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Shadow on the Wall: Superhero | Magical Realism Novels (The SandStorm Chronicles | Magical Realism Books Book 1) by [Tyler, P.K.]
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Shadow on the Wall: Superhero | Magical Realism Novels (The SandStorm Chronicles | Magical Realism Books Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Length: 248 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 560 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
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,059,445 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback
My review:

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!

Plot:

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I've never read any of Pavarti's work before but as we communicated about her book tour I was expecting nothing short of spectacular. As an author, she strikes you as professional, approachable and well organised.

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.

Overall assessment:
Story: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Editing: 5/5
Pacing: 4.5/5
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I couldn't put this book down. It is extraordinarily gripping from the first page to the last, and the characters are so unusual and well-developed that you just want to discover more about them. The book is set in Turkey, in a real place called Elih (fun fact: Elih is the Kurdish name for a real Turkish town called 'Batman'. Nice.) Although the Elih that the author creates is fictitious and nothing like the real place, she chose the Turkish setting because she wanted somewhere with religious tensions between Muslims and Jews that didn't instantly evoke 9/11. You really do learn more about the Islamic faith from the book, as it describes and portrays many rituals, prayers, greetings and passages from the Qur'an and religious tensions. Different groups' interpretations of religious texts are at the heart of the story. Tyler has clearly done her research and, for me, it really paid off.

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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 37 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A strong underlying message about Muslim women's mistreatment. 7 July 2013
By Pete Barber (Author) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After his mother committed suicide and his father disappeared, eight-year-old Recai became heir to the multi-billion dollar Osman Corporation. Recai’s father had used the business’s profits to develop his home town of Elih, Turkey, in a secular fashion, granting interest free loans to support education and local business. In the absence of this easy money, the town is taken over by the RTK, a regressive and corrupt political group who imposed Sharia Law on the population. The tale follows Recai in his early twenties as he tries to find his place in the world.

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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic and powerful read that grabs you right from the beginning! 1 Nov. 2014
By Cabin Goddess - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic and powerful read that grabs you right from the beginning! I did not read this right away because I thought... Muslim Superhero? Ummm riiiiiiiight, and then I said to myself, oh gods a book that speaks against the violence of muslin women... OK I am against it but do I want to read a book about it in the guise of a superhero novel? So I put it off, BIG MISTAKE! I read the author's other pieces and realized I may have jusged to quickly so Christmas Eve I gave myself an early present, picked it up and read, read and read and I was unable to stop reading till I was done. And at the end of the book, with my mouth open, I kicked myself for not giving the book when I first received it!

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?!!
4.0 out of 5 stars Daring first book of a series with strong potential 6 July 2012
By Dave Todaro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pavarti K. Tyler writes well. I had no doubt, as I read this meaty morality play with a superhero demiglaze, that I was reading an insider's exposè of how the local authorities who enforce Sharia law in large parts of the Muslim world use some of what is found in Muslim holy writings to oppress anyone who gets in their way, especially (but not exclusively) women. It shocked me to learn in the Q&A found at the end of the Kindle version, that Tyler is neither Muslim nor Turkish (this reviewer lived in Turkey for a year and has post-grad credits in Islamic studies; the book contains enough truth about Turkey and Islam that I was fooled).

Tyler has produced a moving story that helps us to understand the frustration and sometimes, the sheer terror that comes with being an oppressed minority. If Judaism (personified by the old, wise and somewhat difficult Hasan) is Tyler's Exhibit B, the oppression of women in the Muslim world is her Exhibit A. But Tyler has treated Islam fairly, showing that hijabs and burqas can be safe havens for the women who are used to wearing them. The narrator's mention of Islam's prophet always includes the corollary blessing required by Muslim piety. Tyler is concerned for the individual liberty of both women and men, whether Jewish or Mulsim, Sunni or Shi'a; she's not out to bash religion. She has made a loud, clear statement with literature that is thoughtful, nuanced, and well-researched. "Shadow" merits our attention whatever and whomever the object of our faith.

My main criticism of "Shadow" is a common one in this day of the literary series: The end comes abruptly, with too many loose ends to call it a masterpiece. Secondarily, the introduction of supernatural elements into Tyler's brutally-honest realism may also disorient and disappoint some readers. That said, those who go on to read Tyler's Q&A will understand the final scene in her last chapter as a Bruce Wayne/Peter Parker moment of reckoning. The epilogue may clue us to the future of Darya, a beauty whose character has parallels to Elphaba in the musical "Wicked" and whose ambition and cunning infuses the novel with latent sexual energy. Is she victim, perpetrator, or both? Has she hardened beyond redemption? These are questions, I think, that Tyler wants us to contemplate long after we're finished reading "Shadow." Perhaps she'll unfold it for us in the next book of what has the potential to be a spellbinding series with specific relevance for 21st-century humanity.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty 9 Jan. 2013
By E. L. Sapp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have heard that the mark of a good book is that it makes the reader feel and care. Going by that measure, this is one of the best books I have ever read. Reading this made me angry. The events are told in a brutal, gritty style that leaves nothing to imagination. It was almost painful (in a good way).

So why only 4 stars? Because characterization is lacking. The author comments on this in the Q&A at the end of the book, and it seems to be intentional. (She says there is more character development in the second book.) Recai is too sheltered to be a workable main character. He does develop, but it seems to be too little, too late. Darya is supposed to be strong, but she comes across as a wimp. Maryam and Hasad seemed to be cardboard cutouts rather than actual people.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyed this book. 16 Jun. 2013
By Bryan Schiffner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First off, full disclosure, I am Pavarti's cousin. That being said, no one asked me to read this book. I read it to satisfy my own curiosity, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is not the work of a hobbyist, but of a true writer. The book explored difficult aspects of the lives of Arab women without pulling any punches, leaving my heart racing at times. The protagonist, Recai, is multidimensional, interesting, and unpredictable. I highly recommend and am looking forward to reading the next installment in the series.
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