Tuesday, April 07, 2009

LUKA: the review

* The review of Luka is solely based on my personal opinion after reading the book firsthand. If you think this review is biased and unjust, leave your comment and we might have a healthy discussion on Luka.*

Luka tells the story of three completely different characters.

Luka Ricardo Taruna - The main character. He's not your typical dashing knight in shining armor. Well... at least not in the beginning of the story. Luka is an average Joe the ultimate geek who, just like most guys, dreams of a perfect girl for him. Yes, Luka dreams of happiness and love as well but unfortunately, he believes that he can get all that when he get the lady of his dream, Rika Ramawy.

Rika Ramawy - She is the 'it' girl. The queen bee. The Paris Hilton of Jakarta International High School (JIHS). She is the object of desire for Luka. But for Rika Ramawy, only perfection matters. Luka, in Rika Ramawy's eyes, is nowhere near perfect. In fact, Luka is a revolting creature to Rika.

Alia - Weird. I don't remember her full name. Alia is your typical girl-next-door. She is Luka and Rika's best friend. Only through her can Luka get any piece of Rika. While all the time, Alia herself has fallen for Luka. She wishes for Luka's happiness more than she wishes for herself. If only she could open Luka's eyes to see her instead of Rika...

My verdict: Readable, but not exciting or engaging enough.

Luka, in a way, is different from what I've read before. But yet, it's a familiar territory. Boy meets girl, falls in love without realizing that it's a wrong girl and that the right girl is beside him all along. As I said, familiar.

What sets Luka apart is that Luka himself is not good looking. Luka is not that jejaka tampan bertubuh sasa we always read in most Malay novels. Luka wears thick glasses, he got braces, his face is marred with scar and pimples. Rika even called Luka 'muka ikan' (fish face). I tried to conjure Luka's face in my head but what came to mind is always the ugly Betty. Funny (no, not really). I like Luka, though. He's adamant in pursuing Rika.

And then there's this friendship between Luka and Alia. We all know how clueless men can be about women's feelings so it was no wonder that Luka doesn't see right through Alia. What's with his obsession about Rika, he is simply blind to see Alia's love for him. Alia stood by him, nonetheless, even after one humiliating incident which prompts Luka to leave Indonesia without saying a word. Now, when Luka leaves Indonesia, the story got a bit more interesting.

Overall, I'll say it's not bad for the first book from Tris. There's room for improvement, certainly, but it is not bad. I would really like it if I could explore more of Luka, Rika and Alia. Alia, especially. She is pretty forgettable to me. Somehow, her character is not strong enough compared to Rika. I feel like I know Rika better than Alia. In fact, I feel like I know Tante Yen more than I know Alia. Alia is suppose to be a lovable character, so there should be more of her in the book.

Luka is a simple story. It's not riveting enough but at least it is not dragging. Luka does not drone on pointless details like most Malay novels do. It's quick. It doesn't waste any time in telling the story. Luka is suitable for a quick, uncomplicated read.

My rating: 2 1/2 stars out of 5

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