Rating 3,5 stars
(review in Indonesian, click here)
(review in Indonesian, click here)
|Nice cover. It goes well for the mood in the story.|
Why I read it in the first place?
Honestly? Well, some days ago I went to a book store that was having their fourth anniversary celebration by discounting a massive amount of books. Mostly are books that I have no interest in. But then, my eyes caught something familiar, Satin Merah (Red Satin in English, but this book only available in Indonesian for now). The most amazing part was when I checked the price, it’s JUST Rp 10.000 (something like 1 US dollar!), the actual price was Rp 37.000. I have been eyeing Satin Merah since last year, it was in my will-buy-when-I-have-extra-money-but-I-know-it-won’t-happen list. There’s one thing that made me very curious with this book at first. On the back cover, it tells a glimpse of the story and I thought it was cool. Then there’s this endorsement from fellow Indonesian novelist, Feby Indirani, says, “A theme that’s mostly untouched by writers nowadays.” I never read Feby’s works so I didn’t know how I should feel about her comment. But heck, I already felt very challenged and I couldn’t care less who says what. I thought, “Oh, really?”
Nindhita Irani Nadyasari, or Nadya for short, is the lead character in Satin Merah. This 17 year-old girl has... a psychological disorder? I don’t know, not very sure if she is bipolar or a psychopath. But clearly this girl has issue, like mentally unstable issue. However, even after finishing this book, I couldn’t feel sorry whatsoever with Nadya. Were the writers purposely steer the reader to dislike this Nadya character? Well, I don’t know, I’m not one of the writers (LOL). Satin Merah was written by two writers who haven’t meet in person while working on the novel (now they’re married though, so sweet, you can check their blog here).
Personally, I would say that this book has a unique plot, original idea, and very informative too. I grinned like Cheshire cat when I found out I got a great book with a great price, seriously, my cheeks hurt. I rarely read books by Indonesian authors (I don’t mean it like I anti them, but I just feel uninterested with most of it, you know, same theme, predictable plot, blabla), but I think Satin Merah deserves much more popularity than most Indonesian novels that published this past three years. Satin Merah was published in 2010, and I didn’t hear any uproar (yeah, right) about it, at all. Okay, maybe it has something to do with my lack of socializing (because I live in a pineapple under the sea with retarded starfish as my only friend).
Sooo, why 3,5 stars, you meanie! Calm down, I have my reasons. One, because I didn’t have it in me to like the main character, Nadya the bipolar slash psychopath girl. Even when I finished the book, resolution revealed and all, I. Still. Didn’t. Like. Her. It’s so objective, big chance you’ll get different reaction, maybe you’ll even adore her in the end. And, I’m a type of reader who read a book and sees the main character as me (weird much?). Therefore, when I crossed a character like Nadya, even with her historical background and thoughts, I couldn’t justify her actions, just not good enough reason to do what she does in the book.
Then again, I feel some parts in the story are forced, need more explanation, and unrealistic here and there. The explanation for the phrase ‘satin merah’ itself is so interesting. What a fresh idea and very suitable to be the title of this book. But, if it’s used as what in the book explains, it’s just very unrealistic. No one comes up with ‘that’ when facing things like ‘that’. And when Nadya came across with the motorbike gang, I felt a very wide leap in the story. Really really felt weird and kind of forced. I have some unanswered questions, like, where the chronology of the last writer murder? Who did hack the girl’s Facebook account? How come the killer is able to hide the second victim very neatly like that? And else. I can’t keep rambling about this, will be a bad spoiler.
However, I highly praise this book in the beginning because after all it was succeed to hypnotize me. While reading Satin Merah, I definitely could feel the suspense and thrill. Those downsides I talked about before, were vanished because Satin Merah was accomplished to fulfill my #1 criteria of a great book, it is, to be able to deliver the emotion to its reader. Strange for me, because I don’t like the main character but I could totally ‘feel’ this book. This told me it is a great book indeed.
Satin Merah is very informative, especially about Sundanese Literature (note: Sundanese is an ethnic in West Java, Indonesia), how to write properly, and blog stuff. I felt very enlighten about Sundanese Literature because of this book. The authors also tell so much about how to write because in this story, Nadya is ambitious to be a writer but she has no such talent. So, while reading the book, you’ll also get writing lesson as much as Nadya gets. Plus, there are also some blog tricks that I have no idea about (it still parts of the story) which making me like a total clueless newbie in this blogospher (true, though).
All in all, it’s a very interesting book for me. For readers who want to try uncommon theme in Indonesian novel realm, you should give Satin Merah a try. Not too complex, enjoyable, great information to expand our knowledge about Sundanese Literature.
Me, after finishing the book and still doesn't feel anything towards the main character...