I’ve been so excited to read this sequel since I finished the first book a couple of weeks ago. It was such fun and I completely fell in love with the characters and I’ve been waiting to know what happens to them next, and this book was just as spectacular.
While the previous book gave us an introduction to this world of reincarnated Pandavas and prophecies and the Otherworld, we get to go deeper into it in this one. The plot is slightly different this time around, because the characters are more on a quest to prove their innocence of the theft for which they have been blamed. The author does a great job keeping the pace quick and consistent throughout, there is never a dull moment and the humor is totally up to the mark. There are also numerous pop culture references, especially LOTR which I really enjoyed but what delighted me more were the references to Bollywood, Indian dance and music and a certain beloved cricketer. I actually thought Roshani was pretty excellent at making sure the humor and references were very organic to the story and never felt too much. We also go much deeper into some of Arjuna’s story in the Mahabharata and Surpanakha’s story in the Ramayana. I liked the analysis of the epics from a more neutral perspective, that even heroes do wrong things sometimes and we don’t always know the complete story. There is also an underlying theme that two wrongs don’t make a right, and everyone has the choice to make the right decisions despite what has happened in the past. These are things that we probably realize while reading our epics but don’t want to voice our opinions because that’ll make us unpopular, but I liked that the author didn’t shy away from these discussions. This was a very quick read and pretty much finished the book in a single sitting.
I completely fell in love with Aru and Mini in the first book and it was great to meet them again. Due to reasons, we don’t get to see Mini or Boo for a significant portion of the book, and I really missed their banter. But Aru is more delightful than ever and definitely more confident about her abilities too. She has grown very attached to the Otherworld and the various celestial beings, which makes the idea of losing it all very scary for her, but she is also worried that is not capable of being a hero and will ultimately disappoint her found family. But despite grappling with these issues, she never loses sight of her mission and is always thinking very quickly on her feet to get everyone out of troublesome situations. We also get introduced to new characters Brynne and Aiden, who are guarding their own personal family secrets but have to team up with Aru and Mini for the quest. Brynne has used to working alone always and is well trained, so she is not interested in having to tag along with Aru but slowly they start to grow on each other and I loved the progression of their relationship. Aiden on the other hand is like a peace keeper and mother hen wrapped up in a single package, always making sure they don’t fight amongst each other and also have everything that they need to keep up their sustenance. I loved this new dynamic between the gang, and I’m also very excited to see who else will be joining them in the future books. And finally, that revelation of which Mahabharata character Aiden is reincarnated from was hilarious and quite unexpected and I just couldn’t stop laughing at the way it was handled.
What more can I say except if you enjoyed Aru Shah and the End of Time, stop wasting any more time and pick this up immediately. If you haven’t read this series but love middle grade adventure fantasy novels, then this one is just perfect. This book was fun, delightful, fast paced with an amazing group of characters who will keep you smiling throughout.