Saturday, October 25, 2014

Book Review: ‘God is a Gamer’ by Ravi Subramanian

Title: God is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Pages: 310
Genre: Thriller
Price: Rs. 299

Reading the book:

First things first- Before reading this book, I had never read a thriller novel by an Indian writer and been superbly satisfied at the end. Nor had I read any of Ravi Subramanian’s other books which would have probably made me aware of his writing style.

All I knew about the book was that it revolved around the virtual world of ‘bitcoins’ and was the first book to do so. A blogger friend had recently termed this as the ‘best book of Ravi Subramanian yet’. And that’s it. I knew nothing else. Looking at the book and the back cover synopsis, it was not very clear what the story is about, although the tagline ‘Is revenge a crime?’ kept me wondering what kind of revenge was being talked about. I had to read to find out.


I read the book in three sittings: First, just the prologue immediately on getting hold of the book. Second, two days later, the first few chapters on the flight from Delhi before being interrupted by my co-passenger with the question ‘Is this a spiritual book?’ (And then explaining to him How not and holding the urge to not show-off that the book was author-signed) and third, another day later in a continuous six hour sitting until I finished the book. I was hooked to the story.

The Story:

A close aide of the US President is killed. A Nigerian group is held in Goa. A top-ranked banker commits suicide while another has an accident. A father and son reunite after years. An Indian dons an alias in the US to freely commit crime while an American commits crimes in India. Money flows everywhere. Innocent lives are at stake for the greater good. Can the virtual world be safer with a new anonymous form of money called the bitcoins? How is a suicide in India related to a top politician’s murder in the US? Read the book to find out, you will not be disappointed. This book has a lot of substance and unlike a few other ‘top-selling Indian books’ I have recently read, this one is bound to keep you reading till the end.

The book started as seemingly unconnected parallel stories and kept me wondering for the major part of it- how is all of it connected? I must say, the connection happens very seamlessly at the end. Only when you are told about it, you realize the magnificence of planning that has gone into writing and structuring the entire plot.

I personally wasn’t aware of the business of bitcoins. The story explains the transaction process well. It’s actually amazing that we are getting to know about a modern technology not from the internet (where I am sure it is all clearly explained) but from a novel which uses it as a plot element. There clearly is seamless integration of the real and the fictional worlds. (I am yet to Google Satoshi Nakamoto)

There were a few places in the beginning when I felt there were too many characters in too many sub-stories being thrown out at the reader at the same time and had to go back a couple of times to check who was who (but then, probably it was also because of my long breaks between different sittings of reading the book).

What I particularly liked about the writing style was that Subramanian has not just made mere mentions of real people, place, institution and corporate names including the US President, but has researched them carefully and has written about them in detail. Nothing seems to be forcefully present. While reading the book you clearly have the sense that it has not been written by a novice but someone who is well-experienced in the art.

In afterthoughts, you actually appreciate the game that the writer has played with your mind throughout the 300 pages of the story. Just when you are like ‘See, I told you that’s the culprit’ and are glad it’s not anyone else, you are shown a bigger reality which very cleverly disdains your thoughts.

At the end of the book the one major thing I exclaimed was, ‘The writer would have taken weeks or months to plan the entire plot and execute it and I read the entire story in just 8-9 hours. How unfair is that?’ :D

There were 3 or 4 places in the text where I found an out-of-place word or typo error. Somehow I cannot ignore these minutest of the errors, thanks to my print journalism classes, and I hope they are corrected in the future prints of the book.



My Rating: 4.5/5

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3 comments :

  1. Well written... loved the review. I have the book with me but am yet to read it. After reading the review I believe I will read it sooner than I intended.

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am really glad the review could stir your interest in the book. Frankly speaking, I kept thinking that I am not a good reviewer.
      Thank you for your comment Sir :)

      Delete

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