I was recently approached by author Reesha Goral and her team to see if I was interested in receiving a free copy of The Servant Boy in exchange for an honest review. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity as it seemed like a really interesting read and I wasn’t wrong. As soon as I got the ebook I began to read and almost immediately I was drawn into the story and rich setting.
! Minor spoiler alert is in order !
The book tells the story of a Zayne Shah, a young man who is a servant to a rich family called the Peerzadas. Another major plot point is that he is deeply in love with their only daughter Asiya Peerzada. You get to learn of the childhood they shared alongside a host of other characters such as sisters Gapoori and Gulnaz, and Assad. You also get to see them as they are now; young adults and watch them navigate relationships, love and loss cultural constraints and figure out what is causing the major epidemic.
What I liked –
I really enjoyed this book overall especially the fact that it was set in Pakistan. The description of Saidpur was amazing, even down to small elements like the food and clothing. It was so well done that I really could imagine it all and it was really immersive. The writing style is easy to follow and it keeps you interested.
I also liked the fact that the author chose to leave in some of the Urdu phrases and language, as someone who can understand Urdu this definitely enhanced the experience for me. There are translations provided for each phrase which is good for those who don’t and helps people learn more about the culture. These references were really accessible for me as I’m Indian myself and a lot of the traditions overlap. It was really enjoyable to read these parts.
Another major plus for me were the intensity of the friendships and bonds between the characters. There’s nothing I dislike more than reading a book in which the characters don’t seem to care about each other. I’m glad to see that the characters in this book definitely do and their bond is more like family than friendship. Take Zayne and his best friend Assad, who constantly refer to each other as brothers. There are some really touching moments throughout the novel involving them, the moment where Zayne gives Assad a prominent job and shares his good fortune, which I really enjoyed reading.
Lastly, there was one major point I really didn’t expect to happen and when I read it, I was genuinely shocked. In the interest of not spoiling it as it’s a pretty major part, all I’ll say is that it was not predictable at all.
What could have been improved-
I felt like the mystery element was really promising but found that the resolution felt rushed in the latter part of the book. I felt like there needed to be a bit more weaving throughout the novel rather than Zayne finding out conclusive information mostly towards the end and then it all being solved so fast. There were little clues along the way but the action at the end seemed to come all at once.
I get that Zayne was deeply in love with Asiya but his behaviour is borderline obsessive and stalker like at times, as he watches her constantly when she is unaware and invades her privacy by going in to her room. I would have preferred if this was toned down or excluded since it just didn’t sit right with me that he would sneak into her room constantly and read her diary.
Overall I would give it 4/5 stars!
Hope you enjoyed this review guys and take a read yourselves and see what you think!
Thank you to Reesha and her team for approaching me for this, I really enjoyed taking part.
Until next time,