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Fire Boy

(Djinn-Son Duology #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  182 ratings  ·  67 reviews
From Sami Shah comes Fire Boy, the first of a two-part urban fantasy set in modern-day Pakistan, where djinns roam the street alongside corrupt cops, hustling beggars, and creatures from the darkest corners of Islamic mythology.

Growing up in Karachi isn't easy. Wahid has a lot on his mind: the girl he likes, mostly, but also choosing a good university and finding time to p
ebook, 256 pages
Published June 1st 2016 by Fantastica
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Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Believe it or not, I think this is a very solid beginning.

The novel is an easy and engaging read, with plenty of fascinating crossover cultural bits between Pakistan and nerdy western practices, *(Thank you for the crossover between Moorcock's Elric and D&D, I think that was pretty well Awesome and A Half,)* and a delightful exploration of the Djinn World and Its History. I got sucked right into Wahid as a character, his friends, and the situation that he has found himself. The writing is en
K.J. Charles
I heard of this on Twitter: a fantasy set in Pakistan and inspired by its mythology and culture, own voices author. I am bored to tears with a lot of current fantasy and the endless parade of straight white men grimdarking their way through vaguely Europe-with-dragons analogues. So I grabbed it.

And it is mostly fantastic. It’s violent, really scary. (I feared it might be YA because of the 18yo hero, but no. It’s brutal.) Super vivid and fluent writing, wildly imaginative, fantastic use of the se
Aimal (Bookshelves & Paperbacks)
Rehman and his wife, Mumtaz, live a simple, routine life in the Pakistani city of Karachi. They have no children of their own, but their quiet days are lived with a steady pattern of work, morning walks and cooking. But when Rehman goes for one of his walks one morning, strange things start to happen; one thing leads to another and one night, Rehman is visited by a djinn who leaves with Rehman a child, named “Wahid.” Fire Boy picks up seventeen years later; Wahid is a lanky teenager with breathi ...more

When you are a Pakistani kid you are bound to hear really horrifying ghost stories growing up-it's a rite of passage.

As someone who was born in Karachi and still lives there - I grew up hearing stories of "pichal pairi" (a witch with beautiful hair and drop dead gorgeous looks but really hairy legs and twisted feet-who would entice men on abandoned roads/dead alleys and eat their hearts/liver.)
and the usual folk tales about Djinns , "adam-khor deo" ( ogres that eat humans), and the mermaids of t
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Most people think djinns live in lamps and grant wishes while dressed in turbans. Nothing further from the truth. Djinns are terrifying, capricious and proud creatures. Made of fire, they're stronger, faster and deadlier than any human. When you meet one, don't ask him for a favour. Be polite and careful not to offend him. Who knows, maybe you'll survive?

Shah's Fire Boy and Earth Boy duology (in some regions published as a single volume called Boy of Fire and Earth) blew my mind. I loved this bo
Mar 14, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
I first heard of Fire Boy from Midnight in Karachi's Mahvesh Murad, and I was instantly intrigued by the idea of a djinn-infused urban fantasy set in Karachi. The description of the book sounded pretty fun, and the publisher was happy to provide me with a non-final version to review. The book wasn't quite what I expected, though.

Fire Boy starts off strongly enough, with a very creepy djinn encounter and then, uh, vigorous djinn-induced masturbation that appears to result in the birth of our hero
Anum Shaharyar
I think the most obvious complaint about this book is the ending. For a duology, it offers literally no closure in any of the plots, leaving everything not open-ended, but rather just… drifting. The ending doesn’t even have the decency of a cliff hanger, and sort of just hangs there. It’s as if Sami Shah wrote a whole novel, then flipped it open roughly in the middle and decided to turn it into a duology (which, it turns out, is actually what happened, since according to
this interview
it was in
Rep: Pakistani characters, Muslim characters

Warnings: explicit violence, abuse, misogyny, possession, exorcism, rape mention, torture, slurs, gendered slurs, ableism, self-harm
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
it's been a while since I've read something so immensely creepy, intense, and suspenseful. This book transports you onto the streets of Karachi and probes into the darkest parts of the city's landscape. o.o
Aug 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
A well written urban fantasy based around Islamic mythology (Djinns). I just found the plot a little too slow for me. More a not for me type novel than a bad novel.
‘Fire Boy’ is a dark, sinister and utterly terrifying urban fantasy/horror story set against a backdrop of modern day Pakistan. This novel will undoubtedly appeal to anyone who loves stories about superstition and the supernatural, and with its grounding in Islamic and South Asian mythology it is an undeniably engaging, brutally violent, fast-paced and intense read. There is something wildly imaginative about this book and it is refreshingly diverse: featuring a delightfully nerdy, introverted a ...more
Wasio Abbasi
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review was first published at Digital Saeen.

