3/52: PERMATA LAUT SILAN


Permata Laut Silan, by Aemir Khalid (story) and Anshari (illustration), is not a book but a comic serial I somehow found somewhere while looking for nothing in particular. I was drawn to its cover and the title amongst the glossed out magazines. When I flipped through the pages, I knew I had to submit to its calling.

So I already got myself three issues of Permata Laut Silan since October last year, with the third issue being in January 2018. I think I tertinggal kapal since its first issue was out in August. 

Anyhoot. Permata Laut Silan chronicles the adventure of Seri and Hitam. Seri, an alchemist, is in the search of her jati diri, being a child of a Malay father and an European mother. Hitam is in a quest to find the cure for his curse of immortality. 

The storytelling incorporates the elements of Malay folklore; dragons, kelembai to name a few, which to me is something unique and refreshing. I like its setting being in the 13th century Nusantara. It's something different from the usual fantasy staple I had before. The premise is intriguing and the illustration is on par. 

It's a 4.5 out of 5 stars from me.

I'm patiently waiting for the next installment due next March. Adoi. Pasaipa la lambat lagi...

A writer is a serial killer


I don't know how I ended up on Listverse going through Top 10 Gruesome Murders in British Columbia, 10 Unsolved Murder Mysteries of Trinidad & Tobago, 10 Weird Murder Weapons, 10 Deaths Linked To the Paranormal and the likes. If you look into my browser history, I think your first thought would be to call the police. You'd think I'm a psycho. A serial murderer on the loose. You'd think of Criminal Mind and you'll call me an unsub.

Come to think of it, maybe I am a serial murderer... in the making. I killed people or rather, characters in my books. I am a writer. As I went through the books that I've written, I now realised that I have killed quite a few in a span of ten years.

L.U.V.E: I killed Ross.
1 4 3: Haikal and the little girl.
Teja. Alam. Tuah: No victim.
Ada & Evan: That guy with the brain tumor?
Maya Iskandar: Can't bring myself to kill anyone.
Epik Cinta Dari Agia: Flora, Aril, some ships, two cities...
Diari Pengapit: Like, obviously someone has to die in here.
Cinta Yang Tertangguh: That guy who became a ghost?
Separuh Nyawa: That teacher.
Romantika Fantasia: I'm too attached to the characters from Maya Iskandar.
Siti, Tanjung, Perak: Tak sampai hati nak bunuh sesiapa...

Do I kill anyone in my next book? How do I decide on my next victim? Here, I quote Virginia Woolf:  Someone has to die in order that the rest of us should value life more.

2/52: KAI DI LEMBAH URDA


Took me four nights to finish this children fantasy. I just want to savour every chapter word by word because it's going to take who knows how long until I found another of Hizairi Othman's work. I started reading Malay fantasy when I found his Syonagar. I don't have that book anymore as my parents donated almost all of my childhood's books to charity some years ago. It's very hard to find Hizairi's books as all of them are now out of print. And if you do some research on him, you'll know the story.

Anyways. Kai Di Lembah Urda is a typical children fantasy. Three friends, Zarin, Albert and Suresh were somehow transported to Lembah Urda, populated by Puak Oku and Puak Uzu. There, they became the legendary Kai, who with their involvements, were instrumental in the quest to defeat the evil that was trying to divide and conquer Lembah Urda.

The storytelling is pretty simple and straight-forward. I love how the author detailed the differences of the two races in terms of their languages, physical attributes and cultures. 

I find it quite funny where there's a part in which Suresh passionately explained to the Okus about where he and his friends came from. It was a crash course on Malaysia. I skimmed most of the paragraphs. Then there's this line where Suresh lamented that all his explanations were to know avail as no one is truly interested. Dah kena batang hidung sendiri, kan?

Three out of five stars for this one. I am still on my quest to find a copy of Syonagar. And titles from Kelab Buku Kenari series.

What should I read next, eh?


1/52: BREATHE


Breathe is Dr. Beni Rusani's debut novel. To me, it's an unputdownable page-turner story about its flawed main character, Dr. Adam, on a single day, in which the cardiologist, is about to die, ironically, of  a heart attack.  It's a medical drama with a nice balance between medical jargon and everyday ups-and-downs of its characters. It's a story about hope and second chances, especially to oneself.

I feel Dr. Beni managed to make Adam a human, not just a doctor but someone just like us, a friend, someone's son, a relative, someone's husband, his/her father, who lives and breathes all the emotions of a life's struggles. I love how he smoothly interspersed flashbacks of Adam's past within the moving narrative of that single fateful day.

Though I do feel most of the time, the conversations between the characters were a bit too American. I don't know, really. Maybe because I'm somewhat only familiar with American medical drama so I tend to imagine them that way. Well, maybe Malaysian doctors do speak like that.

Well, anyway. I give 'Breathe' four out of five stars. All in all, it's an interesting read. I managed to finish it after two sittings. Usually, English novels would take me at least five sittings. With 'Breathe', the storytelling itself is gripping and you really want to know what's on the next page, chapter after chapter. I stayed up till almost 2 a.m on the last sitting.

On to my next book!

52


And so I decided to set up a challenge for myself. 52 books in 52 weeks. Seminggu, satu buku. I will write a review of the books I read on weekly basis. Just finished my first book for this year two nights ago. Its review will be coming up by the end of this week. Tajuknya apa? Tunggu. I've picked up my next book from one of my favourite author. It's a thin book. Maybe I can have a go at it in one sitting. But I'll stick to just one book per week. I'm a slow reader. Took me three days to finish the first book. And I do have my own writing to follow through. 

Hopefully I can keep up to the challenge. I don't have a specific list of books to read. Just going to rummage through the piles in my library. Maybe buy some new titles. Anything to my fancy at that time.

Stephen King once said, if you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all else: read a lot and write a lot.

Come end of 2018, I will have 52 ways of writing 52 stories. Insya-Allah.

2018

2017. Couldn't be bothered to set any new year's resolution of my own. But I have achieved so many things nonetheless without such list to follow through. Just go with the flow and you'll be surprised. 

I intend to do 2018 the same way. No resolutions. No lists. No goals. Just do whatever I feel like doing. Just that feeling of I can achieve anything. It's so much liberating that way. 

Happy 2018!