Review – “Survival Sandstorm” by Mehul Jangir

Which is the youngest author one can read and go all praises? 20 years? 25 years maybe? Nah, the youngest author whose work I was offered to review was a 12 year old at the time of writing the book, now 14 years at the time of publication, and I can’t stop myself from saying that this teenager is one of those authors, whose work I will always look forward to.
Survival Sandstorm by Mehul Jangir is a story of survival and perseverance. Set during the second world war, the story follows the journey of a young Soviet pilot, Ivsker, who has been tasked with the responsibility of transferring 3 Nazi hostages, the ones who have the power to change the course of the war itself, from Africa to the Soviet territory.

Ivsker is aboard the small aircraft that has been given to him for the transfer of the super-duper valuable cargo (read hostages) into the hands of the Soviets. Cramped in the metal bird, Nimitz, and Jason, the soldiers accompanying Ivsker, keep a watch on the three heads meant to change everything. While flying over the notorious Sahara desert, Ivsker’s plane runs into a storm, which results in their nosedive crash into the sand. Luckily enough, all the passengers aboard the plane survived, but the condition is not good. While Ivsker remains unconscious for more than 2 days, Nimitz escapes with injuries and Jason suffers a scorpion bite during the tread through the Sahara which ends his life a day later. Amongst the hostages,  one deceives and escapes, one dies after being hit by stones during a sandstorm later and the remaining one, along with Nimitz and Ivsker are captured by a slave trader, Amid.
Now the question remains, will Ivsker be able to deliver the only hostage to the Soviets? Can the three of them escape from the clutches of the slave traders? Will the escaped hostage ever be found? Can the war be stopped, or will it continue to rage until millions more die?

When I said above that this is the youngest author whom I’ve read and now admire, I didn’t mean that the writing is flawless. Exceptional, yes, for his age, but needs polishing. While there was no problem in the language and the grammar, there definitely is room for improvement in the narration. Too many sentences, too many words, could have been easily cut down to a lesser number with the help of good editing. Research has been done on the major parts, names of the arms and ammunition, Nazi et al, but few things have been ignored/misjudged. The story moves slowly, but the narration is fast, a distinct quality which I have sparsely come across, and the imagination of the boy author is running wild.  Though the narration is in the first person, the “I” changes with each chapter, different characters take center stage in different chapters. Characterization is still in progress, and I wouldn’t say much about it since this one is just the first part of the series.
The plot has the backdrop of WWII but the story that has been unfolded until now doesn’t have a lot of its elements. In fact, it is seemingly moving towards a very different course. The story was cut short, abruptly to move onto the next part, could have been a more dramatic/hang in there kind of ending. But I should wait for the other parts to be released before judging, who knows what is in store (I hate waiting for parts of the series to be released) 
Also, I mustn’t forget to mention that this is my first read, fiction and otherwise, in relation to the WWII, and it has intrigued me to delve further into the horrific war that happened way before I was born. Having said the above, I did do a little bit of research before and after reading this book, the basic causes and outcomes of the war and I was left thinking of the sheer stupidity and ego that led to it and the horrendous situation during and in the aftermath. It would have been good if there was a little introduction that included WWII for readers like me.
I would recommend it to the ones who like thrillers and chases. Do read this one by an author who will someday definitely give his competitors a run for their money.


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