Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Krishna Key: Not a Revelation

She claims to live in a pineapple under the sea. A full time dreamer, an aspring journalist, Ms Tee makes a comeback on A-Musing after a long hiatus.

Courtesy - Google Images


The Krishna Key is Ashwin Sanghi’s third novel, a story that weaves the narrative of Krishna’s exploits with the coming of the “Kalki Avatar”, the tenth avatar of Vishnu and supposed harbinger of the apocalypse.

I picked up this book with certain expectations. The description led me to believe I would be reading a “heart-stopping tale” with a villain who executes “gruesome and brilliantly thought-out schemes”.  I will say right at the outset that if you want a coherent plot, you will not find it in this book. It starts off with some promise: a mysterious serial killer, the hard-as-nails Inspector Radhika Singh, a Robert Langdon-like eminent historian Ravi Mohan Saini and his gorgeous assistant/student/muse Priya Ratnani. The narrative builds up slowly, giving the author enough time to enthral the reader with a flurry of factoids. At this point the author’s research, though admirable and extensive, overshadows the plot. Despite my rather harsh review, I do not want to take away from the fact that the book is like all of Sanghi’s work, well-researched. But while I understand that one’s research is dear to them, any self-respecting author knows when to let go. I did enjoy the little excerpts from the Mahabharata at the beginning of each chapter. However, there is next to no character-development, the distinctions between them being so vague that the editor (or the author himself) forgets who’s who and mixes-up the names frequently. The plot then begins losing all sense of progression, and we start skipping ahead as the author remembers that he had started out with the intention of writing a novel and not an encyclopaedia. A hurried romance with a poor semblance of chemistry follows as the protagonists and antagonists magically commute (teleport?) from Gujarat to Tibet and so on with incredible ease and no apparent time lapse.

And did I mention how absolutely uninspiring the female leads are? Yes, they’re gorgeous. Yes, they’re successful. But villain is inevitably belittled (she apparently has no will of her own and is completely carried away by her emotions) and the strong, independent woman is reduced to a mushy, good-girl character.

And then we reach the conclusion. The most inconclusive conclusion I have read in a while. We find ourselves at the typical epicentre of Indian tourism, are fed a conspiracy theory we’ve heard a million times, and then given a pseudo-philosophical, happily-ever-after, love-conquers-all solution. Yay. So glad I read that.
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35 comments:

  1. Yay!!!!!!!!!!!! I did not buy the book. This was a feel good review :D

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  2. I didn't like his earlier works as well ! I don't understand the ho hullah about him being good !
    A brilliantly executed review by Tee !

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  3. Ahhh....you sliced Sanghi with a knife dipped in Sarcasm. You sadist!
    Oh...by the way, I read an Ashwin novel once. Did not read the last 100 pages. The plot was so obvious.

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    1. There's no point in sugar-coating the knife, is there? :|

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  4. Oh no! :) Its horrifying that the author forgets who's who in his own book.

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  5. Haven't read the book. Anybody who knows A B C is a published author today. From Gujarat To Tibet sounds like Chandani Chowk to China.

    Well written.

    You sure have a bright future as a journalist Tee.

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  6. Great that I maintained my distance. These days I will buy a novel only at gunpoint unless I have read 20 unbiased reviews extolling it.

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    Replies
    1. OR you can get a PDF version (easier, faster).

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  7. Tee,

    Seems a very open and frank review. Let me see if this book is available in our library.

    Take care


    Purba,

    Thanks for introducing her. Take care

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  8. Shiva Shiva!! These books are everywhere begging to be picked up. Good I did not go through the trouble.Loved your take on the storyline young lady.

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  9. i agree to this was not at all what i expected of ashwin after d awesome chankya chant :(

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    1. All authors have their off-days I suppose :-/

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  10. It was quite disappointment after reading his earlier works. Krishna's key is just a poor Indian copy of Dan Brown.

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    Replies
    1. Though Dan Brown is not consistently good either :P

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  11. I felt exactly the same away about the book when I read it. Disappointment was the first thing which came to my mind. The ending was just as you said, one of the conspiracy theory email which we regularly get.

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    1. Yes! I was extremely annoyed by it. Felt like I wasted my time reading the book.

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  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  13. I wouldn't completely agree with you. Character development is not that great, but with such books i think the main aim is to keep the story moving forward. As long as the reader is turning the pages furiously to get to the end, how the author keeps the story moving forward is moot. If you compare The Krishna Key with his first book (which i just finished a couple of days back) The Rozabal Line, you'll find the former more streamlined.
    Mixing up characters? Well i honestly didn't come across that kinda shit. It would be great if you could be more specific.
    As for the conclusion, i think apart from the rescue drama towards the end, i felt it was quite the logical ending. Whether it is The Da Vinci Code or this novel, the climax is always left ambiguous to show that you have unearthed the truth, but you can't do anything more.
    I liked how he joined the dots on a lot of things - i know most of them are for fictional and dramatic ends, but engrossing nonetheless.
    I know many people above may not agree with what i am saying. Many have already dismissed Sanghi as a Dan Brown wannabe and will not even bother reading his books. But that's really just sad as the guy's research is impeccable!

    One thing i do agree with you on is the sad attempt at trying to add in a love story angle between Saini and Priya. I was like, "Dude, that's not really needed!":)

    Take Care

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    1. Ah, but the story doesn't move forward. I said in my review that the plot runs like a broken line.
      A review is not meant to give you plot details. I can send you a copy of the book with all the gaffes highlighted.
      I agree that one has to experience something before making a value judgement.
      Yes, I do admire his knowledge base. That was the only thing that kept me going.
      Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I found the ending stereotypical. You liked it. End of story.
      :)

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  14. Now I am in two minds - whether to read the book or not.
    I might still read it But thanks for setting my expectations !

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    Replies
    1. Read it, but don't buy it. It's not worth keeping :/

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  15. OMG - I thought i am a good reader, but after reading the comments on your blog- i feel- i have a long way to go.
    Dan Brown - has been my fav- and Ashwin Sanghi's research - i find as close and detailed as Dan Brown.

    Coming to Krishna Key- this is my 1st pick of AG. I agree, the end and dragging to end - was testing patience.
    Currently reading - Chanakya Chants- so far its going good.

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    1. "Good" is subjective :)
      Yes, I agree. I learnt a lot as I read.
      Happy reading :)

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  16. Yup!!! that pretty much sums up the whole book! But there is immense research that went into the mythological part of it all...

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  17. Nice review ... Hi last two books were kind of good , though :P

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Psst... let me know what you are thinking.

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