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.
My schedule is a bit crazed at the moment but I did promise to get the Chapter By Chapter review out each week unless I got too sick, so despite whatever this is trying again better late than never.
Last time Joanna learned the terrible secret of what’s been going on here at the wonderfully named planet Dogg but we’ve been denied the great escape. Maybe it will show up in a flashback like Joanna and Ravill’s mech battle but I kind of doubt it. These next two chapters are interesting. Chapter 28 is really short, maybe four pages, while Chapter 29 is almost the designated chapter length of at least 11 pages for this review series. Next time I think it’s one full-length chapter. Are the short chapters behind us? We’ll see as the book continues on to 32 chapters and an epilogue, so we are near the end. Let’s see what happens next.
Like I said, this is a short chapter, and it makes me wonder if Thurston was trying to pad out the book to a specific length because what’s coming sounds like it could be it’s own book or a short story in an anthology at least given how few chapters are left. Joanna makes her report and gets a report of her own. Apparently Penshaw suspects the scientists may be trying form their own Clan or something along those lines. It certainly seems likely. However, the story isn’t ending here. Clan Wolf is in a lot of trouble with the other Clans, but the problem from a narrative perspective is that it doesn’t seem to be tied into these shenanigans. It’s like there are three stories here: Joanna dealing with Ravill, the spy mission, and this new story about Clan Wolf calling for a Rite Of Refusal when one of their leaders is being given the boot. (It’s clearer in the story but the point is to either get you to read the book or for you to read along with me.) Joanna is being sent back into battle like she wants…but it’s to Twycross, the planet where she suffered her great defeat. Will round two work out better than round one?
A lot of this chapter is unfortunately exposition. While we get something resembling a bonding moment between Joanna and Penshaw (not that either person is capable of such a thing) it’s all about what they think the info from her mission suggests and then right into “oh, and there’s this huge battle we need you for so you get to be a Mechwarrior again”. I remind you we are only a few chapters away from the end of the book. It seems like odd timing to me. I would have rather seen this story saved for another book and end the story with Joanna, Karlac, and Bailly/Alvar escaping, Karlac’s character arc and Joanna’s mission completed. Maybe set up the next book and either this fight or another tangle with the scientists, now killed off-page.
Chapter 29 is a full-length chapter, bringing us to Twycross on the Plains Of Curtains, and features the return of my favorite character, MechWarrior Diana. I could read a book just starring her. However, we first start with Joanna’s return to the Falcon Guard, which Ravill is clearly not happy about. He even gave her Mech to Castilla of all people, a little added insult. I’m still not understanding why of all of Adian’s friends she’s the one being mistreated by Ravill even before he arrived, given what Castilla and her pals treated her. Not kissing his behind I guess. Instead she’ll be going into battle with a Summoner instead of her preferred Mad Dog. How much do you want to bet he’s hoping she gets killed? Not that she would mind that since she wants to die on the battlefield instead of tending nurseries or being a spy, but he’s still being a jerk. They’re still not getting along.
So when she decides to go see the Great Gash, site of her big defeat and close to where the Wolves are setting up camp Diana, who has his own issues with Ravill, agrees to tag along since it was her suggestion that she wanted to see the Gash that inspired this little field trip through a sandstorm. Diana is a bit reluctant at first but easier to convince than Karlac. So off they go to get into trouble. I kind of wish the whole story was just these two getting into adventures.
Next time (whenever my sickly body allows me) we’ll see what happens when our duo reaches the Great Gash. It should be a one-chapter review so see you then.