Book Review : God is a Gamer

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View: 

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU CROSS GAMER, BANKER, POLITICIAN AND TERRORIST WITH VIRTUAL MONEY?

From the bestselling author of If God Was a Banker comes the first ever bitcion thriller. 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.

Moving from Washington’s Congress to Delhi’s finance ministry, the beaches of Goa to the corporate boardrooms of Mumbai, this is Ravi Subramanian’s most gripping novel yet.

Review:

Ravi Subramanian had already raised all expectations with his banking series. Though I haven’t read any of his previous books, ‘Bankster’ is on my To-Read pile since long. ‘God is a Gamer’ being India’s first ever bitcoin thriller, had garnered hopes and thrills from readers in belonging to a niche genre. Banks, currencies, virtual banking, gaming and eventually the introduction of bitcoins should have been more interesting than it turned out to be.

The book began well, I must say. It hooked my interest into the world of bitcoins and virtual money transfer, interspersed with a murder and lot of suspense. Swami, Aditya, Malvika and Sundeep had all started as bankers and diversified into different fields after awhile. Aditya owns a gaming company that Sundeep has helped him build up. The tussle between Malvika and Swami in their banking operations has been pulled off well, though it turned out to be a sub-plot. Then enter Varun and Tanya, the two key protagonists of the story. We see whirlwind romance between them and it is structured pretty well to fit into the story.

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A Clean Step

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

R kept glancing at the woman sitting right opposite to him in the metro. He was half way through to office on a boring, gloomy Tuesday morning, already craving for the weekend. He was reading on his old-fashioned large e-book reader and not the sleek ones. The lucid, delicious descriptions of food in the book made his empty stomach growl. Breakfast in office was still twenty minutes away. R stole another glance at the woman to distract himself. She was reading a paperback with so much intent that it seemed she would be seated in this train forever. He regretted sporting a two-days stubble that probably made him look dirty.

Wednesday brought better promises with itself. R boarded the train clean-shaven with a full stomach. He spotted the woman two stops later, leaning near the door. She gave him fleeting stares, probably of appreciation or flirtation. ‘My clean shaven look bowled her over,’ smirked R. He didn’t notice her alight the train behind him. A tap on his shoulder while walking towards office made him turn around. She flashed a card briefly to him. Her Phone number? He was hopeful.

“Officer M, Cyber Crime Branch. Would you like to be under arrest?”

 This post is a part of the Protest Against Smelly Stubble Activity in association with BlogAdda.

I would like to tag Sudeshna, Diptee, TheWhitescape, Parama, Soumya in this post. 

Book Review : The Price You Pay

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb view:

An ambitious rookie reporter, a veteran news editor with a secret, a trigger-happy policeman, a sensational kidnapping: The Price You Pay is the story of Delhi, told through the eyes of the journalists who frame it, and the outsiders who claim it.

When Abhishek Dutta joins the Express as a trainee journalist, he has no idea how his life is about to change. Assigned to the crime beat by chief reporter Amir Akhtar, Abhishek encounters a motley cast of characters: DCP Uday Kumar, the ‘Dirty Harry’ of Delhi Police; ACP Crime Branch Mayank Sharma, who becomes a close friend; Samir Saxena, channel head of News Today, who mentors Abhishek’s move from print to electronic journalism; and dreaded gangster Babloo Shankar, who runs the Delhi mafia from exile. As he rides his beginner’s luck to unearth one sensational scoop after the other, Abhishek will soon discover that in the dog-eat-dog world of crime and politics, there are no permanent friends or enemies; it is every man for himself.

With a plot that twists and turns like the inner lanes of the city, Somnath Batabyal’s debut novel takes you into the dark underbelly of India, where common lives are mere pawns of deadly power games and where corruption lies at the very core.

Review:

Winter has arrived, mostly or at least lurking at the door here. All you need is a fast pacy thriller to cuddle under blankets with coffee. I was looking for a good desi thriller on investigative journalism and Somnath Batabyal seems to have launched a great one for his debut. Investigative journalism, or what we commonly term as ‘crime reporting’ is a tough job. It sounds easy and looks good to people like us, the daily readers who follow a newspaper crime colmn or turn on some news channel for that handsome reporter.

We have been brought up on thrillers and mafia books based radically in Mumbai with pioneer books like Shantaram and Sacred Games. I for one, would love to read more about gangsters and journalists based in the other metros like Delhi and Calcutta. These cities are stereotyped with softer labels but they have very active mafia operations with key activites like kidnapping and extortion.

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Book Review : A Degree in Death

Image Courtesy: Google

Image Courtesy: Google

Blurb View:

The midnight murder of a student in the sleepy town of Dehradun rouses everyone with suspicion and alarm. Violence is incomprehensible in this institute located at the foothills of the Himalayas. With no clues or suspects, the police are unable to catch the killer. 

Professor Shantanu Bose, an eminent nano-expert and Dean of Research and Development, is deeply troubled at this havoc caused to his institute. Determined to bring back the peaceful academic environment of the campus, he begins his own investigation. 
Fear mounts as more bodies are discovered one after the other. Soon the professor finds himself in grave danger. as he realizes he is being stalked and his every move is being observed. Yet. he persists with his inquiry and discovers that the truth is more startling than what anyone could have imagined. 

