Sidharth Vardhan

Gods and Gambles

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Review of Aqson Level I
Author – Sreejib
Published in 2017

If I believed in the principle of full disclosure, I would have told you that I reviewed this book for the author who is a friend but since I am not a man of principles you will have to figure that out by yourself. To be honest, I was afraid I will lose her friendship as I am not into fantasy novels (Harry Potter, Game of thrones excepted) and would have to rate this book low. Luckily, it became the third exception.

The summary may it look like an uneven circus with mentions of God, Satan (thanks!), angels, politics, students etc but here it is a very entertaining circus. Unlike some of other YA books that screw mythology and call it serious ‘retelling’; this one makes no such claims and is just focused at entertaining. The book discusses socio-political issues of its time and place (India towards the end of 2018, yep not-so-distant future). I agree with it on those issues.

One problem with generic fiction is that all characters are supposed to be brilliantly hot, but at least in this case, the author is conscious of the problem and tries to justify it.

My biggest problem with YAish books popular in India these days (Chetan Bhagat, Durjoy Dutta & co.) Is that their prose is liable to kill one by boredom. This one has no such issues. There is at least one joke in 80% of pages of the book. The characters though not literary-fiction complex are interesting (something else missing in books YA writers).

Anyways all this is technical and intellectual. What I really must tell you is that there is a guy in this book who wears a shirt with caption “68, you owe me one”

Got it?

Of course, you did. The biggest perverts of the world are all my friends.

Anyways, this guy wears this tee-shirt to meet country’s prime-minister’s daughter and heir-apparent. And, and, and wait for it… She flirts with him.

If that doesn’t get you to read the book, then you might go to heaven for all I care.


Some quotes:

” True love will always find its way to a hot weekend in Greece.”

“Lucifer doesn’t have any followers. He only has friends.” (that is true, I don’t believe in hierarchies)

“What?”—Sky looked at AJ in accusation—“You will believe Valmiki ji, whom you have never met, but you will not believe Hollywood, which is right in front of you? If Valmiki ji wrote that monkeys built a bridge of stones on an ocean then, yay, let us all agree that monkeys built a bridge of stones on an ocean. But if Hollywood says that monkeys will take over the world, let’s laugh. Such double standards!”

“As long as I am me, I don’t care who I am”

“I am smart enough to acknowledge that I am not the smartest.”

“There is nothing special about being human, Dinkey. Humans are nothing but a measly overpopulated species. They think that the world belongs to them and them alone. They are a species that has no respect for fellow species. A species that has chosen to ignore the fact that they do not own the world, merely share it. A species that could be the very reason why we lose our home, our world, one day.”

“Whoever invented marriage was such a romantic,” I said to myself.
“Whoever invented divorce was such a genius,”

“The best thing about power is that it comes with the choice to not exercise it.”

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