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Ebook INVASI by Raja Faisal read! Book Title: INVASI
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 9.34 MB
City - Country: No data
The author of the book: Raja Faisal
Edition: Buku Fixi
Date of issue: April 1st 2012
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
Loaded: 1622 times
Reader ratings: 6.4

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This review first appeared in my blog: The Malaysian Reader

Reading Invasi, I can’t help but compare it to another book in Fixi’s stable, ZOMBIJAYA. Both feature a sudden horrific destruction of Klang Valley by an otherworldly threat and both feature a motley crew of young urbanites who have to turn from party animals to gung ho warriors in order to survive. The difference is, Zombijaya isn’t bad while Invasi is just bad.

Invasi features Ahmad Bayani, a young civil engineer who lives life to the fullest. An orphan who was abandoned by his mother when he was four, he eschews close relationships and cares for no one except himself. The only person he dares to call a friend is Anwar, a co-worker and fellow party animal, and their relationship is so close I daresay what they have is nothing short of a bromance. It comes in handy when much of Kuala Lumpur is instantly destroyed one night while the two guys were just about to paint the town red. Shocked and awed by the attack, Ahmad Bayani and Anwar seek escape from the vaguely described aliens (I imagined them something akin to the creature from the ‘Predator’ movies) and of course in this kind of stories, the two soon come across other survivors and soon form an alliance in order to survive and maybe take down a few of the aliens.

And here’s where my suspension of disbelief refused to be suspended anymore and instead stood up and asked, “Hang on a minute!” Ahmad Bayani who we are told is someone who looks out only for Number 1 almost immediately becomes a Good Samaritan when he and Anwar comes across a young girl escaping from a lone alien. His ready embrace of the hero status was also hard to take. There were no hints in the earlier chapters to indicate any redeeming qualities that Ahmad Bayani may have buried within him and yet when Malaysia is invaded, by bad ass scary looking extra terrestrials no less, Ahmad drops his selfishness and immediately becomes ‘The Last Malay Hero’. These sudden about turns in character was too jarring for me to just ignore it.

There were other out-of-left-field developments that suggested to me that author Raja Faisal did not fully sketch out his characters thoroughly before writing, preferring instead to focus on the alien ass-kicking. For example, Ahmad, Anwar and the survivors they come across were all handy with firearms and were able to kill the aliens with almost no difficulty. I could see this happening in gun obsessed America but not in a country where owning a firearm without a permit is punished by death. A couple of the survivors turn out to be (spoiler alert!) members of the intelligence community so that probably explains their adeptness with weapons but that does not explain the rest of them. Were Ahmad and Anwar paintball champions? Or does Malaysia have a large community of gun aficionados that I’m not aware of? In the meantime one survivor, Ika, just happens to be good with first aid which is convenient in a war zone with no medical personnel around. Another survivor, Jo, is an explosives technician and has driven heavy machinery in America when she worked in a coal mine. Again quite convenient, when you need someone to plant bombs and navigate a 4-wheel drive on roads littered with debris and abandoned vehicles. I know it is unfair to compare this book with another (in this case Zombijaya) but in the ‘zombie book’ the survivors behaved more realistically; afraid and unsure most of the time and where being a hero usually means an early death.

Still, Invasi populates a sparsely populated Malaysian science-fiction genre and who knows, maybe Raja Faisal’s debut could spur other local writers to write better Malaysian flavoured science fiction.


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