Reesha GoralTitle: The Servant Boy: A Rags to Riches Novel
Author: Reesha Goral
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy
Publisher: Koehler Books
Source: Author
Release Date: December 1st 2016
Purchase at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Book Depository

* BLURB *

The Servant Boy highlights the adventures of Zayne Shah, a young man who lives through the most horrific disaster his village, Saidpur, has ever seen. An epidemic has unknowingly raged through Saidpur and is taking the lives of umpteen folk before his eyes. Zayne is determined to find a cure to the mystery, at whatever the cost may be, even if that cost is a price he cannot presently afford.

Zayne goes through a series of ups and downs as he takes you with him, embracing life through vivid details, all of which include paradoxes that anyone from any walk of life can relate to: life and death, happiness and grief, love and envy, friendship and animosity.

Although The Servant Boy is a multicultural novel, and will appeal to those that will enjoy learning about the colorful and vibrant culture of Pakistan, it will also enchant those who enjoy mystery, fantasy, adventure, friendship, and romance. There is something in the novel for everyone.

* REVIEW *

Disclaimer: I received a copy from the author in exchange of an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book, in any way.

The Servant Boy is a very light and interesting multicultural debut novel by Reesha Goral that I enjoyed reading a lot.

This is the first time that I’ve ever read a novel set in Pakistan, so I was really looking forward to discovering lots of things. Reesha Goral definitely didn’t fail me. I extremely enjoyed the overall experience while reading The Servant Boy.

This is about the story of Zayne Shah from when he was still a young boy, until he became a successful man. However, this book is not just about Zayne’s life or his way to his success. It also delivered different elements such as the take on the epidemic in their village.

When Zayne was still a young boy, their village, Saidpur, was hit by an epidemic taking lives of local teens. It was until his friend’s demise when he and his best friend finally decided to solve this problem themselves.

Leading to their quest to finding answers, is also Zayne’s way to his success and becoming one of the richest people of his town.

Knowing more about Pakistan and their culture

It was a great introduction for me to Pakistan and the people since I don’t really know much about their culture.  I love how Reesha’s writing drove me to want to know more about Pakistan’s culture, so I couldn’t help but do a lot of research while reading.

I researched about the places mentioned in the book, so my findings added more colors and details into my experience, which is awesome!

Saidpur Village
Here’s a photo of Saidpur Village by Engr.Asmar Hussain from Flickr

At first, I thought it will take me a lot of time to process the story. But I actually had a really fast and smooth reading flow from start to end. It’s written in a simple and easy to understand manner that you won’t really have a hard time absorbing anything. It just flowed ever so freely. The transitions of events and character developments also glided very naturally. 

This standalone book tackled about half of Zayne’s life. It was like watching a long-running TV drama. But what really impressed me is how Reesha managed to fit all those events and developments in one book in a really nice way.

The characters are all retable, and very realistic. They are just these people we encounter in our everyday life. I had issues with some of Zayne’s actions toward his first love. But other than that I’m pretty okay with the rest of the story. No antagonists, no dramas, no exaggerations, no nothing. Just characters and story of life that we can all relate to. The character developments were simply just going from childhood to adulthood – which we all have experienced. You know, characters becoming more mature and all those stuff. Pretty chill.

Is it really fantasy?

On Goodreads, you’ll see that this book is also under “fantasy”. The fantasy part is very minimal, almost nearly non-existent – and that’s my only drawback.

The fantasy part is actually the epidemic part. The thing is, I don’t think that this epidemic issue was well wrapped up. It was there at the beginning, it’s very much part of the story. But as the story made enough progress, it stayed more in the background. And at the end, the way it was disclosed seemed so out of place and was simply just thrown in there to end everything. I was thinking that maybe it was a metaphor based on the culture, but I wasn’t really able to grasp the meaning behind it if it really was.

Bottom line…

Overall, I had an amazing reading experience with The Servant Boy. And I will definitely read more books by Reesha Goral.

If you want to know more about Pakistan and its culture, and want to start with something light, I’ll definitely recommend this one. It’s a really good read!


Author: Erika

Erika is a freelance content writer and illustrator from the Philippines. She used to hate writing in high school, but later discovered that it is something that she’d enjoy doing. Asides from books. she also enjoys the presence of few art materials, camera for bookstagram, and other bookish merchandise, on her own fantasy realm.

2 thoughts on "Book Review: The Servant Boy: A Rags to Riches Novel by Reesha Goral"

  1. Oh cool, I’ve never read a book set in Pakistan, so that sounds really interesting! And isn’t it great when a book piques your interest in something so much that you start researching it extra? You get to learn even more 🙂 The realistic characters sound great too. Not sure how I’d feel about the book just being about the characters developing though with no real antag or drama. I get frustrated when books meander :-/ But I know what you mean about it not being super fantasy, I read a book like that recently too. Glad you liked this though!
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    1. I knoooow! I enjoyed the whole research thing I did. Anyway, about the development, well, there are drama, but not really the overbearing ones, you know? Just something that will keep you engaged but not on edge. I dunno if that makes sense, but yeah… Of course, lack of happenings will be very boring. Haha. But yeah, I really liked this. You should also give it a try. 🙂

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