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review 2018-11-06 20:08
The Bloodprint, Khorasan Archives #1 by Ausma Zehanet Khan
The Bloodprint - Ausma Zehanat Khan

Here's another fantasy I wanted to love, but it fell flat.

 

'The Bloodprint' launches the reader into a world torn apart by conflicting ideologies. The forces of The Talisman, led by a mysterious entity known as the One-Eyed Preacher, conquer more lands every year, subjugating women and selling them as slaves, and burning libraries and banning scholarly pursuits. Few seem able to stand against them, but an order of women known as the Companions of Hira may have a chance against Talisman forces.

 

We meet Arian and her friend/apprentice Sinnia in the opening pages breaking up a slave chain. Arian is First Oralist of the Companions and a master of the Claim. The Claim is magic derived from memorized lines passed down from a sacred text unseen for centuries. Its words offer comfort and power to their wielders. Arian has lost her family to the Talisman and fears she can trust only a few, even other members of her order are suspect. Thankfully it seems she is super bad-ass and powerful and can do just about anything she wants, until she can't. Khan shows us Arian at the height of her strength and early on has her accomplish a nigh-impossible task and collects an artifact of Extreme Importance. We know this because we are told so.

 

I wanted to like this more, but on the whole I couldn't get into the deeper mysteries or lore of this fantasy universe because Khan started us at the top. She may have wanted to skip the cliché of the humble beginning and get to the good stuff, but Arian ends up becoming more of a Mary-Sue than a strong woman of fantasy. We see little peaks of her training, but its too little, too late.

 

Supporting characters and subplots, Sinnia especially, seemed underdeveloped and I would have liked to have spent more time with her as something other than Second Prettiest Girl in the Room.

 

I don't know, Khan is on to something here, and I like the trend in genre fiction this diverse, female-centric title represents, but the execution fell short of where it needed to be.

 

Khorasan Archive

 

Next: 'The Black Khan'

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review 2016-10-07 02:32
The Unquiet Dead, by Ausma Zehanet Khan
The Unquiet Dead (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels) - Ausma Zehanat Khan

Esa Khattak and Rachel Getty are two Toronto police officers who have the unenviable job of working “sensitive” cases involving Canada’s immigrant community. Not only do they have to solve mysteries and see justice done, they have the added pressure of keeping a lid on things so that they don’t become a media nightmare for the government. The Unquiet Dead, by Ausma Zehanet Khan, is the first book in a planned series featuring the two characters. If the mystery at the center of this book is anything to judge by, Khattak and Getty deserve a raise. As The Unquiet Dead opens, it’s not clear that there is a crime to solve. A rich man appears to have died after an accidental fall. Khattak and Getty don’t know why they’ve been called in exactly, until evidence surfaces that the rich man might have been a Serbian war criminal...

 

Read the rest of my review at A Bookish Type.

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review 2016-02-02 16:13
The Language of Secrets
The Language of Secrets (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels) - Ausma Zehanat Khan
ISBN:  9781250055125
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  2/2/2016
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5 Stars 
 
A special thank you to St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Talented author, Ausma Zehanat Khan returns following her debut, The Unquiet Dead, (an emotional, and haunting mystery of horrific crimes committed against Muslims in Bosnia--based on Srebrenica massacre of 1995). She heats up the intensity with a new murder-mystery thriller, featuring Canadian dynamic duo (Rachel Getty & Esa Khattak #2) caught up into a complex world, where loyalties are tested.

THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS —another enthralling well researched political mystery thriller--of controversy, terrorism, religion, social issues, violence, culture, suspicion, and humanity; infused with history, poetry, and the classics. (Inspired by true, Canadian Toronto 18).

Toronto-based Muslim detective,Esa Khattak heads up Canada's Community Policing Section, which handles minority-sensitive cases across all levels of law enforcement. Khattak is tested, torn divided by his devotion to his Muslim faith and community and his role as a police detective. He is constantly being scrutinized, suspected of being a traitor by both his Muslim community and by the police force.

He was assigned to investigate the murder of Moshin, by INSET, Canada's federal intelligence agency. After investigating a local terrorist cell, planning an attack on New Year's Day, their informant, Moshin now has been murdered. They cannot risk exposing the operation; however, Khattak is divided, since this was his friend.

His partner, hockey-loving Detective Rachel Getty, goes undercover in the mosque, claiming she is considering converting. An unfamiliar world of Islam--developing relationships and things get complicated—both professionally and personally.

Well-researched (based on a real-life scheme by the so-called "Toronto 18," an extremist group that intended to attack Canadian Parliament in 2006)—and to behead parliamentarians as part of a plan to force the recall of Canadian troops from Afghanistan.

