I received this book as part of a giveaway on Goodreads.
Sandeep Sharma in his novel, Let the Game Begin, explores the world of monarchy, curses and the origin of chess by creating a wonderful concoction of two genres, namely, Historical Fiction and Murder Mystery. The plot revolves around two rivaling kingdoms – Chaturanga and Sarprakt. The ill fate and reckless decision making of the respective kings lead to the death of many, 4000 years later. In the present time, police officers Surya and Pratham are bewildered by a serial killer who seems to be mimicking the actions of a historical figure. But when someone from the past comes knocking on their door, the officers don’t know if the lines between the past and the present are blurred or if someone from the present has been meticulous with their research.
The plot to this novel was absolutely fantastic. I love historical fiction and so I lapped this up from the start. Without a doubt, the sections about Chaturanga and Sarprakt were my favourites. What’s different in the structure of this novel is that even within chapters, 2-3 paragraphs at a time are divided to showcase different periods or the POV of different characters. One of the things that I didn’t like much about the book was the characterization. While the characters from the historical portion were all fine, Surya and Priya’s relationship felt a little forced. Moreover, some of the other characters were entirely too gullible, especially for the position they occupy. Another bothersome detail was the fact that there were way too many grammatical (editing) errors. I wish it had been polished better. The fact that chess had been incorporated into the plot was interesting, something I hadn’t read before. The story isn’t all that predictable which I found to be great. As with murder mysteries, it can become a little easy to pin point the criminal. The pace of the novel was great too. It was gripping and at no point did I think it was boring. I wanted to give it a better rating but there were a few things here and there that could have been changed for the better. Overall, I really liked this novel. I would definitely recommend it to all those who enjoy a good thriller or historical fiction.
Ratings – 3 stars on 5