| Not part of Riordanverse
This book or series is published under Rick Riordan Presents and its contents is not canon to the Riordanverse.
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.
- 1 Synopsis
- 2 Development
- 3 Plot
- 4 Chapter list
- 5 Characters
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Trivia
- 8 References
Aru Shah is a smart and salty middle school girl who just wants to impress her snooty private school friends. She takes them on a tour of the Indian-American Museum her mom curates, where her friends dare her to do the one thing she is forbidden to do: light an ancient lamp that will supposedly start the end of the world…
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. 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". This book is said to be Percy Jackson meets Sailor Moon.
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.
Unleashing the Sleeper
Aru Shah is a twelve-year-old girl who lives with her mother, Dr. Krithika 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 behavior 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 that the lamp is a lie too 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 because she lit the lamp. They are five brothers that waged war against their one hundred cousins and won, 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 traveling through the Door of Many. The Sleeper will stop time wherever he walks, and after nine days the Sleeper will reach Shiva who will perform the dance to end all time. When Aru inquires 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, so she then calls him Boo.
Traveling to the Otherworld
Aru follows Boo into the elephant's mouth into a passageway and arrives at the Door of Many, she asks it to take her to the awakened Pandava who is related to Aru by divinity instead of blood. They are transported to Georgia, 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 then to the Court of the Sky to meet with the Council of Guardians to receive a quest and weapons. Aru feels jealous of Mini as she reveals that her parents had taken her once for her brother. It's too dangerous for driving, the Sleeper is out there looking for the girls' celestial weapons to release the Lord of Destruction. They enter the Otherworld through its entrance portal by attempting to grab hold of an invisible doorknob and imagining its a string of hope. The guardian Makara of the Otherworld is revealed when many lights of moths luster against its crocodile-shaped 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, there seven floating thrones (some transparent), Aru notices a single throne tarnished and rusty outside the circle, it had the faded letters U-A-L-A beneath it. The other gold thrones were for the apsara Urvashi, monkey-faced Hanuman, serpent queens Uloopi and Surasa, bear king Jambavan, and Lord of Wealth Kubera. At this time, the only council members who arrive 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 believe 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 neighborhoods have been frozen in time, when the new moon comes this will be permanent. Aru inquires 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.
|“||She, Aru Shah, was the daughter of Indra, king of the heavens.||”|
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 from the ribbon-light walls. After performing Pranama to each of 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 suddenly stops Aru's arrows, the statues switch positions, Indra was 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, Dharma Raja threw down his Danda, shattering the arrows that were after Mini and determining 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 disappointed 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. The map is necessary for reaching the Kingdom of Death by taking them to the location the key is in by pressing the key on the map, the girls have nine days before the new moon. 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 strip mall. The Sanskrit tattoos on Aru and Mini’s hand reveal that they now 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 with the sign saying "YOU’LL BE SO HOT, YOU’LL BURST INTO FLAMES!", 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 hand prints 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 blow dryer 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, 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.
The group was now in an oak forest, while the girls discuss about the gods Boo is watching an anthill. He follows the ants, saying all ants go to the sage of learning, Valmiki. He has redeemed himself for murder over the years, Valmiki has mantras which will help them. They gradually reach an Anthill, where the ants have a rhyming 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. They are given their mantra and Aru touches the second key symbol on her mehndi map, but not before seeing the ants writing about the group's quest on a dark and stormy night.
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.
Another tunnel leads to a huge library with live books, suddenly the Sleeper appears. Mini manages to freeze him 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 Sleeper reveals Boo is actually Shakhuni, one of the Pandavas' greatest enemies, and takes him with him. Upon finding out that Aru was the one who lit the lamp, Mini calls her 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 hits 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 Hindi) 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. All around in blinding light, they witnessed how people died, they were in line for an office but Mini's compact proves that they all speak backwards. The sign said KARMA & SINS, at the end of the line was a man with a bulbous nose and miniature versions of himself, he is not Dharma Raja, he is Chitragupta who keeps a record of everything a soul had ever done. He says Yudhistira has never been a female before, but he and not even Dharma Raja could help them on their quest, gives them good karma (two tokens with mirrors) to get past the Halls of Death, a cookie that smell like books, soma so they won't get thirsty from the dead and a slim ballpoint pen.
