Author: Karen Traviss
Release Date: 10/28/2008-7/28/2009
Recommended Audience: Young Adult
The Good: Keeps true to the Gears universe, answers all the questions from the games, keeps you drawn in
The Bad: Doesn’t have the action the games have, a little slow in spots, not for non-Gears fans
Video game novels is something of a hobby of mine because it lets you delve deeper into characters minds and is more detailed, story wise, then any game could be. This goes for a lot of game franchises as well as movie based books: You just can’t get any more detailed than written words. This is also true for the gritty war torn Gears of War. The books capture the personalities of the characters perfectly, so they feel like they’re straight from the game.
The first book, Aspho Fields, has two plot points: The Pendulum Wars before E-Day and just after the first game. The main focus is about Marcus and Dom growing up together as kids and going through school together as well as following Dom’s family. The Pendulum Wars describes Delta squad and the COG before the Locust were even a threat. The Pendulum Wars were against an indie group of scientists who were creating the Hammer of Dawn and the COG wanted it. Aspho Fields is a particular battle where Marcus and Dom must choose life or death for friends. There are a few new characters introduced and one main character known as Bernie Mataki. I have a feeling she was meant to be in the game, but never made it in.
Jacinto’s Remnant has two plot points as well, but the secondary is fairly weak and just filler. Remnant also has less action than the first book, but has a more interesting plot. The book follows right after the sinking of Jacinto and the COG trying to gather up the last of humanity on a remote island away from the mainland. They have to deal with Stranded, as well as a group of rebels who just don’t want to cooperate with COG laws. The secondary plot is a bit of filler during the Hammer of Dawn strike that wiped out 90% of Sera in a desperate attempt to destroy the Locust even before the Light Mass Bombing.
The first book has more background on Delta squad and the second book has more foresight on what happened after Jacinto. Each book serves their purpose, but Remnant doesn’t really have much action in it at all. It’s not boring, but if you want non stop action then Aspho Fields is your deal. In fact you hardly hear about Locusts after about 25% through Jacinto’s Remnant. The book gives fans of the game some insight on the characters as well as some backgrounds on all the little things in Gears that the game never explained to talked about.
Overall, the Gears of War duology is great for fans and fans only. For everyone waiting for Gears of War 3 these books should tide you over for over 600 pages of greatness. The books could have been better, but you can’t really complain from a series that doesn’t have much back story besides non stop in your face interactive action.