Book Review:GOD IS A GAMER


Author: Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Thriller


Just before picking up this book for reviewing, I read "Devil in Pinstripes". It dealt with mind games and relentless politics played in banks. I was intrigued by Ravi Subrmanian's lucid writing and wanted to read more of his books. Through a book review programme by blogadda, I was opportuned to get hold of this book.


  When you grab this book, the very first thing you notice is this catchy word, "Bitcoin".Bitcoins, a relatively new concept is promoted by the author. The prologue aptly explains how the concept of "Bitcoins" was invented.
     Gillian Tan is a top notch member of the US senate committee advising on South Asian affairs. Aditya Rao(after reading devil in pinstripes, I could understand who this Aditya could be!), a person who was in the higher echelons of NYIB(New York International Bank). Sundeep is a very close aide of Aditya. Swami is a person in the race to become the CEO after Malvika and a very good friend of Aditya. Tanya, Malvika's daughter is an attractive woman. A few FBI officers and CBI officer.
Now let us connect the dots. In India, in NYIB a phishing scam breaks out and Swami becomes the scapegoat when Malvika is the CEO. Swami has a personal dislike for Malvika since he is made the scapegoat and his promotions and the promise of charing the bank has met a dead end. The management in Singapore realises who the real culprit is and promotes her to an inactive but a catchy position of chairman who is just a pseudo lead.
  Tanya, is a very attractive girl who enters into a relationship with Varun. Varun is a person who is unaware about his relatonship with Aditya Rao , the owner of two startups eTIOS(handling transactional operations of NYIB) and Indiscape(gaming company). After Varun meets Aditya and fathoms his relationship with Aditya, he is made in charge of Indiscape. 
   Meanwhile, in US, Gillian Tan is murdered and an ATM heist breaks out. The ATM heist is well planned and follows a pattern. Some part of this money is then converted to bitcoins and then transferred. eTIOS(managing card transactions of NYIB, owned by Aditya Rao) is accused of allowing this withdrawal amounting to millions of dollars overseas. Why is Gillian Tan murdered?Does Gillian Tan hold some other identity which led to his murder?
  In India, during her birthday party, Malvika is said to commit suicide by apparently "jumping off" from her house which had a low parapet.  her daughter(Tanya) makes an appeal to find the real culprit and she pins the blame on the finance minister who hadnt kept up his "promise". Was he responsible for her murder?
  In India, Indiscape, a venture of Aditya Rao(operations managed by Varun) in online gaming is suddenly accused of mingling with bitcoins. Aditya Rao is a Samaritan citizen and totally oblivious to this bitcoin transaction going on through his venture is clawed by FBI  for this underground activity. 

Hold on, before moving further? What is going on? How are all these incidents connected? something one must read this book to find out.

My Verdict:

Well, the plot has a lot of twists and turns, the prologue of this book describes it the best. Here it goes:

            "God is a Gamer is a world where money means nothing, martyrs are villians, predators are prey,assasination is taught by the ancient Greeks, and nothing is as it seems."

It is very rightly said, "nothing is as it seems" and things are grandly deceptive. People who seem to be so innocent aren't innocent.The author has put in a lot of time in research. He has explained the concept of Bitcoins in depth using various technical terms. The author has however, made sincere efforts to explain the functionality of each of the terms used. While reading, at each juncture I tried to connect the dots between the incident happening in the US and India. It is like the story begins from the north pole extremes but ends converging at the south pole. The read never got boring though there were two parallel incidents being narrated, they both managed to keep me gripped till the end.

Best Part:
1)The lucid writing of the author which keeps one gripped to the book notwithstanding the tortuous plot.
2)The author keeps the plot exciting on all three fronts-the start, the mid and the end.

