Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality

Rick Riordan Presents. (Pandava: Bk. 5). Apr. 2022. 384p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368055444.
Gr 3-7–Aru Shah and the Pandavas (aka the Potatoes) are faced with saving the world from ultimate destruction but they feel completely helpless without their celestial weapons that give them any chance of winning a battle against the Sleeper and his army. Is all hope lost? They certainly are doubting themselves and their relationships as they attempt to get into the labyrinth and get the Nectar of Immortality before Aru’s traitorous sister uses her power to release it. They must travel to the parts of the Other World without being noticed, partly with the help of the very conspicuous Ruby, and find themselves stars on the concert stage, reuniting Aiden with family, risking eternal naps, and challenging immense bears. Through their trials, each of them begins to acquire the strength and self-awareness that will gain them back what was lost. This last installment of the series concludes the battle without winners, but all is resolved in ways to satisfy the gods and readers alike. While readers might want to see these characters again, the ending feels like just that. Those who are new to Aru’s world will need to begin with the first installment to meet each of the five Pandavas in order of appearance. The extensive glossary is helpful for those wanting to delve more deeply into the Hindu mythology and religion.
VERDICT A fitting end to a high stakes mythological adventure; this series is recommended for purchase in collections seeking adventure and strong female characters and where mythology is popular.

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