- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 435 KB
- Print Length: 248 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Fighting Monkey Press (17 April 2012)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B007V98F4Q
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,198,296 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Shadow on the Wall: Superhero | Magical Realism Novels (The SandStorm Chronicles | Magical Realism Books Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
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I read Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti K. Tyler few months ago, but it took me some time to finally write the review. Shadow on the Wall is a book which you read and then it haunts you in a good way. It was a page turner for me, but it woke so many thoughts which I had to get settled before putting down the review.
Shadow on the Wall is well-written and even though it is a page turner, it is dark, raw and beautiful in the same time. The writing is very smooth and the story flows on a quite quick pace. The characters are above fascinating and thought-wakening and the plot thrilling!
The plot is complex and there are few different story lines to follow. It's like a puzzle which you have to put together step by step and you find few awesome surprises on your path. There are two complicated things for me with Pavarti's book: the first one was to determine which genre it is because you can actually put several different labels on it and all of them would be correct; secondly, describing the plot. I will do my best.
The story is taking place in Turkey where you meet the main character of the story Recai Osman who is Muslim, billionaire, victim and a hero. Recai finds himself in a desert, saved by a man called Hasad. Recai is brought to Hasad's home while his daughter Rebekah is nursing Recai... Until Islamic morality police RTK finds them and interferes. Things get ugly. Very ugly.
Then the story jumps few years ahead and Recai is a changed man. The reader is introduced to whole new set of characters who are smartly woven into the story. You are drawn into the world of Elih city where religion, values, traditions, people are given colorful and suffocating meaning. The desert has also a very huge role in the novel and I remember thinking if the author has ever been in desert in order to use such a powerful prose about it.
What I truly loved bout the plot was that it gave an insight to Islam from s very surprised later to find out that the story is written by a non-Muslim. I was quite impressed by her knowledge about Qua ran, women's rights and generally by Muslim settings. It looks almost seemless, because the writing is very smooth, but the story touches quite heavy topics. Shadow on the Wall will get reactions from every reader I believe, they will either love it or be disturbed by it. I was both. It's a book where you will not be indifferent, neither about the plot nor the characters. Very powerful writing!
Shadow on the Wall was very character driven story and there were lots of fascinating characters the author created.
Recai remained a mystery for me. I would love to know what happened to him during the years which are not described in the first novel in the series. I loved his characters, but he also raised lots of questions and I am sure, that I will get my answers whenever the sequel is out.
I know that some people who have read the book would be surprised when I am saying that one of my favorite characters was Darya. Darya is devious, evil, sick in her head and I felt so sorry for her. She used every mean she possessed - money, connections, family to get what she wanted. I can't say, that I loved her character because she is evil, but it was interesting following the reasons behind her actions - to say the least.
Hasad had a huge role to play, especially when it came to Recai and his actions. Hasad is the only person from his past who is taken into the present.
There is a myriad of characters, both main and supportive ones worth mentioning. There is one thing common for all of them - they are fascinating!
Shadow on the Wall is a brilliant book which flows smoothly and at the same time touches heavy topics of fundamental religion, women's rights, acting above the morality etc. It makes your head spin!It is that good! I highly recommend it and can't wait for the sequel!
Then you read her book, and she completely blows you away.
She describes Recai as a "vehicle of change" but one cannot help but wonder about the undercurrents that this novels brings forth. Deep down, do we all feel emotions like Recai? Do we each have this raging inner desire to strip ourselves of our fears and oppressions and rise against the world? In a way, are these the same undercurrents that are capable of projecting issues such as the Middle Eastern uprising?
Yes, it is a fiction novel but it taps into your imagination and you cannot help but wonder... This isn't a book you can curl up with as you go to bed and dream of happily ever afters, it is the kind of book that will make you think. It is the kind of book that will leave its mark in history, one way or another.
In a nutshell, the story is centred on good versus evil and the delusion we create that these two things are as clear as black and white. They are not. This book will tell you that. Pavarti's descriptive scenes will show you. And life will teach you that.
Offensive content?: Yes, (violence, swearing etc.) Not at all recommended for children. I would give it a PG15.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from the author through Orangeberry Book Tours. I did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one.
In this story, there is a 'morality' police force called the RTK. They are a Muslim group who are in control of the city and are, basically, armed policeman who make sure that certain Muslim practices are being followed. There include: not drinking, not smoking, not eating pork, women must wear their burkas and be accompanied by male chaperones, reading material is restricted, women are not allowed newspapers, etc etc. They are an intimidating and brutal force and, as we soon realise, very corrupt.
The RTK become the villains of the piece right from the outset of the book. If you are averse to brutal violence (including sexual and incestual) then you are going to find this book hard going. And I am not exaggerating. I have seen the most violent films out there and read incredibly violent books in the past, and this is definitely up there with them. At one point, I had to put the book down and watch some T.V because some of the violence very prolonged and quite upsetting to read. However, it isn't gratuitous and is vital to the later story lines and provides the motivation of the main character for the events that follow.
Everything about this book feels sinister, suffocating and violent. The oppresive setting of the desert, which clogs your throat whilst also burning and dehydrating you if you dare to stray too far over its unknown terrain, was perfect. I loved the way the sand, like the RTK, managed to find its way into every crack and crevice of society and would occasionally wash over the city in a vicious storm which confined everyone to their homes. The author also uses Bible quotes at the beginning of each chapter, which evoke not a loving, benevolent God but the smiting, vengeful, angry God of the Old Testament, 'on your belly you shall crawl, and dust you shall eat, all the days of your life.' I liked this, as I felt it invoked the violence of religion which is the dark side of any practiced faith: this underbelly of extraordinary violence is always there for those who wish to exploit it, as the RTK do in this book.
