Publisher: Hachette India
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Who has not thought of being a super-hero! Everybody has one or the other time given wings to the dream that a Jinnie would appear out of a lamp and grant you three wishes. Few would want invisibility, few would want mind-control, some would ask for money, and there would be a few requests which cannot be disclosed at this family space. Superheroes have been entertaining us for a long time now, and hopefully they would continue do so. Samit Basu also seems to be a superhero fanatic, and one can see the result in the form of the book Turbulence.
Turbulence is book about a group of people who gain superpowers over the course of a flight. And then they start disappearing one-by-one. Amar Sen, one of the superheroes with the power to get inside any network, creates a team of superheroes who aim to change the world once they have escaped whoever is hunting them. Few of the people who got these super powers morph into super-villains, and then there is an unknown person with power to control the mob and is a loose entity – neither joining the superheroes nor the super-villains. Some of the superpowers are the standard ones – invisibility, teleportation, super-strength, ability to fly; while a few of them are quite different – ability to get inside any network, have unlimited charm, work while sleeping, and my favourite – the superpower of Tia, an ability to make unlimited copies of yourself so that you can experience everything.
The book has an absolute rocking premise. There are many characters in the book, but the few major characters have been developed very well. What I especially loved about the characters was that almost everybody had shades of grey, that made the characters much more realistic. Flow of the book is flawless, you never need to turn a page back to find out what happened earlier. The story drags a bit in 1-2 chapters, and there are a few conversations that seem repeated in later chapters – but they are far apart. And this book is very difficult to put down, the story is too interesting to not know how it proceeds ahead.
I have been a fan of Samit Basu’s writing ever since reading the Gameworld Trilogy and Terror on the Titanic, and hence I had very high expectations of this book. I was hoping for that same combination of dark humour with generous doses of fantasy. While fantasy was present in abundance, I missed the dark humour in the book, but then that is just fan speak. That did not take away anything from this excellent book. This was one such book which I wanted to pick up as soon as I had read the blurb.
Verdict: This is a must read. Wish there is a sequel.