Chapter By Chapter features me reading one chapter of the selected book at a 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 previous chapter we got Jake out of the cryogenic prison. While we learn a bit about Jake’s history and personality so much of the focus thus far has been on worldbuilding and how in the future we are in this story. That and some pacing issues I’m starting to notice concerns me. For now I’m just doing the one chapter thing but at some point I can see doing multiple chapters just to move the story forward so hopefully this won’t be an issue for long. I’m very pro-worldbuilding but not at the expense of the actual narrative I’m here to read.
Usually it’s near the end of the book that I run out of topics but so far this book has given me so little I don’t even have a starter to keep these intros at a decent length for the homepage. So let’s get into chapter 5 and see what happens when Jake gets home.
Honestly, I’m tempted to to chapter six as well, but at least the page counts are up to snuff, even if the pacing isn’t. I want to see how long it takes before or even if the pacing improves.
Jake comes home to find his wife has divorced him while he was frozen and left for Mexico. Somehow even she knows he was getting out early, which is just adding to Jake’s confusion. Come to think of it, I’m a bit confused myself. Assuming she’s listed as ex-wife why bother letting her know? She did update her “I left you and took your son away” message. Being only slightly aware of what’s going on I’m not sure if I understand her decision slightly over two years ago, part of a law made in 2107. Oddly we get another law that allows Jake to get his money (his half of their joint bank account plus the sale of his car…though her worse crime was replacing their videophone with a pink one) called “Resurrected Criminals, Returned Lunatics, and Pardoned Raptists Act of 2097”. Colorful.
Wanting answers Jake hopes some of his old contacts can figure out how to get in touch with her. One has disappeared, one was caught selling information and given the punishment of temporary amnesia…which may be harsher than the cryosleep in some ways…and another committed suicide, noting that they wouldn’t have named him Suicide Slim if they knew he was actually suicidal. Another character we get to see just goes by Mom, and apparently she can no longer eat her own cooking. At the restaurant she owns. Nice bunch of friends you have there, Jake. She suggests someone named Wiz Robinson might help but he questions Wiz’s skills.
So again we have a chapter that worldbuilds but at least it still moves the story along and gives us an idea of the type of people Jake used to have for contacts after the one regular attempt, just ask the phone company, doesn’t work out. Also, the criminal justice system may be a bit too nasty. Hopefully we haven’t reached the levels of The Running Man, that movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Richard Dawson, or the video game Smash TV, but these are not punishments you learn from, they’re just mean punishments that actually make life harder when you come out the other side. Jake’s only been in for four years. Imagine if he had the full fifteen.
Next time Jake makes…another phone call according to the first page of chapter 6. It’s still not as bad as Op Center but pick up the pacing, guys!