Monday, April 25, 2011
I think the name Hickory Dickory Shock doesnt do justice to how good this book is.
Quite honestly, on the onset, I had not expected to like this book. "A Tale For Techies" is not on my ideal reading list, and I admit to being somewhat biased. But the book itself, right from chapter 1, forced me to reconsider, and eventually I will say that this book is amazing. Its fun, its intelligent, and it is really well-written. The book is a basically a mystery set within a techno-innovation company called Shivan Computers. You learn at the very onset that things are wrong - they're cooking their books, there is something fishy about the recruitment patterns, and finally this culminates into the murder of two high-ranking officials of the company. One of the major suspects is our hero - 210 (Maninder Tuten Chatterjee, the history of whose name is as fascinating as the rest of the book) - and he must find the actual culprits of this. This is compounded by some odd ciphers that keep turning up everywhere.
Now I'd say the very best part of this story has got to be 210. He's a great protagonist. He's fun, he's passionate about his work, and he's the kind of IIT guy who finds relationships between random data in restaurants and yet isnt getting good grades - he's nice, he's cool, and he's somewhat geeky - in short the kind of guy I would consider a great protagonist. He's also well-equipped for this sort of mission, with his extensive knowledge. His supporting cast, especially love interest Geetika ("Geeks") and his amazing mother, are all pretty good. At places, it can be hard to keep the cast in Shivan straight, since you meet them all at the same place and they have slightly similar names. In that case, keep that chapter where they are introduced bookmarked. (Trust me, as this web tangles, you'll need it.)
The plot is refreshing and not predictable (at least not for me), the puzzles are quite interesting and have a Da Vinci-code esque way of getting you interested in the story, and the writing, as I've mentioned above, is above-average to say the least. The author definitely has a way with words and writes in a clean, simple style that makes the book really easy to read. In fact, this book is the kind of book you would love to finish in a day, because it flies forwards at a steady pace and builds up the mystery really well. The skipping of the narrative from past to present to future may not suit all readers, however, I'm quite comfortable with it so it was not a problem with me.
Final thoughts: This review has come blazing out, because I really enjoyed the book and I could pinpoint exactly what I liked about it - good protagonist, innovative plot, and interesting writing style. A book everyone, but especially techies, will enjoy.
Other thoughts: Will be interviewing author Sundip Gorai sometime soon, so watch this space. :) Also, this is my (I've lost count) but part of the books for the Book Reading Challenge 2011.
(Financial disclosure: Book source was the author.)