- Average 4.0 from 1 ratings
Happy coincidence has brought a recently-released dish onto this
reviewerís plate today. The chef, Michelle Knight (interviewed here),
was already in my review queue for some time now with an older recipe
but, as her newest book came up for sale, I decided to take up this
newest dish instead. So is this near-future military sci-fi with a
side of wit and comedy make for a fabulous meal or some bland tinned
Before we cut open the MRE package, let us recite the Starving Review
I attempt to rate every book from the perspective of a fan of the
I attempt to make every review as spoiler-free as possible.
Hereís the rub, my literary foodies, thereís a fine line between using
humor to flavor a serious dish and overseasoning with humor to ruin a
dish. Comedy, especially dark comedy, is hard. Good comedy is even
harder. So, let me put this particular dog to bed and say that the
sugary sprinkles of comedy are properly used in this piece. There is
a certain Doctor Strangelove sort of feel to the comedic elements, as
well as that dry British wit to the whole affair, and it sits well in
this Reviewerís stomach.
With that clear, letís attack the rest of the components of this meal.
Check Mate presents a diverse cast of characters and handles those
characters quite well. Even the occasional stock minor characters is
gifted with a particular spark of flavor that makes them just a bit
more three-dimensional. There was obviously care taken by the chef to
make the characters more than the title of their jobs, no matter how
stereotypical they may seem at first blush, and that defiance of
stereotype is appreciated.
The plot takes some interesting turns in the classic recipe of
Ďmilitary-killer-robot-goes-haywireí (and yes, that IS a classic by
this point!) while keeping its feet grounded in the realm of
near-future technology. The initial start is a bit more mellow than I
expected it would be. In fact, it veers dangerously close to an
extended info-dump, yet it wasnít to the point of off-putting. It was
a thick crust of necessary exposition but, past that initial bit, the
pacing turns into a even and consistent flow of action and events,
leading to a rather enjoyable final course.
Stylistically, Check Mate is solid. Once it hits its stride, the
courses come along well, properly seasoned, with dutiful wordsmithing.
If I have any stylistic complaints, itís the occasional slip of
British turns-of-phrase in a distinctly American setting. Naturally,
most readers probably wonít catch these, as I barely did and Iím a bit
of an Anglophile, so I donít see this detracting from most peopleís
My one real quibble with this particular meal is I wish there was a
bit more done from the haywire military robotís point-of-view. Not
much, but there were a few bits early on that gives the reader some
flashes of what is going on and I found those particularly brilliant
while not giving away the overarching plot. Some more scenes like
that I think would have added a bit of needed spice at points during
the last half of the book (into which I can delve no deeper because
To bring it all together, Check Mate is a tasty near-future military
romp mixing some dark comedy with killer robots! Itís not *quite*
perfect, but itís really quite good and I can gladly recommend this
meal to any lover of science-fiction or enjoys a splash of distinctly
British dark humor with their meals! Remember, again, to check out
the Starving Interview to get a glimpse into the mind behind the
FINAL VERDICT: **** (A tasty near-future military romp mixing some
dark comedy with killer robots!) 4 out of 5 (visitor)
Life is a game of chess and we have been programming our computers to play it for generations; each time honing the programs to work smarter, faster, with more efficiency and higher accuracy than ever before.
A stroke of fate saw two memory cards being swapped. In a military laboratory, the most powerful game of chess ever written was accidentally loaded in to an experimental, highly agile, weaponised robot. From the moment they hit the run command, that robot had only one purpose ... to win the game...
No. words: 52000
Style: Science Fiction - High Tech, Humour - General
Product type: EBook
Published: 7 / 2015
Available Formats: Palm MOBI EPUB Sony Reader (LRF) ;MS Word PDF MS Reader Text RTF
Click Here To Read An Excerpt from Check Mate
Michelle's first book was in 1996 and she has been writing ever since; and getting better, or so she promises!
Visit the author website at:http://www.msknight.co.uk