God is a Gamer by Ravi Subramanian

Aditya runs a gaming company that is struggling to break even. A banker slips off a
highrise 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 full time 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.

God is a gamer is the first book of the author that I read. And I was very cautious of the book since the author has been already branded as India's No 1 thriller writer. What attracted me to the book was this being based on bitcoins. Although I have read a bit about them,a well researched novel usually offers more perspective and a wider reach into the implications of any technology - both good and bad of it , whether real or fictionalized.

The opening chapter reveals why bitcoins would have been thought of - to prevent government or corporate control over flow over money. It also introduces us to a central character Gillian Tan who is though murdered soon as the book jumps to current times, but is also pivotal till the book's end. Only after I had finished the book , did I realize that the tagline on the book cover , "Is revenge a crime" refers to him in more ways than one.  The world is much more connected than we ever admit, thanks to technology and so the book now jumps from USA to India immediately and also between multiple characters all powerful and dangerous. 

From introducing ( or say informing ) the readers about the phising scams, the loses and the security breaches we can be subjected to any day, the illegal trading ways and network , the book has linked many of economy's key events in the book is a way that reading about them is so much fun. The amount of research and the synchronization of all plot twists show that the author has put in a lot of thought and hard work in writing. The events in the book appear to be loosely inspired or based on some recent events and technology advancements we hear of.This is a really good way to connect to the young readers who also judge any book on its relatability. 

The same though is the weak point of the book since some of the events seem too easy or imaginative. One can not totally ignore the impossibility or the low probability of such attacks ( malware , hacking , stealing account information ) in today's world when everyone is so hyper aware of the security measures.  

The language of the book mostly conversational and without frills which doesn't take the attention away from the fast paced flow. The chapters switch between places and people which keeps your mind alert but sometimes that becomes too fast and disorienting. Also, the end disappointed me a bit. The false end was more convincing to me. The epilogue appeared too much of a stretch to me. And it not just created a lot of questions in my mind but also the image I created for a character I liked were hurt big time. Some characters were there for not much significant development and I wished either they were covered more or not at all. 

All in all, a one time but engrossing read. 

My Rating : 3.5/5

I will definitely pick up Ravi's previous books though.

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