I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book in return for an honest review. All that you read in this review is just my opinion. I read the book in a little bit less than 6 hours, spread across two days. I actually received it yesterday. Though I didn't have the time to read it in the afternoon, I thought I might read a little before bed. Almost three hundred pages later, I look up at the time and it was long past midnight. It was quite a fascinating book, one that I had to force myself to put down because I was really enjoying it.
The beginning of the book, with the little tale about Samad reminded me of another book I read several years ago, one of my favourites actually. [b:The Distant Hours|6746018|The Distant Hours|Kate Morton|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1358273860s/6746018.jpg|41374289] by [a:Kate Morton|615274|Kate Morton|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1348109224p2/615274.jpg]. It begins with a tale and that's how it draws the reader in. With Akin, it leads the reader beyond that throughout the book with several other interesting tales. I found these particularly interesting as, not only does it introduce people to folklore about these places, but it also interests me in the sense of imagining what some of these people in the tales might be like. I can imagine various travellers sharing tales like this amongst a campfire at night or some tavern on one of the stops in the midst of their journey.
In the first few chapters, we're introduced to the main character, Aydan. He has a hard life, hard at work in his father's fields. Whilst he works, he thinks of the village he has grown up in. We're introduced to the people of the village and their ways. I think this was particularly interesting as we get a glimpse of their society. Being that it is a reality we've not experienced, this was a perfect way to look into what these people are like, their customs, their traditions and even what types of food they eat.
In a similar fashion, this is also how the author, Robin Murarka, introduces us properly to Aydan and what the boy is like. Though ages aren't obvious (unless I missed it), I sort of imagine him to be in his late teens, ready for manhood. To me, he certainly seems that way. In somewhat of an innocent fashion, he worries about not being a man. He compares himself to his father and questions his own self. Actually, now that I think about it, I kind of like the way that the ages aren't as obvious. The same with other portions where descriptions of characters aren't definite. To me, the author has given me just enough information to know what a character is like, though not enough to control my thoughts on them. I have my own imagination of what Aydan might look like and what the village might look like, though another person might see them mentally as something completely different. I admire authors who do such a thing as they're giving readers a bit of free thinking, letting them use their own imagination to fill in blanks.
I don't have any real problems with the book, aside from my personal feelings and from the way I read. The main thing I considered was that, in some portions, I didn't automatically understand the new words that were introduced to me. The author sort of presents them as if I already ought to know the word's meaning. A lot of words are explained as we read on, though there are still several that aren't particularly clear to me. My other problem, this as well just being my personal feelings on the matter, is that in some places I felt that the scenes were a little bit too graphic. I'm not exactly a prude, but I felt that some of the scenes were a little too adult for me to read (I'm 25, but I still think of myself as too young to read some things). I would give examples, but I'd like to keep this review free from spoilers.
I felt that I did particularly enjoy the author's style of writing. Robin has created a plot and storyline that doesn't focus entirely on the main character, which I considered to be particularly courageous. It's not just a story about a boy growing up, it's also a story about war. I consider the story to also be about places growing up, villages or cities and the way that certain problems might effect them as well as the people that inhabit them.
Continuing with Aydan, I consider that he has met some very interesting people along the way. Assuming that there may be more books along the way, I would like to read more about Aydan. Not only that, I would like to know more about some of the other people he has met. As I've said, I'd like to keep this review free of spoilers so I'll just mention these people by name. I'd like to know more of Samaye, Jarvis, and Arraki. I'd like to know what kind of paths led them through their lives and what kind of background they have all had before meeting Aydan. I'd like to know what happened in the village, Aydan's hometown and what became of some of the other people Aydan has known along his journeys.
Thinking about all that, I'm just so curious and intrigued. I'm excited to read more from Robin Murarka. I think that it was well worth the read and, in future, I'll probably read it again. It is well deserving of five stars. I'm actually really impressed with Akin and am looking forward to any books from Robin Murarka in the future.