audiobook)|
|# of Chapters||:||47|
Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.
The cover page of this book appears to be fun-filled and energetic at first glance. The protagonist is seen looking at something amazing. The golden border looks good. The background is also interesting.
Overall, a cover page reflecting almost the same abstract arts on the side of the cover page, making it a “theme” for the series.
For latest Kindle edition of the book, I found this cover page. And, I liked it immediately. It shows the whole troupe of three soul sisters and their friends facing an ancient serpent, thus making it more detailed and appealing to newer readers.
Aru Shah lost not only a sister, but her Vajra at the end of the last book. In fact all Pandavs lost their divine weapons and now the Sleeper and Kara are in the labyrinth that contains the Nectar of Immortality. The Pandavas cannot enter the labyrinth without their divine weapons and in a few days the world will come to an end once Suyodhana claims the Amrita.
And so the quest begins in this book for Pandavas to find who they really are – with or without their weapons. Their first stop is to visit Agni to see if he can give them other weapons. Agni, however, gives them a part of the Sun jewel, and tells them to find the other two parts of the jewel. When the jewel is made whole, its light will allow them to navigate the labyrinth where the Nectar of Immortality is located.
Where are the other two parts then? One is with Vasuki, the king of Nagas and the other is with Jambvan, the king of Bears. The Pandavas call on their friend Naga Prince Rudy and together they travel to Pataal looking for the jewel. Here, they meet the vishkanyas and barely escape with their lives and with the second part of the jewel.
The net stop in their journey is Jambvan’s cave located on a remote mountaintop. Here, Brynne battles Jambvan and finally realises the truth of who she is and gets her wind mace back. Jambvan, pleased with Brynne, gives them the missing part of the sun jewel and tells them how to find the door accessing the labyrinth.
Unfortunately, though, instead, the Pandavas end up going through the wrong doors that take them to the End of the World party, forcing them to become a musical band and also through the world of Nidra where they have to face Night Mares. It is here that Mini becomes the true daughter of death and gets her Death Danda back.
So that leaves Aru, weaponless, full of doubts and miserable as she is left behind while her sisters march into the labyrinth for a battle? What will become of Aru? Will the Nectar of Immortality will be lost? Will this really be the end of their world?
Views and Reviews:
This book continues to be the humorous and fast-paced read that the rest of the series has been. The sequences with their roots places far and wide in the mythological stories end up creating a sequence of laugh-out-loud situations with bizarre turn of events that keep the quest light and entertaining. Although the Pandava sisters discovered their ancestry and purpose a few books ago, it’s really in this book that they find their true selves and embrace their strengths and weaknesses to become true daughters of Gods.
Their journey during this book takes us through Patala, part of the Gandharvloka and so on. The author lets her imagination create a truly rich and detailed world while creating Pataala:
All around them stretched a city made of jewel-studded caves layered one atop another in a complex so vast that it seemed to extend into the multicolored clouds far above. Droplets splashed the railings, and Aru looked up to see a waterfall of molten silver thundering into the ground below.
An enchanted moonstone the size of a dining table hovered in the air and parted the falling silver curtains, allowing Aru and the others to glimpse the ancient city of Patala. It was breathtaking. There were towers of raw emerald. Elaborate onyx carvings of tigers and cobras crouched over jagged cave mouths. Gardens sported blooms of intricately carved crystals spilling over pure diamond terraces. The walkways were constructed of gleaming golden bricks.
While providing a witty take on modern resorts, while describing Menka’s place. Then there is the bizarre end of the world concert and the world of talent shows. While reading this book, you also see at multiple places how the author embeds video screens while telling the past stories, e.g. King Shibi’s story or Tumburu’s tale. This is going to fit really well when the series is turned into a silver screen version.
The central thread of this book is realising your self worth and the nature of life. We all have heard how the Bhagvad Gita tells us to perform our duty with no expectations attached to the rewards. Just as Arjuna needed Krishna before taking on Mahabharata, here, Aru also needs the chariot-driver with star filled eyes to help her through the labyrinth at the end of which, she will face, not strangers, but her own family on the other side of the battleground:
We all have a role in life. Maybe we are someone’s sibling or spouse, a teacher or a parent, a ruler or a warrior. And with that comes a duty to show up for the situations life throws at you! After that, you do your best and let everything else go. The outcome? Pfft. Not your problem. People’s opinions? Not the pint! When you go home and look in the mirror, it’s your face you’ve got to look at. No one else’s.
There is a continual discussion on how we all have self-doubts at times and how it impacts on our ability to live upto out full potential:
There is more than one kind of darkness, and none is darker than doubt, for the light required to illuminate it belongs not to a jewel or a flame, but your very soul.
They are all chasing the nectar of immortality in this book, but what is it after all:
Maybe what most people wanted wasn’t immortality and fame, but the reassurance that their existence had meant something. No matter how long…or how brief. Maybe being eternal meant becoming a story worth telling.
While the story is enjoyable, the end is rather sudden and a little bit too neat. It is sad to see that instead of reconciliation and redemption we see death as the end of the antagonistic. Kara also ends up with a tragic end, but then Karna didn’t get a happy ending either. But I liked how Kara’s love for reading and etymology is captured in the few scenes she gets in this book:
She loved to wander through imaginary worlds. She loved the fact that with a book in her hand, she could be a warmhearted princess and a quick-witted heroine and a complicated sorceress between breakfast and dinner. She loved how knowledge let her mind travel across thousands of miles and hundreds of years, all while she was curled snugly in her blanket.
And so the journey of the soul sisters has ended for now with their current adventures concluded and their whole lives ahead of them. It is an enjoyable series, and we’ll leave it with this quote, which is resonating, once again, of the message of the Bhagvad Gita.
It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection.
An enjoyable segment in the series featuring young, adventurous and courageous soul sisters leading them through to the final battle and the end of the world…
Around 7.5 stars out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy - Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi - Kindle EBook - Amazon IN
- Buy - Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi - Audiobook - Amazon IN
- Buy - Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi - Paperback - Amazon US
- Buy - Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality by Roshani Chokshi - Audiobook - Amazon US
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