Reminiscent of human sagas such as The Alchemist and the Life of Pi, AKIN unapologetically delves deeper into the human condition, masterfully weaving the triumph of the human spirit against its darkest shadows.
“The book is written in such a way as to provoke pathos and curiosity.” – Charles Franklin, Midwest Book Review
Aydan awakens to voices he does not recognize – fearing the worst, he prays, hoping they will leave him. But it’s too late. Other villagers witness his waking nightmare, and he is quickly imprisoned, set to await vile rituals meant to rid him of demons. But the fear that has followed him all his life is soon replaced with anger, as betrayal and a new friendship urge him passionately towards freedom. He soon finds himself on a unknown path, flung into the mystical, grand desert that surrounds him.
Robin Murarka’s AKIN explores philosophy, existentialism, and the human condition within a unique, immersive setting. It escapes the confines of modern taboos to present an ancient, archaic world whose brutality and humanity is true to form. If you enjoy epic narratives that skillfully juxtapose internal struggles against the backdrop of huge, worldly events, you will find yourself lost within the pages of AKIN, clamoring for more long after the story is over.
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Sample the novel by reading the first chapter in its entirety here
AKIN is also available on Amazon. AKIN is printed in Australia using the highest quality materials, from the cover to each individual page, and is printed on 100% recycled paper. Each aspect of its production has been overseen by the author to ensure colors, margins, and product weight are as per his specifications. This is not a POD (print on demand) product.
AKIN is available in select libraries across Australia and second hand copies may be purchased from third parties. All proceeds from sales via the shop go directly to supporting the author. Each copy of AKIN is accompanied with a unique, complimentary bookmark, also designed by the author.
For a limited time, receive free shipping when you purchase both Rone Isa and AKIN from the Robin Murarka store. Use coupon BUNDLE.
Wonderfully unique setting and equally impressive protagonist. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys gradual pacing and existential theorizing especially. Looking forward to author’s other work in the future.
Review by Mike
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It took me at least 10 chapters to really get invested into this story, but as soon as I did, it was great. It is a lengthy novel so keep that in mind if you are looking for a quick read, this is not the story for you. Also, as others have stated it does have doses of graphic darkness, but I really enjoyed that since I felt it really added to the story and what Aydan is living through in his world.
Living in Aydan’s world is no treat, and I am thankful that we do not live in conditions such as he! I feel like I don’t read many books like this, and it was definitely new to me. The journey from boy to man and trying to figure out his own thoughts about the world around him. The characterization is very good, and I loved trying to imagine what his world looked like. At times I did feel like the story dragged along, but it eventually picks up it’s pace again.
I would recommend this book to anyone, just to read something different! It is always good to try new things whether you end up liking them or not.
Review by Rose Scandell
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This was an interesting read, and I liked how real Aydan seemed. There were instances where I could understand what he was thinking and why. The book was a little long for me (515 pages). However within these pages the author covers so many things. A few are the loss of a pet, a lonely child and of course the feeling of faith. This is definitely not a book to read fast, but to rather read a chapter, and then ponder its meaning. I spent a lot of time reading this book, but I really enjoyed its meaning. I am giving this book a 4/5. I was given a copy to review, however all opinions are my own.
Review by Victoria Brinius
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“Akin” is an incredibly interesting story that captivated me from beginning to end that reminded strikingly of “Acheron” by Sherilyn Kenyon. It features the life story of a young man who is harshly treated by his father only to encounter even harsher conditions after waking up in a prison under a sadistic prison keeper. The book follows hi escape from that prison to a new life. Several twists and turn lead him into various ups and downs until he finds up ends where he wants to be, himself.
What makes this story so intriguing to me was its exoticism. The book is written in such a way as to provoke pathos and curiosity.The author deliberately (in my view) provides some details about Akin’s culture, but leaves out other detail. He also freely slips into stream-of-consciousness writing at will, which is disorienting and strikingly creative at the same time. Readers are never really quite sure of their footing, but will hold on to see where their journey will take them.
The balance between two polar opposites is carried throughout the book.There are shocking scenes of ugliness and brutality in the book (Samaye’s treatment and death, rape, Jarvis’ death, destruction of Sumat), but there are also incredibly beautiful scenes (Akin’s friendship with Samaye, Akin’s survival, Akin’s talks with Jarvis). I was a little shocked at some of those scenes, but realize why the author added them.
