Fiction Friday: Temptation (Eid al-Fitr Special)

My first novella, City of Kaiju, is finally out! Available through Amazon and Books2Read. You can see a preview of the very first chapter here. Help support a fresh new author with a fantastic read this summer.

To begin, I’m not someone who practices Islam. I wasn’t born under it and I barely know anything about it. But I do enjoy stories based around culture outside of the states (especially creative tales) so I figured I’d give this a go.

Today’s story is Temptation, by Karuna Riazi, narrated by Farah Naz Rishi. You can listen here. This is a very good tale about, what else, temptation. More specifically the desire to eat during a fasting period, which most religions are known for. The idea is to basically starve yourself (or give something up) for a set period, typically several hours to a full day.

For healthcare, this is normal. Being tied to religion, however, can have damaging consequences. So let’s get into it.

Resist the urge

The story follows Kayla during Ramadan, surviving the fasting period when she encounters some mischevious creatures who appear to coax her to eat and ruin her fasting period. But no matter what, she aims to resist.

The story is pretty cool to read and feels very familiar to non-muslims which makes it all the more appealing. Some of us are familiar enough to understand the rule of fasting and yes, the urge is unbearable. It’s like your stomach churns and when you have to fast overnight for a 10AM appointment is enough to make anyone beg for food. But religion means breaking it offends whatever god they worship, and the failure is even higher, especially to other Muslims.

So this is a very familiar concept that makes for a fun story, just to see how far she can go before she submits. It gives enough tension and the addition of these goblins adds that fairy-tale vibe (like the bogeyman). It’s a great concept and really gives it the kind of otherworldly myth that I love to see in stories.

Perhaps these goblins aren’t real. Maybe it’s a dream and she’s imagining them. Whatever the reason, it kept the suspense going to see when, and if, she would snap and ingulge in the temptation. Especially for eaters such as me, the thought of going without food for more than an hour can be challenging. Imagine having to do that overnight. Muslims and most arab religions tend to celebrate events from sundown into the next sundown (If I’m right. You’re welcome to correct me on this). And no doubt this is a real test to resist the temptation of doing something that violates your own code.

As far as the story itself, it’s fairly basic, and has that fairy-tale type feel to it. The goblins would definitely be something that could be a myth in its own right. Whether or not it’s true is something else, but it does play on a common focus, which is desire, especially impulse decisions. This story nails that perfectly without going too far or being too silly. Something that could be told to kids who might consider disobeying so they don’t break the rule of fasting. The goblins will fatten you up and have you for their meal. Granted, this story made no mention of that, but it’s definitely something that could be a spin.

The narration is spot on, having this suspenseful vibe and keeping the mood interesting throughout. She captures the character’s personality well and I got into the story fast. It’s always a joy when I can get into a character’s mind in an audiobook. Personality is always a welcome, especially in first person stories. It makes the character feel natural.

Final Thoughts

This is a good story with a fairy-tale quality and plenty of legends. It’s written very well and the narration is spot on. Is it amazing? Not really, but as far as a story goes, it’s a nice read. If you can, do check this one out.

Score:

+ A good legend tale

+ Has plenty of personality.

+ Pulls you in as the lead tries to resist the temptation

Final Score:

4/5 – Good story


That’s all for today. If you liked this post and want to see more, I have a Ko-Fi page set up. Why spend three bucks on a Starbucks Coffee when you can help support hard-working authors like me? Every bit helps and keeps me going. So thank you, and remember, the inn is always open.

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