Magical Experience : In the realm of Demons by Imran Kureshi

Source: Goodreads

About the Book

A roller-coaster fantasy horror story with Jinns, demons and nagins Mehran is a handsome young Rajput aristocrat – without a grand title, estate or any wealth. He lives with his widowed mother in a decaying mansion in Pakistan, Remembering his beautiful cousin boyer and his childhood in the glittering estate of his Nawab uncle in India. But hidden behind the grandeur of the old palace is a dreadful curse that strikes every heir to the nawabs line. Tragedy hits when, on a red moon night, a demon arrives and koyel falls victim to the terrifying curse. Little does Mehran know that the curse will soon visit him and he will find himself in a world of demons, monsters and nagins.
About the Author

Imran Kureshi lives in Pakistan. He is a former employee of the Pakistan State Oil Company Limited and has been a freelance editor of books and PhD theses for over sixteen years. His collection of short stories set in rural Punjab, titled Billa Nayee and Other Tales, has been published by Oxford University Press. This is his first novel.

I think...

For a debut author, Imran Kureshi manages to weaves a stellar plot around the magical world of Jinns, demons and nagins with a story that leaves you with goosebumps. Mehran's world is enchanting, so to speak. It is inviting and at the same time is alluring. Taking a reader through a plethora of emotions, Kureshi ensures you are spellbound once you enter this world.

Combining magic, superstition and blind beliefs, the story progresses at a speed that makes this book a page turner in the literal sense. There are places where a reader might feel there is too much happening but the author manages to justify it all through his taut narrative. There is not a single dull moment throughout the 200+ pages novel. Every chapter intertwines with the next in a way that you simply cannot put down this book out of sheer curiosity to know what happens next.
This book is a heady concoction of adventure, mystery, suspense, thriller and drama. The character of Mehran is flawed and that is what makes him more relatable. He is not depicted as someone who is perfect, he is imperfect just like any of us. Though the story might look not entirely plausible at a lot of places, the characters are real enough to balance it off.

The story begins in Pakistan, with Mehrun living with his widowed mother and struggling through his day to day existence. As the story progresses, one learns about the bitter truth of his life which is more of a curse rather than being the blessing it looks like to the outsiders. It is how he deals with this aspect of his life and decides to face it rather than running from it that forms the latter part of the narrative. His battles, though not entirely unique, are surely innovative in their treatment.

It is interesting to see relatable fantasy fiction, set in a land that feels so familiar with characters that could be very much one of us. Having grown up loving Harry Potter, LOTR and such fantasy novels, I always craved for one that was based in my country of origin. This one, surely scores a brownie point because of its setting and the brilliant world building.

The only minus in the narrative is that there are too many characters and most of them with similar sounding/ pronounced names. This creates quite a confusion. Especially when you are in middle of an interesting scene and suddenly you come across a name you don't recall reading before and have to turn the pages back to find a reference to this. Maybe a family tree or a characters list in the beginning of the novel would have helped a lot.

Having said that, this story is definitely a must read. Purely for the thrill of it, the magic of the world building it holds and for Mehran.

Would recommend it to fantasy lovers!