Spoiler Alert: Contains major spoilers.
No honour is another unputdownable crime thriller by Awais Khan. This time it’s the heart-wrenching tale of a brave 16-year-old village girl, Abida, who keeps landing herself from the frying pan into the fire by either her own misguided decisions or the evil intentions of people around her. It details her struggle from almost being killed for honour in a Punjabi village, to being sold in prostitution in Lahore, forced into drug addiction and finally her escape to a life of peace. Although the story starts and ends with the honour debate (via honour killings in villages), most of it is about the criminal underbelly of Lahore and its peripheral areas, atrocities of the sex trade in Lahore, drug use by the poor and elite alike and inhumane treatment of Pakistani women in general. Some characters were very well sketched. I particularly liked Jamil’s character for his standing up against brutal customs for his daughter. Kalim’s character is mention-worthy and had a good arc, a classic rise-fall. Abida was pretty much unrelatable for me as the author’s previous character, Mona, and my eyes went quite ‘round’ at her antics, but I liked that she was gutsy. The writing style is quite different from the author’s debut novel ITCOS. ITCOS was unapologetic, a take it or leave it sort of a book, and left a lot to the reader’s interpretation. No honour constantly reasserts beliefs, explains every motive, telling the readers what to think in various parts. I felt my ears burning a little due to the graphic incidents of brutal rape scattered throughout the novel. It was a heavy read in many parts with few light-hearted moments or relief, but such was the nature of the tale and such true stories go unheard every day.