In my view, the author wants to show the beauty and the ugliness of the human condition. All of it is part of the human journey, which I believe is the central point of this book. As humans we can encounter cruelty, loneliness, and poverty, but we can also experience happiness, joy, and freedom. Realizing that both halves of the human condition will help us reach the epiphany that Akin does has at the end of the book.
Incredible start for a debut author! I am glad to have read it.
Review by Kindle Customer
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First of all, Robin Murarka is a gifted story teller. The author can draw you into the story and fill you with an instant isolation of another world.
However there were so many of parts of Akin that felt, to me, as though the writer was deep in thought, remembering some ancient tribal dream or story and then suddenly would decide: “I’m done”. For at certain points in the story, I would feel like I was being kicked out of book by some misplaced dialog, characters that acted against their developing nature, or language that was thrown in like a sight gag in a movie.
So, I had this love/hate affair with the book, and I kept waiting to see, what was the point? What would Akin learn? Would there ever be any maturity, growth or realization in his life.
Sadly, I did not feel that the main character went through any transformations due to his ordeals, but instead allowed his ordeals to make him an even more shallow character. The only reason that I read it to the end was my hope for the boy to come to sort of awakening that he never experienced.
The story contains horrific descriptions of violence and sexual acts, which you are made you to believe are accepted or cultural norms of some ancient or faraway cultures.
I had my own mental battle when coming to rate the book. My personal enjoyment, and what I believed was a lack of a message, I felt the book deserves a 3 star rating, however, for captivating story telling, that successfully draws you into Akins journey of isolation, the author deserves a 4. It’s just not one that I could easily follow or get really excited about. So I am awarding 4 stars, with personal reservations.
Review by Tom
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I enjoy the darker aspects of the novel as well as the character change and development. At times the switching in the narrative from within the boy’s mind and thoughts to an objective narrator of the outside environment is confusing. I have enjoyed the spiritual journey of how he searches for his truth, and the consequences and hardships that come with it. I felt as if I had been given a unique insight into a man’s spiritual journey as he finds his oneness of his own belief system, and how we often have no real insight of where we are going and who we will become as we live with the risk and constant possibility of failure. I think the inner strength of will combined with a constant dangling of a broken will, is what creates an inner life that is rich with love and hope and insight. As a criticism, sometimes in the plot there were almost what seemed to be story saves, where the main character missed a near death incident or a lucky strike of fate happened that forced the story forward, or his beloved friend died but he was saved and it appeared almost out of context compared to the rest of the misfortune Akin has had to endure. I enjoyed the first part of the book and his kidnapping and him walking through the desert as well as the rape of the young girl which I thought was much more powerful emotionally than the second part of him entering a city. I thought his relationship with the oracle was a bit tedious and pointless with no real deep emotional attachment and given the fact he lost his father I would assume that relationship would have been more powerful, as this man stepped into an already well established scar. I did though enjoy the subtle musings about his father and mother. I also found it odd that there is so much clarity about the political structure of the world, but at times during the book basic things were unclear, it felt at times the reader was purposely left in the dark without certain words and subtle descriptions of the environment that would be clear to anyone experiencing it first hand, but then out of nowhere a perfectly clear understanding of the complex social hierarchy and power struggles emerge in the city, I felt that was a strange contradiction. I also enjoyed the transient sexual relationship Akin had near the end with the woman who painfully felt abandoned and unloved as his continued walking towards personal freedom. I found her perspective and anger towards him so alien to his world, but as a woman I could relate to her sorrow and helplessness as she grasped at straws so to speak to avoid the eventual death and hardship that awaited her in every land she went and her desire to create her own un-found island. I think overall it is an insightful and wise read about the will to live.
Review by Suzanne
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I just do not enjoy this style of writing. A confusing plot and no apparent continuity in the story’s layout. I deleted the whole book after 20 pages.
Review by Arthur
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This is an incredible book with so many psychological layers I couldn’t stop thinking about Aydan/Akin after I put it down. In a way, I could imagine this is what our ancestors would have been like before we had science to support and unpack uncertainty. Our imagination would have been used to explain and try and fix that which could not be understood.
Akin is a very raw and powerful tale. The author has done a brilliant job capturing Aydan’s journey the hardship he endures, and the people he meets and how Akin experiences and grows. This is definitely an adult book and some of the scenes were graphic in order for the author to demonstrate the darker side of humanity.
