Book review

Turbulence and Resistance by Samit Basu, Double Book Review

Fantasy is the genre of today’s book’s review. I decided to combine the reviews of both the books into one post; seeing how Turbulence is Book 1 & Resistance it’s sequel. Fantasy is a genre I haven’t read before. The blurb sounded pretty cool so I just requested the review copies [from the super cool Penguin India] in good faith. The stories are primarily set in India with Indian characters, so I had a better chance of getting a grip on the story while trying out a new to me genre. On to the reviews.

 

Turbulence and Resistance

 

Book 1: 

Title: Turbulence

Author: Samit Basu

Publisher: Penguin India

Published: March 2016 [India publication]

Format reviewed: Paperback

Rating: 3.5/5

Story:

Young Aman Sen has turned into a communications demigod, able to control all networks, after a strange flight from London to Delhi. Other passengers also now possess extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires, some wonderful, some worrying – and Aman and his collective must now help save the world. Will they succeed or will it all end, as 80 years of superhero fiction suggest, in a meaningless, explosive slugfest?

My thoughts:

OK, this is the first fantasy novel I have ever read – willingly, paid attention and got a hang of what the story is all about. When I requested the review copies of these two titles I was under the impression these were graphic novels. Also, trying out the fantasy genre set in an Indian backdrop with Desi characters was too convincing to not try.

My initial thoughts as the story unraveled – ridiculous, comical, a bad Bollywood futuristic action ploy, oh maybe it can work, Like! can anyone even imagine all of this? The plot is of a few hundred passengers traveling on British Airways from London to India. Something goes awry on the flight and passengers on board finds themselves capable of doing things they always dreamed of; some found themselves singers, some could control the internet, one could fly and such. What happens next is – super powers fight among themselves and the fittest survive. They come out of hiding and have their very first epic face off, result of which is some of them emerge superiors and take control over the others. That’s the end of Book 1.

The reason I could complete reading these 2 books was because of the desi characters. There were many instances where I found myself laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the situations the super powered characters found themselves in. Only someone with a steady diet of comics, super heroes and a bizarre imagination can come up with such a plot. There were no doubt some silly situations and let’s say cartoon moments but the thing with fantasy stories is – they compel you to guess and for a moment imagine how it would be if what you are reading were to happen actually. For that reason I enjoyed Turbulence and glad I had book 2, the sequel Resistance on hand to find out what happens next.

Book 2: Resistance

Author: Samit Basu

Publisher: Penguin India

Published: March 2016 [India publication]

Format reviewed: Paperback

Rating: 3.5/5

Story:

In 2020, eleven years after the passengers of flight BA142 from London to Delhi developed extraordinary abilities corresponding to their innermost desires, the world is overrun with supers. Some use their powers for good, others for evil and some just want to pulverize iconic monuments and star in their own reality show. But now, from New York to Tokyo, someone is hunting down supers, killing heroes and villains both and it’s up to the Unit to stop them. This sequel to Turbulence brings all of its suspenseful elements to bear upon the present day.

My thoughts:

Book 2 is 11 years after the first incident of humans getting super powers as per their dreams and deepest aspirations. Book 1 ends at the 1st face off between the super powered humans, in which the internet troll Aman Sen and Vir walk away, Uzma becomes the leader and makes the super villain Jai her personal slave and bodyguard. If the first group of humans with super powers wasn’t over the top now there are more humans turned super powered humans running wild in the world. The face of the world has changed and Northern India is a big deserted wilderness which is a personal playground of super heroes and super villains. The initial super heroes, who decided to walk away, disappear or hideaway make a comeback. In the present the super powered are being hunted once again and killed by other supers, the corporate who wants to control them or the ones who want to re establish mankind and humans to its original status. It is crazy – fights, bloodshed, robots, dizzying technology and all kinds of futuristic bizarreness.

Under all the fantasy and talk of super powered humans being all about evolution, I still found them having the same emotions like the normal humans. Like normal humans even the supers are fighting among themselves for establishing who is better and right and moral. There’s super heroes and super villains, there’s supers who want to make the world a better place and there are super villains who want to control the world. What’s new? How is it evolution when except human’s having super powers and fancy toys and ways to modify the human DNA and genetics? It’s more like seeing the results of years and years of research which had to conclude and show some results. It’s a good thing that we haven’t yet witnessed or are aware of human beings dreaming about something above normal and being granted those things as their super powers. It would be a weird and unbearable world if we were to acquire super powers and the world resembling the plot of a comic book.

Overall, it was comic read for me, the bizarreness and idea of the situations in the story had me either laughing or sigh with frustration. Hats off to the writer’s imagination, he must have read an unbelievable amount of super hero themed comics.

There is 100% possibility that you may find this review and my thoughts a bit weird and comical even. If you enjoy reading the Fantasy genre you should definitely read these 2 stories with its lead character and set up based in India.

Book Buy Links:

Amazon India: Turbulence | Resistance

This is what some other readers have to say about Turbulence.

“The characters are brilliantly written… With a globe-trotting sensibility even James Bond would be proud of, the cinematic action sequences are as breath-taking as anything Hollywood has to offer, so the campaign for a big-screen version, or failing that, at least a sequel to the book begins here!” – IGN

“It is somewhat self-referential, inventive and very clever. But most of all, it is fun. If you have ever picked up a comic book and enjoyed it, then this is a must-buy.” – Starburst

“Solid writing, great character development, humor, personal loss, and excellent points to ponder in every chapter.” – Wired’s Geek Dad

“Turbulence delivers exactly what it intends: an entertaining, well-written read. In the genre’s history it will be seen as an important work, a reflection of the subcontinent’s growing self-confidence. Indians have had the pleasure of enjoying his work for about a decade now, and it is wonderful that Titan Books has decided to make it available outside the subcontinent.” – SF World Review

“The action is fast and full of iconic fight scenes that feel straight out of a comic book…The humour and cultural references are fun and spot on.” –Geek Syndicate

About the Author

Samit Basu writes books, films and comics and divides his time between Delhi and Mumbai. India’s most beloved writer in the genre of fantasy published his bestselling Game world Trilogy – The Simoqin Prophecies, The Manticore’s Secret and The Unwaba Revelations – in his twenties. Turbulence and its sequel, Resistance, was published in the UK/US to wide fanfare. Basu also writes for younger readers, in series like Morningstar Agency and Adventures of Stoob. His comics range in genre from historical romance to zombie comedy and include diverse collaborators – from X-Men/Felix Castor writer Mike Carey to Terry Gilliam and Duran.

Connect with the author:

Twitter

Reviewed by Bharti

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