Marcus Fenix, At A Library Near You: Gears of War Aspho Fields Review

gowafThis a book review, not a game review.  Wait!  Don’t hit the close button!  It’s the first Gears of War book!  Ahh, see… that got your attention.

I must say that I was pretty reluctant to read a book based on a video game, no matter how awesome that video game is.  I mean, come on, with the exception of most Star Wars books, stories that are based on some form of entertainment (movies/video games) suck.  Luckily for us, the Gears of War book was written by Karen Traviss, who also wrote many of the good Star Wars books.

I’m only going to go into generalities, because I don’t want to ruin the book for all of you:

The story is split into two portions, the present, which takes place during the locust war, and the past, during the Pendulum Wars.  It is told through the eyes of many of the characters in the Gears lore, with the notable exception of Marcus Fenix.   It’s very odd when you’re so use to playing as him (except if you’re me and you’re stuck playing with Grundy).  Anyway, the story…

The start is in the present,  Dom has always tried to get the truth about his brother from Marcus, but in true Fenix form, Marcus won’t tell him shit.   Marcus has been trying to keep that secret for years, but a ghost from the past changes all of that.  As they fight for their lives… again, the story of Marcus, Dom, and Carlos unfolds.

Best friends (basically brothers)  from a young age, even though they’re from very different families, war tears them apart.  Marcus and Carlos join the COG after school and fight together in the same squad.  Dom on the other hand decides to knock up his girlfriend at 15 and joins the COG out of necessity  (That boy has some strong swimmers, because he manages to knock her up again in his “short” visits home).  What happens during the mission to retrieve the Hammer of Dawn changes them all…  ( I know it sucks, but it’s hard to write a book review without giving everything away!)

New characters pop up throughout the book.  Karen Traviss, also does a good job expanding on what we already knew about the characters from the game.  The plot hole that Grundy found about Dom’s kids is explained in the book… Poor Dom.  He seems to get shit on at every opportunity.   Marcus is also portrayed as more human, than the emotionless badass that he is in the videogame.  The loss of his best friend, someone who was like a brother to him, affected him greatly turning him into the man he is in the game.

Best part of the novel, Lancer Floss…  Read it and you’ll understand.

The book was written with gamers in mind, big book (size, not number of pages) with large font.  I’m sure Del Rey realized that most gamers haven’t read a book in years *cough* *cough* Grundy.

The end makes me wonder if there will be a second book.  Marcus promises Dom that someday he’ll tell him about his four exciting years in prison…  Hope he didn’t drop the soap too many times.

The coolest thing is that I got to read this as part of an assignment for a library class. And you all thought librarians weren’t awesome…

Click here to read an excerpt of the book.

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~ by reluctant_gamer on August 13, 2009.

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