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
Anna Scott
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's definitely the best fantasy novel I've read in more than a year.

I loved all the weird characters Shah introduces us to as he dives deeper into the world - the King of Karachi is a definite highlight, I can't wait to get more of Iblis and Kamran is a menace begging for his own Stephen King novella.

The whole story reads as a more-grounded Neil Gaiman playing with Islamic mythology rather than European mythology. Shah manages to balance dreamy digressions with
Published in The Friday Times on September 22 2017

When Wahid, the titular protagonist of Sami Shah’s rollicking horror-fantasy novel Boy of Fire and Earth, complains that the fantastical creatures he is encountering are not of the dragons, orcs and wizards variety, of which he is intimately familiar because of his love for Western fantasy novels and the Dungeons and Dragons game he plays with his friends, Iblis – the Devil himself, who happens to be Wahid’
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was able to see Sami Shah at a talk about the supernatural in different cultures last year in Melbourne, and I've been wanting to read Fire Boy since the event. It was a good start to the short series, and I'm looking forward to Earth Boy.
If you've never read a single thing about djinns or chudails or other worldly creatures from Muslim culture, this book is an excellent place to start. If you do know what they are, you're still going to enjoy this story.
If you hate cliffhangers, hold off unt
Avery (Book Deviant)
May 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4star
See more of my reviews on my blog the Book Deviant

Fire Boy would have been an amazing book if the publisher hadn't ruined it with the official summary. When you decide to pick up this book, avoid any provided summary if it goes further than the car crash. I ended up waiting the entire book for the events of the summary to happen, only to realize that the publisher provided summary literally summarizes the whole book, rather than just what a reader needs to know in order to get into the novel.

Fire Boy is the story of a teenager in Karachi, Pakistan named Wahlid who is attacked by Djinn while driving his friends home from a party. The Djinn cause his car to crash, killing his best friend and putting the girl he has a crush on in a coma. In order to save the girl, Wahlid must solve the mystery of why the Djinn attacked him, find them, and retrieve the piece of the girl's soul that was stolen. The story was filled with Islamic mythology that was both familiar and new to me. The author d ...more
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmm. What was the last urban fantasy you read set in Karachi?

So, yeah, that's cool. Djinn and stuff. The writing style is a little old fashion maybe, I liked it though, a nice change of pace.

Why am I not rating it higher though...

- It's only the first half of the story, it ends abruptly, basically just after they step through the portal to travel to Kaf.

- It starts very slowly, despite being a fairly short, and quick read. In fact, and this is probably a sign, this is one of those books that
Alan Baxter
Really enjoyed this book, a pleasant departure from the usual urban fantasy we read in the west. The setting of Karachi and the basis of all the mythology in Islam, and djinns in particular, is brilliantly realised. My only complaint is that it's book one of a duology and, while that's not an issue in itself, it just ends. No resolution, no cliffhanger, it just stops halfway through the story. It's concluded in Earth Boy, which is out now, but I really don't understand why it isn't one book. Fir ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I initially thought that this book had two separate parts but then I realised I have the edition with both the books in it! So excited that I didn't have to wait!

This was an amazing read! I was reluctant to start it because how would a fantasy novel be if it was written by a Pakistani author and the answer is that it exceeded expectations!

