The Krishna Key: A Book Review

 

Title – The Krishna Key

Author – Ashwin Sanghi

Quick Take – Not a revelation.

TSL Rates- 2/5

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 enthrall 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, but 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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