Chevalier is a modern reimagining of 1980’s mech sci-fi like Battletech, Gundam, and Macross. It’s a quick, action-packed read—not very deep but highly entertaining—that focuses on making mechs feel like realistic battlefield tech, not magic.
The plot is a classic: Vandal is a mech (called upright tanks) mechanic in a mercenary company. When mysterious, badass mercenaries decimate his unit, he’s forced to become a pilot instead, a role he is naturally gifted at. He befriends the other new pilots and is thrust into combat prematurely out of necessity, triumphing over the rival mercenaries in an unexpected way.
The setting is an alternate history where Baghdad was never sacked in 1258. This led to space flight during the crusades, cementing the nobles from the Spain, Portugal, and France as one major power, with descendants of the Saracen as the other. But the story focuses tightly on Vandal and those around him, so the wider setting remains under-explored. Hopefully more background comes in the sequel, Ymir.
Overall an enjoyable action romp.