The Celeritas Files – Review
Action Thriller, Book Launch, Fiction / October 17, 2017

“I think that Leroy is in the process of buying a diamond,” he replied, “and convincing the sellers that it is actually a peanut.” A story of corporate espionage, the crux of the matter could be summed up by this statement alone. A fast paced story with several twists and turns, The Celeritas Files keep you guessing if the good guys will win or would the underdogs triump. Focusing around an extremely capable R&D firm Bliksem, it follows the lives of its management and senior members as they make a breakthrough in the world of batteries. A phenomenal development in technology, the new battery could be charged in under two minutes and the firm is looking to shake hands with the largest French firm manufacturing luxury phones, Leroy. Bliksem is on the verge of bankruptcy and his founder and managing director, Sivakumar, makes the biggest sales pitch of his life. As he continues his battle, his team is facing a demon he has no idea off. The story starts with senior members of Bliksem at a Christmas party. The leader and single mother Shaina, the reserved Amaan, the intense Nandini and the lively Ravi who swings the other way. Accompanying…

Inferno – Review
Fiction / May 14, 2017

Inferno one of Dan Brown’s lesser-known works was recently made into a film starring Tom Hanks and Felicity Jones.  A geneticist’s Betrand Zobrist (Ben Foster) jumps to his death in the opening scene of the film. Consequently returning as Robert Langdon, Tom Hanks  wakes up from a coma unable to remember what happened to him. This momentary “amnesia” is the basis to which a bewitching Jones starring as Dr Sienna Miller leads him to believe she has nothing to do with the virus  created by Zobrist – an global epidemic that is strong enough to wipe out half the population of the world. With one major significant change from the original story of the book it’s a race against time involving the much popular tale of Danto’s Circle of Hell to prevent the virus threat. David Koepp’s screenplay of the book is tediously slow at first. With the time frame of two hours it drags on a bit especially in the beginning but as events speed up and the beautiful scenery of Hungary enraptures one you can’t help being caught up in the action. Visually the film is momentous and highly appealing. Indian actor Irrfan Khan impresses audiences as a…

The Last Song – Review
Fiction, Romance / December 19, 2016

This is a guest post by Fizzah Irfan “A story about family, first loves, second chances and the moments in life that lead you back home”. The quote which attracts every reader and one becomes excited to know the core of the story. After reading the quote I got spellbound and could not resist without reading it and it’s a worth reading novel. It is basically a well-structured and organised novel. All the events and incidents are described beautifully that a reader would simply say ‘wow’ after reading it. The story was about a girl name Veronica Miller whose parents got divorced due to some reason. She didn’t talk to her father for three years; she lost interest in making relationships because she always blamed her father for the situations she had faced in her life. She was so angry that she deserted the one thing that she and her father had a common share, playing a piano which was very emotional act in this novel, which might be considered as a spiritual bond between father and daughter. She became rebellion until she had to spend one summer with her father in North California.  From this point her life changed…

Kings or Pawns – Review
Epic Fantasy, Fiction / August 20, 2016

Kings or Pawns is the first novel in The Kings series by J.J. Sherwood. It is an epic fantasy novel that takes the reader to the same world created by Tolkien and spin it a different way. You have some of the same elements known for decades in the fantasy literature, most prominent of them all being the Elves … immortal, beautiful and wise. But that is where the similarities end. I found the title of the book slightly ironic as I read through the story. Napoleon Bonaparte had said “We are either kings or pawns of men”, and I saw the same shade within the story. From the start we are introduced to the conflict brewing in the Elvish lands where paths of the elves separate, leading to differences that cause wars. It is such a war where we are introduced to an Elvish commander, his trusted captain and a young Elvish king facing off against an army they have been fighting against for a long, long time. And this is where it gets ironic, because these Elves are not so different than humans. They are immortal, and they are beautiful, but there is a very significant human element…

Fire Boy – Review
Fantasy, Fiction, High Fantasy / June 5, 2016

There are times when you come across a work of fiction that is authentic to the core and a breath of fresh air. Sami Shah’s ‘Fire Boy’ is one such work which is not only a pleasant surprise but also grounded to the folklore of subcontinent. The novel belongs to High Fantasy category where it explores the life of a young man named Wahid who doesn’t know he is half Djinn. There have been works of fiction that tried to tackle the fabled Djinns of the Islamic belief system. Even Hollywood tried its hand with the movie ‘Jin’ with impressive graphics, but it failed to gain mainstream approval. Sami Shah dealt with various folklore elements, famous in this part of the world, expertly to really feel the moments of panic, wonder and even lust. Wahid, a person who is made of both clay and fire, is in search of Djinns when a powerful Djinn vanishes, taking away the soul of his love, Maheen. The story explores Karachi’s underbelly when Wahid is suggested he may find his answer from the King of Karachi. He also gets to see the inside life of Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s Mazaar and spends time at the…

