Thursday, June 30, 2016

Book Review - Divided Minds - Sanjay Koppikar

Book: Divided Minds - War of the Worlds Within 
Author: Sanjay Koppikar
Price: Rs.245 on Amazon 
Genre: Science Fiction 
No. of Pages: ~280

I have always felt that there is a serious dearth for good Sci-Fi by Indian authors. But, I was surprised to see that Sanjay's second book is one. His first book - Bangalored, was more like a White Paper blended into a story so that it could barely fall under the genre called Fiction. But, the author has come a long way since. And so it is safe to say that Divided Minds - War of the Worlds Within (with its rather painfully long title) is actually a quick fun read. 

Synopsis: (Spoiler-alert!)
A genius scientist, Dr. Amit Deshpande, has made the biggest invention of our age. Microbots - A nano robot that can course through your bloodstream, once injected, and feed back data regarding your health regularly to the laboratory. This breakthrough invention can now be used to anticipate a medical event, like a heart-attack, well in advance and thereby can get you the required care in time. In short, this is India's answer to immortality. 

As expected, the world goes gaga over this and even the Prime Minister of the country wants it. What happens in the remainder of the story is anyone's guess! 

The Author:
As I mentioned in the introduction, Sanjay has come a long way since his first book. And the improvement is obvious in many areas, the biggest of it being in his style of writing. Contrary to his previous book, he has not forced himself to dumb-down the slightly technical areas of the book and has allowed the reader to imagine it for themselves.

He has managed to keep the narrative fast-paced and interesting throughout, which is of utmost importance to a story like this one. He has got a Ravi Subramaniam-esque style to his writing in the way he weaves different threads together reaching a crescendo finish. I was also pleasantly surprised by the ease with which he handled the relationship between the young couple - it was quite natural.

He is active on Facebook and Twitter although the Twitter Handle for the book itself seems to have been neglected.

What could have been better:

  • The Cover - Oh! I like all of it, except that little mosquito-like thing (the Microbot) sitting on the brain. Yes, I understand the intention behind it, but it is such a huge giveaway on what the whole theme is. Just because of this one slip, I could guess the whole plot within the first few chapters
  • The Prologue - It is extremely important to the story, but it was very Chetan Bhagat-ish (read - Garish!)
  • At some point, the author got carried away. That is when it stopped being a book and started to take the shape of a movie script. We need more authors writing books for the love of writing than with a secret wish that it gets made into a movie 
  • Oh so predictable! There were no major twists that made me say, 'I did not see that coming'. The story is pretty much what you expect from seeing the cover!
  • Somewhere towards the end of the book there was a glaring typo that made me cringe. Some spell-check could have helped, but this I understand, is something that can almost never be avoided
My Rating:

... is a 2.5 out 5!

The language is simple and it is fun to read. A science fiction based out of India is very interesting and very different. The story is fast-paced throughout. The characters are convincing enough and believable.

However, the story is hardly convincing even for a science fiction. The head of a country, the military, agreeing to be injected with something that has not undergone proper human trials or verification by Govt. Agencies! Oh! C'mon! And the narrative gave away the plot, long before it was intended to, through some very obvious suggestions.

Divided Minds - War of the Worlds Within is a quick read on a short train journey - good enough to keep you occupied for a couple of hours. This was surely a successful attempt at Sci-Fi by Sanjay Koppikar. Although, I really hope that his next would fall under the Romance genre because he might really be better at it.

Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the Author.

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