The story is based on the supernatural as it is viewed in Islam with the concept of djinns, combined with urban legends we talk about it in Pakistan. It was r
Jazz Singh
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Imaginative, amusing and at times over the top, Sami Shah's Boy of Fire and Earth takes inspiration from the holy book and weaves a fairly credible fantasy world peopled by djinns, half people, the devil and such. Half-djinn, Wahid, sets out to bring back the stolen soul of his friend, who is in a coma and encounters many perils on the way as he goes to hell and back.
Paige Belfield
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just... wow. I honestly loved this book so dang much. It is pretty graphic in some scenes so it wouldn't be for everyone, but I found it to be incredible.
Fire Boy is a brilliant change of pace from the standard urban fantasy. Non-Western fantasy/horror, engaging style, and a compelling cast of characters. It's everything I could have hoped for. It is a fantastic piece of work and I'm so keen to get my hands on the sequel to devour that too.
Linna H
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Such an easy and addicting read!! The book was very well structured with an amazingly immersive world and just the right amount of weird, cool and wacky to make me fall for this book.

Don't read the blurb it spoils a lot just go in blind :)
Read3r’z Re-Vu
Oct 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a really engaging and fantastic read!!! Yes this is urban fantasy – yes the story is a work of fiction – however, it accurately references Islamic beliefs and terms throughout the story which worked really well with the plot and it intrigued a lot of my non-Muslim friends into asking more questions about Islam and wanting to learn more, it bridged some gaps from a different angle.

This epic Urban Fantasy follows the story of Wahid whose birth and ability to see jinn (creatures made of sm
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
TW: graphic violence, graphic description of car accidents, rape mention.

This book was thrilling, creeping and so intriguing. Listen i read this during the day i wasn't playing! But i enjoying this story about djinns and the boy who can hurt them. The story unfolded in a way that left me wanting to know what TF was going to happen next. But oh so creepyyyyyyy and gruesome! There's no skimping on the violence here. So heed the trigger warnings.

There's a particularly gruesome scene with a dude de
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A wonderfully engaging urban fantasy set in Pakistan. Filled with mythology concerning Djinns but set very much in modern day, Fire Boy was a fabulous change from a western culture setting. Wahid, our young hero, has a hard enough time coping with everyday life, trying to find the courage to ask the girl he fancies out, choosing the right University, and the fact that he has been able to see djinns since he was little. When he is attacked by such creatures Wahid now finds himself on a mission of ...more
Kaleido Books
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this glimpse into another culture through the lens of urban fantasy.

Despite the predominant Islamic themes, there's a lot of shared pop culture references that make it an easy world to slip into.

The major plot points are fun to discover, so I won't mention them here - but the writing is crisp, incisive and when it comes to the horror elements, surgically skin peeling.

I've heard that some people are infuriated by the ending, but as part of a duology, I think the balance between
Apr 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
I cannot think of a better way to learn about culture and religion than reading it (for me anyway).
This boom was filled to the brim with amazing new things for me to learn about. The best thing was that the book was filled to the brim with topics that are often considered too much for young adults, but Shah wasn't trying to protect anyone with this book.
I can't speak highly enough for authors who aren't afraid to write!
Michael Earp
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Exciting, well paced and visceral. This book knows how to take ancient folklore and use it to grab your spine and make you pay attention. Fantasy that is foreign, fresh, and entirely engrossing. Filled with djinns (and some humans) that absolutely creeped me out. Highly recommended!
Zoha Ahsan
Okay, where to start? One this review is not spoiler-free. Two, I decided to purchase this book on a whim and boy, do I absolutely consider it money-well-spent. My go to fantasy novels are usually variations of different Game-Of-Thrones- like settings yet, the mythology, one derived from Islamic interpretations and legends and myths surrounding Karachi, instantly sucked me in.

Karachi feels like the Karachi of my childhood. The constant-yet-mundane way terrorist attacks are shown and discussed in
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Play Book Tag: Fire Boy - Sami Shah (4 stars) 1 11 Feb 27, 2018 10:54AM  
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Pakistani Comedian and writer Sami Shah has been profiled in the New York Times and ABC's The Australian Story.

His autobiography, "I, MIGRANT" has been nominated for the NSW Premier's Literary Award WA Premier's Literary Award, and the Russell Prize for Humour Writing.

His first novel "FIRE BOY" was released in June 2016, with the sequel due in early 2017.

Sami writes columns for, Fairfax Media, the

Other books in the series

Djinn-Son Duology (2 books)
  • Earth Boy (Djinn-Son Duology, #2)