Sacred Games by Chandra Vikram

Product info (from Goodreads):

Sartaj, one of the very few Sikhs on the Mumbai police force, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But “the silky Sikh” is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip-off as to the secret hide-out of the legendary boss of G-Company, he’s determined that he’ll be the one to collect the prize. 
It is is a story of friendship and betrayal, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its darker, primitive side.

My impressions:

It is supposed to be the book the first Netflix Indian series is based; still if I have a choice: to read the book or to watch a series I always choose the book. Or the book first and the series later.

Sacred Games has two main story arcs: you follow a Bombay police inspector and a mafia Don, two men whose stories intertwine but only briefly meet. I liked Ganesh Gaitonde’s story better even though
Sartaj Singh and his unique approach toward the world wasn’t bad in itself. There are layers within layers and the author presents a good account of the lives of most of the characters that Sartaj comes into contact with on a daily basis.  Still I got a feeling the book was too long, too ornate, like those Indian and Pakistani trucks, decorated more richly than your average Christmas tree. Overall I think Chandra’s narrative, though mostly action-driven, lacks in certain areas. The book offers an interesting array of characters, but more often than not, these characters do not add much to the narrative and in fact, slow it down.  And the book is long, like over 900 pages so it hardly needs any slowing down.

Add to that the fact that the author had to include a Hindi glossary to assist readers with many Hindi words and phrases sprinkled throughout the text and all of a sudden you are facing a chore, not entertainment, especially in some chapters.

Final verdict:

A sprawling novel about gangsters and cops in Mumbai, India. If you like long, convoluted stories richly flavoured with local spices, you will be enthralled; still be warned – it might take you longer to read than you expected. I almost liked this one. Almost.

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6 Responses to Sacred Games by Chandra Vikram

  1. blodeuedd says:

    Lol, almost, almost

  2. Carole Rae says:

    I feel like I would struggle with getting this one done.

  3. heidenkind says:

    I’d never get through it

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