“Metal Chest” is Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy with an iconic plot line: a member of a visible minority struggling through a dysfunctional landscape to reach a mythical Eden.
In this case, Silas is a household robot struggling through the ruins of America in the wake of a robot rebellion, trying to get to New Valley, where his kind has established a sanctuary.
Silas is the exact opposite of what we expect from a metal-clad “clunker.” Inside, he is soft, emotional, mildly bewildered, and as eager to please as a Labrador puppy. His literary predecessor is far more Tin Man than Terminator.
He is aided in his quest by Deacon, a loquacious smartass of a human with a magnetic personality and a twisted talent for survival.
Between the two of them they provide enough empathy for one main character, with charisma to spare.
As the heroes stumble through the tatters of the modern world, they meet all the usual misfits and miscreants we expect in this genre, none of them completely sane. The archetypical conflict is a Mexican standoff, which everyone pointing guns at everyone else, wondering who will fire first.
Of course, by the time they get to their destination their objectives, characters, and relationships have developed, and nothing turns out the way they expect. Exactly as it should.
The only perceptible weakness in the book is in the structure just before the end. At a place where the tension should be ramping up, there are several chapters of introspection and discussion that put the tension into a downward slide. The conflict then returns for a good ending, but never recovers completely.
A creative and entertaining story, recommended for fans of the Post-Apocalyptic.
I am reviewing an ARC, so I cannot comment on the proofreading, except to say that I wish this author would learn the difference between “shined,” which is what you did to your shoes, and “shone,” which is what the sun did.
(4 / 5)