When twelve-year-old Aru Shah's schoolmates dare her to prove that the museum's Lamp of Bharata is cursed, she doesn't think there's any harm in lighting it. Little does Aru know that lighting the lamp has dire consequences. She unwittingly frees an ancient demon who freezes her mother in time - and it's up to Aru to save her.
This series kickoff, which is also the first book from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, expertly channels the humor and action that have made Riordan's own work so successful. Twelve-year-old Aru Shah lives with her mother in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture in Atlanta. Aru's tendency to bend the truth gets her into trouble when three of her classmates dare her to light a supposedly cursed lamp called a diya, which awakens the demonic Sleeper. With the help of her guardian, a pigeon named Subala, Aru learns that she is the reincarnation of one of five Pandava brothers, each the child of a different god. Aru meets one of her "soul-related" siblings, smart but timid Mini, and they head off to stop the Sleeper from reaching Shiva, Lord of Destruction. With her quick wit and big personality, Aru commands the spotlight ("I'm an A student," she boasts to a doubtful Subala. "In the sense that she was a student whose name started with an A"), and Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen) weaves an engrossing adventure that will leave readers anticipating the next installment. Ages 8 12.