A Game of Chess | By John Simes
I received an e-Copy of A Game of Chess from @Booktasters in exchange for an honest review
Narrative and Plot
One of the main things the book scores is it’s unconventional narrative. While the first book, Dream Factory was a simple third person narrative, this one breaks the fourth wall. Not only that, it even has a whole meta chapter. It is not fair to reveal anything more about it. Apart from the classics, this style is not something you can see everyday. Needless to say, the narrative has been the USP of A Game of Chess.
The plot and rendition of the story doesn’t match the first book. Since this is a duology, there is a natural inclination to compare it with its predecessor. While the first had the heart and soul of a countryside, this one is mostly high end chasing and action sequences with cliff hangers in between. Not that it’s not entertaining. After reading Dream Factory, this is not what you normally expect. The plot is structured like a chess game with each side gaining or losing move after move. That definitely keeps things interesting.
Characters and Conflicts
A Game of Chess is more plot based than character based. However, if is full of striking characters each with their own little arcs. The central characters are definitely Peter and Navinda. But apart from a few moments of self reflection they feel like plot devices most of the time. Continuing the previous story, the bad people are still after AlphaX. There is a conflict between power, faith and the aspiring young minds. Peter and Navinda represent all those young people who want to break free from the walls surrounding them.
A handful of good people are around them who help them achieve their goal. However, there isn’t a lot of mystery in this book. The story elaborates and explains everything that was left unsaid in the previous book. In doing so, it gives away the big reveal quite early. There is the final act, but it is quite expected and doesn’t exactly live up to expectations.
Overall, the whole duology is about hope and dreams. The courage it takes to pursue ones true self. In that regard, the book fulfills its purpose. However, the symbolism and in-depth story telling of the first book is not what you find here. A Game of Chess is primarily a fast paced thriller that has both – helicopter chases and a man finding his inner calling in a brilliant moment. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Loved the ending as well. But I definitely expected more. This is a one time read for me.
A very interesting and thoughtful review. Thank you. The odd thing is, I found the election of Donald Trump – while I was writing the concluding third of the book – very disturbing to my view of the world. Very hard to explain that this brought me to a halt for six months, and I just couldn’t write. Gerald’s outburst in the penultimate chapter was the way I found to deal with it. But your view is perceptive and very interesting. Thank you.
Thank you for the response. I guess every person who gains more experience with the real world feels like Gerald in the end. Now it makes more sense than ever. I think I have to read that chapter with new eyes. 🙂
Thank you, I really got something from reading your very perceptive review. I am very grateful. Now doing the third and final part of The Dream Factory – Cape Farewell.
I can’t wait to read the final part. I did not know a sequel was coming. And I must say, your words mean a lot to me. Thank you so much for responding to the review. It really fulfils the purpose of writing a review in the best possible way.
You’re doing a great job for readers and authors. I’m about a year from having ‘Cape Farewell’ completed, and I look forward to you casting your keen eye over the finished product. I’m other writers find, as I do, that when you use characters – Peter, Navinda and Rosencrantz – over a series of books, they become virtual friends. Magical sort of realism. Thank you, once again.