   However, I felt that the character of Sundeep(close confidante of Aditya) could have made more space in this book. He always acted as a support system to Aditya. If not anything else, he could have occupied a greater role in this book.
Secondly, author could have made the slightly simpler for readers to grasp. One has to keep in mind the preceeding events to understand the logic behind the events to-come. This may cause problems for readers who read this book for a long span of time with huge gaps. One might forget who's who or the events which lead to a particular conclusion.
    The chapter-wise format was a wise move by the author but at areas I felt that created discontinuity but thats how it goes!
The only flipside of this book is that the plot is very complicated but the author's simple and lucid narration nullifies this and makes it easier to understand than expected.

Final word:

Highly recommended for people who wish to read something actually exciting and thrilling. Will make up a very good weekend read.I completed this book in two sittings. Highly increased my confidence in Indian authors.
Keep up the good work Mr Ravi Subramanian, waiting for your next book.

My Rating: 4/5.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Ravaging Love-THE END

                                                                                                                         Read Part 02
                      He lay bare, his wounds were ostentatiously painful. People around him could sense the kind of indifference he had towards himself. What had he done.?He tried to enter into a hole, a black hole which was a trap.What was she doing(nobody including herself were not sure of this)?
  In this whole confusion, Jack was the sufferer, partly he was to be blamed for trusting her in a short span of time. He craved for answers and the answer was quite simple, that she was a perplexed human being. A damsel in distress manipulated by the right person for his own ulterior motives. Somebody said, feelings induce weakness and here was an apt example of it, letting oneself bare and open for someone to manoeuvre her life.Yes, you guessed it right, someone else was driving Lucy's car.Jack wasnt bothered who it was but the motives were very clear that somebody wanted to create disturbances in the lake Jack and Lucy were comfortable floating in. For all Jack knew, he did not expect such a rough and unforgiving behaviour from her.
       For Jack, at this juncture, time had passed and it was too late to accept Lucy as a friend. His mind and his heart were at loggerheads. He never wanted enmity with anyone. What should he have done? Should he forgive her and accept her as a friend? She managed to remove the element of trust from their friendship. For him it was done and dusted but some part in him said "let go" events of the past. given a chance people do improve.
      "Improvement" was the last thing he should have expected in this case. Making best of the confusion was what Lucy knew very well.  Some wounds are better untouched but Lucy, never left a stone unturned to weaken him each time with a flashback of all that had happened and by dragging her past into the scene more and more. While Jack let go her for her mistakes, she was busy deciding the best choice for her life. She was so whimsical that someday Jack would bring about green lights while some other day, it would be her past. She was trying to act as a puppeteer and Jack and the other guy were supposed to be her marionettes.
   Jack was getting bruised each time he saw such unjust things happening in front of him. He chose to opt out of this tirelessly painful friendship and once and for all finished it with her.
. He underwent a lot of turmoil in all this, his rational self was proved wrong when she did not mend her ways. It was painful but he still had expected things with her to improve for the better. Isn't it painful to have expectation inspite of truth pointing in the other direction? In this whole process a lot of bitter words were exchanged and there prevailed a lot of ill-will.
      Jack's life was never the same after this. He never had the time to experience what he had been through. Things were fast-paced and damaging. A man must be judged when the grass is green in his pasture and Lucy "outperformed" by damaging everybody in the process. What she got out of it?Nothing. What had this whole incident done?
It had ravaged Jack and ripped him apart with wounds which only time could fill...or could it?
What is love if it is so ravaging and wild? 

Ravaging Love-The Damage.

