Book Review: God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian
What happens when you cross gamer, banker, politician and terrorist with virtual money? God Is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villains, predators are prey, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks and nothing is as it seems.
I finished this book in one sitting.
Of course it helped that there was nothing to disturb me. I started reading it in the evening after giving the cook a free rein in the kitchen in the form of “Do not ask me what tadka to add to the dal” and sending a whatsapp message “Hey, hope you had dinner; I am busy reading a book” to MH who was out of station for work, which actually meant “Can we skip the phone call tonight?”.
I am the kind of reader who, if interested enough in a book, forget the world. God is a Gamer was one such book. Despite being a technology/gaming illiterate, I was instantly hooked to it and couldn’t put it down.
The story begins like all thrillers usually begin – with seemingly random event descriptions to introduce the key characters. The settings are as varied as Washington DC, Goa and Mumbai and the events range from the murder of a US senator, phishing attack on bank customers and busting of drug racket in Goa. Professional rivalries in global financial institutions, functioning of call centers for credit card services, trading of illegal items in the black market hosted in the deep web with the help of bitcoins via Tor (similar to Silk Road), online gaming, malware attack, alleged suicide of a key character, an FBI investigation – all have been woven intricately to deliver a heady cocktail mix of a story. After all the mystery is solved by FBI and revealed to the reader at the end, the climax shows that what meets the eye is not the truth at all.
The Good Parts
The story line integrating bitcoins, deep web, banking scams, corruption, love, lust, bonds of friendship, politics, FBI, ATM heist races towards its finish in a super-sonic speed.
Technology and banking jargons are easily understood and the explanations do not sound preachy.
The Not-so Good Parts
A few pages before the big reveal, the author describes suspicious behavior of a key character who ultimately turns out to be the mastermind. It somewhat took away the sheen from the explosive climax.
Like almost all other contemporary novels, this one is also not free from grammatical errors, which should have been eliminated during the editing process! I am no grammar Nazi but glaring mistakes halt my reading flow jarringly. I hope the publishing industry realizes soon that readers looking for a good read prefer a grammatically correct read too.
In a few words
Gripping and fast-paced. Unputdownable with an interesting climax. Pick it up for your next journey or for the cold nights.