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.
When I did my review of The Black Stallion’s Ghost I came across parts of the book where the chapters were too short for a proper review in this format. So I decided on a minimum of 11 pages for a proper review. This served me well for Tom Clancy’s Op-Center when there were only maybe two chapters of decent length in the whole book. Ever since Joanna got to planet Dogg (only a few parsecs away from planet Catt but surprisingly far from planet Canaryy) the book has opted to use really short chapters. The last few installments, including last week’s, had three chapters. This week we’re going with only two. Let’s see if there’s enough to talk about.
Joanna continues her investigation, while we wonder if her ally is actually her enemy. Or maybe the other guy is her enemy. Or maybe they both are since we don’t know for sure there’s only one. Let’s dive in and find out where Joanna stands.
Disguised as techs, Joanna and the still reluctant Karlac look through some of the files on a table. Karlac kind of reminds me of Dr. Michaels from the Fantastic Voyage novelization in that she does things that seem rather off and seems to be trying to talk Joanna out of continuing the investigation while still going along with it. Joanna finds that the canisters have names of various Jade Falcons who died at Tukkayid, a major battle she barely survived and has been dogging her at various points in this story. (Kind of fitting given the name of the planet we’re currently on.) It may be a coincidence but it’s one the story needs as she would know these names, so I’m willing to acknowledge it and move on.
As they continue to investigate Joanna’s fears come to pass. The canisters contain preserved corpses, or so it seems. We learn a bit more about what happens to Clan bodies as they are used to create a new batch of trueborn warriors. Interestingly Joanna thought she heard noises similar to the nurseries that new warriors are grown from. (I wonder if this means “trueborns” are essentially clones that can still have children the old fashioned way…the “freeborns”?) It certainly is in line with Clan information I know but based on my own viewpoints it’s kind of disturbing. Bodies are really just considered resources to the Clans. The canisters are marked based on war and unit, and Joanna recognizes one name belonging to Jula Haddock, whom she fought with on Tukkayid. Except that’s not her in the canister bearing her name. Curiouser and curiouser. Meanwhile, Bailly shows up still not being the old warrior he pretends to be. At least we know for sure he’s part of this, probably watching to keep an eye on the solahma warriors to make sure they don’t see something they shouldn’t. So is he warrior, tech, or something else? Karlac claims that her time as a solahma has dulled her warrior senses, but can she be trusted or is she really that weak?
Next time we may get some more answers. Doing a quick count it will be another two chapter review. There’s only maybe a third of the book left to go…but it’s still a big third.