   Read part 01       

              ...she was his destiny...Jack had a narrow vision..all he could see is her attention..which was slowly fading away...Jack was a passionate man. He had great conviction to keep her happy. Lucy was rethinking her decision...what held her back?What made her so attached to her ravaging past? Did she not want him?What did she want?
     Lucy had put herself and Jack in a labyrinth. She wanted Jack to shower full attention on her..treat her like a princess and at the same time she did not want anything formal. What was she upto?She wanted Jack and she did not want him at the same time. Days went by and the fading away of the attention was so gradual that Jack couldnt question her. Jack was gradually becoming a victim of his own feelings towards her. Even before he could experience the joy of love, he was being subjected to a tortuous path laden with thorns. Each thorn pricked him so badly that they punctured his heart. Jack was a determined man, he had ambitions and to his hard luck, Lucy, the friend who often featured in his good books, a friend whom he shared everything with, was turning the tables against him. He was totally dismayed. This is the last thing he could have expected of Lucy in his life after having supported her in her bad times.
     On one hand his personal life was taking a toll on his mind and on the other hand he had to battle the looming examinations which was just a week  away."Time" and "girl" make or break a man's life and future and as of now, both had given up on him. Gloomy thoughts made Jack evaluate mistakes which he hadn't even done. What did Lucy do? She had left him completely deserted amidst a sandstorm which she herself had blown for Jack. What was the purpose of all this?Was Lucy sadistic?
     One fine day, Lucy had pinged Jack to say that everything was "over" between them. There was nothing formal between them, so Lucy could make use of this confusion by not mentioning whether she was talking about friendship or something else. Jack was totally down. He was suffering for no reason. For the first time in life he had felt for someone, and this is what he got.
     He somehow wanted to get out of this quagmire and the more he thought of escaping, the more he was drawn into the labyrinth. The last words heard from Lucy were, "You mean nothing to me..I have got him back..I was totally blindfolded in thinking of being with a person like you"..He was ripped apart...his heart shatrtered to pieces.. He could not make any sense of it..He diverted himself with great difficulty by studying for the upcoming exams. As things were not making sense, he atleast thought of making sense by faring well in the upcoming exams.
     After about 2 months, he saw a message flashing on his mobile. It was an unknown number, all he could read is a big 'sorry' and a feeling of regret for all that had happened.  He need not lookup in any directory or for that matter even ask the person his/her identity. She wanted to apologise..but for what?for all the mess she created?
   She wanted to resume 'friendship' with Jack. Friendship in this context is so flexible that it was used by her to indicate a pseudo-relationship i.e a relationship where Jack is something more than a friend but less than a boyfriend.
   Jack was stumped. He was left astonished at she coming back to him after such a bitter exchange of words.  Things were only getting too complicated..but there was a solution which Jack was blinded from...he still had some affinity for her..she too had it..but she had options..she was spoilt by options while he never did so..
Jack waited for answers..WHY ALL THIS? was something he wanted to know..

Ravaging love!


       He had never harboured any feelings for a girl while she wasn't alien to harbouring feelings for a boy. She was opportunistic, he was shy. She was shrewdly expressive, he choose to be foolishly silent and dumped his feelings for anyone. He was a great man with many qualities of a gentleman while she was the only one who could understand his heart's predicament of being coy. He never approached her, she did.
        Lucy was already committed to a person who was unforgivingly taking advantage of her. She had feelings which she had to be accountable to. Leaving him wasn't an option but staying with him wasn't working out either. Her quandary was complex for which she had no solution. People who mattered to her the most had asked her to just leave him for his rummaging behaviour. She could not, she wanted someone else to replace the resulting void.
            Jack was a person of gentle nature and chose to be under the covers. Jack and Lucy were in the same class. Jack and Lucy had many things in common and they became good pals. Jack, owing to his nature knew one thing for sure that he must never cross the line. Lucy on the other hand wanted to somehow end her nerve-wrecking relationship with her boyfriend...afterall she was opportunistic.
           She played it well. Without Jack sensing the breeze of she coming close to him each day, she made sure to impress Jack by her nature of understanding every aspect of his. Afterall, she was a 'good friend' of Jack. Jack was too oblivious to all this and he somehow enjoyed somebody caring for him this way for the first time. By virtue of his nature, he would make sure that he always respected Lucy in every possible manner(as he did with other women). Lucy was beginning to enjoy the unfettered attention she got and she made herself feel special. They would often talk about their views on life, interests and they seemed to strike a cord with each other.
      Jack couldn't sense what it was. He still considered Lucy to be his very good friend. For him, sharing and caring was restricted to 'friendship'. Being a slave to her own feelings, Lucy couldnt withhold herself from expressing it to Jack. Jack needed time, he would take time but come up with rational decisions. He always thought about the future. He did not want to hurt Lucy.
    Lucy was getting impatient with each passing day. Time was flowing by and JAck was still pondering. After about a 20 days Jack said 'yes'. Things did go well but Jack observed one thing about her, she was pretty negative. She always thought of being alone but she had feelings for him. She also had feelings for her ex-boyfriend. Can a girl feel for two people at a time? the answer is pretty clear. Owing to the long  time Jack took, she got an option to evaluate her proposal Such was her confusion, she was playing with herself.
    Jack unconditionally loved her. It was his nature to fulfill every commitment of his. He meant what he spoke and he tried to keep her as happy as possible. But isn't a man spoilt by choices...she enjoyed being with him....but wanted some more events to spice up her life..he was enamored by her nature..he was intensely involved with her..he craved for her..he thought she was it..she was his destiny..

