I am an early reader of this book, approached by the author to give an honest review about it. When I read the blurb of A Ticket to Syria, I was intrigued. The reason behind this is the current situation that the ISIS has plunged the world into. Though the massacres have comparatively reduced, the Islamic State remains the most dangerous terrorist outfit in the world, showing no mercy or remorse in whatever they do.
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Description: A Ticket to Syria
Beneath the clear blue skies of Maldives, a beast slouches towards Syria to be born.
Zahi has led a perfectly normal life until one day she heads out for a family vacation but finds herself in the conflict stricken sands of Syria. Unknowingly signed up for Jihad along with her family, Zahi is now the newest recruit of the Islamic State. In a hostile environment with no support and where a single misplaced word could mean death, she is able to make contact with her brother back home. Thus is set in motion a web of deception, courage and tragedy as she attempts to escape.
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Author Shirish Thorat, in his author’s note, explains his connection with the Republic of Maldives. An ex-cop, the author whips up the reasoning behind the book with a levelheaded passion that foreshadows the rest of the journey.
A Ticket to Syria is Shirish Thorat’s well-researched account of the Islamic State recruiting from Maldives. When Sameer Ibraheem’s siblings take off suddenly, he contacts Ahmed Idris, his sister-in-law Zahi’s older brother who is a prominent businessman in Male. Zahi is married to Sameer’s brother, Munsiu and is lied to and told they are going on vacation when in fact they are heading to Syria. Idris in turn gets in touch with his contact for help in evacuation. The story is a true one and considering the gravity of the subject, names of people involved have been changed.
A Ticket to Syria, as mentioned before, is well-researched and well-written. Reading this book will give you a clear idea of the formation of the Islamic State, the reasoning behind it (however twisted it may be), and how the Islamic State functions. It is gripping to the point where your anger and fury towards the ISIS now mingles with a deep disgust that crawls up your skin and makes you want to destroy those negative forces.
A Ticket to Syria is a patient narration of how it started, where it gets its motivation from, and the wiles required to beat it without it having an inkling. It’s interesting to see how the people in the narrative collect information and use it in their quest to attain the objective. The numbers are bone-chilling. And the more you know about ISIS or the Islamic State as they like to call themselves, the more you start hating them. As if what they’ve done isn’t enough, knowing their “motivations” shakes it up even further.
The first thing I noticed as I read A Ticket to Syria was that in some places, the narrative shifts from past tense to present jarringly. It’s a little too complex for me to mentally correct if before reading it. But hey, that’s just my opinion.
Despite being informative, A Ticket to Syria has some drawbacks. The information, while taking us on a journey, is not used very much in the whole story that’s being played out. It’s a little disappointing to see what could have been a blockbuster of a novel being relegated to being just an informative one.
While the connection between the description of the Islamic State and Zahi’s story is a little wanting, there is much that A Ticket to Syria does in terms of enlightenment. We know now how the Islamic State works, why it does what it does, how misguided it seems to be in the name of religion, and everything else that takes the recruits into further depths of depravity.
I want to give A Ticket to Syria a 3, but for the understanding it provides of how the mad minds of the world work, I’ll give it an extra half star.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars
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