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Boy of Fire and Earth

(Djinn-Son Duology #1)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  92 reviews

Born of a smokeless fire, and raised in Karachi, Wahid’s life comes apart when he loses the girl he loves to vengeful djinns. Setting out on a journey to recover her soul and find out the truth of his own origins, he is accompanied by Iblis, the Devil himself. Together, they traverse a city infested with corrupt cops and hustling beggars, and discover deathly creatures lur

Kindle Edition, 316 pages
Published June 29th 2017 by Pan Macmillan India (first published June 1st 2016)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
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Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 engagi
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
Anum S.
I think the most obvious complaint about this book is the ending. For a duology, it offers literally no closure in any of its numerous plot lines, 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 inter ...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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Rep: Pakistani characters, Muslim characters

Warnings: explicit violence, abuse, misogyny, possession, exorcism, rape mention, torture, slurs, gendered slurs, ableism, self-harm
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
Dibyajyoti Sarma
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Meet the djinns of Karachi

Could you ever imagine a full-blown fantasy novel set in the murky underbelly of modern-day Karachi? A fantasy novel rooted in Islamic concept of heaven and hell? A fantasy novel where the archetype of evil itself, Iblis (The Devil of The Bible) makes an appearance as a lovable rogue?

Perhaps not, especially in the context of today’s polarising attitude to the religion itself. This is one of the reasons what makes Sami Shah’s incredible Boy of Fire and Earth such a joy t
‘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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

So the description at the back of the book or on Goodreads is better than anything I could have written. But i will add to it by saying - its a fantasy book that is based out of contemporary Karachi seeped in local folklore and Islamic religion. The book is divided into 2 parts - Fire Boy and Earth Boy. That is how its published in Australia. When published in India - its been put together as 1 book.

I absolutely LOVED this book. An an avid reader in Pakistan, there is absolutely nothin
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’
I came across Sami Shah as he was a panelist on a show on tv about television shows and movies. And endeared himself to me as he argued passionately for scifi/fantasy/action hero movies/tv shows and loved every minute of them. You gotta love a passionate, articulate nerd. I then found out he was a comedian and author, particularly with a book out at the time titled The Islamic Republic of Australia and a fantasy YA series. I had to look him up.

So I did, and this is the first in the fantasy serie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Asmara Malik (TheDoctorReads)
My experience of Sami Shah is somewhat dated, but bear with me. One fine night while procrastinating over another study session or a chai-fuelled YouTube break, I chose YouTube and one funny video of Shah turned into a binge. Well, need I tell you how my clinical exam went the next day?

So, my expectations of Shah’s novel were much the same — something addictive and light: easy reading. My expectations were promptly turned on their head. While Boy of Fire and Earth is highly addictive and easy to
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
Shivam Kalra
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Incredibly glad to have found an author who is inspired by the hindostaani myths and Islaamiyat and make an amazing horror/adventure story out of it. Although I found the ending to be a bit rushed and abrupt - I felt Sami had cornered the characters somewhere even he couldn't bring the them out of other than forcing them - it is B absolutely eerie novel. There are several parts which chilled me. The prose flows smoothly and without any interruption.

I love that this novel is more than just someth
Linna H
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 :)
May 19, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
Sehar Moughal
Growing up, there were always stories about djinns and churails, residing in trees, following someone at night asking for help. We, siblings, huddled close to each other as we slept. We were shit scared. Many many years later, I realised it was a ploy to scare us so we never asked for our own rooms (there were six of us in a two bedroom apartment).
Until now, that is. Shah has brought back all those stories back for me. And made it really real. Last night, I woke up in a sweat thinking there was
Nashwa S
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
Paige Belfield
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jazz Singh
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Keith Jones
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful, majestic and bleakly dark

I love how wild and unkempt it is almost as if this was a first draft that never saw the backside of an editor. It is rough and raw and that fits the content, half young adult fantastic coming of age adventure and half unrelentingly grim horror story. Characters suffer and die while the bleak unjust cruelties of the world are on full display.
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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)

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