Review: Intelligence Block – A Talos June Novel

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The Crafting of Chess is a work of fiction written by Kit Falbo, and is available in digital edition, via the Kindle Unlimited subscription service, or via paperback copy.
Synopsis: In the distant future, Talos June plays the character Joontal, a middle ranked mage in a world where old school technology is merged with nanobots and projections to create flashy shows and battles. Joontal is styled after older classical wizards which makes him novel and he is played well, but the character only comes into the spotlight when an attempt is brought on his life. Now Talos June, stripped of the character he has played for over 5 years, must come to terms with who he is as an individual and also the conspiracy that lead to his character’s demise. Can he keep his sanity intact and his lover (who was once his apprentice when he was in character) safe as he goes deep down the rabbit hole? How can he reinvent himself amongst the other mages? And the UIs that are so prevailant in the future, are they perhaps fundamentally flawed and if so what is the source of this?
What I liked: The mage battles, in which actors attack each other with tech obfuscated as magic, are exceptionally entertaining. Talos June is a believable character in a world that needs a solid anchor to view it. The interactions with the various AIs and the implications of how their base coding might affect their personalities were definitely well visited. This book is an amusement park ride well worth the price of admission.
What I didn’t like: This book needs an editor. Every chapter there’d be another set of formatting errors, another set of spelling errors. It was frankly very frustrating. I’m sure it will be cleaned up in time but I’m rather surprised the book was put out to retail in this manner.
Final Score: If this book were better polished, I’d be recommending it to all my friends. In its current state, I’m hesitant to. If we were to give it a 100% for the story and a 60% for the writing we’d have an 80%, and that’s Common Core right there. 4 out of 5 rogue AIs.