I really enjoyed this book, it’s beautifully chilling in parts which makes it so unique. In fact, I didn’t want it to end. I felt like Akin had established himself as my friend, the strong emotions he felt, I felt them too. When I did turn the last page—clicked the last page on my kindle—it was surreal moment. I came away wondering if everything we have today is just a façade, that deep down, we’re all a little like the characters in this book.
Fantastic. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book I want to read again!
Review by L.A. Wild
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Akin is a novel which explores many diverse themes and, for this reason, will elicit different reactions from different readers.
We meet the main protagonist, Aydan, as a very young man who begins a journey which turns out to be both physical and spiritual. The world he inhabits is a harsh one; a hot, arid desert where safety is transient, and comfort an unattainable dream. His journey is arduous and he encounters many grim and harrowing events along the way. Some of his experiences are pretty gruesome and, because they are described so vividly, young or sensitive readers may find parts of the novel hard to read.
Others will enjoy the same passages, fascinated by the raw power of the writing style and a macabre fascination with the age-old phenomenon of man’s inhumanity to man. Oddly, I found myself with a foot in both camps. I was too squeamish to read through all of the gory details, but impressed by the way the prose was able to horrify me so effectively.
Despite this, I couldn’t close the book and abandon Aydan to his fate. His determination to survive and to keep seeking something better for himself gave me reason to care what happened to him. No matter how dark and desolate his situation became, there always seemed to be a tiny spark of hope burning just out of sight, perhaps on the next page.
I was also intrigued by the way the scope of the novel swelled dramatically as the story unfolded. In the beginning, the setting was the limited microcosm of Aydan’s village, where his main concern was trying to make sense of his stunted relationship with his father. By the end, however, the backdrop was an epic sweep of history, with a massive army commanded by a powerful Eastern king sweeping across the landscape, bringing death, destruction, and radical change in its wake.
I had some fun trying to place the story in its historical context. It was an interesting challenge as clues are few and far between. The book description describes the period as “a time void of technology and full of lore passed down by generations of ancient cultures.” Not much help there. And as far as I could tell, the names of characters, places, events, temples, and gods are all fictitious. In fact, so skilfully is this done, that the setting could as easily be on another planet as on Earth.
In the end, I imagined Aydan’s journey taking place somewhere in the desert regions of the Middle East, or perhaps North Africa, and that the army which besieged the city of Sumat was that of the all-conquering Persian Empire of about 2 500 years ago. The walled city states, farming implements, buildings, weapons, and religious conventions seem consistent with that time period. However, I am no expert on ancient history, so my assumptions might be wrong.
Perhaps the author is simply telling a timeless story on an eternal canvas.
Review by Warren Dean
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Aydan has dreams that are proscribed by his tribe. He is sentenced to torture for this, but is set to witnessing his ‘brother’ suffer instead, and so he is filled with conviction that he must escape. What follows is a long distance trip that witnesses the fall of an empire.
This novel is aimed at exploring the extremities of the human condition. While Ayden is living these things, the reader struggles to understand what is going on, and that is part of the appeal for some.
This is totally literary fiction. I think perhaps I had forgotten exactly what that meant. It means high flaunting ideas in a not that logical order, for this novel at least. The text is not accessible in my opinion, and I had difficulty getting through it.
However, this novel did awaken questions in me. Those kind of deep questions that only bother you at night after you’ve finished reading. And that haunt you for days afterwards. In that respect it could potentially be very valuable.
Can I recommend this novel? I don’t think I can, to people who like similar things to me. But if you want a piece of fiction that is going to take you WAY out of your comfort zone, then this could be a novel for you.If you’ve enjoyed the reviews of novels I have studied during my university career, I have no hesitation in recommending it for you.
I received this novel free in time for a review before the Book Expo Australia event, but didn’t get around to reviewing it until very recently.
Review by TheCosyDragon
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This was a really good read.
It was brutal, it was harsh but it was still somewhat gentle, explorative.
Following our main character from a steady, uninteresting life to a life of horrors, friendships, and discovery was great.
It has an interesting format as well, something a little different from a standard novel.
I will put a trigger warning though, this book does contain discussions and acts or rape/sexual abuse, so if that’s not something you can read you have warning.
That being said, it didn’t feel out of place in this harsh society, whether for religion/superstition, rank and power or for the sake of being violent and horrid, it made sense for it to happen in this setting.
