Chapter by Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at the time and reviewing it as if I were reviewing an episode of a TV show or an issue of a comic. There will be spoilers if you haven’t read to the point I have, and if you’ve read further I ask that you don’t spoil anything further into the book. Think of it as read-along book club.
In our last group of chapters the bomb went off. I’m guessing we’ll be looking at the immediate aftermath in Seoul and finally see Op-Center. While we wait for the body count, let’s check the chapter versus page count for this week.
- Chapter Nine: Tuesday, 6:10 PM, Seoul: four pages but given the space used it’s more like three
- Chapter Ten: Tuesday, 6:13 PM, Nagato, Japan: three pages, but again the space is more like two
- Chapter Eleven: Tuesday, 6:15 PM, Seoul: three pages but I think you get the idea
- Chapter Twelve: Tuesday, 5:15 AM, The White House: eleven pages? Okay, I’m saving that for next week. It’s the first chapter that’s an actual chapter’s length.
This also means we’re looking at numbers 9-11, which given how that day felt like something out of a Tom Clancy novel is almost appropriate. So three chapters this week. So I guess we’re NOT seeing Op-Center this time around. Given how short these chapters are I don’t feel as short-changed as I normally would be. Okay, let’s get on with it!
Well, I saw it coming last time. Soonji was caught in the blast. What would have been a romantic reunion turns tragic, but from the text at this point I’m not sure if she’s alive or dead. I’m writing this before going through the other two chapters, to at least attempt to keep this article series’ name accurate. The author really set up the scene of devastation nicely, with Donald’s ears ringing from the blast, his slow realization of what happened, his hunt for his wife, and the other realization of where he was. Soonji’s reveal is properly tragic and just as gross as it needs to be. I’m hoping she pulls through considering she found him before collapsing but I’m not sure what losing part of your back does to a person. I pray to God I never have to find out either.
I’m not sure what to make of the next chapter unless it’s supposed to play a part later. It’s just about a pachinko parlor in Japan that’s smuggling money to the Patriots for a Unified Korea, an effort of both North and South Koreans looking to, as the name implies, unify Korea. (Good luck with Dear Leader in charge of the North.) Two men are following the couriers, which may go somewhere later. It goes a bit into the reasons on the part of the parlor owner as well as some of the criminal activities tied to the game, and how the family who owns the parlor won’t sell to the Yakuza or the ancient bandit clan Sanzoku, which I’ve never heard of before but may actually exist.
What’s surprising is the name of the owner, Eiji Tsuburaya. They must have picked a Japanese name at random because anybody around these parts knows that name as the special effects man on the early Godzilla movies as well as the creator of Ultraman and the production company that still makes superhero and kaiju productions. I’m not saying such a coincidence wouldn’t have happened. I’m sure there’s another Steven Spielberg living in this country who’s a file clerk or something but it does strike me as odd given my usual media preferences.
Then comes our final chapter in this set as we get back to the bombing, and in any other format this would be combined with chapter nine. We get the confirmation that she’s dead. The whole chapter is just Kim trying to get Donald to focus on something other than his now late wife but it really isn’t working. The closest he gets to getting his friend to come around is the prospect of finding the people responsible. I really feel for the poor guy, and we only knew them for a few short pages. Let this be a note to other writers in any other medium as well as prose. You may not get your audience to care as deep for a character they knew for a few minutes or pages as they would for someone they’ve followed for a good part of the story, but you can still make them care by making good characters, even if they are born to die. And that’s not the same as being fridged. This is not a long-standing character with potential killed off just to affect the hero. This was meant to show how serious things are and will only affect the hero because it darn well should.
How it will affect our hero will have to wait. Next week is a full-length chapter, a rarity for this book I’d wager, and I want to review it properly like this series should. It will mean the book will take a week longer to review and I’ll probably do this again if it happens again (hopefully not in-between a set or it will really mess with MY formatting). So next week Chapter By Chapter gets to review just one chapter.
Next Time: Tuesday, 5:15 AM, The White House