In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate and Most Merciful.
I have just finished reading Anthem, by Hlovate. And my back hurts like hell right now. I've been sitting on this chair for more than 8 hours I think. Okay, enough talk.
To those who aren't familiar with Hlovate, he/she is this anonymous writer who hides behind the name of Hlovate, a combination of "Hate" and "Love", applying oxymoron. Basically, all his/her novels circle around how the protagonists struggle to find the meaning of life and have gone through hell and survived. Anthem, I should say has some differences compared to his/her other novels.
Basically Anthem is about a girl named Nur Dania Dashrin, a third-culture kid who has moved in and out of continents and countries and is sent to Malaysia by her parents so that she can learn something about her culture and her roots. It was hell for her at first. All the things she fancies (music, basketball etc) seem to be going against her. She is a Malay, a Muslim Malay but she never practice the religion nor the culture. When she starts her IB programme, she seems to be on the right track of looking for the right path of life: the road to fear God. She has met few people that help her to be better, and even her brother, Haikal, decides to change for good after seeing her.
The different thing about Anthem is that the protagonist, Nur Dania Dashrin, or famously known as Dash is that she actually has no idea about Islam. Her parents do not practice anything except for celebrating Eid. And there's a slight twist where Dash struggles with her love life, unlike Trisy in Rooftop Rant or Jo in 5 Tahun 5 Bulan. I like the part where Anthem is written as a continuum for Rooftop Rant. Trisy is actually the one who helped Dash at Aberdeen and Jade helped Lee. Oh, and you will discover who is Lee as you read the novel. I am so not gonna be a partypooper, spilling everything here.
Overall, I think the book is different. But a good different. I expected the heroine would go through some struggles, met the hero, they be good together, get married and continue the D&T (dakwah & tarbiyah) thingy. But Anthem is different. And I still dig the part where Hlovate writes stuff that is not just a mere fluff. He/she actually helps readers to further indulge themselves in the beauty of the religion with his/her satirical tone. Everything mentioned in the novel is a slap-in-the-face, wake-up call for me, and insyaallah for us all readers.
Hope you guys have a good time reading Anthem and may you learn something from the plot. Hey, Allah sees efforts, not the outcomes. May Allah bless!