The halls of death had three arrow signs: TO DARE, TO DISTURB, and TO DEIGN. Mini doesn't think dare sounds heroic and disturb sounds like their doing the wrong thing. Deign means ‘to do something that one considers beneath one’s dignity’ but an invisible wall wouldn't let the girls go any other way. There are only two days left til the new moon, Mini eats the wisdom cookie and realizes that it's a riddle. There is a hole below the deign sign, they slide down into a forest with silk dirt and tree you can walk through. Mini jumps into water thinking it will be a trampoline but it turns out to be quicksand, Aru saves her with a silk rope. Mini realizes they are in the Palace of Illusions made by the demon king Mayasura, it's giving them tests. After entering a mausoleum, the palace speaks to them. It doesn't believe their the Pandava brothers as they left their dream home, it shows them what each brother and their wife, Draupadi, liked to do by changing the scenery around the girls. The palace gives Aru a bow and arrow and sent fiery fireflies at her. She loses her arrow in forest, remembering the tale of Arjuna and the fish’s eye, Aru sense an Otherworld door and escape. Mini was arguing with a clone of herself, one of them vanished and the palace is now convince that they are reincarnated from Arjuna and Yudhistira. He is so sad they have to leave again, so the girls stay here and enjoy the palace a little while longer while learning more about it's backstory.
It starts to snow and Aru and Mini start to forget. Shukra, Guardian of the Bridge of Forgetting, emerges and restores their memory by getting rid of the snow on them. Shukra tells them of how he killed his wife and is now forced to have his mirrors around him to prevent forgetting. In order to cross the bridge, Shukra wants all of their memories. The girls refuse but it starts snowing again when they try to cross, Aru decides to break Shukra's mirrors. This works and they make it to the other side, but before disappearing Shukra curses Aru to forget something when it will matter the most.
On the other side was a giant cave, they look for celestial weapons which seem to be rotting. On the floor of the "Chamber of Astras, it said: ANSWERS HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT. THINGS AREN’T AS THEY SEEM. THERE’S POWER TO FIND HERE AND KNOWLEDGE TO GLEAN. BUT TIME WAITS FOR NO MAN, AND TIME HAS NO EARS. IF YOU DON’T MOVE QUICKLY, YOU’LL MEET ALL YOUR FEARS. Suddenly, a celestial guard Timingala appears and eats the girls. Remembering Pixar's Finding Nemo, Mini suggests they look for the uvula. Aru realizes that this whale is the location of the weapons, their poking antics reveal the true gifts as Indra's Vajra and Dharma Raja's danda. It was the orb and mirror the whole time, they were awakened when the sisters tried to save each other. The Vajra's true form was too heavy for Aru, but Mini used the danda (which she nicknamed "Dee Dee") as a walking stick. Aru wants to get out of this Kingdom of Death, death had some claim everywhere. They reach a group of ponds but before they could leave Aru hears her mother. After observing her grandfather talking to his daughter and her putting the away the Sleeper's diya in the Pool of the Past, Aru realizes her mother loved the Sleeper (whose real name is Suyodhana) and that she was his biological daughter.
At the place where bodies are reincarnated, the girls encounter a spider made out of clockworks and a dragon covered in eyelashes, they are Time and Wish respectively. Past Time explains that he is only one part, Future Time is invisible and Present Time can’t hold any one shape. They want something for them to leave if Time is to be saved, Mini tells them of the good deeds she has done but neither of them buy it. Aru shares the good karma she got from Chitrigupta with Past Time and Wish, who then let them go.
The girls exit in the middle of the road. Meanwhile, general public mistake the supernatural happenings to be a disease called Frozen Syndrome. The girls only have one day left before the new moon comes, but they know how to defeat the Sleeper. They need to find a place he doesn't like, they decide to go back to the museum so Aru calls upon the animals of the gods she freed to take them there.
Back to Museum
Mini is amazed that this is the place where Aru lives. Her mother was still there, the two girls summon the Sleeper. Dozens of other demons show up before him. He's holding Boo in a birdcage. Mini sent out an allusion of Aru's mother, Boo escapes and the Sleeper gets trapped in a circle and gets attacked by the animals. The Sleeper disappeared into the walls and taunted Aru for being such a liar. In response, she uses Vajra to cut the chandelier down onto him. The demons have either fallen asleep or are currently out of commission, Aru transformed Vajra into a whip to get rid of the rest of them. The Sleeper breaks free and pins Mini and Boo to the wall, Aru had no choice but to surrender. The Sleeper grabs Vajra, he says he's killing her to free her as her mother didn't. He loses Vajra and it returns to Aru, she has a vision where an older version of her with Mini and three other sisters have weapon, but then it seems like they would turn on Aru and attempt to kill her. Aru gets nauseous at this, the Sleeper says he is not an enemy and that she shouldn't kill her. Aru doesn't believe her father, she tries to kill him but he escapes.