In the summer of 2007 Canadian law enforcement carried out a major anti-terrorism operation that resulted in the arrest of eighteen suspects on terrorism charges. This group would later become known as the Toronto 18. Even though the participants in the plot were ill-equipped and poorly trained, they nevertheless attempted to make their plot a reality.

As the author mentions in her notes:

“As I researched the Toronto 18 case, I became aware of how closely the jihadist ideology of the Toronto 18 was tied to other issues: the conflation of Islam with violence, the perception that the actions of an extremist fringe inescapably taint and implicate an entire faith community, and the necessity of moving beyond reductive notions of (us and them) to achieve a deeper understanding of the present moment in history—one that might suggest a way forward.”


Thought-provoking! Khan creates an eye-opening look into the world of Muslim faith, often misunderstood. An education for those ill-informed and uneducated into this world—the author’s passion is reflected throughout the pages with history, research, and her characters. A top notch, action-packed cop procedural, and a powerful insightful look into the Muslim community.

Khan, equipped with a Ph.D. in international human-rights law, specializing in military intervention and war crimes in the Balkans, drew on her expertise and background for her debut novel, The Unquiet Dead a mystery-thriller connected to the 1995 Srebrenica genocide—highly recommend reading prior to THE LANGUAGE OF SECRETS.

Beyond wanting to celebrate and share Eastern art, Khan had another personal reason for incorporating poetry into a whodunit murder. She says,

“If you look at Arab or Persian traditions, you’ll see poetry is very much at their heart. I thought a very beautiful way to temper the ugliness of the jihadist ideology is also to express the beauty of those traditions.”
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/#!The-Language-of-Secrets/cmoa/5630491a0cf27ade992f1d7c
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review 2016-01-17 00:00
The Language of Secrets (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels)
The Language of Secrets (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels) - Ausma Zehanat Khan The Language of Secrets is well-written. It's suspenseful and treats its characters with humanity and kindness, which I appreciate as a reader. The cultural truths explored in it are sobering and fully treated. At times it is beautiful. I'll look forward to reading the next one in the series.

There are a couple downsides. It's really not funny. Not even a little bit for an instant. And nothing goes as it should; everything is frustrating and there's little resolution at the end. I suppose that makes it realistic, but it also makes it a less satisfying read. Maybe I'm being shallow, but I'm left with a taste of dissatisfaction anyway.

As the author notes in the afterword, the story is loosely based on a terrorist plot that was thwarted in Toronto in 2006, and a great deal of research is evident throughout the story. Khan is a gentle storyteller, educating her audience without blaming us for our ignorance. The main character's role as a Muslim Detective investigating Muslims is problematic and confusing from every angle. Stories like these definitely need to be told. But a lighthearted moment or two wouldn't ruin them.

I got a free copy of this from Net Galley.
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review 2014-12-28 04:05
The Unquiet Dead
The Unquiet Dead (Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak Novels) - Ausma Zehanat Khan

By Ausma Zehanat Khan
ISBN: 9781250055118
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: 1/13/2015
Format: Other
Series: Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak #1

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

A special thank you to Minotaur Books, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

THE UNQUIET DEAD, Ausma Zehanat Khan’s stunning debut, and the first in the Rachel Getty and Esa Khattak series delivers a powerful and complex mystery and suspense, keeping you holding your breath, for the next installment.

Detective Rachel Getty (she has some secrets of her own) and her boss Esa Khattak (a second-generation Canadian Muslim with some secrets) who heads the new Community Policing Section, created to deal with delicate cases involving minorities are investigating a crime.

Christopher Drayton’s death- who fell from a cliff (a sensitive case). However, not everything is as it appears and Khattak is not being forthcoming with information and Drayton may have been a war criminal with ties to the Srebrenica massacre of 1995. Who is out to get him, was foul play involved, or was this an accident?

An emotional, heartbreaking and haunting mystery of horrific crimes committed against Muslims in Bosnia. Khan delivers an engrossing story of tragedy and devastation which will grip you to the end. Lovers of international crime fiction will devour THE UNQUIET DEAD, written with beautiful lyrical prose; one of loss and redemption.

The novel is based upon events that occurred during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia, formerly a republic of the nation of Yugoslavia. Incredible and extensive research -- drive of those for ethnic and religious uniformity; “Courage, perseverance, and dignity in the face of appalling carnage remind us why Bosnia was a place worth saving.”

The author’s background, a former law professor with a specialty in Balkan war crimes offers her incredible insights making for a stellar and impressive debut.

Her credentials and associations -- a former adjunct professor at American and Canadian universities, she holds a Ph.D. in International Human Rights Law, with the 1995 Srebrenica massacre as the main subject of her dissertation. She also worked briefly with the Bosnian Canadian Relief Association during the war and met members of Bosnian communities, witnesses, activists, and scholars. Well done

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1070558883
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