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There's a new breed of superheroes in town
on 8 September 2012
Turbulence is a story about a handful of individuals from different walks of life unknowingly ending up with superpowers after a flight from London to Delhi. It is a story about these very individuals discovering their new identities and coming to terms with their powers and deciding on how to eventually use them. It is a classic tale of Good Vs Evil with emotions and self discovery thrown in as extra measure to give the characters a more human feel which in turn adds to the charm of the book.
It is quite evident that the author Samit Basu is up-to-date with his knowledge about superheroes and the pop culture references are in abundance throughout the book. He is not short on humor either with a number of instances where I did literally laugh-out-loud. Unfortunately, the biggest flaw lies with the powers that are allotted to the characters. Throughout the book I could not help but relate certain aspects to comic books, or TV series like Heroes, or films like X-Men, Avengers, Superman, etc. For example, there is a "suit" that is somewhat on the lines of Iron Man. Moreover, it even folds-up into a briefcase which to me shouted Iron Man 2, the film. There is a character who can bulk himself up and become a tiger faced beast which seemed pretty much like the Hulk without the obvious turmoil that the Hulk/Dr. Banner go through. Even the main villain, Jai, has shades of Magneto, not in terms of power, but in terms of their thought process. So while I tried to enjoy the book, I could not but help draw up these similarities, and there were quite a few, and I am not even a comic book fan.
Having said that, the book does have interesting characters, especially the ones that are regional to India. The Shinde Brothers provide an episode that would fair interestingly well should the book be ever made into a movie. Some of the other powers, which I shall not mention so you can enjoy the book, are unique and bring about the fun element. There are also enough twists and turns to keep the detective in you guessing.
Turbulence takes a little while to set itself up. While it took me a couple of weeks to get through the first 100 pages, I finished the next 250 in one day. It is also the start of a series and it is understandable that the basis has to be formed, so when the sequel Resistance comes out next year, it will hopefully not have to go back into the "origins" aspect.
Being an Indian I liked the local touch the story gives to the characters and while it goes around the globe culminating in London, it stays true to the region where it is primarily set.
Turbulence makes for an interesting read and it might not be genre defining, but is a positive addition to the superhero genre that we are being bombarded with from all directions.
Since I am unable to give a 3.5 Star review, I have settled with a 4 star review.