Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review 2014 #20 : God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian

Title: God is a Gamer 
Source- Goodreads

Author: Ravi Subramanian

About the story:

Blurb- Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a high-rise building, plunging to her death. The finance minister has made some promises that he is finding hard to keep. The LTTE has unleashed terror in America that sends the FBI on a wild goose chase, bringing them to Mumbai.

Enter Varun, part-time drug dealer and fulltime genius. He turns around the gaming company before disaster strikes. Meanwhile, the investigators plunge headlong into the shady world of bitcoins and the Dark Net, websites that only exist for illegal transactions—drugs, sex and money. God Is a Gamer culminates in a stunning climax where money means nothing, assassination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems.


The plot begins with an assassination of a US Senator, Gillian Tan. Adrian Scott, FBI special agent, in charge of the investigation cannot find any leads on who would have wanted the senator dead. The fact that Gillian Tan was a close friend of the President mounts pressure on Adrian to find the killer.

In India, a multi-national bank, NYIB, finds itself a victim of a phishing scandal and Swami, the head of retail banking in the firm, fears that he may lose his job. He takes advice from his mentor and friend, Aditya Rao. Aditya is the founder of a very successful BPO and an emerging gaming company, Indiscape. Aditya has a very murky past but when his long estranged son, Varun, reunites with his dad and joins his company, he is more than happy.

Varun has grandiose plans to expand his dad’s gaming company but unfortunately these plans don’t agree with Aditya’s friend, Sandeep, who is also a co-founder of Indiscape. Meanwhile Varun falls in love with Tanya, daughter of Malvika- the scheming and manipulative CEO of NYIB.

Things go haywire when NYIB comes under news again for an ATM heist of 5 million dollars worth, where NYIB’s customer’s cards were skimmed for data and used to make fake cards for the heist. During a party hosted by Tanya for her mom’s birthday,  Malvika falls to her death from a high-rise building.

At the center of all this chaos is a secret website, Cotton Trail, selling everything shady and illegal- from drugs to pornography. The website thrives in an age of digital, virtual money called bitcoins. Billions of transactions in bitcoins are conducted under the cloak of an anonymous network called TOR or The Onion Router.

As the plot proceeds, each character is exposed to reveal a hidden ulterior motive for his/her actions and corrupt intentions.

This is my first Ravi Subramanian book and all though I had seen great reviews for his earlier books on the net, I never got around to picking his books. So it was with much excitement that I began reading ‘God is a Gamer’.

The beginning of the book was a little disorienting when lots of random characters were introduced and seemingly unrelated incidents occur in different nations. It was difficult to follow the plot with diverse sub-plots being narrated in short chapters. But as the story proceeded along it got more intriguing and the introduction of a covert online website that traded in narcotics and sex was the piece de resistance.

The story is fast paced and the numerous twists and turns keep the intrigue and fascination intact right till the last page of the book. The climax was a little overblown and there were too many co-incidences that made the ending a tad unrealistic.

A thriller of different kind that bodes well in the age of digital living. A definite must-read if you like fast-paced books and edge of the seat action.

Rating: 4/5

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