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Friday, September 26, 2014

"God is a Gamer" by Ravi Subramanian: Book Review

I just finished reading “God is a Gamer”- Ravi Subramanian’s latest thriller. 

Like his previous thrillers (BankeruptBankster, Devil in Pinstripes, The Incredible banker etc), Ravi Subramanian’s latest thriller is fairly entertaining. This book is focused around the idea of Bitcoins, the virtual currency in the online world. Coupled with a series of interwoven plots of gaming industry, a Bank (how can Ravi’s novel not involve a Bank), A US Senator and few elements from the criminal world, God is a Banker keeps you glued to the plot. I finished God is a Gamer in 2 sittings (2 nights).

Ravi has used names of real companies all over the book- Visa, mastercard and so on, even stating that they lobbied to prevent other payment processing companies from coming into existence. It is a story indeed, but I wonder how these companies don't mind having their names used in negative way.

For the careful reader, there're a few weak spots in the story, which I have listed below. But this doesn't hamper the fun of reading, hence may go unnoticed by most of the readers. 

      1) Phishing attack on NYIB is poorly plotted. Having an user’s account login ID and password is not adequate to transfer funds. All banks have 2 factor authentication like one time password sent to mobile, having to confirm payee first, using grid etc. This second layer of safety feature seem to have been conveniently ignored by the author. (Also use of virtual keyboard can prevent keyloggers from capturing your passwords)

      2) Book suggests Bitcoin founder’s virtual name is derived from the names (Satoshi Nakamoto) of 4 Japanese companies, Sa from Samsung, Toshi from Toshiba, Naka from Nakamichi and Moto from Motorola.(Page278) But Samsung is a Korean company. Sanyo could have been a better example.

3) Not much details are mentioned on what is bit coin mining- How does new bit coins come into system, how to buy them from real cash or how to convert bit coin back to real currency

4) FBI got into Josh’s apartment and retrieved backpacks with money. No details mentioned as to what happened to it. At least about half the heist was still lying there. Assuming this is returned to the bank, it could have reduced the impact on BPO firm.

5) No explanation is given if it was Varun who placed the bottle of seeds into Tanya’s bag (before the party or before she got into Ambulance)

6) Malware that can leverage a computer’s processing power and transfer information even when it is shut down is unheard of. (correct me if I am wrong) This plot seems purely imaginary.

Summary
  • Title: God is a Gamer
  • Author: Ravi Subramanian
  • Publishers: Penguin
  • ISBN: 978-0-143-42139-9
  • Genre: Fiction
  • Pages: 309
  • MRP:  Rs 299 (Now sells at Rs 199 on flipkart)

Other thrillers: 31 * 60 Minutes * Business Doctor * Catching the departed

4 comments :

Shaivi said...

Nice review, but don't u think by mentioning about varun slipping seeds in Tanya's bag, u r giving spoilers?

Shrinidhi Hande said...

I don't think that one line will give away anything...

I believe Ravi also has read this review. If he has a concern I don't mind removing that line

Nirmal Kumar said...

In his earlier novel author Ravi Subramanian dealt banking and education. This time it looks into the cyber crime with banking which has become a matter of great concern all over the world. The novel should be a thriller for the new gen and a book with loads of information on the good and bad sides of electronic media and plastic money to the older generation of readers.

Unquestionably, a good read!

Shrinidhi Hande said...

@Nirmal Kumar

THanks for your comments. Credit card frauds were covered in few other books also.

Bit coin isn't used extensively in India... apart from Bitcoin this particular book does't talk about any other form of electronic media or plastic money