Insufficient Mating Material book review

Insufficient Mating Material review
by Rowena Cherry (Dorchester Publishing, 2007)

Reviewed by Kent Manthie

Within the wide star system known as the Communicating Worlds and in particular, in the Tigron Empire, a sexy, scary, super-human and far-reaching empire, things are not what they seem to be and the people are dualistic, duplicitous, conniving sharks – you wouldn’t want to turn your back on any of them for too long.
So goes the latest work in this vein by Rowena Cherry, “Insufficient Mating Material”, picking up where her last book, “Forced Mate” left off. FYI, the term “Insufficient Mating Material” refers to a chess outcome, where there is no way of checkmating, in other words, a draw.
“Insufficient Mating Material” follows the exploits of Commander Jason, aka Djethro-Jason, the protagonist of the novel, at least for a time. Anyway, he and Princess Martia-Djulia are stranded, purposely, on an abandoned island known as Freighter Island. There they are marooned by Jason’s nemesis, Tarrant-Aragon who strands them to get them to “mate”.
Well, anyway, we follow the couple’s exploits on the island, the pouty, useless princess and the military precision of the ex-soldier and general bon vivant with the funny tattoo. But simultaneously there are other plans afoot; for instance, a murder contract that’s been put out on Princess Martia-Djulia; the machinations of Tarrant-Aragon, Django-Ra and the two old grandmothers who are subtly working out the jigsaw puzzle that underlie it all.
The way it is so busily written, with so damn much detail about everything, you’d think the characters would’ve turned out a little bit empathetic or at least sympathetic; instead I found them shallow and two-dimensional and I found myself not caring about what happened them; it’s a busy book; full of lots and lots of information about the intricacies of the Tigron Empire, its customs and histories and the filler stuff that holds the rest of it together; but, I mean, first you have to care about them, then we can find out all the technical junk. But, in this hoot it’s not all that necessary to put the protagonist on the couch for too long, it’s more about getting to the action and the sex; which is the centerpiece since it is a “futuristic romance”, not a sci-fi novel, not a parable or a space age fable, but a romance book set in the future in some faraway land, in the imagination.
Those cult followers of Ms. Cherry will no doubt salivate at the mere mention of a new book, but those who have never heard of her or her novels may take a little warming up to get used to the new worlds of the Tigron Empire and surrounding areas.
Rowena Cherry is a native of the little British island, Guernsey, where she grew up; she has always been a lover of chess, becoming the champion of her high school chess tournament and winning the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award. She matriculated at Cambridge University, where she received degrees in English and education. After that she taught for a spell at some English boarding schools; eventually she met and then married an auto designer who lived in Germany but was transferred to America; Michigan, specifically, where she lives today with her husband and six-year old daughter. She’s incorporated her love of chess into all her novels, using chess terms like “mating” with not-so-subtle innuendo. Hahaha.
If you’d like to get caught up on the whole Great Djinn Family Tree or find out the genesis of the Tigron Empire, or just learn more about Rowena, check out her website: http://www.rowenacherry.com – KM.

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