Book Review: ‘Zeba: An Accidental Superhero’ by Huma S Qureshi

A Gripping Blend of Fantasy, Culture, and Heroism

Book Title: Zeba: An Accidental Superhero
Author: Huma S Qureshi
Publisher: HarperCollins India
Number of Pages: 208
ISBN: 978-9356996076
Date Published: Dec. 2, 2023
Price: INR 346

Zeba by Huma Qureshi Book Cover

Book Review

Huma Qureshi takes readers on an exciting trip into the life of an unlikely superhero in her debut book, “Zeba”. “Zeba”, a young lady thrust with tremendous talents and the daunting task of rescuing the world, is the protagonist of the novel. Dramatically, Qureshi opens his story with “Zeba”, an infant, abandoned in the sacred spring of Zsa Zsa, where he is miraculously saved by a lightning strike and taken in by the prosperous Akhoon family. This establishes the scene for a story that deftly combines aspects of cultural history, fantasy, and human growth.

Set in the imaginary kingdom of Khudir, “Zeba” pulls readers from a luxurious existence in New York to the center of a nation teeming with ancient mysteries and political intrigue. During her journey to Khudir, “Zeba” finds her unique talents in water manipulation. Initially indifferent to her newfound obligations, “Zeba” embarks on a voyage of self-discovery and responsibility as she grapples with her fate. The story dives into her personal problems as well as the external pressures she experiences, making for an engaging read from beginning to end.

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Qureshi’s writing is captivating, blending fantastical themes with contemporary issues. The story delves into complex subjects like power, family, and women’s struggles in patriarchal society. The presence of a royal hijra persona provides historical background and a new perspective on neglected communities. The novel’s unique blend of fantastical themes with contemporary locations and concerns makes it stand out. The climactic encounter between “Zeba” and her father, the Great Khan, encapsulates the theme of good versus evil and highlights the nuanced causes of seemingly cruel deeds.

Zeba”, as a whole, is a welcome and unexpected addition to the South Asian fantasy genre, fusing magical realism, cultural criticism, and contemporary relevance into an engaging and thought-provoking narrative. Fans of fantasy, superhero stories, and intricate, multi-layered storylines should not miss “Zeba”, which is a must-read for Huma Qureshi’s debut and a tribute to her writing talent.

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