Z for Zero-sum (Part I)

Freida Dantas stepped out of the queue to look around. The machine wasn’t that far from here–only a few hundred more. She looked behind. The queue went on for as long as she could see. She too had started from the end of the queue many hours ago. The machine took only a second to judge, so the queue had kept moving continuously. But she worried if there were more hopefuls in the queue than seconds in a day. She had been queueing up religiously for her pronouncement every day since she had died.

She’d learned of the system the day she had arrived at the purgatory. Learned is probably not the best word to describe the process. She had woken up in the purgatory a week ago knowing about it instinctively, with no recollection of her prior life. She knew exactly when and where to queue up for the machine. The machine would tell her if it was her time to ascend to the heaven yet. She’d witnessed thousands of ascensions on her first day. The ascendants one after the other had stood under the

God is a Gamer : A Review

Title: God is a Gamer

Author: Ravi Subramanian

ISBN-13: 978-0143421399

Publisher: Penguin

Length: 328 Pages

In Short:

Analytical, well-edited, well-researched, well-written modern thriller.

Ravi Subramanian has come up with one hell of a book! The writer combines his knowledge of finance, politics and technology to weave together a wonderful story of betrayal and vengeance that hooks you till the end!

The story progresses through seemingly unconnected events happening in Washington DC, Goa, Delhi, Andaman & Nicobar and Mumbai. The book has a sizeable number of characters and almost every character is vital to the story, but despite the huge number of characters, it is easy to keep track of them because a lot of the characters are confined to their locations and contexts: political, financial, technological.

The 300+ page story is divided into a hundred chapters, excluding the prologue and the epilogue. Each chapter focuses on a particular main character (although the narration is still in third person). Each chapter is set in a particular location and the place is always mentioned at the top. The story unfolds through the characters’ interaction. The narrator is at no point omniscient.

The best thing about the characters was that they were not present just to further the story. Each character only does what could be expected from a rational person in that position. They had their own agendas and compulsions.

The hallmark of a great book is great editing. ‘God is a Gamer’ is a very well-edited book. There is a great consistency not only in the characters and their actions, but also in the language. The book flows smoothly and at no point are you bored. The prose is dense with information and every tiny detail is important. I realised early on that this was not a book that I could just skim over.

The story embraces technology; it’s very important to the story. The technical terms used in the story are explained very well through dialogue. Bitcoins are only a tool in the story and not the central concern. This novel could as well have been touted as a TOR thriller or a Credit Card thriller. Bitcoins however were mentioned quite a few times, probably for marketing it better.

The plot has multiple twists and a satisfying ending. There are small hints throughout the story which make sense at the end. Ravi has been very analytical with the story. He tries to explain every little plot point in detail at the end (which is a bit overwhelming). Even the smallest detail that you might have disregarded, comes back to you. It’s all so smart that it’s scary.

The only gripe I have with the story is that it might have gotten too smart for itself. Although everything makes sense looking back at the story, the villain could not have possibly anticipated it all. The plan works only because you know at the end that it worked. The ending is a tad too complicated because of the explanation, but I guess I would have complained if it had not been explained so well.

In conclusion, this is a book you should definitely read!

Rating: 4/5

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