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Aru Shah and the End of Time, written by Roshani Chokshi and edited by Rick Riordan, is the first book of Pandava Quartet. The book was released on March 27, 2018.[1]

The book follows the main character Aru Shah, as she realizes that she is a reincarnation of one of the Pandavas and a son of a god in her previous birth. Along with her Pandava sister Mini, she sets to correct a wrong she committed to save the world from destruction in nine days.

Development

Rick Riordan began Rick Riordan Presents with the primary purpose of bringing other aspiring writers to the attention of Riordan's audience by using his brand name.[2] Roshani Chokshi discovered the imprint was in the works from another author after attending a reading at DragonCon, and described herself as "frothing at the mouth".[3]

Roshani Chokshi went on a book promotion tour in United States, meeting with fans and signing copies of books. Chokshi visted Winston-Salem, Menlo Park, Houston, Decatur and San Diego as a part of her promotions.[4]

Plot

Unleashing the Sleeper

Aru Shah is a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her mother Dr. K. P. Shah at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture. She is imaginative and has a habit of twisting the truth, a trait developed to cope with her mother's distant behaviour and to fit in with other students at the elite Augustus Day School. While she is at home during the school break, her classmates—Poppy Lopez, Burton Prater and Arielle Reddy—arrive at the Museum and discover that Aru lied about traveling to France with her mother. They record her on Burton's phone camera to expose her lies. Aru had told them truthfully about a cursed lamp—the Diya of Bharata—in the Museum, which, according to a Hindu legend, if lit, would awaken the Sleeper, a demon who will summon Shiva, the god of destruction, who will cause the end of the world. Unbelieving, Arielle dares Aru to light the lamp and prove it being cursed, lest they consider the lamp too a lie and circulate her video, upon which Aru does so. The lamp explodes with a bright flash of light, leaving Aru unconscious.

When she awakes, Aru finds the entire room frozen in time, including her mother and friends. A talking pigeon steps out through an elephant statue's mouth and seeks to know the lighter of the lamp. Upon realizing that Aru lit it, he is disappointed and reveals that the Hindu gods are real, and that he is fairly positive about Aru being a reincarnations of one of the Pandavas, who are five brothers that wage war against their 100 cousins and win, as only a Pandava could light the Diya of Bharata. Aru is the first female incarnation of a Pandava, which the pigeon finds disapproving. It tells Aru that when one Pandava awakens, so does another, and that they need to meet the other Pandava by travelling thorugh the Door of Many. When Aru enquires about his name, the pigeon asks her to call itself Subala, but Aru feels the name has too many syllables and plans to call him Sue, upon which it tells her that he is a male and Sue is a girl name. She then calls him Boo.

Travelling to the Otherworld

AruShah

Aru Shah.

Aru follows Boo into the elephant's mouth into a passageway and arrives at the Door of Many. She arrives at the Door of Many and asks it to take her to the awakened Pandava. They are transported to another place, and meet Mini, the awakened Pandava. Both Aru and Boo were expecting a heroic person, and were taken aback to see the germaphobe Mini. Boo tells them to travel to the Otherworld. Aru feels jealous of Mini as she reveals that her parents had taken her once. The enter the Otherworld thorugh its entrance portal by attempting to grab hold of something invisible and imagining its a string of hope. The guardian makara of the Otherworld is revealed when many lights of moths luster against its body. After confirming the two are humans, it opens the gate to the Court of the Sky.

At the courtroom of the Council of Guardians, Aru notices a single throne tarnished and rusty outside the circle, with the faded letters U-A-L-A beneath it. At the time, the only council members in residence are Urvashi and Hanuman. While Urvashi and Boo have an argument,  Aru notices the remaining letters on the single throne are S and B, together Subala, realizing that Boo was one of the Guardians earlier. The pigeon introduces Aru and Mini as the incarnations of the Pandavas to the Guardians, but Urvashi refuses to beleive this as the Pandava souls have lain dormant since the end of the Mahabharata War.

