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…

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 na├»ve 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…