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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
Murmuration by Sid Balman Jr. follows the lives of a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds who find their destinies entwined together while fighting on behalf of the United States. In the early 90s, Charlie Christmas, a Somali translator hired by the US Army, helps Second Lieutenant Ademar Zarkan, a fourth-generation Texan Muslim, and Captain Prometheus Stone to eliminate the notorious Somali pirate Iblis. However, he loses his wife and baby niece in the process. After spending two years in the Hagadera Refugee camp, Charlie and his son Amiir are rescued by their old friends, including their loyal canine Buck, in a stealth operation. Now in the US, Charlie and Amiir traverse through South Dakota, narrowly surviving a racist encounter to start a new life in Minnesota. But racist and radical elements are never far away.
Murmuration showcases the basic tenets of an ideal America, the land of dreams where people from diverse cultures, socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, and religions come together to form a unified whole. Author Sid Balman Jr. incorporates some events from recent years that perfectly portray the complexities that arise when people give in to their base urges or gravitate toward any radicalized doctrines. The narrative switches timelines and POVs constantly to accommodate the large cast of characters and the timespan of the story. The plot moves at a brisk pace, devoid of a single dull moment. I found the characters complex, with layers of depth to their outer personas that made them thoroughly captivating to read. Highly recommended.