An unusual novel, this. The protagonist is a young Muslim boy facing a future he finds unattractive for many reasons. At first, I wondered if this book was meant for children, but that opinion was quickly squashed by the complex language and general tone of the story. The book is aimed, I imagine, at parents, teachers, and, perhaps, those leaders of Islamic groups who might benefit from the ideas it contains.
The character of the young lad is well drawn and it’s easy to form empathy with him. His rather distant father who begins as a man who shows little understanding of his son, and his devoted mother, caught between the needs of her lad and the demands of the father, slowly develop as characters as the story progresses. The other main character, an idiosyncratic and lonely old man with a kind heart and a fascination for moths and other wildlife, is another beautifully drawn player.
The story deals with bullying, isolation, prejudice, the grooming of terrorists, and the dangers of obsessive gaming, which is why it’s a very good read for concerned parents and teachers.
There were odd times when I was a little jarred by a passage of what almost amounted to preaching, but this happened only very rarely. For the most part, the story moves well and the reader is fully engaged.
Either the author has engaged in substantial research, or he has used imagination coupled with some personal experience to get into the head of Mo as well as to understand the methods used by groups wishing to subvert innocents to their cause.
This is an absorbing story; well told and full of events and discussions that provoke thought. Not an easy read, it has much of value to say on the injustice and ignorance that drives certain individuals to extreme action.
[Any review is a personal opinion. No reviewer can represent the view of anyone else. The best we can manage is an honest reaction to any given book.]