Another huge theme in this book is oppression of women and violence towards women. This theme, combined with the shifting narrative which focused on different characters and events sporadically, reminded me of Steig Larsson's 'The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo'. This book is very much about men who hate women and men who disrespect women in the worst possible ways. Women are used as pawns in games of power: if a man is to be punished for some crime or wrong he has committed, his wife or daughter is hunted and raped, thus losing her honour and any chance of a good marriage. She is then extradited from the family and either relies on the kindness of strangers or kills herself. Women are constantly assaulted, beaten, and verbally assaulted and blamed for tempting men if they do happen to be sexually attacked. It must be their fault for exposing a hand or an ankle. Darya is the niece of the Mayor of the city, and she represents a woman's lust and longing for a higher position and more power and respect than women are currently receiving. At one point she thinks;
'She yearned for a life in which all men looked at her as a force of nature not to be trifled with, to be able to stand outside in the wind, her hair uncovered, and scream that she had arrived.'
She portrays a kind of Princess Jasmine character; she does a lot of business for the Mayor behind a male pseudonym from her computer, yet no-one knows her true identity or that a woman would be capable of that difficult work and the powerful position. Women are hidden and seen as weak and pathetic; she later takes extreme action against her circumstances with brutal consequences.
Overall, I think what I really loved about this book was how the author defied casting people into roles of 'good' and 'evil'. Characters who are generally good sometimes commit thoughtless acts, and characters who are villains of the most despicable kind can change or can be kind to the people they love. This made the characters much more rounded, and more unpredictable too which kept me engaged right until the very last page. I am really looking forward to reading the rest of this series!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
The story opens with Recai having been dumped and left to die in the desert after a night of illicit drinking in Elih. He meets with two main characters when they save his life and within a few pages, we’re treated to the first experience of the brutality and anti-woman bias of the RTK’s officers.
This novel, it seems to me, is a vehicle through which the author wishes to expose the hypocrisy of those using Sharia Law to further their own means. At its core is the attitude of these so-called Muslims toward women. The officers of the RTK, or at least the ones the story focuses on, use rape to subjugate women. There is a lot of rape in this story. Once a young woman has been raped, the author shows how she is then shunned by those closest to her who consider her spoiled goods, bringing shame on the family. This was an unpleasant education for me. I’ve read of atrocities committed against Muslim woman, but the author brought this home in a visceral manner.
Sadly, for this reader, the story, and in particular the main character, didn’t ring true. Because the tale wasn’t strong enough to carry the message, I found it difficult to suspend disbelief. For example, this young man, Recai, inherits a multi-billion dollar enterprise, receives the finest education, and yet is clueless about what the business does. When four billion dollars are found to be missing, he asks the company accountant to see if he can find the money—seriously? Four billion dollars isn’t the kind of money you hide under the mattress, and why ask the accountant who’s been working at the company while this money disappeared and apparently had no idea it was missing?
Characters find each other with suspicious ease. A list of missing and or raped women’s names is given, but no action is taken. Recai is supposed to be searching for himself, but never finds a purpose, he just seems to wander and waffle. Toward the end of the story, an element of magical realism (Allah’s intervention) is introduced, but insufficiently explained.
The story felt like a rudderless ship to me. I believe it is to be the first in a series. Perhaps Recai will be better defined in subsequent stories, but I needed to understand him in this saga to make me want to move on to the next episode.
In summary: The writing was clean and tight with very few typos. The opening scene is well drawn. The underlying message about women’s rights and mistreatment in the Muslim world comes over loud and clear, but the vehicle (story) was too weak to get me engaged.
This is not just a superhero story, this is not just about the plight of the Muslim women, this is not just about ... well it is about a lot of things! Ms. Tyler has not pulled any punches - misogamy, religion, greed, corruption, abuse, and right off the bat - rape. As a rape survivor so many times when I read a rape scene it is handled without care, full of gratuitous violence, and most of the time times sloppy. This did not even trigger me except for moving right to feeling righteous and wanting to get up and fight!
Where is the superhero you say? Recai Osman, son of a billionaire in Elih, Turkey. After attempting to help someone, he finds himself beaten and left for dead in the desert with the city no where in sight. Taken in and cared for by an elderly Jewish man with the help of his daughter. After recovering, resting and some true enlightenment (you have to have a superhero mentor)Recai is back in the city, though still recovering when he has a run in with a corrupt organization which changes everything and dark local hero was born... THE SANDSTORM! I giggled a bit but it was so well done I just could not help myself but ohh and ahh a lot. The action did not stop here.
Villians? Other than the organization RTK and those involved, there is Dayar. We love to hate her and we love her just a little... and have a tiny bit of empathy because of being a woman in Turkey. She believes she can lead in a world of men in a culture that is not ready for it. I was enamored with her and I applaud Tyler for presenting such a bleak world faced with such heroics by Dayar and the rest of the characters. Dayar is someone to watch, at the end of the book what she is left with, what she coveted has been stripped away. Where will be find her and Racai next?
I loved the book, I only have a few issues. ONE, it was TO DANG SHORT! TWO as I write my review (which I swear I had written back in December) I realize I am still waiting for more, book two needs to be written soon. To say this talented transgressive author has shown herself to be versatile is an understatement (see the rest of her offerings). What I love most about this author and her stories is she does not hold back, she has no problems writing "bungee jumping" tales... she takes risks and each time she does, they blaze a trail, as this one does, with talented and the brightest of lights.
This is not for everyone, there may be a it to much in your face realities but I still would recommend it to anyone who wants something out of the norm from an author not afraid to take chances. OH! AND it has a fantastic Q&A with Pavarti and book club ?'s to boot?!!