One body, many faces.

               Am I talking about any supernatural forces? Am I talking about any mythological figure here? Well, friends, not necessary that such titles point to something "super"human. I am talking about us, common human beings as described in any biology book(:p). I insinuate at human beings having one body but different natures with different people.
    Isn't it so common to be one's best by being obedient in front of seniors at office and at the same time being our true self in front of one's loved ones? "He/she is my boss, how can I say this to him/her";"She is my girlfriend/wife and I HAVE THE RIGHTS to share everything with her" are the common selected quotes I hear at times. While there is nothing wrong in such things, it made me wonder on this issue. At office, if our boss berates us, we can do nothing but listen with a patient ear or else voice our opinions in a very mild and 'respectful way'. Be the same case with our loved ones, we are on our marks to bombast him/her anytime even though the mistake might be ours at times. It's as if we are programmed to behave in a way according to circumstances and people.
    This behavioural change is also observed with one's friends. We are at times so casual, caring at  loose with them. Be it any small and trivial issue, we help them and value them. Its a different domain altogether. Be it your loved one, you can either be more caring than this or can be looser than this. I have also observed some people being gentlemen to their acquaintances and at the other hand being the total opposite to their close ones/family members. What makes a person so different?
  When I pondered on this issue for sometime, I felt emotions could be an explanation. I have elaborated on this in the article titled Emotions. We don't have the same kind of emotions towards everyone. When it comes to our loved ones, he/she is very close to our heart, so we are at our best(or worst maybe, depends).We have a lot of expectations which we expect to be fulfilled at some or the other point. We fight/crib crave because he/she provides an emotional space. When it comes to our boss, we dont have any great emotional attachment(as with our loved ones) and we hence be formal and our professional best. It is hence said, professional and personal lives be kept different because the intersection of these can be catastrophic.
     When I talk of 'many faces', I cannot miss people who are actually double-faced. They will be their sweetest self in front of you but even more venomous behind your back. Their disguise is too perfect to find any imperfections or catch them red-handed.  Such people are master-gamers and all they see is their 'profit' in every relationship. Prima-facie it seems that these people are devoid of emotions or have learnt to live a transactional life.  They have no room for genuine emotions or one might say, they have learnt to let go of it. Somewhere,or in some life they surely realise that such 'fakeness' doesn't work and that the pleasure of experiencing such third grade activities is nothing as compared to genuinely caring for someone, showering her/him with emotions. God be with such people and bless them soon enough.
   So,coming back to the main theme, let me ask you "who are you?"you are one person with many who loves someone, one who cares for someone, one who gets angry at someone, one who is far too sincere to someone and one who is daringly insincere sometimes.One who agrees to everything with some people and one who never fails to disagree with some people.
Life is the greatest irony, isn't it?
While writing this article, I wondered on this question: can emotions be so damaging that it leads to reckless and rash behavior with loved ones sometimes?What makes it so damaging?