Monday, July 1, 2013
Book Review: Turbulence by Samit Basu
I've only read a handful of novels that involve superheroes in their typical comic booky form. While both Now I Shall Be Invincible and After the Golden Age were good, they both missed that sense of wonder and excitement that you get from seeing the fights illustrated on a page or watching a villain lay waste to a city as an artist intended. Samit Basu, who comes from a comics background as well as a history of writing for both adults and children, gives an entry regarding superheroes in India published by Titan Books this week, and not only should it be the frontrunner in terms of superhero prose going forward, but it might just be a dark horse candidate for genre novel of the year.
The story is fairly straightforward in that a group of people from India find that they have super powers that correlate with their internal wants and desires. The group were all on a plane together and received the powers at the same time, which invariably leaders to general split amongst the group occurring - some working on the side of good, other evil. What happens becomes part-season-one-Heroes, part-X-Men, and all awesome as the book chugs along with some wild battles, chases, and a truly epic climax.
Beyond that, the book is fun. I tore through this in one sitting over a long morning of sitting around, and I tore through it because I really didn't want to put it down. There's a great origin story, exciting battles, and some awesome characters, including the Big Bad guy Jai, Superman-type Vir, and one girl who comes across as a bit of a Manga superstar. The book takes place in India, so you have an unconventional setting for the genre (at least by Western standards) as well as a peek into (for me) an unfamiliar culture, thus toying with the general tropes surrounding how society reacts to superhumans. It's a real blast.
Basu has written a few books for kids, and it definitely shows with the tight plotting. The love for superheroes and comics shines through as well, as not a line is wasted among the 350-ish pages of the book. I can't think of a negative thing to say about it on a whole - the cover says that we'll be clamoring for a sequel, and never has a random book blurb ever been so right. The next book can't come quick enough, and I think this is one I'll be forcing on friends and loved ones for some time to come.
As always, you can grab this book direct from Titan or from your book procurement retailer of choice.