Naga Chokkanathan

Archive for October 2014

Ramayana is a simple, yet powerful story, retold many times in many cultures.

I remember reading in a research paper that there are three hundred versions of Ramayana. Yet, it is being retold on a regular basis. Even today, newer interpretations of the same story is presented as novels, short stories, dramas, paintings etc.

Shubha Vilas has started a new series titled “Ramayana: The Game of Life”. Book 1 of this series is titled “Rise of the Sun Prince”.

As the title suggests, Shubha Vilas has taken a new approach to retell the story of Rama. He focuses on the life lessons that we can learn from Ramayana. This is evident from the footnotes you see in almost every page. But guess what, these are not boring footnotes that you read in most research papers. Instead, they are the juicy portion of this book.

Book 1 focuses on the story of Rama’s birth, his journey with sage Viswamitra and his marriage with Sita. Author uses a simple style to narrate the base story, adding his interesting interpretations. Those who know Ramayana story may read this book very fast, but one can enjoy it only when the focus shifts to the discussions based on the story.

This book has an interesting appendix titled “24 qualities that make a true hero” (based on Valmiki’s Ramayana). Almost all those qualities are applicable to anyone who want to succeed in any field!

(Rise of the Sun Prince: Shubha Vilas: Jaico Publishing House: Rs 250)


Few months back, I read about Bitcoins. I tried to research about them and found only suspicious links. It seemed like a big fraud.

At the same time, many articles were suggesting this is going to change everything. It looked as if both sides are right.

When I started reading Ravi Subramanian’s “God Is A Gamer” novel, I was eager to know if he can solve my confusion about this Bitcoins concept. As a specialist of Banking themed novels, he has used Bitcoins as the central theme of this story.

This novel is not really a primer on Bitcoins. But Ravi Subramanian gives clear explanation about it using his characters. This makes it an interesting read for everything, whether they knew about Bitcoins or not.

Just like Ravi Subramanian’s other novels, “God is a gamer” starts in a city (New York) and then moves between Washington DC, Mumbai and Goa rapidly, with short, crisp chapters (most of them are just two pages long) conveying seemingly unrelated events, but all of them are very central to the story. He uses the standard thriller novel pattern, with a modern twist with the use of technology. He makes the reader move to the next chapter with eager expectations and the plot is strong enough to carry it throughout the novel.

I am amazed at the details he has provided about the world of Bitcoins and the thin line he maintains about what is real, what is imaginary and what is possible. To understand this, imagine electricity is just invented and many are yet to get it in their places. At that time, someone comes to your village and talks about electricity positively, but you are still afraid what will happen if you touch that wire. Ravi Subramanian creates a similar environment here. I am eager to know what is the reaction of Bitcoin enthusiasts to this work.

Of course, I am not talking about accuracy of details. But I want to know if this will make them act cautious when it comes to dealing with Bitcoins. It will be an interesting social experiement.

As far as the plot is concerned, it is good, though a bit dramatic in many places. But then, you need to expect it in a thriller. Ravi Subramanian doesn’t spend too much time in explaining his characters, instead letting the events and dialogues do the job. It gives an interesting reading experience as we are left to imagine many things about characters.

Ravi Subramanian’s dialogues are an impressive feature of his novels. Of course, there are usual cliche portions in some places. But most of it sounds accurate and practical. He ensures that characters convey what is required, yet ensuring the plot is not revealed early. It may sound obvious, but I really admire that in all great thriller writers, you need great control when you have so many pages and so many readers with you 🙂

On the production side, Penguin Books has brought this book with top quality. Recommended for anyone who likes thriller novels, you would enjoy this better if you understand (or want to understand) the banking domain!

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


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Organization He works for / belongs to.

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