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.
In the last chapter of Robotech: Dana and Louie met with Dana’s old friend Terry Weston, and the trio tried to convince the Shimada family to aid in the defense of the coming Invid invasion, but they opted to do something stupid instead and try to befriend them. Of all the aliens who have invaded Earth in this franchise the Invid are probably the least likely to work out a deal so clearly this gambit would end in failure even you haven’t seen the show prior to this.
Now our heroes must find a new way to protect the Earth. With the Zentraedi returning there may be a chance to stop the Invid before the invasion begins. Let’s see more of the events leading to when they failed.
Instead of one scene with the same characters broken by location this chapter has three. The first continues after the Shimada meeting from the previous chapter. Dana and Louie are given a tour of the factory where Shimada makes their machines and only Louie is really fascinated. There’s a bit of dialog supposedly from the time Louie was making his targeting glasses but I don’t remember it in the episode or the comic. I’m guessing this is something they added to the novelisation, like the hovertanks’ names. We learn Sean’s was “Bad News”, which makes a bit of sense for the playboy who didn’t take things seriously outside of combat. Instead Dana goes to meet with Terry and I think this is her first meeting with Misa. Both know Terry (under similar circumstances as Dana points out) but I got the impression they didn’t know each other. There’s more backstory in this than interactions, but not as bad as the third segment.
Said segment features Bowie playing guitar and thinking back to what happened between the end of the Second Robotech War and the events of this novel. The Tirolians aren’t adjusting well, and even in the present Musica is asking for her people to be returned to Tirol. I guess nobody told her the Invid took it over before Rick and Lisa’s wedding even started. I hope all the catching up gets done in these early chapters because following this wasn’t easy. However, something Dana accidentally said and corrected herself makes me think that’s what our heroes have in mind, when she tells Terry and Misa about going into space and then mentions going to satellite. Misa tries to get Dana to move to Tokyo but this is Dana. I’m more surprised when she has the same objective as the people she knows.
It’s the middle segment that felt unnecessary to me, though maybe the characters introduced there will play a factor. They do mention a cult, which is what the “Starchildren” are supposed to be. Otherwise it’s just a bit where one group of the military finds some of the AWOL people, tells them to come back or at least surrender the mecha, and the AWOLs telling them no, that they’ll help in the fight but only defending their area. They’re in Mexico, which is confusing to me. Considering the Robotech Masters and the Invid all wanted what was in the remains of the SDF-1, we can assume Reflex Point, the Regiss’s main hive, is at that location, which is near Monument City. According to the map in the first episode of the third war that’s somewhere in the upper mid-west. So why would the Robotech Masters attack Mexico? There are also references to stories not on TV and I don’t know what the author is pulling from comics and what’s coming from the novels he did with his writing partner so I’m finding myself not caring about the entire sequence. Like I said, maybe it matters later, but not here.
Overall this chapter is something of a mixed bag. Character moments are fine but story requires heavier knowledge of prior post-show events than I have. Some of the explanation is too much and others not enough or the scene itself feels unnecessary. It’s not a very interesting chapter, but hopefully the next one will be a better continuation in the odyssey of Robotech.