Thursday, 16 June 2011

Review: Killing Honour - Bali Rai

Published: June 2nd 2011, Corgi
Pages: 292 pages, ARC
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher

Summary (from Goodreads): When Sat's sister, Jas, is married off into the Atwal family she changes, she's quiet and distant. But Sat's too busy with his own life; his girlfriend, his friends, football... Then Jas disappears.

According to her new husband, she's run off with another man. Her family disown her; don't seem to care if she's ever found. But Sat doesn't believe it. Something has happened to his sister and he's determined to figure out what. But his investigations take him into dark and dangerous territory...

My review: Anybody who's read anything by Bali Rai before will be well aware that he's not one to shy away from controversial subjects and he makes no exception with Killing Honour. I really enjoyed this book, despite it being far outside my comfort zone. I have read another of Rai's books - City of Ghosts - and loved it, so he's definitely an author I'd recommend to fans of YA.

Rai's use of language is wonderful and deceptively simple. His style reminds me a little of David Almond, although his subject matter is clearly very different. I flew through this book in a matter of hours, it's not particularly short but once the action began I honestly couldn't put it down. I had to know what happened to Sat and his sister, Jas.

The characterisation in Killing Honour is great - I empathised with Jas from the very beginning and, even though she doesn't get a lot of page time, I felt as though I knew her well. Sat is such a brilliant character; throughout the whole book the idea of honour is explored and, really, Sat is one of the most honourable characters I've come across in a long while.

This book will make you cry, it will make you angry and it will make you care deeply about the characters. Yes, it may shock you too but I promise, it will make you think. A wonderful story. Brilliantly executed.

First line: 'The room is cold because she's left the window open, and a wintry storm has turned the sky purple.'

Read if you liked…: An Act of Love - Alan Gibbons

Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3/5
Total: 15/20 (B)


  1. Thanks for your wonderful review Carly - posting a link to my Twitter, FB and website - hope you don't mind!

    warmest wishes,

    Bali Rai.

  2. i read this book a week ago and it was absolutely amazing, it's one of my favorites by Bali Rai, the story line hooked me from the start and i'm glad he confronts the controversial issues which may be faced in society by some people and doesn't ignore them.

  3. i read some of ur books bali rai they fab keep up the good work cant find u on face book lakhver baker xx

  4. Amazing book about honour killings and value systems in different cultures. It will keep you thinking even after you've turned the final page.

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Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.