Book Review: The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi

“Just another work of fiction served on the Dan Brown like platter”

Mammoth research and engaging plot have always inveigled me towards the magnanimous task of reading historical fictions. Until now, no one has ever been able to touch the awesomeness of Dan Brown in the world of historical/mythological fiction. Like many, The Krishna Key is yet another literary publication from a little well-known Indian writer Ashwin Sanghi, which takes you on a glaring Dan Brown like journey. Though it is a nice and strong attempt on the writer’s part to become ‘The D’ (I prefer not using his name again and again) of India, but creating record-breaking concoction of history, modern-day science and a great deal of conspiracy theories is not every writer’s forte.

The Krishna Key (Hardcover)

The Krishna Key (Hardcover)

Some fans might find my linking The Krishna Key to The Angels and Demons and The Da Vinci Code somewhat absurd, but learn bring out some striking similarities to attest my part.

  • A not-so-old Academician as the main lead
  • A long-living historical + mythological secret
  • Mysterious deaths of fellow academicians, linked to the secret or possessing some key information regarding the same
  • Ancient religious symbols and anagrams, used for solving secret codes and puzzles
  • Attractive female sidekick, A psychopathic killer and an unlikely villain, kept undisclosed till the final chapters
  • And finally, the secret revealed/disclosed in an implausible manner.

Now, anyone who puts together all these points would surely not become the King. The case with The Krishna Key is somewhat same. Though it contained all the required fictional elements, it failed to deliver the goosebumps giving moments that are normally associated with books of this genre.

I am a genuine Ashwin Sanghi fan and I loved reading The Chanakya’s Chant. But with The Krishna Key, the things didn’t go well and as expected. In an attempt to include every little aspect of history and mythology, Ashwin left behind the most important aspects of impressive narration, spell binding characterization and happy-go-reading.

In order to make the picture even clearer, let me put forward a comprehensive review for you.

Characters

The number of characters introduced in the book is generous. There aren’t too many leads and sub-leads in the book, which makes it easy for the readers to hold onto. Though the number of characters is kept minimal, weak character sketching makes it a bit difficult for the readers to remember them all. The reasons given in support of the characters so-called formation are too flimsy to believe. The most hard-digesting part was the love story thrown amid history, mythology, secret and conspiracies in the book.

The Krishna Key

The Krishna Key

The Plot And Narration

Ashwin, known for his rock-solid research and engaging plot has let me down with this publication. The research part gets a 100 out of 100 from my side, but it was the engaging plot thing that I found missing. The story is set in a kind of filmy tone with the good guys (who have some secret and are in a mess because of it), the bad guys (who are powerful and are after the secret) and the cops (who are on both sides). Ashwin tells a tail that is linked to the final avatar of Vishnu i.e. Kalki Avatar, only though he is born and brought up as a serial killer.

The dashing professor (Ravi Mohan Saini), who knows about Krishna beyond any person’s ability, is the main lead of the story. He is on a run with his beautiful understudy (Priya) after being framed as the killers of the secret holders (Anil Varshney, Nikhil Bhojaraj, Rajaram Kurkude and Devendra Chhedi) of the truth regarding Krishna’s legacy. He makes every possible attempt to dodge the cops (Radhika Singh and Rathore) and the bad guys (Taarak Vakil, Mataji and Sir Khan), and connect the dots left behind by his friends to unlock the mystery. Sounds any familiar? There is a striking similarity to The Da Vinci Code, but set in a Hindu Mythological way instead.

Now, getting back on track, how he faces the bad guys and the cops whilst studying about the secret is interesting to read. Thoughts like will he be able to unlock the mystery, what will be the secret, what is the Krishna Key, etc. will daunt your mind all through the 475 pages. The mixture of facts from the Vedas and other historical literary publications make it a little complicated to digest and hold onto. At points, the historical facts seem to be introduced unnecessarily and that too in abundance. The page-turner feel is present in certain sections of the books and is spread unevenly.

What I loved the most about the book was the excerpts from The Mahabharata at the beginning of every chapter. This gives a summary of Krishna’s journey from the very childhood to what we know him today. At times, the over use of Sanskrit, Anagrams and codes make it difficult for a reader to go further. The dialogue is something that was really not the Ashwin style as to what is evident in The Chanakya’s Chant. At most of the parts, it was superseded by monologues, which came to my disappointment. Overall, it gives a feel of a force-fit fiction story with not too many stereotype characters bringing out forced events of surprises.

This book will keep your mind occupied with thoughts like why are they running? What the hell are they looking for? Why love? Why now? What is the urgency in disclosing the secret? WHY SO SERIOUS? Thanks to the poor narration that moves back and forth in time as well as place.

Final Verdict

In a brief, The Krishna Key is a total disappointment from the desk of Ashwin Sanghi. Whether you take it as a work of fiction, mythology or history, the reconstruction of the Krishna’s past is just not the thing you expect it to be. It is just a piece of historical research and nothing more than that. More facepalms, less thrills, contrived plot, too much historical facts and unnecessary elements, and lame ending make it a POOR READ.

Stay tuned for more updates. Happy Reading!

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