Review: Bulan – Is This Indonesia’s Answer To The Hunger Games?

Bulan by Tere Liye

If there was ever a cross over between X-men, Hunger Games and Harry Potter, it would be Bulan (Moon).

Bulan is a continuation from the first book which is Bumi (Earth), and the third book in the series would be Matahari (Sun).

When I picked up this book at the bookstore, I had no idea it was a trilogy. I read the synopsis on the back cover and thought it was interesting enough so I went ahead and bought it.


Raib is a regular teenager living in Klan Bumi. One thing that separates her from her classmates is her ability to teleport.

Seli, one of Raib’s classmate, however has the power to discharge thunder at the tip of her fingers.

Using a book as a portal to travel between the two realms, Raib, Seli and another classmate Ali, travel to Klan Matahari as an act of diplomacy between the two worlds. Klan Matahari has long shut their doors to foreigners in order to prevent the chaos of war.

Upon arrival, they were forced to partake in The First Blooming Sunflower Quest Festival making them the tenth contingent to participate.

Each contingent is from different parts of Klan Matahari where they have to compete in the search for the first blooming Sunflower as it is known to display power and strength of each contingent that won.

Years ago, The Sunflower Quest Festival rules weren’t as regulated as it is now. Contingents were free to fight or kill each other if warranted but as years pass, stricter rules were made.


Throughout the whole book we follow the tenth contingent throughout their journey around Klan Matahari as they battle giant gorillas and massive creatures tailor made for nightmares.

Their quest for the blooming Matahari was exciting and thrilling for me. There were many obstacles that were original and brought a sense of novelty where dystopian societies can feel very familiar to one another.

One of my favourite scenes was when they were stranded at the poisonous mushroom field and their snow tigers swoop in to save them.

If Hunger Games had Katniss Everdeen, Bulan has Raib. Their characteristics are very similar in terms of personality traits. Both are compassionate, responsible and have strong leadership.

I think Seli and Ali both complement each other and bring humor at times when things got a little tensed. Their group dynamic worked well as everyone filled in traits where the other was lacking.

At the end of the story we get to know the backstory of the leader of Klan Matahari and his thirst for power. It predates to 400 years ago when he first won the competition and maintained control over Klan Matahari.

All in all the pace of the story was just right. None of the parts felt rushed and each character’s personality shined through.

Some dislikes that I had had mostly to do with the translation.

Bulan is originally written in Bahasa Indonesia and was translated to Bahasa Malaysia for Malaysian readers. Even though, some parts of the dialogue felt like a mash between Indonesian and Malaysian which threw me off a little.

Dystopian societies are all the rage these days because I get it, it’s fun to read. This was my first time reading a dystopian themed book by an Indonesian author and it was every bit as thrilling as The Hunger Games.

I’m definitely looking forward to more works by Tere Liye.


Semalam by Felicia Yap

Felicia Yap’s debut novel and international bestseller ‘Yesterday’ has now been translated into Bahasa Malaysia.

In a world where society is divided into how much a person remembers, how do you solve a murder case when the only fact you know is of yesterday’s?

Langkah by Dayang Noor

Saleha is a girl with ambitions. Unsatisfied with her current situation, she seeks refuge in a foreign boy named Bago. But could he give what Saleha wants?

Be careful Saleha, look both ways before you take the first step.

Rahsia by Faizal Sulaiman

Arif’s grandfather, Samurdi, has long exceeded his life expectancy. A girl named Melissa, who is gifted with a  sixth sense, unravel Arif’s family dark past and discover Sumardi’s intimate relationship with a dancer who came to Pekan Sungai Besar around 70 years ago. What are the secrets that will be uncovered?


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button