Review:

Murder mysteries are something I adore. I kind of dream about them even when I’m reading other stories. It is as if I want a murder to happen in almost every book. Alas, all the authors don’t oblige me. Ruby Gupta did, though. She has killed more than one person in her book and I’m fairly happy with that. She has recreated a traditional murder mystery, one where you bump into dead bodies, suspects and nail-biting situations. Well, not exactly the last trait in this book, you have the other ones.

The stage is set in Dehradun, which I have heard is as picturesque as it could be. Imagine a science and technology institute set amidst serene hills and misty valleys. The author has managed to weave a good plot which will keep you busy till the end. As the blurb suggests, the book begins with the midnight murder of a student. What follows is havoc and chaos among the other students and faculty as well. An interested and inquisitive professor starts his investigation alongside the police and the author follows his trail diligently.

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The Mirage Circle

This story is based on the following prompt:

Write a story in which a character lives alone in a desolate environment—the woods, the desert, the mountains. Describe your character going about the day, and use that action as a backdrop for revealing the reason why he or she has chosen to retreat from the world. Then, have another character enter the scene, describing how he or she arrives. What happens next?

Length:  within 1500 words.

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The journey back from Ajmer Sharif to his isolated shelter was uneventful, though Anas was apprehensive at every moment he was away from his dera. He had the inkling that a storm was brewing somewhere, but he was unsure of the ways it could affect him. His annual pilgrimage to the Ajmer Sharif being over, he is back to work now. The dawn looked splendid as he peeked out of the tent. Despite being raised in different parts of the state, this is his longest stint living in the Thar Desert. The sunrise each dawn has been mesmerizing him for the past seven years that he has spent in this desert. Anas made it a point not to miss the dawn for a day. The advent of each morning made his heart flutter just before he opened the little tent door to a riot of gold and red on the dunes outside. He lived in a quaint corner of the Sam Sand Dunes, quite close to the Pakistan border. The rising sun never failed to paint the dunes in myriad hues of gold, orange, yellow and red. He savoured the sunrise each morning with a cup of lukewarm water and a piece of jaggery.

After the morning rituals, Anas set out for the stable nearby where his camels rested. He has five camels at present, three adults and two young ones. Why, it could even be called a mini camel farm! He reared them from calves to adults and sold them later, replacing them with other new born calves. And he occasionally bred them too. He was aware of the different breeds of camels which were reared at the Government Breeding Center in Bikaner. He knew that the Mewari breed is well adapted for travel and produced the highest quantity of milk, the Kachchi breed is short and stout, the Bikaneri breed is the strongest and heaviest, and the Jaisalmeri breed is the tallest. Of these, Anas needed only one breed though. He bred and reared the Mewari camels only and sold them for travel and carriage. He had started this business about seven years ago when he had only two camels. He required an isolated shelter for breeding, away from localities and intrusion for a reason which we will ponder on later in this story. Searching for a deserted corner in the desert itself wasn’t an easy task though. People from the small villages scattered over a span of hundred kilometers from Jaisalmer to the Pakistan border are ever curious of any outsider floundering in their territory. Anas had to skip the eyes of such people, acquire permission from the border police and then create a shelter for himself and his camels quite near the border. Instead of building a house for himself alone, he preferred living in a strong tent like the Arab Bedouins.

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Book Review: Tantra

Blurb View: 

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Image Courtesy: Google Images

Anu is a leather wearing, no-nonsense professional guardian with a reputation for killing the most dangerous vampires in New York City. But when her enemies murder the one person she truly cared about, all she wants is vengeance. The only clue points to New Delhi, so Anu puts in for a job transfer.

In India, she finds more than she expected. For one thing, her fellow operatives have made a truce with the vampires. For another, it’s way too hot to wear leather.

At first, it seems Anu’s biggest challenge will be evading the nice boys her aunt wants her to marry. But when children start disappearing, she discovers forces older and darker than anything she’s faced before. All of Delhi is in danger, especially the sexy stranger who sets Anu’s pulse racing.

To prepare for the coming battle, Anu must overcome her personal demons and put aside years of training. This time, her most powerful weapon will come from her mind, not her weapons belt.

Review: 

As I glanced the blurb, I was not too impressed since fantasy/vampire thrillers are genres I mostly stay away from. It is futile to explain why they fail to arouse the core column of interest inside me. Perhaps I like being grounded to reality through the books I savour. Nonetheless, I chose to read the book solely to review it. And I have to admit, I am impressed, indeed. Owing to the ‘vampire’ and ‘vengeance’ mentioned on the blurb, readers would tend to assume such in the initial chapters but the plot unfolds gradually.

The protagonist Anu Aggarwal is portrayed as a no-nonsense professional guardian, who despite of being utterly professional gets emotionally involved in her profession for reasons personal. I liked the idea of the heroine being the so-called ‘coconut-type’, putting on a stern persona but having a perfectly sensible and emotional interior. She is shown as a skillful vampire-hunter with no mercy for the bloody creatures. Having confessed that I haven’t read a single vampire thriller till date, or watched the popular series of vampire movies, I certainly felt clueless about the techniques of fights and jargon used. I wish the author would have explained the background to some extent as to why or how Anu became a guardian, and how do her likes take down vampires. Little episodes about how Anu tries to cope with the Delhi culture, her doting aunt, relatives and the process of arranged marriage are well sketched to grasp the readers’ interest. Few of them are hilarious and reflect the show-off traditions of upscale Delhites.

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