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.
We’re on the penultimate chapter, but not the penultimate installment. While the epilogue is only eight pages long the final “official” chapter is regular chapter length just like tonight’s and last week’s so I’m going to give the epilogue its own post. So we are on the second to last chapter but the third to last installment of this book’s review. Let’s see if I can stay healthy long enough to finish this without another sick leave break.
Last week our heroes learned that at least two of their rivals are traitors to the Clan, which they are really angry about but I would think also a bit relieved since it means they have an opening to kick their butts. First however I assume they need to be exposed and I’m curious to see if that happens before our big battle. A battle that better hurry up with only two chapters left.
Something interesting happens at points in the story. A new tone the narration takes, and goes into italics as I’m doing now. A bit more poetic than the usual narration, though not with rhymes or even as flowery as the term “poetic” would bring to a reader’s mind. However, the change does get noticed. One wonders…could this be passages of the Remembrance, the epic poem that the Clans both share and divert with their own tales of glory? A battle such as this would understandably go into the Remembrance given it is a Wolf Khan trying to maintain her position.
At any rate we see more of the changes in Joanna thanks to her recent escapade. She’s more suspicious of Ravill, even wondering if he’s yet another spy and yet evidence makes that difficult to believe. It’s just the Wolf genes only she, Diana, and Ravill know he’s carrying, she figures. And yet she’s pulling her own shades of misdirection. She can tell Ravill is manipulating things but also that despite her growing frustration at being left out of the battle that she might benefit, even sensing that she may be the one to fight Natasha Kerensky. Whatever problems I have with this feeling like unconnected stories at least we see a change in Joanna, embracing part of Ravill’s new way even if she is disgusted by it. It’s kind of interesting and I’m not sure we have enough space left to properly explore that.
And sure enough, despite totally not admitting to it, that’s what Ravill is setting up, getting Joanna into a one-on-one fight with Kerensky, thus ruining her plan to repeat the Inner Sphere’s success here the last time the Falcons fought in the Great Gash. The jerk’s reasoning is actually sound based on Clan culture. If he beats up an old woman, even an aging Mechwarrior, nothing is gained and if she kicks his butt it looks even worse. Joanna has some honor to regain here if she secures a victory over a even and aging and disputed Khan of a rival Clan at the site of her greatest defeat and nothing of “value” (to him anyway) is lost if she loses. Basically it’s a win for him either way, but he is willing to accept that Joanna may get a victory of her own.
Part of Joanna’s deceit is to get Cholas and Castilla out of any potential situation to aid the Wolves is to get them out of their mechs, with Diana keeping an eye on them. I’m guessing they can’t prove the pair are spies and Ravill notes the bad blood between them, so that’s why she’s going this route. However, Diana is outnumbered two-to-one unless Horse is looking out for his friends without Ravill knowing. That’s the only way I see her getting out of this if the lovebirds do try to do her in.
Next time we end the battle and the main part of this book. With one last chapter and an epilogue to come this battle better end soon.