Saturday, 17 January 2015

The Syrian Virgin (Review)

Hi there!

Title: The Syrian Virgin
Author:  Zack Love
Publisher:  Self-published

Published Date:  6th November 2014
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thank you to the author for the review copy*
 
This book is on a 99 cent sale right now! Here is the authors message: “The Syrian Virgin" has nearly 100 outstanding reviews and, in just a few weeks, will be available at retail sites beyond Amazon. As a thank you, author Zack Love is offering part 1 of this gripping saga for just $0.99 (until January 20). Enjoy this intense story of a love triangle and a forbidden student-teacher relationship set against a tapestry of events ripped straight from the headlines. “The Syrian Virgin” will take you on an emotional journey like no other. Download your copy using these links:
Amazon(.com): http://tinyurl.com/TheSyrianVirgin
Amazon (UK): http://tinyurl.com/TheSyrianVirgin-UK

Synopsis:  Anissa is traumatized by the most brutal conflict of the 21st Century: the Syrian Civil War. In 2012, Islamists in Homs terrorize a Syrian-Christian community and destroy everything that a young woman holds dear. Narrowly escaping death, Anissa restarts her devastated life as a college student in NY. She is bewildered and lost -- a virgin in every sense.

But despite her inexperience with men and life in the United States, Anissa is quickly drawn to two powerful individuals: Michael Kassab, the Syrian-American leader working to found the first Mideast Christian state, and Julien Morales, her Columbia University professor who runs a $20 billion hedge fund.

Complicating matters, Michael is still attached to his ex-girlfriend and Julien is the most sought after bachelor in Manhattan (and has hidden demons even his therapist can't extract). Anissa's heart and her communal ties pull her in different directions, as she seeks hope and renewal in a dark world.

WARNING: This book is about a young woman's difficult journey: her escape from Syria's Civil War, her transition to a new a country, and the relationships that she forms along the way, including her romantic interests in two very different men. The story is set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War and makes reference to violent acts, sometimes in detail. There is some occasional profanity and a few scenes that depict sexual intimacy. Accordingly, the recommended minimum age for readers is 16. The novel might be compared to books like "The Diary of Anne Frank" or "The Kite Runner."

Review: I actually read this book on the suggestion of one of my blog followers, Letty, who wanted to know what this book was like. Thank you for the suggestion! As soon as I looked into it I wanted to try it. I wanted to know more about the situation in Syria because personally, I didn’t feel like I knew enough.

This book was pretty good. It was written in diary format with two alternating points of view, but mainly Anissa’s. I really liked the main character, Anissa. She was a brave girl, someone who was hard working and determined to not let the society she ended up in sway her judgment and her own morals. She wasn’t someone who conformed to other people, and you know how much I respect that! So, awesome main character here,

Nonetheless, this book kind of bordered on having a love triangle? It never veered that way completely, but it dabbled in the idea of having one. In the second book (there will be one!) I think the love triangle will be clearer and more important. For now, if you are a love triangle hater than you needn’t worry ;)

Sometimes when I read this I felt like it was a bit of an important dump. Like we were being shot a lot of information all at once just so we could learn more about Syria, and like there wasn’t enough fiction thrown in to disguise it. There was a lot of emotion in this novel too, especially because it is a situation that causes me to empathise. I felt like the author could’ve added even more in there in places.

Michael was a character I didn’t like too much. Mainly because of some opinions he holds to later on, and I didn’t like his reasoning for breaking up with his original girlfriend. At first I liked him and then that gradually chipped away the more we learned. I feel like this was exactly how Anissa felt in some places as well though, which is why this might just be some effective writing.

Julian was also very open with his therapist. You should always be because they need to know everything possible about you. But there is a line there and I am not sure people would’ve shared that in real life.

This was also a very philosophic read which made me think in places, making it more memorable. I wondered, how far should we be prepared to go for a good cause? This is something that is debated in the novel and it made me think about how far I would go. It’s one of the things I loved about it. This was based off of real happenings in a way that made me think about the book and remember it after I had closed the book itself.
 
There were some sexual mentions in the story, and some randomly explicit moments, but not too many. I think this book was mostly focused on Anissa trying to find out her purpose, and who/what would get her there. It doesn't focus too much on the religion.
 

The ending was abrupt as if it was simply cut off. I know there will be a sequel, but it would’ve been nice for it to have been tied up a bit nicer. Overall, a good, informative and thoughtful reader. I wonder what part two has in store.
 
Author Links:
Find Zack on Facebook and Twitter!

Olivia’s Question: Do you like books that leave you thinking afterward?

Olivia-Savannah x

24 comments:

  1. Hi Olivia - Very interesting review. I am fond of books that keep me thinking long afterward, but not necessarily fond of books that don't have a solid finish. :)

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    1. That's within reason! Memorable books are the best, but a solid finish is the kind I crave as well ^.^

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  2. I love books that make me think after I am done with them. I don't love abrupt endings, but it sounds like the rest of the book was good. I read The Kite Runner and The Diary of Anne Frank- so if this book is being compared to those, then I can imagine it is a powerful read. I do love to learn about places and events I don't know as much about as I should, so I will look for this one. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. I have read both of those other books, and they really did move me because their stories were unforgettable and well, one was a truthful tale as well! I find fiction can be handy for making a topic that needs to be informed about more interesting to learn!

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  3. An abrupt ending is not something I really like in books. One thing is a cliffhanger, and another is just simply cutting the book; it's not something I like 'cause it feels like is not finished :S
    Anyways, I do love books that make me think. It's why I keep reading. The bigger the impact, the better the book for me hehehe
    Thanks for sharing Olivia!

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    1. Yeah, I would agree. I would've much preferred if this was a cliffhanger instead! And I agree again! A big impact is the best one.

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  4. Hmmm. Sounds like a different type of book, Olivia. Good review!

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    1. It was definitely unlike many books I have read before.

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  5. I am one of those historian aficionados who hates reading History books. If I want to know about current events or history, I tend to look for stories with those two I mentioned as foundations. This sounds like a difficult read, especially with the allusions of love triangle.

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    1. Yeah, I don't mind a history book every now and again but non fiction is generally not my genre.

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  6. A wonderful review, Olivia! :) So the ending wasn't a strong lead in to the second book? Still looks like a good read! Dianne (Tome Tender)

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    1. It wasn't the best lead in, but it was a good read still ^.^

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  7. I don't do diary much but glad it worked for you pretty well

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    1. Yes, it was a very different style than I was used to, but I think it worked out fine.

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  8. I love books that leave me thinking afterward. Thanks for the recommendation!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Yes, the larger the impact the better!

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  9. I enjoy books that mix politics, war with fiction. This book sounds like it would be interesting. I like the title. It connects to the plot so well!

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    1. Yes, that is a good combination and one I find the easiest to understand as well.

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  10. I like the variety you have in the books that you review. Very well-rounded.

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  11. Yes, I absolutely love books that leave me thinking afterward! They leave a lasting impact. That's one of the reasons why I prefer books that focus on serious issues to light, fun reads.

    This book looks interesting! Great review. :)

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    1. Yes, those are the kind of books I like looking out for too :D

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  12. Love the variation in the books you read & review - I haven't read this one as of yet, but it does seem to focus on the deeper side of serious issues. Lovely review! x Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. I do have a pretty broad taste when it comes to books, but I do want to try them all! It is a more serious kind of book.

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