Sempurna: The Story of A Friendship || A Book Review

Firstly, I just wanna hi, welcome to my dusty blog. It’s been a while. I’ve been meaning to post a couple of blog posts last 2 months but none of my drafts were completed hence I went totally MIA for over 2 months. But here I am, with a review of a very recent local release, Sempurna. Hope you like it. P.S, I kinda forgot how to write a proper review as well. Bear with me.

Sempurna

Author: Aiman Hazziq

Publisher: Buku Fixi

Released: April 1st, 2021

Genre: Mystery

Pages: 260

Format: Paperback

Characters: Emir, Kurt, Sid, Liz, Aria, …

Malay

Mereka berlima mempunyai satu tradisi. Dua tahun sekali, mereka akan berkumpul untuk sebuah weekend reunion. Dua tahun sekali tanpa gagal. Sehinggalah reunion mereka yang keempat, salah seorang daripada mereka memecahkan berita bahawa dia punya kanser paru-paru yang fatal.

Berita itu mengubah landskap grup mereka, walau seketat mana pun mereka cuba berpegang sesama sendiri. Reunion kelima membawa mereka menyusuri satu perjalanan yang diatur si penghidap kanser. Setiap daripada mereka diberi klu, untuk mencari sesuatu yang ditinggalkan sahabat mereka yang sudah pergi.

Ini kisah perjalanan lima sahabat rapat, yang kini tinggal empat.

English

Every two years, without fail, five friends will gather for a weekend reunion. On the fourth gathering, one of them announced he has lung cancer and is dying.

The news changed the dynamic of the group. The fifth reunion brought them to a journey in solving a mystery left by their friend through the clues that are left behind.

This is a journey of five close friends, which only left with four now.

First of all, I’d like to thank the author for sending his book in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t sure at first how soon will I able to review his book but once his book arrived at my house, I started reading it instantly. I was curious about it and eventually finished the entire book in half a day.

As soon as I started reading this book, I didn’t like the first page as much and I’m all about the first page, meaning whether I like the first page or not is very important as it sets my impression for the entire book. Already, we’re off to a not so great start. But well, let’s talk about what’s nicely done in Sempurna first. I found the writing style is pretty solid, the author knows what he’s doing, though I did find there are certain commentary or lines that don’t make sense to me. For example, a character is doing this one thing and suddenly there’s this line of commentary on the action or the dialogue that doesn’t really match or make any sense to what’s said or done.

Another thing I like is the way the timeline is arranged. The timeline goes back and forth between the past and the present but it is not confusing at all. It was easy to fly through the pages and there was nothing too complex about the story. I also love the small things that are mentioned in this book, such as Solero ice cream, the song Chasing Cars and the movie About Time. Small details like this which I can relate to, matters a lot to me.

Now, let’s talk about the things I don’t like as much about Sempurna. This is all about personal preferences and I know many are going to enjoy this book regardless but these are just some of the things I’m not a big fan of. I found the characters in this book don’t have much presence as in they do not stand out as an individual. I feel as a main character, Emir is rather plain, he doesn’t really have much personality. I know that he’s rich and he’s loyal to his friends. That’s basically it. Liz, she has a strong personality but not much of a background story, sadly. Aria’s marriage is problematic and again, that’s basically it. Kurt has a strong background story and personality but I just don’t feel much for him to be honest. I think Sid is the most interesting character out of all because he talks about his feelings. His presence and story is constantly being brought up through the entire story, hence that makes him more memorable compared to the rest.

Next, I was hoping that the issues brought up in this book could be discussed with further details but it fell short for me. Some really good issues are highlighted such as domestic violence, sexual abuse and lgbt. Sadly, they are only discussed on the surface, if only the author went a little deeper into these issues, it would be more impactful. However, I did like the discussion about the consumption of alcohol and drugs among the Muslims as well as sex, especially in Malaysia. It’s a very sensational issue, between what’s wrong and right when it comes to the religion. But I’m not that surprise because FIXI writers tend to write about taboo topics like this. FIXI books are only meant for pembaca matang anyways.

I think my last comment is this book feels like a Young Adult Contemporary/Mystery to me because it’s about a group of adults in their mid 20s reminiscing their past as teenagers. It reminds me a lot of Paper Town by John Green. Searching for clues and trying to solve a mystery. So, the first half of the book is pretty much boring for me. Their journey in solving the secret gift Kurt (the friend who passed away) left them didn’t intrigue me at all. Maybe it’s just me because mystery is not something I enjoy to read, I just didn’t have the feeling of wanting to know what’s going to happen next in the story. I was basically waiting for that one plot twist that’s going to blow my mind and that’s what keeping me reading this book.

I think a good plot twist will linger in your mind for a while and the plot twist in Sempurna does just that. It made me flip the front pages and tried to reread certain lines to confirm the details and making sure my understanding is correct. The twist didn’t hit me as much because there are other surprising scenes prior to that main plot twist but I appreciate that it made me rethink about certain plot points in the book.

Overall, if you want to recall some of your good (and maybe bad) memories during high school, especially if you stay in asrama, you can definitely get this book, because it’s highly relatable for you guys. If you are into road trips and a story of friendship, go ahead, pick this one up. If you’d like something sentimental and emotional, also go check this book out, I just read a review on goodreads saying she cried a bit in certain parts of this book, but surprisingly I had a heart of stone as I was reading this book, I hardly felt sad for those scenes, which is weird cause I’m such an emotional person. But again, you may read the same book but feel differently about it because you read it at different time in your life. It’s all about timing.

Trigger warnings: Sex, sexual assault, domestic violence, drugs, bully


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