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.

I did a check out of curiosity and this would be the 23rd article based on this book alone. While there are still some longer, and that’s ignoring Seduction Of The Innocent (if any book ever matches that I’ll hate myself–unless I review War And Peace or something) this is becoming one of my longer reviews, and that’s with doing multiple chapters per article since these chapters are so short. If I were enjoying myself I wouldn’t mind, but when have the story has been mostly uninteresting with characters I mostly don’t like I’m not enjoying myself. If the rest of the book had been more like the past few chapters, that were less focused on setting up a novel series, more about the tasks at hand, and less about telling us how many different variations of the definition for “screw the boss” we were getting with these people this might have been more interesting thus far. It’s only now that Op-Center has done anything and I’m not sure how much required them to be on-page even then. You could ignore their chapters thus far and not miss anything while reading only their chapters would feel like a different book altogether until recently.

  • Chapter 62: Tuesday, 8:40 AM, East of Midway Island: 5 pages
  • Chapter 63: Wednesday, 5:20 AM: The DMZ: 3 pages
  • Chapter 64: Tuesday, 4PM, Op-Center: 3 pages + a few lines

This one is going to follow that warning I gave at the beginning, that this will be slightly more political than some others. We’ll be discussing the fictional President’s actions here and how I approach this is based as much on my world view as it is how the story is told. I just wanted to warn you beforehand.

Remember, we’ve learned that North Korea is not behind the bombing and our heroes are finally getting proof of this. The President’s action with the plane may have made a bad situation worse. I understand wanting to negotiate from a position of superior, if not equal, force but with the North already concerned and Eyepatch working to cause a war you would think doing things to stop an artificially induced war (“police action” my foot…it’s not how the people actually there saw it) would be the right course. President Lawrence didn’t seem to think so and neither does Mike Rodgers. Now granted it could be my personal perspective getting in the way here, but Rodgers has been putting me off the whole book and it continues here. He also is looking to blow something up and from his talk with Paul I’m not so sure he’s willing to blindly follow Squires’ orders like the rest of the strike team, making me wish even more that the guy forced to stay behind so Rodgers can play soldier again was here instead. If this goes belly up I say blame him. At the very least I’d fire him anyway.

Of course, also happy about this is General Schneider at the DMZ when he and Gregory get the news. I agree with Gregory that the worker who was killed when the plane blew up is not a good thing. The man wasn’t the pilot who pulled the trigger so technically he’s an innocent who didn’t deserve to die. However, he also thinks back to a speech Soonji gave about how peace could be spread by one person convincing the next until everyone is convinced, which is a bit naive. While Gregory looks at the silly games with the height of the flagpoles as proof of how dumb this situation is and a positive unification I would certainly be in favor of, there’s also concern for a negative unification that was the whole point of the first Korean War to my knowledge. I’m not against wanting to take a bad guy down before he gets worse. I did support Obama taking out bin Laden for a number of reasons, revenge not being one of them. At the same time this incident really didn’t solve anything and may make the situation worse. Meanwhile Eyepatch has the last drum of death in place to kill people for the crime of not being them, making him more like the enemy that he would care to admit. That’s the problem with fanaticism and anger.

Perhaps that’s the point the book is trying to make, that you can be too weak but also too strong, and there isn’t a middle of the road for everything. Sometimes fighting is required, sometimes diplomacy. Stopping Eyepatch is going to require being strong, but the real strength he may be not giving in to the hatred and bloodlust that Eyepatch and his fellow conspirators have been corrupted by. Remember, they’re working with counterparts on the North side so they can kill each other and are too blind to see this is proof they can work together for a good cause. Getting to kill each other is not a good cause. In the original war North Korea were the aggressors and had to be pushed back. In this case everyone are still playing games like that bit with who has the larger flagpole (and we all know the analogy to go with that) but it’s only this group of anti-reunification extremists that are the villains in this situation and this war will be fought over intentional misunderstandings, nobody realizing it will only lead to another body count and a war that may not go the way one side or the other thinks. Thus is war. I’m not “pro-war” mind you, but I do believe some wars have to be fought in the name of freedom and ironically peace. This is not going to be one of those wars if Eyepatch wins. Gregory Donald may be fighting the right way on this one by trying to stop the war while I’m betting Rodger’s Squire’s team will have to fight the extremists. Right now though they’re being sent to blow up missiles when it’s the drums of death they should be worried about if they were aware of them.

Meanwhile, back with the two good characters at Op-Center, Paul and Matt have a short debate about technophobia (which doesn’t have a chance to really go anywhere before the story kicks in) before Bob calls to tell them about the stolen drums of death. They try to figure out what Eyepatch is going to do with four drums of poison and Matt agrees to work faster to get the system clean of the virus so they can find the truck. He’s also going to phone Gregory to have him warn the Northern general he’ll be meeting with…which is admittedly a bold move if they’re right about Hong-koo planning to use this to turn world opinion of the North positive…unless of course it’s learned he has conspirators on his side of the playground as well. Ordinarily I would agree this may not be a good idea, but given what Lawrence pulled (and the two people supporting him are Rodgers and Schneider, two people just looking to shoot something) Paul is right to go past him in my opinion and try to solve this without a war. Sometimes you have to stop evil from winning by letting a slightly less evil get a win of their own. Besides, it’s not like the North will keep a positive viewpoint on them for long. These are the guys who send soldiers into the South to kidnap whole families of one guy who escaped them. I saw a story on that once.

Overall this was a well-told story, and it brought some strong opinions out of me without trashing one viewpoint over another. Here’s what happened, here’s what these people think about what happened, and you decide who is in the right. That’s how it should be done. It’s more “true to life”, that thing people seem to want, without being motivated by preaching a personal opinion, what those same people actually want through their cynical view of people who disagree with them. It’s not enough to change my mind about the book but we have three more chapters next week to try to undo some more damage.

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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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