Boy of Fire and Earth
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...more
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 ...more
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 ...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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
Warnings: explicit violence, abuse, misogyny, possession, exorcism, rape mention, torture, slurs, gendered slurs, ableism, self-harm
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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’ ...more
So I did, and this is the first in the fantasy serie ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I love that this novel is more than just someth ...more
Don't read the blurb it spoils a lot just go in blind :)
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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.
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 ...more