This is a very masculine book. The mothers of the two male characters are gone. One is dead, and the other ran off a week after giving birth. A few more chapters in, and this characteristic broadens into the novel's main theme of how the accident of birth determines the course of one's life: male or female, elite or plebeian, ugly or handsome, "good" race versus "bad" race. I am rankling at the exclusion of woman in the novel, but I have to read on before I can make fair comment on that.
Already, though, what is at stake in The Kite Runner is much different than in the other books I have read in this popular reading series. The stakes are much higher, clearly. Likely it will not be giving easy solutions; in the first chapter the novel reveals that the main character has come to grips with a past that he is not proud of.
I am not as worried about fact-checking Hosseini's novel as with The Da Vinci Code. I did look up "Hazara,' for example, and, not to my surprise, found out that the novel didn't make up this culture. Something about the book leads me to believe that Hosseini knows something about Afghanistan. He also knows something about history, and he wants to teach others about that history. That's my kind of book.