This is a delightful novella. It’s fresh and weird and engaging, a sci-fi-fantasy set in near-future Kathmandu. An interesting mix of traditional magic elements (djinn! I love djinn.) with traditional sci-fi elements (vaguely creepy AI!), and pretty bonkers…but weirdly lovable?…characters. The themes and the narrative are brutal, whimsical, funny, and sobering, sometimes all at once. This was riiiiight up my alley, and I recommend it to anyone looking to mix it up a little.
Melek Ahmar, the Lord of Mars, the Red King, the Lord of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of Djinn has woken up. He is aghast when he realizes that despite his long and illustrious history of power and domination, humans have basically forgotten about him. Not only that, but human society has changed: they now rely on nanobots to keep the air clean enough to breathe, and a god-like AI to keep things going, and they generally seem content with their lot. This will not do for Melek Ahmar, the Lord of Mars, the Red King, the Lord of of Tuesday, Most August Rajah of Djinn. What, is he just supposed to sit around and not conquer things? He enlists a sidekick, a slightly shifty off-the-grid gurkha, Bhan Gurung, who has a particular fondness for pistachios and knives, and goes about trying to regain his power.
I don’t want to give anything else away, so if you’re intrigued by this short description, you should probably just pick up the book.