Hi everyone, I hope you enjoyed my previous list of titles. This next post is also in the form of a list for your perusal. The titles this week all have some element of fantasy mixed in with adventure. Mythology, folklore and legends all combine in a delectable treat here for you!
This first set of books are the first two in a quintet! The author, Roshni Chokshi is one awesomely talented lady, in my opinion!! If you want to learn of Hindu gods and mythology with a dash of humour have a read of the following review!
Series: Pandava Quintet 1 & 2
Title: Aruh Shah and the End of Time & Aru Shah and the Song of Death
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publication details: Rick Riordan Presents; NY, 2018 & 2019 (imprint of Disney-Hyperion)
What these books are about: Aru Shah has a tendency to stretch the truth in order to fit in about her private middle school. While her classmates take off on exotic vacations for the autumn break, Aru will be spending hers in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art & Culture that her mom curates. When three of her classmates turn up at the museum, Aru decides to light the Lamp of Bharata to show off. But lighting the lamp has dire consequences. And so begins Aru Shah’s adventures through the Kingdom of Death. In the first book Aru has to find a way to stop the demon she unwittingly awoke. In the second story Aru gets framed when the god of love’s bow and arrow goes missing. So with the company of her Pandava sister Mini, along with a couple of unlikely allies Aru must travel through the dangerous serpent realm to retrieve the stolen items.
My review: Roshani Chokshi’s stunning new series has it all!! Suspense, intrigue, high octane adventure, heroines who have only just entered puberty, love, and death!! I enjoyed learning of all the various Hindu Gods and Hindu mythology. I was quite familiar with the Pandava brothers as I’d watched a version of the Mahabharata back when I was younger. I guess my perspective was biased towards this version but Roshani Chokshi has expertly woven her own interpretation into these middle-grade stories. The characters of Aru, Mini, Brynne and Aiden are funny, brave and very witty. A really good series to get stuck into if you loved the Kane Chronicles and the Percy Jackson books!! The third installment is expected to be released in April 2020.
My rating: 5 ⭐
The next set of books take you on a different kind of adventure. This time magic and folklore combine to give a couple of stunning reads.
Title: The Gauntlet & The Battle
Author: Karuna Riazi
Publication details: Salaam Reads; NY, 2017 & 2019
What these books are about: When twelve-year-old Farah first lays eyes on the old-fashioned board game, she thinks it looks elegant. It is made of wood, etched with exquisite images – a palace with domes and turrets, latticework windows that cast eerie shadows, a large spider – and at the very centre of its cover, in broad letters, is written, THE GAUNTLET OF BLOOD AND SAND. The Gauntlet is more than a game though. It is the most ancient, the most dangerous kind of magic. Farah and her friends along with her baby brother are trapped in the mythical world of Paheli as they start to play the game. They have to play the game in order to escape! In The Battle, many years have passed and Farah has left home for college. Young Ahmad is now twelve and Farah has sent him the coolest gift ever. He intends to use it to impress his classmate Winnie. The game is a virtual reality game called THE BATTLE OF BLOOD & IRON. Both Ahmad and Winniw are excited to play, but when they unbox the game, time freezes all over New York City. The kids soon realise the only way to unfreeze New York is to play the game – and win.
My review: An awesome set of adventure reads!! Young Farah is an unexpected heroine in the first read and my heart leapt at all the different challenges she faces in the magical game. Both stories have vibes of the movie Jumanji mixed in with tones of Indian culture thrown in. I really loved the relationships described in these reads!! Some hilarious dialogue and action-packed storyline in both!! Twelve-year-old Ahmad is even funnier than Farah and more adventurous await him in the second story!! Great for those who love games of all sizes!!
My rating: 5 ⭐
Okay then, for a change of scenery have a read of these next two books. You’ll find yourself thrown into a chaotic Mayan prophecy destined for an unlikely hero. High energy adventure and humour is only the beginning. Let me know what you think after…
Series: Storm Runner 1 & 2
Title: The Storm Runner & The Fire Keeper
Author: J. C. Cervantes
Publication details: Rick Riordan Presents; NY, 2018 & 2019
What these books are about: Zane Obispo spends everyday exploring the sleeping volcano in his backyard. “The Beast”: as he calls it, is the one place where he can escape other kids, who make fun of him because he has a limp and walks with a cane. After a twin-engine plane crashes into the Beast, a mysterious girl named Brooks shows up at Zane’s doorstep, insisting that they meet at the volcano, where she will reveal a terrible secret. Zane agrees, mostly because beautiful girls like her don’t usually talk to him. Brooks tells him that the volcano is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to Zane’s. In the first tale, Zane is entangled in a web of dangerous secrets, and embarks on a quest that will take him far from home and test him to the very core. The second tale sees the gang back together along with some new characters, Aztec gods, Maya royalty, unlikely alliances, surprising twists and secrets darker than Zane could ever have imagined. Secrets that will change him forever.
My review: Wow!! What a rush these two were!! I have to tell you now that I had been reading these while I was moving house and ended up having to start over a couple of times. Despite the interruptions, I found these to be quite fascinating reads. Filled with action-packed scenes, funny dialogue and awesome characters, this will not disappoint adventure fans or those who like learning of other cultures. Maya mythology is one I only know a little about so I found these reads refreshing and highly informative. A great diverse read that’s good for all ages!! Cervantes is expected to release the third book this year, 2020.
My rating: 5 ⭐
And lastly, a single story, soon to be part of a series! (I hope!!) This time, the myths and folklore will take you on the wildest ride yo have ever been on!! And no, you won’t receive any other details…
Title: Tristan Strong punches a hole in the sky
Author: Kwame Mbalia
Publication details: Rick Riordan Presents; NY, 2019
What this book is about: Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where’s he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. On his first night there, a sticky creature steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases it through the forest to his grandmother’s off-limits Bottle Tree. As he attempts to wrestle the journal, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping a hole in the sky to an ancient and magical world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left Black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted.
My review: A wildly-surprising tale of African American folklore and magic. Tristan Strong is a reluctant hero but shows some amazing skills at storytelling. I really loved the storyline and all the strong African American characters, both human and magical!! Some hilarious dialogue and awesome description in this awesome diverse read. To say I knew little of African American legends and folklore would be an understatement! I had to actually look up the names of the mythical characters! Can’t wait for the next part Kwame Mbalia will be releasing in October 2020!!
My rating: 5 ⭐
A little note: I hope you have noticed that about 75% of these books have been published under Rick Riordan’s own imprint that he recently launched to promote diverse authors and their respective cultures and myths and legends. What an awesome achievement!!