Author: Tendai Huchu
My Rating: 3 cups
Source: review copy offered by the author
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Love can find us in the most unusual of circumstances. This is what happens to Khalid Patel, a terrorist, when he falls in love with Smokey, a feisty and independent young woman who was to be Britain's first female suicide bomber. On what is meant to be his day of martyrdom, his violent worldview is thrown into turmoil. We share his thoughts as Death and Duty become irrevocably and movingly entwined with Love and Life.
I've never read a book where terrorists or suicide bombers were the main characters before. I have to say it was a really interesting perspective and I was actually surprised. I liked Khalid's story and to see how he grew from the suicide bomber from the beginning of the novel to the man who sacrifices his freedom and happiness to save thousands of innocent people at the end of the book. The reader gets to see how Khalid transformed from an ordinary student to a trained terrorist.
For a while the story goes back and forth between Khalid preparing, along with his three other partners, to arrive at the train station and Khalid's past, where we see him learning to fish, to start a fire, to make bombs, to practice target shooting. Somewhere along the way, he falls in love with Selina "Smokey" Ashraf and they get married on their way to the train station. After that, the story focuses on Khalid, his struggle to kill the man who destroyed his life and, later, to find and rescue Smokey.
What I liked about the book was that it was filled with action and suspense. There is never a dull moment in this story. There were also moments where Khalid's internal struggle felt so raw and real, it was almost like it was right there in front of me.
What I would've liked to see more was the relationship between Khalid and Smokey, how they first met, how they fell in love. It didn't feel like this was a love story, even if it was doomed from the start, but more like it was Khalid's story and the story of his redemption.
Aside that, the book was really interesting.