The Bull Option

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Kannada Khan is a man who lost everything after the company he worked at got charged with operating on a Ponzi scheme. The love of his life left him, he had no friends, no home, no one. Living a homeless life, Kannada found shelter through writing, and he concocted the greatest heist of the century in his book.

The Bull Option is a thoroughly researched financial thriller that takes readers to Wall Street, New York, and plunges us in the world of hedge funds and investors. Although the plot, which could almost be the script of a film, shows considerable research was done by Garach into this complex world, its delivery was disappointing. I was happy to find a diverse set of characters, all with their qualities and faults, but their personalities were undermined by flat writing.

The novel starts with a very intriguing basis; the main character saves a rich man who wants revenge against an NYSE executive and will take Kannada’s book and make it real. Kannada has a ton of connections from his previous life that can help him achieve his goal, and the rich man will fund this entire heist. The first part of the book introduces us to all these different individuals who will go on this journey with us.

The worldbuilding is done very well. The author definitely knows this world and what he’s talking about, and we are introduced to Wall Street in a very natural and enticing fashion. When all characters finally come together, this is the time to start executing the Great Big Plan. However, we, as readers, never get to know the full plan. Some basic concepts are explained, but the moment they all meet and start plotting, I felt that nothing was really clear. Maybe I missed something, but I was constantly wondering why characters were heading a specific direction. I understand this was probably a conscious decision from the author, but I found it very confusing.

I had a strong Ocean’s Eleven vibe with this book, which I really liked. The story moves quickly at a pace that I found quite fitting. I actually felt that some of the scene descriptions would fit better in a script than in a book. One major weakness of this book, for me, was the writing itself. There was a lot of telling and not showing. Some of the words used in descriptive passages felt out of place, like something else would be a better fit. Characters parted their lips 20+ times in total, which really stuck out for me. The descriptions of women in this book lacked in creativity, with all female characters having long legs and either perky or busty chests. Referring to a woman’s lips using the term dick pillows is what really put me off. I found it distasteful at best. I guess there is something to be said about setting a Wall Street vibe, but it just didn’t work for me.

The diversity of the characters was a nice touch, but some of the descriptions were awkward and clumsy. Like using Asian as an adjective to describe Ben’s (my favourite character) hair. Asian hair doesn’t really mean anything when there are tons of variations of hair in Asia alone. Or using gay and straight to describe a tone of voice, which ends up being caricatural.

A second weakness was character development. Characters like Ben and Zara have strong personalities, which is reflected in the book, but unfortunately, I never quite figured out what the main character was about. He is flat throughout the book, and even when it comes to his obsessions with his ex-fiancée, the delivery of these emotions lacked in depth.

Multiple events in the story seem convenient or too easy, like they are meant to be there for the plot to move forward. I’m still left with many questions after reading the book. Some things still don’t make sense. Certain reactions from characters we meet along the way simply don’t fit, or are handled way too quickly. Most thought processes are not complete, like we’re going from cause to conclusion without explaining the journey through emotions, inner discussions, etc.

I am very conflicted with this review. On the one hand, the work and research the author put into this book definitely shows. The worldbuilding is done very well. It’s like we’re on Wall Street ourselves and play a part in it. This makes me want to give it 4 stars. However, the writing is flat, and the character development is jagged and rushed, which I would give 2 stars for. I decided to average this and give The Bull Option 3 out of 5 stars. This is a financial thriller with Ocean’s Eleven vibes that I could see as a script rather than a book.

About the author

Sameer Garach was born in Houston in 1986 and earned a BA in Mathematics with Honors from the University of Texas at Austin. During graduate studies in quantitative finance, he developed a passion for writing and subsequently wrote his first novel.

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