Broken Triad: Storm of Assassins – When a Pakistani takes a crack at sci-fi

Published: August 17, 2013

I hope we give this book a chance – it is definitely worth the time and effort! PHOTO: FACEBOOK PAGE, Broken Triad.

I was pleasantly surprised to find out that a LUMS student was having his fantasy novel published by Ferozsons this year. As a young student novelist myself, I know for a fact how unwelcoming and poorly equipped our publishing industry really is. This is especially so when it comes to entertaining  modern English fiction novels written by young student writers.

For a writer, to get a simple third party review done becomes a matter of calling in ‘favours’. It is for this reason that I decided to take a stand for all novelists and readers out there and provide an independent appraisal of Qasim’s work; this is the least we can do for the Pakistani writing community.

Broken Triad, Storm of Assassins is a fantasy sci-fi novel based in the magical lands of the planet Altris. The novel follows the journey of the young but destined boy Aeli and his training under a skilful but kind assassin, Kataash. Both are part of the highly secretive and powerful ‘Guardian Office’ and sworn protectors of the ‘People’s Republic’. Fighting the oppressive imperialists and the dark demonic hordes of the Autarites, the Guardians have just about their hands full, while Aeli struggles to complete his training to do his part. We follow his story as he makes new friends like his buddy Guli and meets enemies who tremble the very foundations of the planet they live on.

Qasim draws a truly magical world of humans, elves, dwarves, reptilians, celestials, demons, mutants and lesser heard beings such as Argonites and Torians. Magic and spiritualism is mixed with futuristic technology in an amazing blend. The characters are endeared to you very soon. You actually feel the fear when a demon approaches and the excitement when Aeli duels with his opponents. The story is very fast paced and it does not take long to jump right into the action. Interlaced with philosophical questions and scientific explanations, the story becomes very believable for a fantasy epic.

From scenes depicting the Grand Bazaar to the Sand Sea to the capital city of Alcadia to the demonic lands of Plaguis, the world Qasim creates is filled with myth, legend, suspense and magic. The friendship between Aeli and Guli is infectiously cheerful. The relationship shared between Kataash and Aeli reminds the reader of the true meaning of mentorship. But to be critically honest, the absence of a romantic arc in ‘Storm of Assassins’ and the grammatical mistakes and typos that can be found in abundance in the book are two of the greatest flaws of this great piece of Pakistani English literature.

The publishing industry in Pakistan is in an upsettingly abysmal state. We have no agents, publicists, editors or copy editors of quality and repute to speak of. The absence of platforms from which writer’s can gain promotions and an apparent refusal of the publishing industry to accept that spending on the promotion, marketing and distribution of books is as important as printing them is equally disconcerting.

I asked Qasim about the problems he faced writing and he responded,

“While writing Broken Triad, the greatest challenge was to find faith in myself to overcome the doubt others had.”

About the response he received, he humbly replied,

“Those who have read it have given me really strong output on the strength of the plot. Most have told me that it is a page turning narrative, I could not ask for more. The same cannot be said of the sentence structure though, it might be a little weak but with experience I hope I can rise above my flaws.”

All in all, Broken Triad: Storm of Assassins is highly recommended for anybody who enjoys a good science fiction and fantasy epic novel. A small investment of hardly Rs600 is needed for hours of intense action and imagination. Jump into the magical but dangerous lands of Altris and join Aeli, Kataash and Guli in a story about fighting evil against all odds, making friends and learning to realise that fate could have anything in store for us!

I wish Qasim the best of luck for the second part of this series and will be eagerly awaiting its launch. To be honest, I never believed anybody in Pakistan could pull off writing a fantasy novel, believing it would be subpar in quality to other international works, but that was before I read Broken Triad.

So support the local industry dear readers. Who knows? We may still surprise you!

You can find the ‘Broken Triad: Storm of Assassins’  at any Ferozsons outlet in Pakistan or you may contact Qasim himself on the book’s Facebook page and a copy of the book can be delivered to your doorstep. It can’t get better than that!

I hope we give this book a chance – it is definitely worth the time and effort!

Omer Imran Malik

Omer Imran Malik

A novelist, social activist, photographer, writer and a LUMS law student who has currently penned Pakistan's first youth based e-novelette called 'The Music of Life and all its Other Melodies.' He tweets @twitter.com/OmerImranMalik

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Huma

    Grammatical mistakes and typos are why editors are there in the publishing business. Sad that they are not going their job to make the work flawless and stronger. Recommend

  • Noreen Qayam

    Oh how long I’ve waited for a Pakistani sci-fi writer! The local publishing scene is very depressing indeed, hopefully soon we can take steps by ourselves to support young writers venturing into this field.Recommend

  • Zara Shahid

    Not a sci-fi person but this review makes me want to give the book a shot! Thank you Omer. Cant wait to get my hands on Broken Triad. Recommend

  • Huma

    *doingRecommend

  • Omer Imran Malik

    @Huma:
    Agree with you there! Even this piece of mine seems to have been edited in such a way that it left many typos and small grammar mistakes I made in the initial draft.Recommend

  • Critical

    @Omer Imran Malik:

    While you lament that the publishing office dont take efforts in promoting the book,I would say that a similar situation also exists in India….But when there is no way,you need to find one…..

    Two years ago,a fictional book called “Immortals of Meluha” took India by storm,which was based on a bold topic of Hindu mythology blending with fiction..If you read the wikipedia page,you would notice that even that author faced several problems publishing the book…

    But as an MBA holder,he knew how to promote his book and has now sold more than a million copies and then his sequels were pre-ordered before release

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TheImmortalsofMeluha#Releaseand_marketingRecommend

  • inky

    It sounds like an excellent book.
    I hope it is what the raving review promises!Recommend

  • Bob

    I checked three different Ferozsons outlets in Lahore shortly after the book came out. They had never heard of it. That tells much about distribution strategy of the Publishing House. Their own outlets did not know of this book weeks after the release date of Broken Triad, in the very city the book was published in. Honestly, how many Ferozsons books are published each month? Recommend

  • http://wasioabbasi.wordpress.com Wasio Ali Khan Abbasi

    Thank you for the this book review. I am a sci-fi fan and this sounds quite interesting. I would probably have been looking for publishing my own first sci-fi novel by now, but the unfortunate stealing of my journal on highway destroyed not just 2 years of hard work but also the energy and enthusiasm of writing a full-fledge novel.
    From Saad Shafqat’s Breath of Death to the novel you reviewed to the upcoming series “Agency Rules” … I think English fiction writing is heading in the right direction. I sincerely hope things improve for the writer and publishing industry gets its act back together. I do not know if the book is available in Karachi but I’ll be on the lookout for it. When I can spend over 2000 on Wheel of Time’s latest book, spending 600 for a local, fellow writer is in no way difficult.Recommend

  • mind control

    and meets enemies who treble the very foundations of the planet they live on.

    TREBLE?

    How exactly does one ‘treble the very foundations of the planet they live on’?

    https://www.google.co.in/#fp=5eadb21071423c57&q=TREBLE+meaning&revid=1779552999Recommend

  • Omer Imran Malik

    @mind control:
    Another typo that unfortunately was not corrected before being published. Recommend