Samit Basu - Turbulence (3 stars)

Action-packed superhero novel set in India

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Samit Basu - Turbulence

It’s boom time for superheroes in pop culture. The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises are the three biggest films of the year and there are plenty more to come. However original novels about super men and women are still relatively rare (though we must quickly recommend Austin Grossman’s excellent Soon I Will be Invincible).

Turbulence takes in a few clichés as a groups of passengers on a plane suddenly find themselves with a variety of powers. We get good guys and bad guys and inevitably they clash. But that’s where the been-there-done-that ends, Samit Basu is an Indian author and setting most of the action on the Indian subcontinent adds a freshness to the entire narrative. It’s a new perspective on superheroes, the cultural differences mean even while rattling through some of the tropes of the genre we are experiencing them from a new angle.

While inevitably there is a Superman cypher, Basu’s imagination when it comes to the multitude of abilities he bestows on his characters also keeps you guessing as their powers are revealed throughout. He writes great action set pieces, skilfully juggling a multitude of characters, he struggles more with the deeper introspection. However this is a constantly entertaining page turner as Basu has assembled an intriguing, eminently likeable and exotic cast that should only grow in the promised sequels. (Titan)

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