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.
Last time we actually did only read one chapter. Meanwhile, Jake finally got a job and learned why he was unfrozen. So at least he has that going for him.
It’s strange. Usually I don’t run out of things to talk about this early in the book but honestly we don’t know a lot. So far the book has been more interested in worldbuilding than character introduction. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy worldbuilding as much as the next creative but maybe they should have spent less time showing how futuristic this world is and gave us more with the characters. I really don’t have a lot to speculate on as we go into tonight’s chapter, so I guess we’ll just hop right in and see how things go now that Jake is a bit closer to solving his mysteries. Not his problems, because we’re barely a quarter through the book, but answering some of his questions about why he’s out early.
Breaks within the chapter rather than each scene being its own chapter. Nice, and makes writing the review a little easier so I don’t have to do as much backtracking through the chapter to remember names and stuff. We get a bit more of “the future” with the apartment that won’t shut up, Jake deciding to do his own cooking (but the house can do the cleaning so it doesn’t feel left out I guess), but then the story actually gets involved. Jake tells Gomez he’s taking the offer and he’s off the tek, which Gomez already suspected about the job but maybe he’s not sure about the tek yet. We’ll see as things go on. He calls to set up a rendezvous with a colleague of Dr. Kittridge, Dr. Hilda Danenberg. This is a bit more of I want to see, though Jake is talking to himself a lot. Stuff that should be handled by the narrator he seems to be narrating to himself. Maybe Jake was a Darkwing Duck fan. We also get a proper date: April 4th, 2120, roughly a hundred years and based on what I’ve seen so far I won’t be disappointed at this one not coming to pass.
Apparently we’re going to go “the future”/the story again in the next section. Jake is surprised by a small quake and a little girl makes of him. Running coincidentally into some guy named Rio (possibly a former informant or just someone Jake could get info out of in his cop days) who tells him it’s a controlled quake to keep another major quake from happening. There’s actually some logic to this plan. Rio also tells him that the agents Cosmo sent are dead, two by teklords and a third by Warbride’s new lover, Rafe Vargas, who apparently takes jealous to a new level of psychotically stupid. And yet Rio confirms that if anybody knows what happened to the Kittridges, it’s Warbride. Well, this is going to be fun.
Why does the next section start with a dirty seagull dying? Just so Gomez can refuse to see it as an omen, or to comment on air pollution out of nowhere? Either way it’s a distraction. We get more worldbuilding but this time it actually has ties to the story. Gomez is telling Jake about how Malibu Beach (I think that’s what “Malibu Sector” is since they’re on the boardwalk) got overrun by tek users and pushers before the various law enforcement agencies raided the daylights out of it and now it’s all but abandoned. He also tells Jake that they found new side effects to tek use, some rather nasty ones. Gomez wants to make sure his friend gets and stays off the digital drug. This actually is worldbuilding that’s important to the story instead of just showing off. Then their contact shows up, gets attacked by a panhandler that suddenly explodes and the chapter ends with Gomez going airborne. So not much story in this section.
Frankly this is what I wish earlier chapters had been more like. Showcase your future world if you want but keep the plot moving or make that future world stuff important to the plot. I’m hoping we see more of that in the next chapter, where we learn if Gomez brought his parachute and a panhandler explodes on a quite boardwalk. Sounds like the start of a George Carlin joke.