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. 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 12 year olds, who have been recognized as the modern day warriors for the side of Devas. We have reviewed the first two books of this series here at Thinkerviews:
Continuing our reading journey of the Pandava series books by author Roshani Chokshi, we are sharing the review for the third instalment called Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes.
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|Book Title||:||Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes
The Pandava Series - 3
Scholastic UK ( 30 September 2020)
Rick Riordan Presents ( 7 April 2020)
|# of Pages||:||400 (Paperback) 320; 15281 KB (Kindle EBook) 400 (Hardcover)|
|# of Chapters||:||50|
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. It uses the same theme used by other books in the series. The dominant color for background is dark green here.
The green color makes it resemble it with a tree. You can also notice the falling leaves around the illustration of the protagonist on the cover. These elements makes the cover page faithful to the story. It is interesting and eye-catching.
The young Pandavas are on a mission – to save a clairvoyant, who is about to share a prophesy about the war with the world and whichever side hears the prophecy, may just win the war. The clairvoyant is hiding in a giant ferris wheel and Aru, Mini, Brynne and Aiden must defeat the demons that are here to hear the prophecy for the other side. The mission doesn’t exactly go as planned and both sides hear the prophecy.
On the plus side, the clairvoyant is one of the ten year old twin sisters Sheela and Nikita, who are the remaining Pandava sisters, although too young to join the fighting yet. On the minus side, the Council of Guardians pretty much grounds the sisters from any further activities, while they go in damage control mode.
But, Aru and her sisters have different plans, as they decipher the prophecy to mean that they must find the Kalpavriksha – the tree that grants wishes and only if they could make a wish to win, everything will turn out OK. But, the tree in the heavens is not the right one, so the clandestine mission to find the Kalpavriksha starts.
Their first stop has to be the Crypt of Eclipses, where they are supposed to find the clue to the whereabouts of the tree. And so they need help of Prince Rudra, aka Rudy, who gains them access to the house of Months. They do get to the crypt, only to find a wooden bird that has lost its voice. A bargain with the guardians of the crypt takes them to a hillside, where they meet Garuda, king of the birds, and also find that the lost voice of the bird will bring back lost memories.
Memories of the Sleeper, as Aru would discover, that her father undertook the same journey at one time and gave up precious memories, trying to find a way to defeat his destiny. As Aru’s emotional struggle intensifies as the Pandavas fight their way to their destination, only to find that the Sleeper and his army of Shadows is already there, what will Aru do to save the Otherworld?
Views and Reviews:
Just as the first two books, the patchwork of mythological characters and stories continues in this segment as well. It is good to see the now fourteen year old Aru, Mini, Brynne and Aiden to be sharing missions with confidence and camaraderie. They now know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are able to share laughter, victories and defeats together. The following line from their mentor sum up quite nicely, how each of them behaves on a mission:
Aru, No dawdling at any point in time and throwing off mission timing.
Mini, No lecturing about all the opportunities for fatality and thus ruining group morale.
Brynne, No picking fights with things that randomly offend you.
And then we have the clairvoyant and the fashionista – Sheela and Nikita, bringing back the elements of longing for lost family and need for familiar affection and sense of belonging. This book still reminds us of the insecurities that everyone battles with as they try to make sense of their place in the world. For Aru especially, this book is a reminder of a journey of a father, who wanted to be present in her life and was willing to make sacrifices to allow him to be with his family. What then went so wrong in his journey, that he ended up trapped for twelve years.
Aru is faced with similar choice in this journey. When they first started their Pandava training, the world seemed clear, their path seemed clear – Devas were the good side, the Sleeper was the enemy and the Pandavas must fight on the side of the Devas to save the Otherworld. But, as time passes, and they learn of the stories of the past, Aru does wonder now whether they know the whole truth:
More than anything, she wanted the world to be uncomplicated, for right and wrong to be easily divided. But sometimes, right and wrong was nothing more than a frame held up to the eye, the view always changing depending upon who held it.
In spite of the above, the book is just as entertaining and filled with humour as the rest of the series. The author continues to give us filmy, snappy, dialogues. Or creates funny situations with the character of a rich, magical prince trying to understand the human world and yet showing off the typical quirks of the rich:
There, there, rich prince. I’m sorry there are other rich people in the world.
Rudy sniffed, “it’s hard”.
It does, however, get a bit repetitive occasionally. To see ancient myths and legendary characters showed on a modernistic stage e.g., how Garuda is staged on a pro-wrestling type scene. Some stories are repeated neatly though, like Yudhisthira’s story about bringing back his brothers from death by answering questions. Here, it becomes Mini taking the questions of Yamuna and recovering her sisters. Here is a sample of the questions:
What is the heaviest weight to carry?
What is the greatest wonder?
I know a thousand ways a person can die, but that doesn’t make me want to live any less.
While Aru has dependable sisters now, she still finds herself to be the focus of situations and I liked how she makes the most of being a demigod:
She loved how magic made her feel small. Not like she was insignificant, but like the world was so much vaster and more colorful than she could ever imagine. Like she belonged to something greater than herself.
But magic can’t solve the life problems. And while it sounds amazing to find a tree that could grant any wish, and that it could solve all their problems in an instant, the truth is not so straightforward. Any such wish will carry its cost and its consequences.
The author ends this book, with introduction of another character and so we can look forward to the next adventure that will continue the journey of Aru and her soul sisters…
An enjoyable segment in the series featuring young, adventurous and courageous soul sisters trying to figure out where they should be heading..
Around 7.5 stars out of 10.
Quick Purchase Links:
- Buy - Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi - Paperback - Amazon IN
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- Buy - Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi - Paperback - Amazon US
- Buy - Aru Shah and the Tree of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi - Kindle EBook - Amazon US
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