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Warning! This page contains spoilers for Aru Shah and the City of Gold.

Aru Shah and the City of Gold is the fourth book in the Pandava Quintet by Roshani Chokshi under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint. It was released on April 6, 2021.

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This article is written from a real world point of view.


Synopsis

Aru Shah and her sisters--including one who also claims to be the Sleeper's daughter--must find their mentors Hanuman and Urvashi in Lanka, the city of gold, before war breaks out between the devas and asuras.

Aru has just made a wish on the tree of wishes, but she can't remember what it was. She's pretty sure she didn't wish for a new sister, one who looks strangely familiar and claims to be the Sleeper's daughter, like her.

Aru also isn't sure she still wants to fight on behalf of the devas in the war against the Sleeper and his demon army. The gods have been too devious up to now. Case in point: Kubera, ruler of the city of gold, promises to give the Pandavas two powerful weapons, but only if they win his trials. If they lose, they won't stand a chance against the Sleeper's troops, which will soon march on Lanka to take over the Otherworld.

Aru's biggest question, though, is why every adult she has loved and trusted so far has failed her. Will she come to peace with what they've done before she has to wage the battle of her life?

Filled with wondrous magic, unforgettable creatures, manipulative gods, and laugh-out-loud dialogue, this fourth book in the Pandava series will leave readers wishing they could read the finale right now.

Plot

A New Sister?

Aru and Kara face off against the "Thesaurus Rex"

Aru Shah was chained to a rock in the Sleeper's cave and staring at his daughter, Kara. She said she is Aru's sister but Aru herself isn't so sure. Kara changed the cave into her own actual room, Aru remembered her dad when they fought over Kalpavriksha. Kara explained that he wanted her to be safe as a family, but they don't have the same mother. His army is planning on storming Lanka, the city of gold ruled by Kubera. Aru broke free, all that was holding her was a ribbon, but she couldn't zap Kara's place with Varja as it's reinforced with enchanted rubber. She wanted to come with Aru if the latter wanted to go free, but she refuses for a number of reasons. Kara revealed that two years prior she didn't know where she lived, that's because the Sleeper erased her apparently bad memories of that life. But he was never home afterwards due his deeds and being locked away. She had a coin-like enchantment on her that prevents gods and demons from finding her, he called her his 'secret weapon' and is waiting for the right time to use her, she didn't want to be part of his wars. Finally, Aru was convinced to take Kara along.[1] Kara believed she could open a portal through her bookcase but she herself never tried it before, she hardly ever leaves unless it's secretly with the Sleeper. She knew about Aru become he showed her memories. At last, one book made the shelves magically wrench apart, it had a note to Aru saying he got it at the hospital gift shop for his "little girl". Unfortunately, Kara forgot to mention that the place was protected by a monster made of books! Aru threw Vajra at him like a stick with a dog, Kara reluctantly makes a run for it with her.

From Kishkindha to the Ocean

They manage to make it back to Earth, and reach Brynne, Mini, and Aidan, who reveal that she has been missing for two months. All travel from the Otherworld has been stopped, due to the Sleeper. Nikita and Sheela are therefore separated from them, but are reunited with their parents. Aru's mother is not there, since she has been searching for Aru. They also reveal that Lord Kubera is denying the Pandavas access to the nairratas, elite Hindu warriors, without testing them. Aru also reveals that Boo betrayed them, which they don't believe, and explains the situation of Kara.

The three of them doubt Kara, Brynne especially is extremely ferocious to her. They travel to the location of the golden road, which would lead them to Lanka, but subsequently get trapped by vanaras, who want to put them, as human representatives, on trial for the atrocities done against their race by humans. As they are about to execute Aru, who they assume to be the ringleader, they are stopped by Queen Tara, Vali's wife. Queen Tara explains that she cannot help them, as the oceans will reject anything from their shores, but Aru manages to outwit the ocean, using mirrors. In response, Aru is granted a boon by Queen Tara. They journey to Lanka, where they leave Kara behind, as Lord Kubera will not allow her entry.

The City of Gold

Lord Kubera reveals that he has been holding Urvashi and Hanuman captive, and the Sleeper has been trying to negotiate with him, to ensure that Lord Kubera will not allow the Pandavas access to the nairratas in the war, and that he will grant them the antima astra, the shard of the world destroying Brahmastra. He also gives them proof that Boo is supposedly with the Sleeper. This makes Brynne even more ferocious, and she begins to become even more unkind to Kara. Lord Kubera states that, while he could grant the Sleeper his wishes, he would give them both the Astra and the nairratas if they pass his tasks. The Pandavas face the trials, and at the second one, Kara is stabbed, but she survives, albeit being comatose for a long time. After completing the third task, they return to Lanka, where the Sleeper's army attacks. Boo dies trying to protect them, but is later reincarnated as a Phoenix like baby bird. The Nairrata army helps them overpower the Sleeper's army, and, they win. When they get back to Lanka, Kubera gives them full control of the Nairratas, and gives them possession of the antima astra. While celebrating Aru's birthday, the Sleeper attacks, but Aru's mother intervenes. He then reveals to Kara that she is the sixth Pandava, born to a young Krithika Shah, who put her in stasis to reserve her reputation, and because she felt that she wasn't ready for a baby. This hurts Kara, and the Sleeper manages to convince her to join him. She steals the antima Astra from Aru, and uses it to destabilize all the other Pandavas celestial weapons, before leaving with the Sleeper. Aru is hurt, but remembers the boon Agni granted her.

