Y'ALL. THIS BOOK.
I am a children's librarian. I read middle grade fiction all the frickin' time. I am a respectful reader of Rick Riordan's books because I'm a very big fan of Rick Riordan, the man. I would not call myself a fan of his books (please don't lynch me or hate me, I did enjoy the Magnus Chase and Kane Chronicles series'). However, all that being said....
THIS BOOK THIS BOOK THIS BOOK.
I almost NEVER have visceral reactions to books. This one made me laugh out loud numerous times. I found myself feeling real empathy for a character of questionable motivations and nightmarishly (is that a word? spellcheck doesn't think it's a word) awful coping mechanisms. I completely fell in love with a mystical, and 100% sentient, palace (who suffers from abandonment issues and has occasionally murderous fits of rage for completely understandable reasons). Not to mention that the heroes aren't heroes at all--they're HEROINES. Pandavas that are, for once, reincarnated into the bodies of GIRLS. TWEEN GIRLS AT THAT.
Lord. Read this book. If you have tween or teen daughters, read it with them. So many solid messages and so much to learn about life and friendship and consequences, good and bad.
I HAVE TO WAIT A YEAR FOR BOOK 2?!?!?!
The funniest moment of the book for me personally (because again, I'm a children's librarian):
"That reminded Aru of the mom at school who'd gotten banned from the library after tearing out certain pages in books just so her kid's rival classmate couldn't do his research. (The librarian had screamed, Book murder! And now all the parents were scared of her.) Indra probably would have approved of that kind of sabotage."
Also, the visual image of a twelve year old girl, with glasses, hurling a pebble at a cauldron full of poison, while yelling, ""For science!!!" just about did me in.
If you read this book, DON'T SKIP THE GLOSSARY! The section where Chokshi explains who Brahmasura was in Hindu mythology is worth the read alone. When the GLOSSARY of a book makes you laugh out loud--that's a damn good book.
I understand that Paramount Pictures just procured the movie rights to this book, and I have one word for them--DON'T PULL A PERCY JACKSON ON THIS SERIES.
Or a bunch of librarians and tween readers will find a way to sic Shiva on you.