Venom Suria by Mazni Aznita

Suria gadis ceria dan periang, namun miliki sejarah hitam dalam kelahiran. Yang membuatkan dia diburu dan dijejaki untuk meleraikan sebuah kisah sumpahan, lalu mempertemukan dia dengan dua lelaki berbeza sifat. Izwan jenis yang dingin dan panas baran. Cakapnya harus dipatuhi atau dia akan meletup! Nazrul sentiasa cool tapi punya rahsia terpendam yang menyiksa jiwa. Seorang lelaki ditakdirkan membunuhnya. Kedua-duanya muncul tak diundang, tetapi meninggalkan kesan mendalam. Lalu bermulalah permainan cat and mouse antara mereka sehingga game over!

Wow, I took more than a week and a half to finish this book, because this book has about 700 pages, small font and maybe a 1.15 spacing. But these were not a problem as long as the readability quality was good.

Now, from my last post, I'd told you that I've bought this book because of the cheesy tagline on the cover; "Loved by two men, one wants to protect her, the other wants to kill her". I cannot say I'm impressed by the tagline, but it certainly caught my attention- because of the cheesiness. I'd also mentioned how the cover was very interesting, and now that I've read the book, it was fitting as well. Alright, now where do we start.

The first thing I want to talk about had got to be the plot or the story. Story-wise, this book was awesome. I seldom read supernatural thriller both in Malay and English language, so you can say I'm not very familiar with all of these. But I do know a good story when I read one, and this one was very well-written. Ms Mazni done quite well in terms of world building, creating a believable evil entity in which any local readers could associate with folklore and local superstitions, and a detailed history for the entity. The suspense and mystery managed to keep me glued to the pages and kept me wondering the whole time. Starting out the tension was a gruesome murder in which the characters were baffled as the evidence they gathered pointed out the culprit was neither a human or an animal. From there, we were also introduced to some people involved in a sort of secret organization whose motivation and intention were vague. The whole CSI-like process was done delicately and was easy to follow- even though there were a bit of infodump- but not too many for me to complain. 

Second thing is the characters. This had gotta be the only book I'd read so far to contain so many characters, about 15 or more. But of course only the selected important were given thoughtful development and backstory. I liked most of the characters, especially the main ones, with their own quirks and conflicts spread out on the pages of this book. Suria the headstrong girl who was dedicated as a reporter, Izwan the diligent police, Nazrul the flirt (??), caring father Baharom and many, many more. I do feel there was a lack of chemistry between Suria and Nazrul, and Suria and Izwan. These two were supposed to be her romantic interest, but it felt so forced and flat. I don't understand how Nazrul's flirty and childish attitude (yes, I said childish), could capture Suria's heart so easily. Well, maybe because he was caring, but at best his caring attitude came with his sweet talks so it appeared as if he was just taking advantage of her. I also didn't understand how on earth Suria and Izwan could be romantically attracted to one another. Their relationship felt a bit stony, meaningless, and I couldn't see well how these people connect with one another to make them love one another as implied in this book. The romance here was just like any other Malay romance book I'd been avoiding like a plague. I just didn't understand what the heck made these characters fall in love the way they did. Then again, I've never been in love...

Moving on.

Third thing I want to talk about is the POV. This book was written in a third person point of view in an omniscient sense. Apart from the sinister monster, all of the characters' feelings and thoughts were laid bare and this could be a bit discomfiting depending on how well you liked being an omniscient reader. And also, it might get confusing once in a while. For example, in one scene, a character named Hadif found himself in an unknown room and saw a man sitting right beside him. The narrator was talking from Hadif but then it changed its character focus to the other man who was actually Izwan. And the tension here died away because even if readers knew who Izwan was, Hadif didn't and so for a few seconds we were a bit confused with what was going on. I've never been a fan of third person POV, as I think the shifting focus from one characters' thought to another in a single scene is distracting. But this book was still bearable on this matter. 

All in all, this was a very good book. It was the first supernatural thriller I've ever read in Malay, and damn, Ms Mazni had done very well. I am hoping to read more from her and I hope that she would write more unconventional stories like this in the future.