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Shadow on the Wall (The SandStorm Chronicles, #1) Paperback – May 1, 2012
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I received a copy of Pavarti K Tyler's new book entitled "Shadow on the Wall" to review. What I will say to you is this. Buy it. Read it. It was wonderful. Not only was it a page turner that I read in one sitting (something I have not done in a few years), the story lines were well constructed and the dots all amazingly connected. --Naif Al-Mutawa of the99.org
Pavarti K Tyler s Shadow on the Wall, her first book in The SandStorm Chronicles, is a delicious read even as it exposes themes that are difficult to grapple with. Her beautiful and vivid prose places us in a world where we forget ourselves and fall into her characters we love them, we hate them, we understand them, and we are mystified by them. Even as Shadow transports us, once we step back into ourselves we are left thinking about her real-world depictions of religious motivations, corruption, fear, tenacity, and hope. --Jessica Swift Eldridge, editor, publishing consultant, founder of Swift Ink Editorial Services
From the moment I read the first sentence, I could not stop until I finished reading. As an Arab Muslim, I found it refreshing, to finally have someone sharing my cultural background to not be a "terrorist", but be an actual "hero". The imperfections of his character are what made him believable to me. We are not perfect, no one is, but he took his imperfections & became a hero for the people, instead of a suicide bomber. If anything, I see him as a metaphor for redemption, I am extremely excited to follow these Chronicles. I have always used to say that Batman was my favorite superhero, I have no doubt from this point on, my #1 answer will be "The SandStorm". --Mosno Al-Moseeki
About the Author
Pavarti K Tyler is an artist, wife, mother and number cruncher. She graduated Smith College in 1999 with a degree in Theatre. After graduation, she moved to New York, where she worked as a Dramaturge, Assistant Director and Production Manager on productions both on and off Broadway.
Later, Pavarti went to work in the finance industry as a freelance accountant for several international law firms. She now operates her own accounting firm in the Washington DC area, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and two terrible dogs. When not preparing taxes, she is busy penning her next novel.
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The story opens with Recai having been dumped and left to die in the desert after a night of illicit drinking in Elih. He meets with two main characters when they save his life and within a few pages, we’re treated to the first experience of the brutality and anti-woman bias of the RTK’s officers.
This novel, it seems to me, is a vehicle through which the author wishes to expose the hypocrisy of those using Sharia Law to further their own means. At its core is the attitude of these so-called Muslims toward women. The officers of the RTK, or at least the ones the story focuses on, use rape to subjugate women. There is a lot of rape in this story. Once a young woman has been raped, the author shows how she is then shunned by those closest to her who consider her spoiled goods, bringing shame on the family. This was an unpleasant education for me. I’ve read of atrocities committed against Muslim woman, but the author brought this home in a visceral manner.
Sadly, for this reader, the story, and in particular the main character, didn’t ring true. Because the tale wasn’t strong enough to carry the message, I found it difficult to suspend disbelief. For example, this young man, Recai, inherits a multi-billion dollar enterprise, receives the finest education, and yet is clueless about what the business does. When four billion dollars are found to be missing, he asks the company accountant to see if he can find the money—seriously? Four billion dollars isn’t the kind of money you hide under the mattress, and why ask the accountant who’s been working at the company while this money disappeared and apparently had no idea it was missing?
Characters find each other with suspicious ease. A list of missing and or raped women’s names is given, but no action is taken. Recai is supposed to be searching for himself, but never finds a purpose, he just seems to wander and waffle. Toward the end of the story, an element of magical realism (Allah’s intervention) is introduced, but insufficiently explained.
The story felt like a rudderless ship to me. I believe it is to be the first in a series. Perhaps Recai will be better defined in subsequent stories, but I needed to understand him in this saga to make me want to move on to the next episode.
In summary: The writing was clean and tight with very few typos. The opening scene is well drawn. The underlying message about women’s rights and mistreatment in the Muslim world comes over loud and clear, but the vehicle (story) was too weak to get me engaged.
This is not just a superhero story, this is not just about the plight of the Muslim women, this is not just about ... well it is about a lot of things! Ms. Tyler has not pulled any punches - misogamy, religion, greed, corruption, abuse, and right off the bat - rape. As a rape survivor so many times when I read a rape scene it is handled without care, full of gratuitous violence, and most of the time times sloppy. This did not even trigger me except for moving right to feeling righteous and wanting to get up and fight!
Where is the superhero you say? Recai Osman, son of a billionaire in Elih, Turkey. After attempting to help someone, he finds himself beaten and left for dead in the desert with the city no where in sight. Taken in and cared for by an elderly Jewish man with the help of his daughter. After recovering, resting and some true enlightenment (you have to have a superhero mentor)Recai is back in the city, though still recovering when he has a run in with a corrupt organization which changes everything and dark local hero was born... THE SANDSTORM! I giggled a bit but it was so well done I just could not help myself but ohh and ahh a lot. The action did not stop here.
Villians? Other than the organization RTK and those involved, there is Dayar. We love to hate her and we love her just a little... and have a tiny bit of empathy because of being a woman in Turkey. She believes she can lead in a world of men in a culture that is not ready for it. I was enamored with her and I applaud Tyler for presenting such a bleak world faced with such heroics by Dayar and the rest of the characters. Dayar is someone to watch, at the end of the book what she is left with, what she coveted has been stripped away. Where will be find her and Racai next?
I loved the book, I only have a few issues. ONE, it was TO DANG SHORT! TWO as I write my review (which I swear I had written back in December) I realize I am still waiting for more, book two needs to be written soon. To say this talented transgressive author has shown herself to be versatile is an understatement (see the rest of her offerings). What I love most about this author and her stories is she does not hold back, she has no problems writing "bungee jumping" tales... she takes risks and each time she does, they blaze a trail, as this one does, with talented and the brightest of lights.
This is not for everyone, there may be a it to much in your face realities but I still would recommend it to anyone who wants something out of the norm from an author not afraid to take chances. OH! AND it has a fantastic Q&A with Pavarti and book club ?'s to boot?!!
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<b>Content Warning :</b> Rape (Explicit, In Scene, Multiple), Abuse, Bigotry,
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I read Shadow on the Wall by Pavarti K. Tyler few months ago, but it took me some time to finally write the review.Read more