After the disappointment of Knife Edge, the previous book in this trilogy, I wasn't sure which way this one was going to go. After spending the afternoon racing through it, I am pleased to announce that Checkmate is as good as Noughts and Crosses which I adored. YAY!
While Knife Edge seemed to be lacking the edginess and the intensity of plot I found in Noughts and Crosses, Checkmate did not have that problem. It was angsty, it was powerful, it was emotional. The lives of these characters are still not at ease, all of them still fighting with the ghosts of their collective past and poor Callie Rose, dragged into the middle of it all, is just trying to work out who she is and where she belongs.
Sephy has changed dramatically since Noughts and Crosses but at times I can see her old self shine through and what's more is that I see her in Callie. The development of mother and daughter was flawless - all their fights, arguments, mistakes on both parts, and in the end their love for each other, tied together by the memory of Callum. Callum, though killed in the first book, is an overhanging presence in all their lives, even all those years later. (view spoiler)
Meggie has changed dramatically in this book. Her vindictiveness was quite surprising and I would have thought she would have treated Sephy better. I also don't know how they managed to live in the same house for more than ten years hardly speaking to one another. I believed Sephy was well within her rights to be angry and upset, and also that Meggie had reason to worry - but of course went about it all the wrong way. The problem with these characters is that they've all been broken and hurt so many times they don't know who to trust. I guess this is why the ending gave me so much to be hopeful for. I found myself not caring which boys or men were in either of Callie or Sephy's lives, but mainly caring about their relationship with each other. Makes you wish they had had that conversation a long time ago.
When you care about characters (as I inevitably do) reading a book where they make so much trouble and cause so much pain for each other can be very hard! However, I very much enjoyed this 'conclusion' to the 'trilogy' (though I have another book??) and I don't mind about the extra book as again I find myself unable to let go.