Author: Karen Traviss
Release Date: 8/31/2010
Recommended Audience: Young Adult
The Good: Ties all the loose ends of the story leading up to Gears 3, the mystery behind Anvil Gate is finally revealed, the day-to-day struggle to survive is gripping
The Bad: Not much action, Delta Squad takes a back seat, the ending has no meaning, no significant plot twists
The siege on Anvil Gate has always been a mystery to Gears of War fans. Mainly because the Pendulum Wars are never talked about in the games. The Pendulum Wars was a 70 year war between the Coalition of Ordered Governments and the indies or independent nations. They didn’t want to be ruled under the COG so they fought for it. The book jumps between just before the events of Gears of War 3 and a few decades prior as Colonel Hoffman during the siege of Anvil Gate. The recent events are the continuing survival of humanity, the search for more Immulsion, and the discovery of polyps and Lambent stalks (seen in Gears 3).
I have to say that Anvil Gate doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s more descriptive narrative than anything else. There’s not as much dialog as other Gears books and that’s a shame. The book doesn’t really focus on Delta Squad as much but mainly Hoffman and Baird. All the events seen in Gears 3 are told here in this book which is great insight. The constant shaky line between the COG and Gorasnaya (the COG’s main enemy during the Pendulum Wars) is interesting to see as well as how they deal with the indies wreaking havoc and making things harder for everyone. I honestly can just say that Anvil Gate really shows you how hard it is to survive in the Gears universe. Not something the games can really portray. Sure it looks hard to survive, but the day to day stuff isn’t really talked about.
There really aren’t any new characters if you have been reading all the Gears books, which is fine by me. The relationship between Hoffman and Mataki as well as the occasional quips of Dom thinking about Maria are interesting. We also get to see more about Marcus’ childhood and how Anya Stroud’s mother, Helena, and Marcus’ dad, Adam, served together. It kind of brings all the little strands together and ties the knots. All the little questions that you get from playing the games are answered here in a nice cohesive tale.
I just wish there was some more action and some more shocking twists. The story just kind of ends and is really just a tale that puts all the pieces together for you, nothing spectacular or complex, but non-Gears fans won’t appreciate the novel at all. If you really love the Gears universe and want more insight on the Pendulum Wars (besides Aspho Fields) then give this a gander.