Hell! No Saints in Paradise (Harper Collins India) by A. K. Asif is a political satire. It tells the story of Ismael, a Pakistani American student who ventures into a spiritual journey (even though he is a non-believer) that takes him from New York to Pakistan (to his estranged father), and then his life just jumbles.
The opening line of the book is interesting:
'I met Petra on a Friday night in late October, 2050.'
I picked this book mainly because of really good reviews it has got. The blurb seemed intriguing and I thought it would be a different read, but for me, it turned out to be a difficult read. I'd tell you why –
First of all, the book cover. It’s so irritating. Doesn’t reflect anything about the story. It may sound odd, but book covers matter to me.
The story: It actually started off well. But then, after some pages it felt like ‘what’s going on!? And why?’ It doesn’t feel like it’s 2050 and it doesn’t feel like a satire. I was expecting some bizarre situations (As it’s 2050?) and witty dialogues. That’s missing. However, I liked some conversations between Ismael and Laila. For example –
‘What’s your name?’
‘You know what that means?’
‘Darkness,’ she replied.
‘Night,’ I corrected.
‘No, not at all.’
‘Night is not darkness.’ I longed to see her face.
‘Do you want to see my face?’ she asked softly, as if reading my mind.
This was interesting, and it made me know more about Laila and her connection with Ismael, but this character vanishes for a long time.
Also, there are several things and terms that I struggled to understand maybe because of the difference in the culture or something, but that was another difficult aspect of the book.
I didn’t get the purpose – basically, after some time, I didn’t really care about the story.
On a positive note, the writing is neat (Obviously, it’s from Harper Collins), but as a reader, for me, story, its execution and character development are also important, in fact more important.
But, as I said (or you can see on Goodreads), it has got some nice reviews, you can pick this book especially if you like to read satires and dystopian fiction.
I received this book from Writer's Melon for an honest review.