Wednesday 9 October 2013

#bookreview: Luka and the Fire of Life by @salmanrushdie

Luka and the Fire of LifeLuka and the Fire of Life by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't know... I enjoyed this novel, but somehow I don't feel like I liked it as much as I did Haroun And The Sea Of Stories. (Not that I reviewed Haroun... so I can't really compare at this point).

In Luka and the Fire of Life, Rashid Khalifa succumbs to a mysterious sleeping sickness after Luka, his second son, successfully curses Captain Aag, the terrible Grandmaster Flame of the Great Rings of Fire. Accompanied by Dog the bear, Bear the dog, Nobodaddy the frightening shadow that grows more solid as Rashid fades, and the Princess of Ott, Luka sets off on a quest to steal the Fire of Life in a bid to save Rashid from dying.

Luka reads like a fable, though the primary story is structured like a video game, and contains multiple references to current pop culture (Appearing and disappearing at various points on both banks was a dark blue British police telephone booth, out of which a perplexed-looking man holding a screwdriver would periodically emerge) as well as ancient mythology. I like the references, but maybe because it's been done too much before (Neil Gaiman's American Gods, anything Tom Holt) it wasn't very outstanding.

I liked it a lot in the beginning but began to cool off from the middle onwards. I don't usually get distracted in the middle of a really interesting book, but I was during this one. Maybe I should read it again.

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Okay so I couldn't stand the fact that I couldn't quite recall Haroun and the Sea of Stories, so I dug out the book to reread it.

Haroun and the Sea of StoriesHaroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Rashid Khalifa loses his ability to tell stories after his wife leaves him, his son sets out on a crazy, magical adventure to Gup City in Kahani to try to get the Walrus to restore Rashid's subscription of Story Water from the Great Story Sea. Flying to earth's invisible second moon with Iff the Water Genie on the back of Butt the Hoopoe, Haroun soon finds himself entangled in the problems of Gup City - Princess Batcheat has been kidnapped by Cultmaster Khattam-Shud, the evil leader of Chup, who is also masterminding the destruction of the Great Story Sea.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories is a delightful, entrancing read, full of magic. The words rattle off the page, as if from the mouth of a silver-tongued storyteller. It's storytelling at its best, whether you're a young child, still entranced by Magic, or merely young at heart. The story itself is absurdly fantastical which makes it even that much more enjoyable.

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Hrm. At this point of time, I still think Haroun and the Sea of Stories was a more interesting read. Maybe it's the format that he used, not so much the style (or a change in it) and the words, because in flipping through, I can see an almost similar writing style between the two. I'd say it's more of a personal preference between an outright fable/fairytale/fantastical magic story and an awkward mix of myth/parody/video game story.

Parody - that was the word I was looking for. I'm not quite into parody, and Luka and the Fire of Life had leanings towards that.

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