The Operation Awesome theme for the #atozchallenge 2021 is book reviews (even though we're a blog about the publication journey, not a book review blog-- the team loves to read!). I've selected books that I have been itching to read that corresponded with the letter.
This book is an excellent choice. The story follows Beth, an orphan, and her professional chess career. The narrative addresses themes of mastery, loneliness, substance use, and games. The pacing is on point, and even though I am certainly not a chess expert, I enjoyed how the author described the chess matches and how Beth prepared for tournaments. It ignited my interest in learning more about chess.
I would recommend this book for those who want to learn more about chess in a way that is historical, educational, and fun. I will caution that there is some drug use throughout the story and sexual violence in the beginning. This is the first novel I have read by Trevis, and I am curious to read his other novels.
I finished the book. Beth’s journey was engaging and intriguing and it was difficult to stop reading. I anticipate reading more by Trevis and watching the show on Netflix. One of my key factors for reading books is if I would recommend it to others, and if I would reread the book. I would do both for The Queen’s Gambit, and I would definitely read it again with a chess board in front of me to play along.
The theme is captured by the following sentences: “She had been playing grandmaster games in her head from the time she first discovered Chess Review, but she had not been disciplined about it. She played them to exult in the win—to feel the stab of excitement at a sacrifice or a forced mate, especially in the games that were printed in books precisely because they incorporated drama of that kind.”
Overall the novel was hard to put down and an easy read. I appreciated the way chess was portrayed as a conflict and a character, and Beth’s motivations for playing the game. Though the ending was probably more like a quick end game, the novel contained obstacles throughout the novel.
What is your favorite part about chess? Do you have a preferred opening strategy like the Queen's Gambit? Have you seen the Netflix show?