When Aru tells them about the awakened Sleeper, Hanuman believes them and produces visuals on a screen, which show that both Aru and Mini's neigborhoods have been frozen in time. Aru enquires if anything else has happened, and Hanuman says that the mounts of the gods have gone missing. Urvashi realizes the Sleeper wants to cut off the gods' mode of transport, but still refuses to believe that Aru and Mini are the Pandavas. When Hanuman objects, Urvashi forces the siblings to undergo the claiming ceremony.

Claiming

She, Aru Shah, was the daughter of Indra, king of the heavens.

Aru Shah, as she gets claimed as child of Indra

Mini

Mini, daughter of Dharma Raja.

The Council of Guardians disappear and Aru, Mini and Boo are faced by five gigantic statues of the gods Dharma Raja, Indra, Vayu, Nasatya and Dasra. They notice arrows suspended in mid-air above them. After performing Pranama to the gods, the arrows begin moving towards them. Aru and Mini dodge several, but they are faced with many. A net made of lightning bolts stop Aru's arrows, and Aru floats and the statues switch positions, Indra facing down her with an amused expression. Both realize they are father and daughter respectively. A golden Ping-Pong ball appears in Aru's pajama pocket. Meanwhile, Mini floats in a cloud, and Dharma Raja throws down his Danda, shattering the arrows and determing he is her parent. A purple contact mirror appears in Mini's backpack. Being the daughter of Indra, Aru is the reincarnation of Arjuna and being the daughter of Dharma Raja, Mini is the reincarnation of Yudhishtra.

The Council reappears, and Urvashi is convinced the two are Pandavas indeed, but dissapointed with their gifts. Hanuman is more optimistic, saying that the gods are mysterious. Urvashi directs them to go to the Kingdom of Death and retrieve the celestial weapons of the Pandavas before the Sleeper does. Within the Kingdom of Death lies the Pool of the Past, looking into which will reveal how the Sleeper can be vanquished once and for all

For entering the Kingdom of Death without dying, Urvashi tattoos them a magical map with mehndi which will guide them to find three keys—The sprig of youth, the bite of adulthood and the sip of old age—necessary for reaching the Kingdom of Death by taking them to the location the key is in by pressing the key on the map. Before leaving, Hanuman recounts his childhood memories of a curse which required him to be reminded of his strength by someone else, telling them that they don’t realize their own strength.

The Sprig of Youth

Aru touches the sprig of youth on the map, transporting the three of them to a new place. The tattoos on Aru and Mini’s hand reveal that they have eight days left. Aru discovers that her Ping-Pong ball returns to her when thrown, though she cannot decipher its usefulness. The trio arrive at the Beauty Salon, where the first key on the begins to glow brightly. They meet the head-stylist Madame Bee Asura, and Aru is entranced by her. Mini points her to the portraits of several screaming women whose eyes are moving, and realize that Madame Bee is lying. Using Dharma Raja’s mirror, they see through the enchantments and realize that the Madame is actually an Asura who is trapping them and has they first key on her head as a decoration without realizing its value. The Asura appears and tries to catch them, but Aru and Mini dodge out of the way. Mini turns the compact to the Asura, terrifying her with her own appearance. In Aru’s pocket, the Ping-Pong begins to glow and she summons it to her hand. An identical ball appears in Mini’s hand, and then disappears, leaving both confused.

Aru uses the compact and find handprints of ash, concluding that Bee Asura is Brahmasura, an Asura who turns all she touches into ash. Aru realizes Mini’s mirror can break and make illusions, like the identical ball. Brahmasura reveals her original appearance, while Aru convinces her that they have stolen the first key using an illusion. When Brahmasura sees through the plan, they switch on a blowdrier and make her hair flow around wildly. Mini thwacks her in the head and the asura touches her head and turns into ash, the heroines retrieve the first key.

