Author: Bharat Krishnan
Trigger Warnings: drug use, racism, police violence, homophobia, sexual comments about women, violence
Genre: adult, political thriller
Publication date: October 12 2020
Synopsis (taken from Goodreads)
In this epic saga about privilege and power, Rakshan Baliga will have to choose between the American Dream…and his own.
New York’s drug problem is Rakshan’s solution. Getting his hands on a super drug called WP could earn him glory, power, and a chance to win back his ex. But stealing it from the Top 1% is costly, and if Rakshan isn’t careful he’ll pay with his life.
Discover how Rakshan’s journey sets off a chain of events that changes his city, his country…and the world. This ensemble political thriller is perfect for fans of Ocean’s 11 and House of Cards.
About the Author:
Bharat calls himself a professional storyteller and amateur cook. After 10 years of working in politics, he tried to explain how the country went from Barack Obama to Donald Trump by writing Confessions of a Campaign Manager. Then he wrote Oasis, a desert-fantasy novel that examined what makes a family and how refugees should be treated. Bharat is always looking to make a political statement with his writing because he knows politics seeps into every aspect of society and believes we can’t understand each other without a firm, constant understanding of how politics affects us in all ways.
**Thank you to Caffein Book Tours and the author for providing me with a copy of this book for the tour!!**
If y’all would like to read reviews by other blogs for this tour you can check out the other schedule here.
Political thrillers have never been my genre of preference. In fact, I tend to stay away from them due to how dense they usually are. But the allure of a South Asian author, a South Asian cast of characters, and in intriguing premise drew me to this book. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy to read this was, packed with action and decently phrased commentary on race in America, this was quite an enjoyable book to read. Privilege is a fascinating political thriller that interrogates the racial power dynamics of modern society through the allegory of controlled drug distribution.
Rakshan, Aditya, Jerome, and Sadiya were all wonderful characters to follow. Rakshan and Aditya were flawed yet captivating leads fighting for their place in a world that doesn’t care to help people of colour. Their actions came from a familiar place of ambition and familial obligation. Both of them had nearly identical backgrounds so the moral struggle of supporting one character over the other was an interesting battle to apprehend as a reader. Jerome was also an interesting character. As a young Black boy, his struggles were unique to the story (if a little stereotypical to the real world narrative of young Black boys) and the author does justice in representing his story. Sadiya too, as a queer woman was given a story that spoke to her struggles within the South Asian community and its weighty expectations that women need to fulfill to be seen as successful.
At times I found that Jerome and Sadiya were a little too removed from the central plot of a drug heist but their stories finally get tied into the main conflict as the book came to a close. That indicated that there is certainly more to come from their plotlines in the next two books in this series.
I wanted to see a bit more exploration into how the drug works its way through class as well as race in this fictional world. The conflict was tied to Aditya and Rakshan as South Asian men and I really felt like seeing the way the drug operated in a wider racial context would have been really interesting. I wanted to see how the drug played a part in the life of a white passing or white character too. But I do understand that this is in fact one book and there is a decent chance that’ll pop up in the later books. Plus this was more expository so too much density would have slowed down the pacing which I really enjoyed.
Lastly, I wanted to mention the drug was named WP. The book is named Privilege. I am not going to say it in this post, but when my one braincell finally fired a neuron across the synapse…the realization!!!! The story snapped into place SO WELL. Maybe I’m just a class A doofus and it’s pretty obvious to everyone what WP is but… just in case, here’s a clue for y’all. 🤓
Happy reading!!! Leave me your thoughts on my post or on the book if you’ve also read it!!
See ya when I see ya 🙂