Undying Affinity – Review
Fiction, Romance / October 12, 2015

First published in 2014, Undying Affinity by Sara Naveed is a romantic novel set in Lahore where it explores blossoming relationship between two souls at a university. The love, however, is not between two students but between a young professor and her student. Synopsis Twenty two year old, Zarish Munawwar, has everything in life she could ever ask for; an elite family, a high profile status, a bunch of good friends and a childhood sweetheart. Being childish, stubborn, imperious, extravagant and a bit impulsive at making important decisions pertaining to her life, is what perfectly describes her overall personality. She takes life easily and can get anything she desires. To her, life is a bed of roses. It is only when she meets, Ahmar Muraad, her mentor and finance professor at university, her perspective towards life completely changes. He looks quite young for his age as every girl at the university thinks he is attractive, seductive, intellectual and rather intimidating. This charming man is every girl’s fantasy and Zarish also finds it hard to resist him. But is he fascinated by her? Little did Zarish know how one little interaction could bring about so many twists and turns in her…

The Spinner’s Tale – Review
Action Thriller, Fiction / July 2, 2015

This review first appeared at Liberty Books. Synopsis Sheikh Ahmed Uzair Sufi is one of the most feared men in Pakistan, a top Jihadi militant, who believes in nothing save his own limitless scope for violence. But no one suspected this future back in 1994, when he was simple old Ausi and leaves school with his cricket mad best friend Eddy to start a new life. While Eddy goes to college in America, Ausi’s life takes dangerous and unexpected turns. The two friends stay in touch even as they pursue vastly different lives, their shared passion for cricket and nostalgia for their school days binding them together. Even as Ausi treads down a darker path, what will happen to their friendship? Omar Shahid Hamid, bestselling author of The Prisoner, takes us on another thrilling, sinister ride, stretching from Karachi to Kashmir to Afghanistan, in The Spinner’s Tale. There are accounts, treatise and memoirs that deal with reality, going deep into the psyche and culture of the people supplemented with facts and figures to prove a point. Then comes a fiction, essentially doing the same but hitting where it matters the most … the reader’s’ heart. The Spinner’s Tale, the second…

Before Time – Review
Fiction, Novella, Romance / May 17, 2015

First published in 2014 (Kindle), Before Time by Xunaira J. is the first book of a new series in tragic romance genre that explores relationship in the cyber world. Exploring mIRC chat software, Xunaira takes us through the lives of two people. Onaiza, a Islamabad-based girl preparing for medical school admission and Asher, a workaholic guy currently outside Pakistan. The book will soon be launched in Pakistan and currently undergoing printing. Synopsis Nineteen-year-old Onaiza Shahid is a loner and a dreamer, bookish and socially isolated. A chance ramble into a chatting software changes everything. The words of a stranger compel her. Addicted and falling fast, their secret love changes her life. But will the idealistic teenager get her happily ever after? The World of mIRC Most of the story takes place in mIRC where Onaiza and Asher chat anonymously. Most of the people they interact with, none know each others real names. The story starts with Onaiza encountering cyber harassment and banning the user, then chatting with the user Impassioned (Asher’s nickname) and having an intellectual discussion. The story moves on to Onaiza’s real life where we see her relation with her parents, siblings and her friends. Right after chatting with Asher she…

Last of the Tasburai – Review
Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction / April 6, 2015

First published in 2014, Last of the Tasburai by Rehan Khan is an epic fantasy novel that combines sword fighting and combat tactics of Samurai with the teachings of Sufi mystics. Tasburai, an order of warriors with near-holy purpose, have now become a tool of oppression under tyrannical regime of Avanist Republic. Synopsis Adan, an apprentice of the legendary Tasburai order, is training hard to become an elite warrior in the service of the Avanist Republic. He’s horrified to discover the Republic’s authoritarian leaders are reshaping the Tasburai as a tool of persecution. Innocent people are being imprisoned. He didn’t sign up for this. Feisty young thief Ylva robs the rich of the walled city of Kronnoburg. She’s helping her father Olaf, one time mercenary, redistribute wealth to the needy. But when she steals a Tasburai sword, her world turns upside down. Meanwhile, captain Rikard, a lowly commoner, discovers a secret plan by the Avanist Republic to overthrow Kronnoburg. Only nobody believes him, including Princess Elsta, its naïve ruler, who just wants to get married to her dashing prince. And finally, Tasburai grandmaster Suri-Yi, sword of the Avanist Republic, is trying to become … a better person, which is difficult,…

Broken Triad – Review
Epic Fantasy, Science Fiction / March 20, 2015

Published in 2013, Broken Triad – Storm of Assassins by Mohammed Qasim Mehdi is the latest epic fantasy/sci-fi crossover genre novel in contemporary English. It is probably the first such English novel from Pakistan that was written while the author was an undergraduate student at Lahore University of Management Sciences. Synopsis When Katash the black hooded assassin saves Aeli’s life, he decides to make the young boy his apprentice. Little does Aeli know that Katash is far more than just an assassin, he is a guardian. Aeli learns that guardians are warriors trained to exterminate vilest necromancers and demons of hell. As Aeli’s training starts he realizes that being a guardian is no easy task and much is expected of him. The fragile peace between the three nations of Peoples Republic, Autariates and Imperialists at last breaks, plunging the planet Altris in another wave of destructive war. Enveloped by this chaos and the struggle to protect the citizens of Peoples Republic, the Guardian Office is oblivious to the deadly plot of unleashing an ancient being that even demons fear. Together with his close friend Guli and other new recruits of Guardian College, Aeli’s path will collide with these forces. But…