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.
Our last installment required two chapters as Jake was introduced to Beth, or a mostly-accurate simulation. I’m thinking this installment will only require the one, but that’s what I thought when I started chapter 16.
We’re about half way through the book now but being a somewhat long book 35 chapters with 307 pages in my copy–we’re starting today on page 151) I’m betting we’re going to get into the mystery part of this mystery now. Of course that depends on how much The Future padding we get in this story. It’s been the only consistent flaw. I’m all for flavor but when the information really doesn’t serve the story you have to consider how much of it is worth the extra page space. Some of it has been fun but some of it has also been a distraction of unnecessary information. Let’s see what we get this time.
Admittedly not a whole lot happens, and yet there’s plenty of exposition, as robo-Beth (or “Bethdroid” as I called her last week, the book just calls her Beth even though she’s a robotic double with all her memories but knows she’s an android) tells all she knows about her father’s activities and then they have to fight intruders. So it’s not that nothing happens and in fact it’s all very important. It’s just not a lot takes place since it’s all one scene and half of it is exposition; nature of the beast and all that.
Bethdroid confirms and builds on what we’ve put together to form what we now know, provided Bethdroid isn’t just a few weeks without an update and hasn’t been given false data of recent events. Beth (the real Beth I call by name and the android Bethdroid so we can tell who did what in these exposition summaries) wasn’t so sure that Sands really had anything other than his bank account in mind but it seems that Dr. Kittridge really was trying to end Tek and not just go into business for himself. The plan was that Bethdroid would take over as “Beth” while the real Beth went into hiding. She’s only guessing that something went wrong and the plan had to change, but since Bethdroid can recreate the Kittridges’ work Jake wants to get her someplace safe, even though she wants to go along and find out what happened to her “father” and “twin sister”. (She refers to the doctor as “father” since she’s supposed to imitate the actual Beth. I’m calling them sisters in a similar vein.)
It’s all moot when intruders show up, including the cyborg assassin from earlier. All of them are Mexican so you have to wonder at this point if they came from Warbride’s jealous boyfriend, who may not want his girl to meet with her ex, local Teklords who want to end the project, or Sands looking for the project he spent good money on. Given that “kill them all” is what they’re going for, not even trying to capture the girl for all they know is actually Beth, I’m guessing not that last one. You’d think if Sands was involved he’d want her alive for at least interrogation. Luckily the two escape but it looks like Jake’s getting a new partner whether he wants one or not.
This was a good chapter. The Future only plays in so far as everyone is using lasers and stun rifles and of course there’s an android talking about a device that destroys an addictive virtual reality chip. The story moves along while the action scene is explained very well. I can tell what’s happening in my head.
What is Jake and Bethdroid’s next move? Join us next time and find out.