The 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time
October 15, 2020 7:54 AM EDT

In an effort to better fit in at her school, 12-year-old Aru Shah bends the truth—a lot. Her mother works at the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture, which is where Aru’s lies catch up with her: She tells her classmates that there’s a curse on the museum’s Lamp of Bharata. When they ask her to prove it, she lights the lamp—and accidentally awakens an ancient demon who has the ability to end the world. Aru discovers that to make things right, she’ll have to track down the reincarnations of the Pandava brothers, the central characters in the Hindu epic poem Mahabharata. In her middle grade debut, Roshani Chokshi creates an exciting adventure, interweaving Hindu mythology with her snappy prose. And in Aru, Chokshi unveils an astute young heroine with witty observations about a world she is just coming to understand. —Annabel Gutterman

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