Parents' Guide to

Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality: Pandava, Book 5

By Carrie R. Wheadon, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Stellar female heroes shine in Indian myth series finale.

Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality: Pandava, Book 5

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This series finale steeped in Indian mythology stays firmly focused on the stellar girl characters over raucous monster battles, and is so much better for it. Yes, there's Armageddon to stop and only days to do it, and three pieces of a jewel to unite in three fascinating parts of the Otherworld. But it's the girls' struggles to get their celestial weapons back, to earn them by seeing their inner strengths, that really breathe life into the story. Mini, a girl whose fears drive her every thought, has one of the most poignant moments in the realm of dreams -- befriending an actual night mare/horse.

And even with the big end-of-times battle brewing, fans of the series will be thrilled to know that there are still plenty of scenes filled with humor. Those night mares have the best names, including Loose Teeth, Creepy Party Clown, and Don't Look Under the Bed. Brynne, both warrior and accomplished chef, has words with the king of the bears over his lackluster hot chocolate. And when all the Pandavas get blessed with god-level musical talents, Aru gets stuck being the best tambourine player in the Otherworld. It's all a nice break from the usual end-of-the-world doom and gloom. This humor mixed with poignant moments of character growth -- and, yes, a battle at the end -- makes for a well-balanced and highly enjoyable finale.

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