With war with the Sleeper looming closer, Aru and her sisters are in need of an army, specifically one from Kubera, ruler of Lanka, city of gold. In order to get the army and save Hanuman and Urvashi, the Potatoes, along with Kara, the new arrival who claims to be the Sleeper's daughter, must pass several trials. But all is not what it seems and Aru grows more confused (and angry) as the adults around her keep betraying them. Aru and the rest of the Potatoes will have to decide who and what they are willing to fight for in this penultimate tale of the Pandavas.
The Pandava series gets better and better with each book in this series as the stakes continue to build. I love how rich the emotion is in CITY OF GOLD. While Aru's temper has flared before, this book is where her anger really grows as she sees just how unfair and complicated their situation is. Her beloved mentor has betrayed her, her mom is gone, and just when she was starting to feel some empathy for her father, she finds out he has a whole other daughter she's never heard of until now, a daughter who seems way more perfect and nice than Aru. With Aru's anger comes a big question: what will she do with it? Just as the battle with the Sleeper escalates, so does Aru's battle with herself. She has to search for what's underneath all the anger and understand what could happen if she lets the anger control her.
It's quite a feat to balance heavy emotion and dramatic stakes with humor, but once again, the Pandavas series shows exactly how it's done. From the pun-filled chapter titles to snappy one-liners to dancing mongooses, this is a series as likely to make you laugh as it is to make you cry.
With an explosive final scene that turns everything on its head, ARU SHAH AND THE CITY OF GOLD sets readers up for a finale that is likely to pack quite an emotional punch.