Mini and Aru talk about how it would be to be young forever and wonder Brahmasura was also reincarnated. Boo appears and the girls reconcile with him, he enquires if the Asura recognized them and realizes the Sleeper is trying to gain more allies. Aru notices the frozen neighborhood and realizes the Sleeper is on their tail. The second key was at the Night Bazaar, but the Sleeper appears and catches Aru and squeezes her, mentioning her to be similar to her mother in being deceptive. Using her ball, Aru distracts the Sleeper and jumps into the Otherworld portal.

Boo follows the ants, as all ants go to the poet Valmiki. Valmiki has mantras which will help them. They gradually reach an Anthill, where the ants have a conversation with them on behalf of Valmiki. The Anthill then cracks and Valmiki steps out. He talks in rhymes and only considers those sentences which are spoken in rhymes. Valmiki asks them the rights to their stories of one day. The girls reluctantly agree, and leave.

Night Bazaar

The trio land in front of a Costco store, they have six days left. To them, it is the the Night Bazaar, they are to find the seasons for some weaponry. Mini reveals that her mother is a Panchakanya and that she once told on a boy named Dennis Conner who about to cut the hair of Matilda, a girl who got sick then bald.

Inside the Costco, many humans had animal parts, and there were strange trees that kids like to play with. The three start taking frozen food, but some of the items turn out not to be actual food. Suddenly, the Costco turns into a strange market, grocery carts were alive and acting like dogs. The clerk was a Raksha, he wanted them to place all enchanted items in crystal bins. They manage to proceed after the Raksha calls other stuff enchanting. The Night Bazaar really smells good, they saw a floating sign that said: THINGS YOU NEED. They chase after it, Aru manages to catch it and it makes a tunnel.

Down the stairs, Aru felt three winds of three temperatures. They were in a forest divided into six parts, there were trees with frost, rain, blossoms, dry leaves, scarlet leaves, and green leaves. It was the Court of the Ritus, the six seasons. Winter and Summer appears, they say they are ateliers who make fashion for the Earth. Monsoon and Spring then arrive but Autumn and Pre-winter are in the outside world, attending to a number of designing needs. The four seasons start mocking them, so Aru tries to leave saying they don't need them for armor. When they heard they were Pandavas, Winter gives Mini a diamond bracelet, Spring gives them Petit fours to eat later, Monsoon give Aru a grey pendant that will hit any target and Summer gives Mini a headband that make the wear forget something important.

Library

Boo

Boo

Another tunnel leads to a huge library. Mini manages to freeze Sleeper long enough for Aru to bite aloof and silver Adulthood book, then she spat out a silver coin, the second key to the Kingdom of Death. The girls realize Boo is Shakhuni and the Sleeper takes him with him. Mini calls Aru a liar and leaves to save her family. All alone, Aru reads some green book that contained her adventures. She realizes her lies against Madame Bee and the Seasons led to something good. She sees the birdcage the Sleeper was carrying, it contained little clay animals, the ones that the gods rode called the vahanas. The magic headband made the Sleeper forget about this, Aru uses Indra's light to turn them back to normal. Uchchaihshravas takes her to a tunnel house, in case she needs them again she has to declare her name to the sky.

Inside was a cave that contained a cauldron of vapors beneath a statue of Shiva. Mini is there as well and they make up. The cauldron has something inside but it is filled with halahala poison. There is also a chandelier of fire above, so Mini hit it with stones so it will fall into the poison and turn it to gas. The thing was a small turquoise goblet with a silver liquid, Aru drank from it then spat out a key of bones, the sip of old age. After placing it on the floor with the other two keys, they all transform into a door. Mini talked to the door saying they would like to go, to the Pool of the Past, after some hesitation the door let them in.

