|You have to wonder when 12-year-old boys at Intermediate
School display interest in a book about an R18 computer game and ask why Im reading
it. Of course I explain that Im reviewing it. But its obvious that the Gears
of War game is reaching a target audience way below its official rating. Of
course, that means that its likely that the books will also reach a younger teenage
audience, and its important that the writer and publishers realise this. This book
is undoubtedly violent, not surprising because its set in the violent war-torn world
of Gears of War, but not unnecessarily so. It certainly enriches
the background of the game, and I think keen players would most likely enjoy this book.
Fields intermingles events from the past of the games with events in the
present, filling in the backgrounds of the key characters, Marcus Fenix and Dominic
Santiago, and following their development as men and as soldiers. This culminates in the
climactic Battle of Aspho Fields, the deciding conflict of the Pendulum Wars, and the
self-sacrificing death of Dominic brother, and Marcus close friend, Carlos Santiago.
What impressed me was just how credibly this was written, and then I checked the
authors details, and realised that Traviss had been a real life defence
correspondent. Furthermore, she is English, and that rather explains a certain grittiness
in this novel not always found in Military SF. War isnt clean, its messy, and
good people get hurt. Bad people too including the Locust. I rather hope Traviss
gets to explore the coming of the Locust in a later novel. That will be interesting.