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.
Here we go again. Three chapters this week, and I wish that meant we were speeding things along but given how short the chapters are we’re not quite 2/3rds into this book. There are eighty-eight chapters and a lot of is padding, I think to introduce the series and main/recurring characters more than the needs of the story. All of the interesting stuff is happening in Korea, and all the annoying stuff involve our main characters. Most of them are unlikable, seeking the boss’s job, seeking the boss’s body, running off when they should be here (what happened to Mike Rodgers and the team he forced a soldier off of so he could be there anyway?), or just being rude if they aren’t making matters worse.
Meanwhile, our Korean-based heroes are trying to prove the bombing was a ruse to restart the Korean War and being interesting. A man is dealing with the grief of losing his wife hours ago and is still doing more good than the guys who haven’t lost anything, save the man whose son is in the hospital. In other words the only way to be good at anything is to have a loved one dead or dying in this book. Let’s get to the chapter list for this week.
- Chapter 50: Wednesday, 1:20 AM, Yanguu Village: 5 pages
- Chapter 51: Wednesday, 11:30 AM, Op-Center: 5 pages
- Chapter 52: Wednesday, 1:45 AM, The DMZ: 5 pages
Well, thus far I can’t fault it. One scene with Hwan trying to find the real bombers, a stop at Op-Center, and a check-in with Donald trying to stop a war. All three major areas accounted for. Will it be any good though?
Hwan and Kim (confusing given how many Kims are in this story, but this time it’s the girl) go into her secret location to contact home and learn if any of their uniforms were stolen. There’s a bit of banter and a discussion of the superior Israeli radio (I have heard their military tech is very advance…kind of necessary when your neighbors are targeting your schools with missiles), which they bring along because Hwan doesn’t want to wait around an hour for their response. Of course the author(s) is(/are) guessing about the procedures since these are made up spies in a slightly distant future from when the book was published. The interesting part is Cho is sent outside to keep an eye out, and the narrator says later that “the dark figure” opens the car door. Given that we already know Eyepatch and friends are targeting him for working to prove this is all a trick I get worried about everything that would leave them that opening. We don’t know that girl-Kim isn’t working for Eyepatch’s conspiracy after all.
Meanwhile at Op-Center we see Hood, Herbert, and some other characters I haven’t mentioned looking over the information and coming up with a strategy. One of Herbert’s people calls to inform him they intercepted girl-Kim’s message being sent to the North, unaware of what Hwan is doing and worried there’s a leak somewhere. It makes sense that there would be some confusion there, but it does strengthen the position that they’re all being had, which is what Hood adds to the suggestions being sent to the President. Honestly the scene wouldn’t matter if this story was just about the Koreans. It’s like Op-Center is the subplot. Speaking of worries, Paul calls the hospital where our suddenly cryptic narrator tells us he gets surprising news. Is this a trend or am I reading too much into the end of the previous chapter?
Back at the DMZ, Gregory gets his meeting, and Schneider is furious. Remember how I kind of liked him in last week’s review? Well, he used up all of that good fortune this week. He is so convince that this won’t work and that General Hong-koo is going to use this as propaganda that he falls short of forbidding Gregory from going ahead with it. To add to the bad news one of the techs at the base is part of Eyepatch’s group, and you know that’s going to go badly. I wonder if we’re looking forward to it getting worse rather than better, and given we’re over half-way through the book I’m not sure if it bodes well or ill for our heroes.
I looked ahead for the page count and it doesn’t look like we’ll find out next time, and that’s with working three more chapters in. What will happen? Join us next week to find out. Is anyone reading this with me? Am I the only one suffering, or thinking of it as suffering?