Review by Gotherella BioVenom
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“Akin” is an incredibly interesting story that captivated me from beginning to end. It features the life story of a young man who is harshly treated by his father only to encounter even harsher conditions after waking up in a prison under a sadistic prison keeper. The book follows his escape from that prison to a new life. Several twists and turn lead him into various ups and downs until he ends up where he is meant to be.
Review by Tiara
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Wonderful! Fascinating story line. Characters sucked me in. I loved that it was a long book with short chapters, made for a very convenient, satisfying read. Won via Goodreads Giveaway.
Review by James
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I was lucky enough to receive a copy of the book in return for an honest review. All that you read in this review is just my opinion. I read the book in a little bit less than 6 hours, spread across two days. I actually received it yesterday. Though I didn’t have the time to read it in the afternoon, I thought I might read a little before bed. Almost three hundred pages later, I look up at the time and it was long past midnight. It was quite a fascinating book, one that I had to force myself to put down because I was really enjoying it.
The beginning of the book, with the little tale about Samad reminded me of another book I read several years ago, one of my favourites actually. The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. It begins with a tale and that’s how it draws the reader in. With Akin, it leads the reader beyond that throughout the book with several other interesting tales. I found these particularly interesting as, not only does it introduce people to folklore about these places, but it also interests me in the sense of imagining what some of these people in the tales might be like. I can imagine various travellers sharing tales like this amongst a campfire at night or some tavern on one of the stops in the midst of their journey.
In the first few chapters, we’re introduced to the main character, Aydan. He has a hard life, hard at work in his father’s fields. Whilst he works, he thinks of the village he has grown up in. We’re introduced to the people of the village and their ways. I think this was particularly interesting as we get a glimpse of their society. Being that it is a reality we’ve not experienced, this was a perfect way to look into what these people are like, their customs, their traditions and even what types of food they eat.
In a similar fashion, this is also how the author, Robin Murarka, introduces us properly to Aydan and what the boy is like. Though ages aren’t obvious (unless I missed it), I sort of imagine him to be in his late teens, ready for manhood. To me, he certainly seems that way. In somewhat of an innocent fashion, he worries about not being a man. He compares himself to his father and questions his own self. Actually, now that I think about it, I kind of like the way that the ages aren’t as obvious. The same with other portions where descriptions of characters aren’t definite. To me, the author has given me just enough information to know what a character is like, though not enough to control my thoughts on them. I have my own imagination of what Aydan might look like and what the village might look like, though another person might see them mentally as something completely different. I admire authors who do such a thing as they’re giving readers a bit of free thinking, letting them use their own imagination to fill in blanks.
I don’t have any real problems with the book, aside from my personal feelings and from the way I read. The main thing I considered was that, in some portions, I didn’t automatically understand the new words that were introduced to me. The author sort of presents them as if I already ought to know the word’s meaning. A lot of words are explained as we read on, though there are still several that aren’t particularly clear to me. My other problem, this as well just being my personal feelings on the matter, is that in some places I felt that the scenes were a little bit too graphic. I’m not exactly a prude, but I felt that some of the scenes were a little too adult for me to read (I’m 25, but I still think of myself as too young to read some things). I would give examples, but I’d like to keep this review free from spoilers.
I felt that I did particularly enjoy the author’s style of writing. Robin has created a plot and storyline that doesn’t focus entirely on the main character, which I considered to be particularly courageous. It’s not just a story about a boy growing up, it’s also a story about war. I consider the story to also be about places growing up, villages or cities and the way that certain problems might effect them as well as the people that inhabit them.
Continuing with Aydan, I consider that he has met some very interesting people along the way. Assuming that there may be more books along the way, I would like to read more about Aydan. Not only that, I would like to know more about some of the other people he has met. As I’ve said, I’d like to keep this review free of spoilers so I’ll just mention these people by name. I’d like to know more of Samaye, Jarvis, and Arraki. I’d like to know what kind of paths led them through their lives and what kind of background they have all had before meeting Aydan. I’d like to know what happened in the village, Aydan’s hometown and what became of some of the other people Aydan has known along his journeys.
Thinking about all that, I’m just so curious and intrigued. I’m excited to read more from Robin Murarka. I think that it was well worth the read and, in future, I’ll probably read it again. It is well deserving of five stars. I’m actually really impressed with Akin and am looking forward to any books from Robin Murarka in the future.
Review by Cattereia
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