Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Krishna Key - A review


When blogadda announced that Ashwin Sanghi's next book was up for review, I pounced on the opportunity to read up on what could be a worthy successor to his Chanakya's Chants (which really was a 'cannot-put-down' read).

So when the book came, I could barely wait for nightfall (reading is a pleasure that is now confined to when the kids are tucked in and the rest of the world has drifted to sleep). A few pages down, and one gets a sense of deja-vu in the book. That's when it hits you - a brilliant (and sexy) scientist, framed for murder, on the run with another female scientist (yup! sexy one again) trying to solve a mystery while evading the law. Vaguely familiar? It's like someone tore up the pages of 'The Da Vinci Code' and 'Angels and Demons', shuffled them up, and replaced the Christian stories with Hindu mythology, and sewed it up again.

Not that one should dismiss the book as a 'copy'..... Its not original, but definitely worth a read. Let me try and get into the nitty-gritties without giving away the plot. As I usually approach reviews, lets look at the various aspects:

  • Plot : Yes, you've already read something that looks like this, and in all probability, you know what the next chapter is going to tell you sooner or later. You also know that the similarities between this book and other best sellers are not coincidences. But the book still manages to strike a chord - maybe its the renewed interpretation of the stories we've heard from our grannies; or maybe its the attempt to get to the 'patriotic' Indian in us - the book gloats about the superiority of the mighty civilizations that existed in the Indian sub-continent (there! doesn't that ALREADY appeal to you?) and how historians from the 'West' tried to change a few facts to change history. So yes, the book certainly has pages and pages of well-researched feel-good facts about our glorious past, interwoven with a tried and tested plot.
However, the only problem with this plot was that sometimes, it goes all over the place, hinting that the author himself might have been confused how he wants it to end. Somehow, the climax leaves you wanting to turn yet another page and find a closure to the whole madness in the murders. The gruesome murders seem pointless and unexplained in the end.

  • Writing style : Its a la Sanghi all the way. Just as in Chanakya's Chants, we move back and forth in time. The events in the mythological character's life are used as bookmarks to pave the way to the next big revelation in the present. But one can't help comparing the two books by this author; and when one does compare this to Chanakya's Chants, this one comes across as slightly confused, slightly forced. Some of the connections between mythology and the present were lost to me, which was not the case with Chanakya. But, having said that Sanghi does not disappoint with the research. (I learnt that Ranchordas is a name for Krishna!!) Yes, sometimes one does feel inadequate while reading (you see, everyone in the book - from a murderer to a thug, seems to be an expert in history and symbolism!) but the explanations are made out in simple language. It does force one to rethink all that was taught to us in the name of 'Indus Valley Civilization'.
  • Character development : Could have been much, much better. When one reads, the words have to be able to paint faces to the names. Somehow, I couldn't put a well-defined face to even the main protagonists in the story. The characters with shades of grey had much more scope in terms of why they are as they are. Like I said earlier, some actions seem forced - because the author wanted a certain closure -  and not because that would have been the logical course of events.
  • Words and print quality: There were no grammatical or typo errors, which is a big thing these days. Editing could have done much more, some distinctive words (the kinds you would remember when you read them once) have been repeated quite close to each other, and in two places the character names have been mixed up. (I had to read the para twice to understand what the author wanted to express!). Good print quality, spaced out words, right font size..... it is easy on the eyes.

Final verdict : A definite one time read. I don't think it will go on the bookshelf as a timeless classic, but it is definitely one that I would lend out to a friend when they are on a long flight; the flight will seem shorter. Expect however, to feel a little disappointed for want of a more reasonable closure.

This review is a part of the Blogadda Indian Bloggers Book Reviews Program at Blogadda. Participate now to get free books!

32 comments:

  1. totally agree.. while it is better than most books present today in indian fiction, by his standards, it felt a bit of a let down.. a book which had potential to be better.

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    1. Yes.... in fact the first of Shiva trilogy which i read immediately after this was breathtaking too!!

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  2. I haven't read Chanakya's Chants. Do you think it to be original or something on the lines of this one?

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    1. Chankaya's Chants is quite original - it very effortlessly compares today's political tactics to the ones employed by Chanakya - ofcourse for different ends. That book is definitely a book for keeps.

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  3. Quite agree with your views on the book. You have covered the entire outlook towards it.

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    1. Thank you Rathina ... welcome to the blog!

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  4. :) I have to get this book, a lot of bloggers have written good things on this book.

    Bikram's

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    1. yes Bikram, the book is certainly interesting. But you must get your hands on Chanakya'a Chants too - superb read!

