Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Krishna Key - Book Review


                    The first reviews that I read of ‘The Krishna Key’  were adamant on comparing Ashwin Sanghi’s latest thriller to Dan Brown’s bag of tricks. Then, I felt it was very unfair for an author to be blindly dismissed because of smiliar plot ground shared with a bestseller. Now, I sadly stand corrected. The Krishna Key, starts off, travels and chugs to a stop in typical formulaic fashion that cannot not be compared to that other fellow’s works. Alas, while Robert Langdon had me biting my nails with the agony of a wild goose chase, I wished I could have responded to Saini with a ‘No. Thank you very much’ when he handed me an invitation on the first page. I am going to directly delve into the ‘whats’ of my review.

Warning : This review contains spoilers. Do read the book first, if you wish to not know them beforehand.

What Did not work for me:

1. The narration and so many aspects of it. The entire plot revolves around a hunt, a few murders, an almost psycho youth led to believe that he is the Kalki avatar and yet the story failed to engage my intrigue in any way save for a few comparisons and facts. That is just plainly sad because the premise is outright fantastic and holds such promise.

2. The characters – None of them made me want to even remotely root for them. Everyone seemed annoyingly all knowing. Even Sir Khan! If Khan knew about everything, runs an underground empire and has powers virtually everywhere in the world, why would he need such a round about route to find what he was after? His reasons for employing Priya were just paper thin. And he dies in a puff anyway, so don’t bother.

3. The parallel narration of Krishna’s story. What was the point of it?! Really. Where did it fit in, in the story? To me, it was just a mass of text in italics that kept disrupting the already sloppy narration every now and then. I personally felt, it  mocked the legend of Krishna more than helping it in any way.

4. The flow of material – And I’m not even talking about the information overdose. Given the umpteen number of characters and sub stories, the publishers should have very seriously considered presenting them clearly. Given that they did not, you have a mass of italics followed by a dozen paragraphs of narration in the present, caught in a web of flash back and ruminations of each and every character, all in the same font, that play mind games with you. I did all I could to not chuck the book and walk away.

5. Most of the characters seemed to oddly sound the same.  There’s no distinct personality you could pinpoint. We actually have two characters counting prayer beads. Although, the higher purpose of that fact is supposedly a knot that conceals the identity of the villain. 

6. Every single sequence, save for the facts, was predictable. This is a given, in my opinion, in any kind of historical thriller. You expect such things to happen and you guess what certain characters are going to turn into. But, it is solely in the hands of the author to turn it around in his/ her favour, lend it a voice of his/her own and have  readers hooked involuntarily. This book had me rolling my eyes at every instance. 

7. Just simply too much explanation! Everywhere. Where underplay and subtlety could’ve worked wonders, Sanghi has his characters explaining everything. Literally. From composition of injection fluid at the hospital, to aircraft models, to a tough cop detailing every move she made to kick another’s ass, to why pressure applied behind the knees would stop bleeding….I could keep going on. The whole book felt like a crash course on everything under the sun.

8. As if explanations were’nt enough, there are several passages (complete) in the book that are reiterated word for word between the characters and with themselves. The dialogues are just bland. Need I say any further?

What worked for me:

I really hoped Sanghi would silence those who compared him to Brown and wished I would be one of those on his side but, the only positive thing I have to say about the story is the freshness of illustrations and images that prove some respite from the encyclopedia stuck in fiction, that is the rest of the book. Nevertheless, kudos to the effort that went into all that research, Mr. Sanghi.

Verdict:

I can handle information overload. I did read all of Dan Brown’s novels but while those books made me want to read them all over again, Sanghi’s ‘The Krishna Key’ makes me want to return the key back to Krishna. Chanakya's Chant was far better!

Rating : 2/5


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Did you like this review? Do you feel strongly about those points I have discussed? Do you have another angle to matters? Drop in a comment, let's discuss :)

8 comments:

  1. Hmm.. I liked the book, but I agree with you on a lot of points. I haven't read an other reviews of this book, but yes, the first thing I thought of was, whoa! That's totally Dan Brown! I still liked it, given all that information I had no clue about. Coming to Krishna's story, it was good to read at first, but yes, later on it started disturbing the flow. The book's very well researched, all right, and is written well too, but yes, a little less information would have been good. Too much overload, it seems.
    A great review, I must say! :D

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    1. I've had mixed reviews from some of my friends too. The book is indeed a treasure trove of information that sounds fascinating, but given that it is set in a fiction narrative form, it could've been handled a lot better! Thanks for your comment Ashna :)

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  2. My Pleasure!!! :-)

    Could you please recommend a blog/website/forum, where I can read reviews of contemporary fiction, non-fiction, etc...This would help me to choose what books to read. Any of your personal recommendations are also most welcome. I am late starter to reading and I am still caught in a time warp of classics. I was reading your other articles on your blog, I must say, you do have a gift. I wish you all success and hope to read a lot more of your writings.

    Cheers,
    Prem

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    1. That was very kind of you :) Thank you. You could check out the Goodreads website for book reviews and opinions. For on-the-spot reactions to new releases, you can take a look at Flipkart's user reviews. Its kinda unorthodox but manages to grab the reader's pulse :) Other than that, I take to reviews in newspapers, and a general plot on Wiki.I would love to know about the classics you've read :)

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  3. Hi,

    Thanks for the heads-up. Appreciate it. Will check them out. I follow a site called http://johnandsheena.co.uk/books/ I get awesome reviews from this site. This gentleman is like my god!!! Do check it out.

    Classics, yeah, dad used to own a lending library, so started with the regulars like Enid Blyton, Twain, Golding, you know the children's stuff and then moved on to stuff like the Brontes, Dickens, I love Verne and Wells,I also consider Asterix and Tintin, classics :-) I used to think "rather pompously" that reading books even if I don't like them will make me so clever and I can kind of show off my intellect, then I realized what an Ass I had been and now I read for the sheer joy of it, Actually one sentence in Salinger's Franny and Zooey kind of slapped me in the face and brought me back to reality it goes something like this "“I don’t know what good it is to know so much and to be smart as a whip and all if it doesn’t make you happy.” Appo mudivu panninen, sandhoshama irukka padikanum, mathavangale impress panna illenu, I love tamil classics too, Kalki,sandilyan etc. Neenga endha maadhiri books virumbi padipeenga? Cheers, Prem

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  4. I think Indian writers like Ashwin Sanghi and Dr. Makarand Fulzele specially thrive on shock treatment.....

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