Full disclosure: I watched the Netflix limited series before I read the book, but even if I hadn’t, I still think I might prefer the show to the book.
Don’t hate me.
It’s not that The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis is a bad book by any means. In fact, I still recommend giving it a read whether you have or haven’t watched the show. It’s simply that, for me, anyway, the show packed a significantly stronger emotional punch than the book, and it’s the emotional aspect of Beth’s journey that really made her story—in print or on the screen—memorable for me.
It’s not fair to judge the book exclusively against how it compares to the show, however, so I’ll drop the comparison for now.
As The Queen’s Gambit novel goes, Tevis presents a truly harrowing tale, one whose prose matches the feel of the game around which its protagonist’s story centers: chess. Written in a straightforward fashion—but with a soft touch when required—The Queen’s Gambit has readers rooting for its protagonist from the novel’s earliest pages.
I could go on about how well the show does the above and more, but alas, this is but a book review.
"Reminiscent of Hemingway and De Lillo. I highly recommend this collection."
-Award-Winning Author Ivy Ngeow