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 may have been a bit hasty in my concerns on the page count. I counted the pages for this and the next couple of chapters and roughly nine pages isn’t too bad for a chapter. I was pushing for eleven due to the Op Center experience but we may be able to actually follow the one chapter at a time formula after all. So sorry about that. With that, on to today’s chapter.
Last time we were introduced to our important trio, all lacking last names so I’m going to assume that’s what a “bloodname” is unless someone more familiar with the franchise tells me otherwise. (It didn’t come up in the show I saw or the comics I read, some of whom predated the Clans in the game.) Star Captain Joanna (the back of the book says “Commander” so I’m guessing either they goofed or she’s in for a rank demotion), her second and friend Star Commander Horse, and Mechwarrior Diana. While I felt not enough was explained for new people coming in, I didn’t think they’d be so lost as to not move on. So let’s move on and see how long I get to be right.
Western Training Zone; Pattersen, Sudeten; Jade Falcon Occupation Zone; 1 July, 3057
Okay, unless there’s a change of planets, from now on assume that they’re in the region Pattersen on the planet Sudeten in the Jade Falcon occupation zone. I’ll keep up with the dates and more local areas, like “Western Training Zone” when necessary but otherwise let’s get on with it.
This chapter seems to continue where the last chapter left off, like there’s almost no need for this to be it’s own chapter. My guess is Thurston wanted one chapter to introduce our heroes (relatively speaking given the Clans’ position in the game lore as an outside invading force to a galaxy already at war with itself) in the first chapter and then introduce our first conflict in the second, presumably with the third ending it and thus setting up the overall plot of the book. Anyway, the trio is met by a group of arrogant trainees who go looking for them, praising the arriving Star Colonel Ravill Pryde. Yep, not the offspring of Adian (that would be Diana) but someone else who won the same bloodname by moving up the ranks rather quickly by beating a bunch of thieves who happened to have their own Mechs. And here’s where the stupid happens. Not stupid for the story, but stupidity by the trainees.
Poorly representing this particular sikbo are Cholas, the ringleader of Foolish Five, big boy Rowan, big girl Haline, skinny Castilla (though I imagine she’s relatively skinny as I doubt there’s a 4F in this bunch…pretty sure they wouldn’t allow it), and Fredrich, that one friend that nobody remembers outside of the group. You know, like on The Real World. (Yes, I’ve seen a few episodes.) In the previous chapter we were told that Adian is treated like some war god, but here we see it in action, and I’m really not understanding what the Foolish Five is up to. Yes, these three served with Adian, and the FF probably don’t know Diana is his birth daughter. Not that they care because they really hate freeborns. (And yet Diana and Cholas had a one-night stand so apparently her freeborn hoohah was satisfactory…though apparently his counterpart was not.) These guys are a little too obsessed with being “trueborn”, or as I would call them…test tube babies. (My apologies to anyone born using scientific assists like artificial insemination or something. It’s a viable method to a couple unable to conceive for one reason or another but in this case they were basically born in a lab Scott Evil style so I’m not impressed.) I don’t know if Ravill even has Adian’s DNA in him but we won’t meet him here so I don’t know if he’s as arrogant as these clods.
Between insisting Adian was a god to be worshiped, insulting Horse and Diana (who I remind you are their superior officers even though they were born from the womb instead of a vat or whatever), and disrespecting Joanna herself, she finally just hauls off and knocks the punk Cholas on his face. So he decided to issue a challenge called The Circle Of Equals, but refuses to let the “freeborns” take part. I think they were hoping to make Joanna look bad but instead she just agrees to take on all five of the little brats. Dude’s lucky. Try doing that to a Marine drill sergeant. See you when you wake up.
This chapter does a little better in explaining stuff. You can guess what a batchall (or challenge) is. what an eyas is (a new warrior, the term considered an insult when they’ve advance beyond it–kind of like “rookie”) and that bastard still retains the level of insult that in our society has kind of lost meaning, even to the so-called trueborns. There are a couple of paragraphs that should have been split up to note the change in speaker for someone reading a bit too fast but otherwise an improvement over the previous chapter. It’s also interesting that these new warriors are proud of the genes that created them and somehow think themselves superior to actual combatants due to young arrogance. Apparently they’ve overbought into their own hype.
So who wants to see a whoopin? Come back next time and bring your popcorn.