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.

It’s easy to say that thus far I am not enjoying this book, and not for the reasons I thought. When I picked this up I had more money and more curiosity. I heard Clancy was a good author, although now there is apparently some debate who actually wrote it, and the ideas seemed interesting. As I got older I’ve learned to shy away from anything politically charged because I currently live in a period where EVERYTHING is politically charged, outside of shows for preschoolers and I’m sure their time is coming too. Politics is ruining everything because having an opinion isn’t enough. Now you must have “my” opinion on every last detail or you’re the worst human imaginable. If you disagree on anything or don’t agree hard enough you’re the enemy. Speaking as someone who has fought a personal rage inside almost as bad as Bruce Banner I am so over this crap! It’s ruined social media and chased people on all sides out (but not the ones we’d like to see leave) and turned potentially good stories and characters into propaganda.

And yet my problem with this book thus far isn’t the politics because somehow it’s less political than the stuff Marvel Comics is putting out despite being ABOUT political unrest. No, my problem is of the people handling the only ones I don’t hate either is supposed to be in charge of the investigation or morning a loved one. Everyone else are opportunistic jerks who may well scuttle this operation, the only proof of which I have they won’t are two more Op-Center books and a Net Force spinoff on my shelf. What isn’t helping is the page count for the chapters, showing too strong an obsession with the time stamp gimmick. That takes us right into today’s count.

  • Chapter 24: Tuesday, 9:15 PM, Seoul: five chapters
  • Chapter 25: Tuesday, 7:35 AM, Op-Center: six chapters
  • Chapter 26: Tuesday, 7:45 AM Reconnaissance Office: three pages

I’m starting to think the good story is in Seoul and the bad story is happening in America. I’m not sure I’m happy about that.

You know, at least Gregory is in mourning and actually considering his stupid move. That’s two more than I can say for Rodgers. Gregory goes to visit his old friend, a US general, to see to sending Soonji’s body to the US because she wanted to go. It sounds like her family may object, especially the father who was against the marriage in the first place. It might be interesting to see what happens there, but that’s not the stupid part. He also wants to meet with the North Korean general on the DMZ, a General Hong-koo. He thinks he can find out if he’s involved with the attack, and if so try to reach him about his wife’s death and the power of Op-Center. The US general tells him it’s a bad idea, but Gregory wants to see Soonji’s body and sort of mentally “channel” her spirit to decide for himself if he’s doing the right thing. Like I said, at least he’s trying to think this through and not just be overcome by the emotion of it. Sure, this could hurt Op-Center and the North is most likely going to spin the whole meeting their way but at least he’s considering that and trying to consider if he’s making the right decision. So the guy mourning his late wife has more sense than the glory hound who is putting everything in danger because he wants the leadership job and to relive his soldier days. Stupid move, but points to Gregory Donald. And entering the room is a man with an eyepatch. Whether this is a red herring or meant to be Eyepatch (we aren’t told if the man is Asian) we don’t yet know.

Meanwhile it just keep getting worse for Paul. The program that knocked out the computers, and apparently a few other government computers before just snapping back on as programmed, had to have come from Op-Center, which means there’s a mole on the inside of this operation. We also meet one more currently likable character and an obnoxious jackass in the making. Matt Stoll, the IT guy, has somehow programmed Mighty Mouse’s voice into his computer to tell him the progress of the scanning for any newly added and questionable code, and Bob Herbert, the Southern accented, wheelchair-bound intelligence officer who thinks only military people are worth the trouble, is pressuring him to get things going because he needs to know what the North is up to and he needs the satellites for that. At least he’s trying to be nice to Stoll, since it isn’t his fault, and he does have a legitimate reason to want to speed things up given the current crisis. The problem with who the mole is to me is less about who I think it is and more about who I want it to be so we can cull the herd of horrible characters for the next book.

Then Stoll sends a coded message to his friend in the Pentagon satellite recon office about the virus and the need for the latest sat image of Pyongyang. The code is based on the Alien movies, with “facehugger” for the initial virus and “chestburster” for the one NRO may have picked up. I like that.

So I didn’t hate anybody this set and the only one making a potential mistake is not in his proper headspace at the moment so I can write it off. And who knows, it might even work out. We’ll see what happens next time.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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