02 January, 2017

#BookReview :: A Sister to Honor by Lucy Ferriss

Afia Satar is studious, modest, and devout. The young daughter of a landholding family in northern Pakistan, Afia has enrolled in an American college with the dream of returning to her country as a doctor. But when a photo surfaces online of Afia holding hands with an American boy, she is suddenly no longer safe even from the family that cherishes her.An ambitious athlete, Shahid Satar has been entrusted by his family to watch over Afia in this strange New England landscape. Having convinced their parents to allow his sister to come to the U.S., Shahid wants only to focus, right now, on the win over Harvard that could clinch a job for him in the United States. He never imagined he'd be ordered, instead, to cleanse family honour with his sister's blood.

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When this book came up on Fingerprint Publishing’s review copy list, it caught my attention immediately. Honor Killings still happen around here in the Indian Subcontinent and I really wanted an insight as to the whole concept. For me it is difficult to understand really what honor could there be in killing your own children or siblings; and how killing someone could restore the honor of the family. However, once the book arrived it took me sometime to pick it up because on one hand I was sure that this wouldn’t be an easy book to read and on the other hand I wasn’t sure if all the POVs would be included in the book. 

Shahid Satar is a star athlete who has come to America for college and with the dream to follow his passion. Once there, he manages to convince his family to send Afia, his sister, for her medical studies as well. As the brother and sister duo settle into their lives in America, little do they know that a small photo in the internet labyrinth could change their lives forever. Calls of honor echo through as Shahid is expected to uphold it by killing his sister for holding hands with an American man.

The author doesn’t waste any time at all as the story starts and the readers fell invested right from the first chapter. The story is narrated from alternating perspectives of a number of characters. As a result the readers have firsthand knowledge of what is going on at both ends and they have the complete picture. It turned out to be as hard a read as I had expected. There were moments when I wanted to scream at certain characters, shake some sense into some others and then there were moments that just left me speechless. The best part of the book is probably the way the author has balanced it. There is no one point in the book where it feels like she is taking a side or that she is trying to say that one party is wrong. She masterfully narrates the story of a family and the people whose lives they touch showing us how each life is affected amidst something like this.

Rich in culture, settings, language and characters, this book is a gem. I would recommend this book to anyone who is ready to take on the book with an open mind and a willingness to really try and understand all the different perspective. 

Review Copy received from Fingerprint Publishing

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