Everyone loves a good puzzle, which explains the perennial popularity of books of brainteasers. Many readers first encountered logic puzzles in such books—such as the famous riddle about the truth-teller and the liar—and later graduated to more complicated math-based games, such as sudoku. Kirkus Indie has reviewed several books that aim to challenge readers with their inventive numerical diversions.
In sudoku, players arrange the numbers one through nine in a grid so that each appears only once in each row and column. Author Yaling Zheng programmed computers to create such puzzles as part of her doctoral research, and in 2015’s Create Classic Sudoku, she shares her own practical method for making the grids using easy-to-follow rules. For readers, this method “amounts to solving the puzzle in reverse,” according to Kirkus’ reviewer, who noted that this “engrossing primer” provides “a vigorous mental workout.”
Israeli computer scientist and game inventor Gyora M. Benedek offers a book of “hidato” puzzles, 2015’s Hidato Fun 10, which may attract more adventurous sudoku enthusiasts. In this game, players fill in numbers in a grid so that they all connect vertically, horizontally, or diagonally in numerical order. It may seem easy at first, but Kirkus’ reviewer found that the hardest entries in this collection are “torturous epics that can absorb a puzzler for hours.”
For hard-core gamers, there’s A.V. Murali’s 2014 book A Collection of Fascinating Games and Puzzles, which is, according to Kirkus’ reviewer, “pitched more at unabashed eggheads than casual puzzle-workers.” It includes complex variations of chess, sudoku grids featuring prime numbers and chemical equations, and matchstick puzzles “that morph into mathematical equations and geometrical patterns through delightfully creative maneuvers.” David Rapp is an Indie editor.