Friday, 24 October 2014

Book Review – God Is A Gamer

Author – Ravi Subramanian
Publisher – Penguin Books
Genre – Thriller/Fiction
Pages – 310
Price – Rs.299

There were multiple reasons why I had been excited and eager to review this book. First - after dishing out hits like If God was a Banker, The Bankster, Bankerupt, the next serving from Ravi had to be special, especially after I read it took him one year and a lot of research to write this one; secondly, having heard a lot about bitcoins recently, the first ever bitcoin thriller is a must read. Did you know Ravi even bought some bitcoins as part of his research for the book?; Thirdly, being from banking myself, I get drawn to Ravi’s stories weaved around some or the other aspect of banking. So, no sooner than I confirmed the review, the book arrived with a smile!

The Cover
Title in Gold, with a hint at bitcoins, a man facing the grand white house and you gradually notice the words, “is revenge a crime?” and your mind instantly begins permutations and combinations of what the story to be told.

My View
After writing his way up to being India’s one of the most talked about thriller writers, Ravi Subramanian has maintained his winning streak with “God is a Gamer!” The story takes a while to build up and one has to be patient and focussed to understand the too many characters. However, few pages later, the story really picks up fast and you just cannot avoid not flipping over to the next page. The death of a senator who heads committee on alternate currencies creates waves all across intelligence units. Wikileaks emerges out of nowhere with eyebrow raising information. Somewhere in Goa, hormones and drugs bring Tanya and Varun in what seems like a well planned coincidence. Somewhere in Mumbai, software geeks are working hard on the next big online game. The internal heat inside Indian operations of New York International Bank is building up fast. Favours done and integrity compromised, and the underlying motives are too elephantine to anticipate. While credit card service providers block payments to Wikileaks, the world sees a new form of payment – bitcoins, a virtual currency that guarantees complete anonymity and freedom, except for the fact that the end use of the funds is towards all the things crippling law and order. Then one day, the biggest phishing scam emerges in the history of Indian banking. What is lost are not just millions of rupees, but the event is a curtain raiser to the movie ahead – credit card frauds, money laundering, lobbying, drugs, hacking, murders – and playing a major role, bitcoins. Barring the first few chapters, the book is worded well enough to hook the readers till the last page.  While I don’t believe in giving spoilers, let me tell you that after so long have I enjoyed reading a thriller so much. I usually read during my free time, but this one made me stay awake till late night, for I didn’t want to hit the sack without knowing the climax. A must read and highly recommended.

What I loved about the book
I often get to review books where authors fill pages describing surroundings, faces and what not, boring readers. But Ravi surely knows the art of brevity. The language is crisp and to my delight, I experienced NO drags!

Just when you think you know it all after reading the climax, Ravi surprises you with an anti climax that leaves you spell bound!

What could have been better
Too many characters are introduced in the beginning, so one has to stay focussed. However, later one realizes that even if some of these irrelevant characters would not have existed, the story would have remained equally interesting.

The portrayal of the credit card and the phishing scam was a bit hard to chew, as also a money laundering incident which was shown like a one man show in the bank. But anything is possible with fiction and as also in our movies, not all you see is true or practical.

My rating

About the Author

Ravi Subramanian has spent two decades in the world of global banks in India. His stories, like If God was a Banker, The Bankster, Bankerupt etc. are set against the backdrop of the financial services industry. Having won several accolades for his books, he continues to delight his readers with his thrillers. You can know more about him at

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