Mini Reviews #19

Hello readers, and welcome to Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don’t write full length reviews for. This installment, let’s chat about: Aru Shah & the Nectar of Immortality, This Golden State and Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak.

Aru Shah & the Nectar of Immortality (Pandava #5) | Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Pandavas only have until the next full moon to stop the Sleeper from gaining access to the nectar of immortality, which will grant him infinite power. But how can Aru, Mini, and Brynne hope to defeat him without their celestial weapons?

The Sleeper and his army are already plundering the labyrinth, and the sisters can’t even enter. Their quest to get in will have them calling on old friends, meeting new allies, and facing fearsome trials, like…performing in a rock concert? When the moment of confrontation finally arrives, it’s up to Aru to decide who deserves immortality, the devas or the asuras.

The most unexpected answer will come from a most unexpected place. More surprises and delights, gods and demons, and laughs and tears await in this immensely satisfying conclusion to the wild ride that began with the lighting of a lamp.

I can’t believe this series is done – and what a journey it has been! I don’t really read middle grade novels anymore, but this series has had me glued to the pages right from book one and I’ve eagerly anticipated each and every sequel – most of all this finale. Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality was such an amazing finish to this story and I loved how everything came together in what was a very satisfying conclusion.

Though this finale did not lack for adventure, quests and epic battles, the best part about it was the journey the heroes went through. The character arcs were amazing and it’s honestly the first time I’ve seen such depth in middle grade. Morale is at an all time low for the group and this book was really all about them learning to find their strength and overcome their greatest fears at a point where it feels like all hope is lost. As always, I loved the stories from Hindu mythology that were woven into the tale and the ones focused on in this installment were perfect for the underlying theme of the book.

Roshani Chokshi has done a masterful job with this finale and her writing style is such that it draws the reader in so easily, and makes both the characters and story relatable on so many levels. I’m really sad that this story has come to an end, but I’m also excited to see what she will write next! I can’t recommend this series enough!

Publishing Date: April 5th, 2022 (Rick Riordan Presents)

This Golden State | Marit Weisenberg

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Winslow family lives by five principles:

1. No one can know your real name.
2. Don’t stay in one place too long.
3. If you sense anything is wrong, go immediately to the meeting spot.
4. Keeping our family together is everything.
5. We wish we could tell you who we are, but we can’t. Please – do not ask.

Poppy doesn’t know why her family has been running her whole life, but she does know that there are dire consequences if they’re ever caught. Still, her curiosity grows each year, as does her desire for real friends and the chance to build on something, instead of leaving behind school projects, teams, and crushes at a moment’s notice.

When a move to California exposes a crack in her parents’ airtight planning, Poppy realizes how fragile her world is. Determined to find out the truth, she mails in a home DNA test. Just as she starts to settle into her new life and even begins opening up to a boy in her math class, the forgotten test results bring her crashing back to reality.

Unraveling the shocking truth of her parents’ real identities, Poppy realizes that the DNA test has undone decades of careful work to keep her family anonymous – and the past is dangerously close to catching up to them. Determined to protect her family but desperate for more, Poppy must ask: How much of herself does she owe her family? And is it a betrayal to find her own place in the world?

This book was a last minute addition to my TBR after I saw a couple of great reviews for it. The concept was so fascinating that I couldn’t help but pick it up. It was an entertaining read and the buildup of the tension was very well done, and the air of mystery maintained throughout. I was continuously wondering what exactly Poppy’s parents were hiding and why they lived the strange life they did. It was a thriller of course, but it was also a coming of age novel for Poppy as she begins to unearth long hidden family secrets and starts to wonder who she is outside the isolated life she has led with her parents and sister.

The part that didn’t work for me however, was that it felt rather unrealistic that Poppy didn’t think about digging into her family’s past for some answers way before this. I also thought that the big reveal fell a little flat in proportion to the buildup – it could have been so much more dramatic.

This book actually has a lot of scope for a sequel and it’s something I’d definitely be interested in reading. Despite this book having wrapped up the major plot points, there are still a lot of questions that could be answered. Overall, this was a pretty good read and I would recommend it for fans of thrillers!

Publishing Date: March 1st, 2022 (Flatiron Books)

Have you read any of these books or do you plan to? I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!


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