Kingdom of Death

Inside, Aru can hear the final words of people who died. The two meet the dogs Ek and Do (one and two in Hindu) who say they have to be dead to continue. Mini tells them she is the daughter of their ruler, Aru uses her ball to play catch with the dogs. With them distracted, the heroines go through a silver door


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Chitrigupta who gives them good karma, soma and a pen. They go to the Palace of Illusions which gives them tests. They meet Shukla,  Guardian of the Bridge of Forgetting and gets Aru cursed. They look for celestial weapons which seem to be rotten. They rely on knowledge from Finding Nemo to get out of a water monster. Their antics reveal the true gifts as Indra's Vajra and Dharma Raja's danda. Aru realizes her mother loved Sleeper and that she was his daughter! The share good karma with Past Time and Wish, who let's them go. Meanwhile, general public mistake the supernatural happenings to be a disease called Frozen Syndrome.

Back to Museum

Aru then has a fight with her father in the museum. She is about to kill him, but hesitates and he escapes. She thinks it is the curse of Shukla. Aru's mother and friends are freed, mother first. She blackmails her friends with their secrets and they leave her alone.

The End

Then the story opens at the end of winter break. Aru is invited by Arielle, but she rejects it.  Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, for three hours, Aru and Mini learned war strategy from Hanuman, dancing and etiquette from Urvashi, and folklore from Boo.

On Fridays, their first class was traditional dance (specifically, bharatnatyam) and etiquette with Urvashi. Hanuman’s lessons were a lot more rugged. While learning from Hanuman, an alarm sounds, and he tells them that something important has been stolen, something even the gods fear. On a Saturday, Mini is at Aru's house and Boo is telling them to practice. A wolf holding a golden bow steps out and transforms into a girl and disappears. Boo tells them she is the next Pandava, leaving them horrified.

Chapter list

  1. In Which Aru Regrets Opening The Door
  2. Oops
  3. Wake Up
  4. In-ep-tee-tood
  5. The Other Sister
  6. Look, but Not Really
  7. The Council or Guardians
  8. Who's Your Daddy?
  9. The Three Keys
  10. A Trip to the Beauty Salon
  11. Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down
  12. Bring On the Next Demon! Wait, Maybe Not...
  13. The Hipster in the Anthill
  14. A Trip to the Grocery Store
  15. Why Are All Enchanted Things So Rude?
  16. That Was So Last Season
  17. The Library of A-Z
  18. A Strange Case
  19. I Really... REALLY... Wouldn't Do That
  20. Welp, She Did It
  21. The Door and the Dogs
  22. Who's a Good Boy?
  23. Soul Index
  24. Dare, Disturb, Deign
  25. What Meets the Eye (and What Doesn't)
  26. My Home, Not Yours! No Touchie!
  27. ...And Then Came the Horde of Godzilla-Size Fireflies
  28. The Palace's Story
  29. The Bridge of Forgetting
  30. The Tale of Shukra
  31. This Place Smells Funky
  32. 1 on Mini's Top Ten Ways I Don't Want to Die List: Death by Halitosis
  33. I'll Be a Cow in My Next Life
  34. The Pool of the Past
  35. Can You Give Me Better Hair on the Way Out?
  36. The TV Started It
  37. Attack!
  38. Aru Shah Is a Liar
  39. Who's the Liar Now?
  40. Failure
  41. Got All That?
  42. Word Vomit
  43. Why, Why, Why? Stupid Words
  44. Woof

Characters

Main Characters

Other Characters

Gallery

Covers and artwork

Trivia

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time will be the first book released by Rick Riordan Presents.
  • Aru saw a vision that her sisters would turn on her and attempt to kill her.
  • In Chapter 14 Irish mythology is referenced as existing via mention of The Dagda. 

References

Pandava Quartet
Books: Aru Shah and the End of Time | Aru Shah and the Song of Death
Main Characters: Aru Shah | Mini | Boo | Sleeper | Urvashi | Hanuman
Minor Characters: K. P. Shah | Arielle Reddy | Poppy Lopez | Burton Prater | Valmiki
Devas: Indra | Dharma Raja | Krishna | Shiva | Ashvins | Chitrigupta | Ganesh | Lakshmi | Vayu | Ritus
Creatures: Makara | Brahmasura | Chakora | Naga | Uchchaihshravas | Ek and Do
Related Content: Roshani Chokshi | Rick Riordan Presents