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  5. Ample research by the author I must say.... btw I am loving reading your posts, esp parenting tales...digging the archives now...already blogrolled you...glad that you stopped by at my space giving me a chance to land here :-D

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    1. Thanks for coming by NBose! And appreciate the kind words! Parenting is my biggest challenge these days, and hence the hyperventilating posts on the same :-)

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  6. Thanks for the elaborate review... doesn't look like it matches up to the goodness of Chanakya's Chants

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    1. No. Manjulika. It certainly is not a match to Chankya's Chants. But the research on Lord Krishna itself is one good reason to read the book.

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  7. N,

    Loved the patriotic angle that you brought in.

    A point to note, there were many typos and the author has printed the list on his website :-)

    Good one. Keep writing.

    Cheers,
    M

    PS: here's mine
    http://mukeshrijhwani.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/book-review-the-krishna-key/

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    1. Thanks M. I didn't know the authir had listed it in his website :-) !
      Will definitley go through your review soon!

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    2. An update : visited your blog - and my comments put there :-)

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  8. hi,

    You seem like a pro at reviewing. I liked the concise approach and honest reaction. Will try to get my hands on Chanakya chants first :)

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    1. Thank you for the lovely words, Ghazala! Yes, Chanakya's Chants is definitely a must read. This one is ok for a long journey :-).

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  9. Like Wow Nirvana!!!

    (taking a bow!)

    remember when I told u long back that the way u write resto-reviews was simply mind-blowing?? Well, this time time I'm telling you that the way u write book reviews is even more WoW!!! Loved the structure and the points u've highlighted here and ur personal account of each of these very valid points!!

    Bravo Nirvana, bravo!! :)

    btw, this author is coming to British Library this week: http://www.bangalorebookclub.com/events/85336822/

    Keep up the great work Nirvana :)

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    1. Wow! you going to meet him? The latest book notwithstanding, am a big fan of his style of writing. And I can't thank you enough for reviving the reviewer in me - the other blog too!

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  10. A good book, but missed the last round of proof-reading, isnt it? I liked it overall.

    www.anucreations.blogspot.in
    www.facebook.com/VolatileSpirits

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    1. hahaha!! yes, Anupama - absolutely missed the proof reading! Surprising considering the amount of money and energy put into the marketing! Tahnks for coming by.

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  11. Because the admin of this web page is working, no doubt very rapidly it will be famous, due to its feature contents.

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  12. If Chanakya's Chant is Sachin then Krishna Key is Rohit Sharma... The former being pure class, authenticity and great delivery the latter is just over-hyped, confused and naive.. Aww c'mon Nirvana you know the book was a 1.5 starrer outta 5 if you are really generous..

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    1. Well, Harisankar, lets be fair. There are moments of discovery in Krishna Key too - ofcourse I may be biased because I am a raving lunatic when it comes to mythology, and there are very few things I do not know about Lord Krishna or the Mahabharata (yes, yes.... I am bragging). But there were a lot of info in it that I was unaware of. Also, liked the concept of a Kalki Avatar coming in right about now - also know exactly where in Delhi I want Him to strike first. :-)

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    2. 1.Kalki------SIlas
      2.Proff I-dont-remember-his-name -----Langdon
      3.Syamantaka ----------------- Holy Grail
      4.Running from Temples after temples after temples------ Churches after churches
      5.Both are kind of having the same job too Symbologists
      6. Take away the Christian Concept with a few generous dollops of Indian Mythology and confuse the readers as to what is the actual point of the entire story---You get Krishna Key!

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    3. No two opinions there - the 'inspired by' tag is there obvious as day. All I am saying is that there is a fair amount of research that went into the mythology part....

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  13. Hi,

    I liked your blog. I thought that we could do a few cross blog things.

    Would you be interested in reviewing my new book "Love, Peace and Happiness:What more can you want?"

    I could do an author interview on yours. I could also post your review on my fanpage referenced below which has more than 20,000 fans giving you a whole new set of visitors.

    Let me know if this makes sense for your blog.

    Rituraj Verma, author
    www.facebook.com/BookLPH
    www.riturajverma.com/blog
    email:riturajverma2005@gmail.com

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    1. Rituraj, firstly..... honored you think I can do justice to a book review.

      Will write to you on mail to follow up on this further. Glad you liked the blog!

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  14. Whoa! This blog looks exactly like my old one! It's on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Excellent choice of colors!
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    ReplyDelete
  15. Replies
    1. Dear Rituraj, had already sent you a mail, to which you replied, asking me for the postal address. Had done the needful ... almost a month ago.

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