What happens when you cross Gamer, Banker, Politician and Terrorist with virtual money?
That’s the hook in the blurb on God is a Gamer. Written by Ravi Subramanian, I was sent this book for review by BlogAdda. I loved that the book was signed (see the picture below) and had a little note from the BlogAdda team. The first thing you notice when you see the book is the striking silhouette with a BitCoin image embedded in the title. It also says that Mr. Subramanian is India’s No. 1 Thriller writer. Now, as I’m a person who always looks for a thriller, suffice to say I was quite excited to start reading.
As soon as you begin, you’re introduced to a large number of characters. The book makes use of short chapters to differentiate between different character settings. Within the first few pages, you move from the high pressure banking world, to the political world of a US Senator and the night life of Goa. The introduction is fast and throughout the book, the narrative switches back and forth between the different cities. The writer has made good use of his experience in the banking world to describe the life of a banker and I quite like the attention to detail while places in Mumbai are described.
Coming to the storyline, we are introduced to Aditya, Swami, Malvika, Gillian Tan, Malvika, Varun and Tanya, alongwith their respective families. Gillian Tan is murdered in a public and shocking way. I have to tell you that this was where I started developing an interest. These seemingly unrelated storylines take quite some time to tie in together. For a book that says it’s about bitcoins, the bitcoin introduction happens at a stage where I was a little frustrated with the pace of the book. The short chapters however (some are just about a page long) make it easier to read the book on the go the way I did. I was a little annoyed with the way one of the characters died (trying not to give away any spoilers so can’t say who it was). While the story unravels in slow steps, I wish there was a larger role of the bitcoins. There isn’t any explanation given about the conversion of bitcoins into real world money. I feel that this would have made for an interesting plot point. Having said that, I do like how the idea behind the creator of bitcoins is explained as well as the background of someone trying to legitimize bitcoin currency (I feel that this is quite possible in the not so distant future). While this may just be a story, it does bring out some concerns that a lot of people have about online banking as well as online currency with it’s ATM heist and phishing scams. The villains in the book seem to be a bit obvious (I almost had an inkling about who was guilty about 200 pages into the book) and a few small actions (really one line descriptions) point to the twist in the epilogue (Yep, don’t skip the epilogue people). I honestly felt like I knew where this was headed, although atleast one plot twist caught me off guard. You may have an idea about who’s guilty, but the reasons and the background stories will definitely make it an interesting character study.
One of the peeves I had with the book was a few minor typos and punctuation mistakes. I hope this will be rectified in future editions. Mr. Subramanian has made use of real brand names throughout the book. While this helps in giving the book a real life connect, I wonder if these brands wouldn’t object to their depiction in the book? Oh well, this is just another random thought I had while reading. Other than that, I would definitely recommend this book for a relaxed weekend read. While it may not have the plot that keeps you on the edge of your seat, its worth a read for it really does how how Indian writing has come a long way. On a lazy weekend, this book is sure to keep you entertained!
Name: God is a Gamer
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Publisher: Penguin Books
My Rating: 3.5/5