Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Anvil Gate Gears of War: Anvil Gate
by Karen Traviss

Supplied for review by Hachette New Zealand

Reviewed By: Jacqui Smith

This is the third in the Gears of War series of novels, which are based on the popular computer game. In this case, the novelisation has crept ahead of the game franchise, since this book fills in the gap between Gears of War II and Gears of War III (which won’t be released until late 2011 and then only for the Xbox 360). Advance publicity for the game tells us that one of the characters created by Traviss, a female Gear called Bernadette Mataki, will be a playable character. Which is nice, because it’s good to see strong well-crafted female characters in games like this.

But I should get on to the book. It took me a while to get into, but the storylines (there are two) soon became strong enough to get my attention. The main plot is about the activities of the Gears and their (sometimes difficult) allies on the island of Vectes. The Locust may be destroyed and you might think there’s enough to contend with the simple business of survival, and dealing with the scattered remnants of humanity, some of whom still aren’t that keen on joining the COG. But we have a new and even more alien enemy, the Lambent, who have a nasty habit of blowing up when hit. Now, the Lambent aren’t entirely new, and apparently the Locust had been fighting them for years, but they’ve found our boys and girls, and the fight is on. The subplot focuses on Victor Hoffman, then a Lieutenant, and the siege of Anvil Gate some 32 years earlier. Traviss does a pretty good job with her material, and the flaws aren’t hers, but inherent to the source – unanswered questions like how long have humans been on Sera? How did they get there? Where did the Locust come from? Where did the Lambent come from? And if either of those were native to Sera, why didn’t they kill the people long ago, before they had big guns? Nevertheless, I’d definitely recommend the book to any adult planning to purchase and play Gears of War III (and yes, I mean adult, this very much an R18 novel).

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