Aru starts crying about this "failure," she and Mini think it was the curse of Shukra. But time is restored because the Sleeper was not in the Kingdom of Death when the new moon arrived. Aru's mother and friends are freed, mother first because her friends were closer to the diya. Boo is still accepted despite the girls knowing what he has done in the past. Krithika allows Boo to be kept as a pet and Arielle, Burton, and Poppy awake. Using the pen Chitrigupta gave her, she blackmails them with their own secrets and they leave her alone. The palace of illusions says hello on a note Aru received from Chitrigupta.
Then the story opens at the end of winter break. Aru Shah is invited by Arielle to a New Year’s party 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 Friday, after hearing an embarrassing story about Aru meeting the new boy at school, their first class was traditional dance (specifically, bharatnatyam) and etiquette with Urvashi. Hanuman’s strategy lessons were a lot more rugged, in the Night Bazaar and through a archway of chakora (moon bird) feathers was a canyon where the two are tasked to get a crown above it. While discussing with Hanuman about ways to get it, an alarm sounds and he tells them that something important has been stolen, something even the gods fear.
The following 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 to sniff and disappears as a bird, after that the elephant statue blared the alarm. Aru then sees the new boy nearby, Aiden Acharya who actually witnessed what happened. Boo tells them she is the next Pandava, leaving the two horrified. But they are ready whenever evil strikes.
- In Which Aru Regrets Opening The Door
- Wake Up
- The Other Sister
- Look, but Not Really
- The Council or Guardians
- Who's Your Daddy?
- The Three Keys
- A Trip to the Beauty Salon
- Ashes, Ashes, We All Fall Down
- Bring On the Next Demon! Wait, Maybe Not...
- The Hipster in the Anthill
- A Trip to the Grocery Store
- Why Are All Enchanted Things So Rude?
- That Was So Last Season
- The Library of A-Z
- A Strange Case
- I Really... REALLY... Wouldn't Do That
- Welp, She Did It
- The Door and the Dogs
- Who's a Good Boy?
- Soul Index
- Dare, Disturb, Deign
- What Meets the Eye (and What Doesn't)
- My Home, Not Yours! No Touchie!
- ...And Then Came the Horde of Godzilla-Size Fireflies
- The Palace's Story
- The Bridge of Forgetting
- The Tale of Shukra
- This Place Smells Funky
- 1 on Mini's Top Ten Ways I Don't Want to Die List: Death by Halitosis
- I'll Be a Cow in My Next Life
- The Pool of the Past
- Can You Give Me Better Hair on the Way Out?
- The TV Started It
- Aru Shah Is a Liar
- Who's the Liar Now?
- Got All That?
- Word Vomit
- Why, Why, Why? Stupid Words
- Ek and Do
- Krithika P. Shah
- Arielle Reddy
- Poppy Lopez
- Burton Prater
Covers and artwork
- Aru Shah and the End of Time is the first book released by Rick Riordan Presents.
- The French version of the book is translated as Aru Shah and the Lamp of Chaos.
- The book is dedicated to Roshani Chokshi's sisters: Niv, Victoria, Bismah, Monica, and Shraya. She says "We really need a theme song."
- In Chapter 14, Irish mythology is referenced as existing via mention of The Dagda.
- In Chapter 15, when first going into the Night Bazaar, Aru Shah jokes "Dude, these are my feet. It’s not like I’m hiding cloven hooves". This is a nod to Grover Underwood who hides his Satyr hooves with fake feet.
- When entering Karma & sins Mini mentions Egyptian Mythology when Aru mentions a hippo that chomps on people.
- In Chapter 35 Time said "This what we get for thinking that scaly orange skin and fake hair could keep that former demon out of elected office." This is a reference to the 2016 presidential election where Donald Trump beat Hilary Clinton.
Mentions of Other Cultures
- While in the Palace of Illusions, Aru mentions Katniss and Legolas.
- In Chapter 36, a news anchor says "Hence the name: the Frozen Syndrome! Too bad we can't just let it go, let it go." This is a reference to the song, Let It Go, from Disney's Frozen.
- Disney announces new Rick Riordan Imprint Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 6 November 2017