Let The Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti Review

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 Let The Games Begin by Niccolo Ammaniti is a fantastical and absurd novel which won't be for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it! 

I am well aware this will sound bonkers when I write this - but basically... Let The Games Begin is centred around a satanic cult's attempt to attack a massive, exclusive garden party against the backdrop of some Italian literary figures.  Then there is also a really, really odd twist as well which *spoiler alert* involves a Soviet Olympic team living in the sewers. 

Got it?  Yeah, me neither and I've read the thing! 

The Plot 
Right, the whole plot thing - it's mad.  The trick is, you can't get caught up in the plot and the oddities of a world where satanic cults meet in coffee shops - accept it and embrace it. 

In researching for this post I read a review which resonated with me.  It said, remember the definition of a farce: "viewers are encouraged not to try to follow the plot in order to avoid becoming confused and overwhelmed".  Well, the same applies here - strap in and watch out for the hippos.

The plot is mad, but there is direction - towards the party and the chaos Mantos and co hopes to rain down upon it.  

Be warned - this won't be a book you can bring up in passing conversation because every comment you would try to make would sound crazy.  However, if you can find someone who has also read it you'll have a blast (I sadly have not found anyone else who has read this)

I would note that there are some rather *descriptive* sections of violence (including sexual violence) and some  misogynistic descriptions which may put people off.  

The Party 
Aah, the Party itself - the descriptions of the party and its guests were my favourite!

It is wild, it's over-the-top and ridiculously indulgent!  I loved the details that went right down to how the host provides outfit changes for various parts of the itinerary.  The various hunt set ups seemed fantastical - and all set up within the city limits in and a dis-used park.  Mad!

The Writing
Some people will not enjoy the overall tone of the book - partly because of the descriptions.  However, I quite enjoyed the one-the-nose tone of the author - it's littered with sarcasm and captures the inner-voices of 30-40somethings quite well. 

There is also no denying that this is an entertaining book, it's humour may be dark but it's damn funny.  There are some fantastic big moments - like the satanic plot falling to pieces - as well as some smaller themes which I found hilarious - such as the competitive nature of the satanic cult world (who knew?). 

As a translated work, there are references which went completely over my head. And perhaps, the voices of the two narrators is just a little too similar. However, the sarcasm and humour still worked well - I had a hoot. 

Overall: 4/5 whacky stars

If you want to read the book, you can buy it here for Amazon (affiliate link) or listen on Audible (affiliate link) - the audiobook was good for pushing through the scenes which you might have less interest in, and for keeping track of the variety of characters. 

I've not made a video for YouTube on this one as I have a lot going on, but if you would like me to please let me know.