An avid reader, Maitha has always dreamt of being a recognized novelist and poet. For the last decade she focused on HR as a career, which has taken her away from her dream, but it’s never too late. Her column Pocket full of Books focuses on book reviews and doesn’t necessarily focus on a specific genre.
Latest posts by Maitha Almuhairi (@Maithani) (see all)
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The author reviews the second part of Ajwan’s science fiction series by Noura AlNoman, and compares it with the first part in terms of plot and characters maturity.
Ms. Noura Alnoman keeps a consistent pace in her ability to grab the attention of her readers once more. Ajwan’s story continues in the second book of the series under the name Mandan. For the second time in a row, the writer has succeeded in translating every single emotion into words. This novel is bitter in a very good way because of the love-hate relationship that develops between the reader and some of the characters. As I have finally gotten into watching the Star Wars series I was able to see that the author was inspired by the series. It is so amazing that nothing in the world of Ajwan imitates the world of the Star Wars franchise and the author was able to easily keep the originality of her characters, settings, and plot intact.
The brilliance falls under the author’s writing style. It was free of gimmicks and philosophical approaches and still, she had managed to keep the novel vibrant and intense. Mandan as the second book of the series is, in my opinion, stronger and more fast paced than Ajwan the novel. Ajwan had focused on a universal disaster, which would make it a little more confusing to some of the readers because that led to the creation of many planets and characters. Mandan focused a little bit more on the characters, and that seemed to bring them to life. There are characters that would absorb nothing but pure hate from the readers and yet the readers will find themselves eventually sympathizing with these characters.
The characters in Mandan are more developed. Ajwan, as the protagonist of this series, is less whiny in book two of the series. She is stronger and rounder than her old self. Her physical, mental, and emotional growth is witnessed by the readers throughout the book despite her physical limitations, and her will to find her child and protect him is stronger than ever. The antagonist has grown to be far more twisted in Mandan, and the novelist did not shy away from being brutal in writing off some of the characters in the most violent ways.
The themes in this novel are very relatable to the political state of the world these days. It discusses the themes of survival, hope, the true ugly face of terrorism and how it brainwashes the youth into making the worst kinds of mistakes, and the struggle to survive the turmoil to be able to create a better peaceful future for the generations to come.
Mandan is not a novel where its writer did nothing but show off her ability to imagine and create a fictional world full of high-tech creations. The novel is far deeper than just a science fiction piece. It is a reflection of what is happening in our world and how brutality cannot be sugar coated. Hats off to Noura AlNoman once more for successfully creating such a complex world and making this novel part of an Arabic science fiction saga.