First Trial: Cows and Souls

Second Trial: Doppelgangers and Heart

Third Trial: Beauty and Sky

Battling in the City of Gold

A Birthday Party Ruined

What to do Nest

Nuvola apps important.svg Then there was the little one...

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Characters

Chapter list

  1. I’m Your Long-Lost Family! (Insert Jazz Hands)
  2. LOL No
  3. Every Breath You Take Every Move You Maaake
  4. TL; DR We're in Trouble
  5. Fun Fact: You're Cursed
  6. At Least There's Popcorn?
  7. No One Said Anything about Demon Hamsters
  8. I Ain't Sayin' She's a Gold Digger
  9. I'm Not Equipped for This Level of Decision-Making
  10. Aru Shah eats Humble Pie
  11. World's Worst Pokémon
  12. In Which the Pandavas Are Stranded, But, Hey, the Fruit Is Great!
  13. The Ocean Stops Brynne
  14. That Big Demigod Energy
  15. Rich-People Problems
  16. Aim for the Head(s)
  17. You Get a Quest! And You Get a Quest!
  18. Sorrow with a Side of Cow
  19. At Least We're Not in a Parking Lot?
  20. Souls by the Spoonful
  21. Congrats, You're a Potato
  22. Begone, Worthless Rogue!
  23. Wanna See a Magic Trick?
  24. The Tale of Uttanka
  25. Go Ahead, Make My Day
  26. One Aru Is Enough
  27. You Seem Like a Decent Fellow; I Hate to Kill You
  28. The Mitochondria Is the Powerhouse of the Cell
  29. The Tale of Shikhandi
  30. Inconceivable!
  31. Brynne Cannot Open the Thing
  32. I Love a Good Ole Deadly Family Reunion
  33. Hi. Can I Exchange This Prophecy? No? Crap.
  34. Are You There, God-Dad? It's Me, Aru.
  35. I Really Need a Hug
  36. Big Mistake. Huge.
  37. The Worst Wish
  38. Ugly Applause
  39. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
  40. I Have a Boyfriend in Canada
  41. Happy Birthday, Aru Shah
  42. Wait...Who? What? HOW?
  43. Keeping Promises
  44. A Game of Hot Potato
  45. I Don't Want to Be Frodo

Trivia

Mentions of Other Cultures

  • Other books that appear in Kara's bookshelf were a collection of Grimms' fairy tales and three shelves of Amar Chitra Katha comics.
  • The book that opened Kara's secret portal shelf is Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
  • At one point, Aru said that she and the "Potatoes" were like the world's worst Pokémon. Brynne said she'd be a Charizard. Aru secretly suspects that Mini would be a Psyduck Psychic.
  • When a vanara asked what king the "Potatoes" enthralls their land, Aru awkwardly said it's probably Tiger King.
  • There is a French guillotine during the court of the vanaras

References

Pandava Quintet
Books: 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 | Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality
Main Characters: Aru Shah | Mini | Brynne Rao | Nikita | Sheela | Kara | Aiden Acharya | Sleeper | Meenakshi | Takshaka | Rudy
Council of Guardians: Boo | Urvashi | Hanuman | Jambavan | Uloopi | Kubera | Surasa
Secondary Characters: Krithika P. Shah | Palace of Illusions | Durvasa | Navdeep | Hira | Opal | Ravana
Minor Characters: Pandavas | Arielle Reddy | Poppy Lopez | Burton Prater | Brahmasura | Valmiki | Shukra | Gandhari | Shakuntula | Rambha | Jaya and Vijaya | Rahuketu | Garuda | Kadru | Uttanka | Shikhandi
Devas: Indra | Dharma Raja | Vayu | Ashvins | Vishnu (Mohini, Narasimha, Rama, and Krishna) | Shiva | Chitrigupta | Ganesh | Lakshmi | Ritus | Kamadeva | Varuni | Varuna | Ratri | Ushas | Agni | Brahma | Maruts | Aranyani | Vishwakarma | Surya | Yamuna | Chandra | Rohini | Shani | Saranyu | Chhaya
Creatures: Makara | Asura | Chakora | Naga | Rakshasa | Vahanas | Ek and Do | Timingala | Time | Wish | Zombie | Apsara | Yaksha | Yali | Vanara
Related Content: Roshani Chokshi | The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes | Rick Riordan Presents
Rick Riordan Presents
Pandava Quintet: 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
Storm Runner Trilogy: The Storm Runner | The Fire Keeper | The Shadow Crosser
Throne of Sand Duology: Throne of Sand
Sal & Gabi Duology: Sal & Gabi Break the Universe | Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe
Tristan Strong Trilogy: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky | Tristan Strong Destroys the World | Tristan Strong Keeps Punching
Paola Santiago series: Paola Santiago and the River of Tears | Paola Santiago and the Forest of Nightmares | Paola Santiago and the Sanctuary of Shadows
The Gifted Clans series: The Last Fallen Star | The Last Fallen Moon | The Last Fallen Realm
Serwa Boateng series: Serwa Boateng's Guide to Vampire Hunting
Outlaw Saints: Ballad & Dagger
Winston Chu Duology: Winston Chu Versus the Whimsies
Moko Magic Duology: Moko Magic
Stand Alone Novels: Dragon Pearl | Race to the Sun | City of the Plague God | Pahua and the Soul Stealer
Others: The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities: New Stories About Mythic Heroes
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