Aru Shah and the City of Gold

Aru Shah and the City of Gold
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April 06, 2021
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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?

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The penultimate tale of the Pandavas
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***This review contains spoilers for the prior series installment, book 3, ARU SHAH AND THE TREE OF WISHES**

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.
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