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.
Usually by the eleventh chapter the goal is in site but this book has chapter lengths that just barely make my requirement for a full chapter and there’s still 31 chapters. So thus far all we’ve had is a lot of introductions and build up. Luckily the story doesn’t feel like its dragging but I do want to get to the meat of the story soon. Last time we even learned more about Diana’s history and I’m okay with that. Diana’s the best character.
We’ve met our characters, set up a rivalry but then followed it up with a more interesting plot in my opinion that I really want to see Joanna (and hopefully Diana because I want more Diana and less Ravill but I’m betting tying her and Horse to the Prydefull jerk (pun obviously intended) is the story’s way of taking away Joanna’s backup during the spy hunt) get on with the spy hunting. I wonder if she’ll get a cool car with machine guns and an oil…wait, wrong Spy Hunter. Besides…giant robot suits are cooler.
At any rate this week is a bit different chapter 11 is only three pages long while chapter 12 comes in at six chapters. That’s nine pages so in this installment I’ll be looking at two pages, something I expected would happen eventually. I dealt with similar multi-chapter reviews back with The Black Stallion’s Ghost but it still isn’t as bad as Op Center thus far. So let’s see what the two chapters have to offer.
Chapter 11 is just a short conversation between Joanna and Horse as she wonders why Ravill promoted two freeborn warriors like them despite his hatred of freeborns while Joanna can’t even get a decent challenge out of him. Horse tells her what I already realized earlier and her dreams were telling her at the start of the chapter, that Ravill is obsessed with Adian and pretty much wants to be him. Horse as his right hand? It was the duty he had with Adian Pryde. Making Diana his assistant? He knows she’s Adian’s biological daughter and wants to be her new father figure, which would also explain why he specifically dropped the sexual relation requirement of being a coregn. Ravill wants to be the new Adian and be exactly like his hero. That’s kind of creepy really.
Joanna is still determined to get her honor duel. Ravill ignores her addition to Adian’s team, Horse assuming because of her age and being rotated out, though it still feels like that was a punishment he cooked up because, as Horse notes, Ravill is all about sunshine and lollipops while Joana is all war and smash stuff. You’d think since Joana was Adian’s “falconer” (instructor) he’d WANT to get advice from her but Horse’s suggestion does bear merit since age bothers him and his loyalist brats almost as much as freeborns. So if Adian didn’t have an issue with freeborn warriors–having one as a friend and giving his seed the old fashioned and more fun way to another–Ravill is a bit of a contradiction. And a jerk. The chapter ends with the narrator noting that Diana may get her the fight we want, which I’m betting is what’s about to happen. Let’s check out chapter 12.
And it’s here that things get…interesting. First off we learn that Ravill is a sweetheart around others but in reality he has quite the temper. We have seen him try to hold his temper in check with Joanna, so maybe another reason to get rid of her is that she tests his ability to hide his inner rage? No answers here on that front, but when he goes off on Diana (because she stood up to him–whatever he thinks about her or freeborns in general she considers herself a warrior, not a secretary) she’s ready to get him back somehow. That a girl! A little poking around finds a password-protected personal file and it takes a few days to finally crack the code when she also realizes Ravill is obsessed with Adian. That name doesn’t work but then she uses an anagram…which is her name and it works. Diana also realizes what Horse did about Ravill wanting to be a surrogate father, countered by his hatred of freeborns. Like I said, the man’s a walking contradiction and full of crap and here we see a lot of both.
However, it’s what she finds that is most interesting for this story. Among the various files is one marked Kerensky. This is important for the lore, which I did know from the cartoon but the book fills in the important details. Alexander Kerensky (and oddly spellcheck has that name already in, so either I put it in before or the name means something in our world, too) was the one who led disgruntled Mechwarriors away from the Inner Sphere when they got tired of all the fighting between the various houses and some of the actions taken during the various wars and conflicts, his son Nicholas is responsible for creating the current concept of the Clans. Even more interesting is that the Kerensky name is a popular bloodname among…the Wolf Clan. In case you forgot or missed it (and I’m not sure how you missed it if you’re not spoiling yourself from the book) the Wolf Clan are the ones who have a spy in the Jade Falcon ranks. Could Ravill “Pryde” actually be the Wolf spy or is this a red herring? Time will tell I guess but Diana does find something that will finally allow Joanna to challenge Ravill and his “no honor duel” policy. It would make sense if his goal is to impair the Jade Falcon style and readiness to prepare for a Wolf Clan invasion. I kind of doubt that Joanna’s spy mission is doing this well before she’s even been assigned to it though.
So what’s in that file, why is Ravill hiding it under Diana’s name, and how will this finally give Joanna what she’s been wanting, a chance to beat the snot out of Ravill? Perhaps we’ll find out next time, and it’s 12 pages so it will only be a one chapter review.