You can probably tell by my previous book reports that I appreciate fine literature. That’s why I was excited to receive Gears of War: Aspho Fields as a gift this Christmas. I couldn’t think of a book that I’d rather read more. I liked the video game, why wouldn’t I like the book?!
Thankfully, the book is awesome. It’s just like playing the video game, except using only your eyes and a very minimal amount of imagination. And what’s great is if you forget what the characters look like, you can always refer back to the cover.
The plot occurs right after the first Gears of War game, but before the second. It also flashes back to the battle of Aspho Fields, which happened well before the Locust invaded. It’s like two books in one! Through these intertwining stories you get to know what some of the characters that we’ve all grown to love, and maybe have slight crushes on, have gone through before (and sort of after) the Gears of War video game.
While reading this book is like playing the game, which is the equivalent of the the most ball dropping blockbuster movie ever, there’s lots of room for emotion and pathos (Babette told me that word). Just imagine the most bad ass guys you can think of and then realize that those guys are just pussies. The Gears of War characters are like a bunch of Conan the Barbarians, except this book shows that they have much more depth. For example Marcus Fenix has problems with his father. Dom has a wife and kids that he loves. Baird is… uh… a huge asshole. This book is worthwhile to read if only to learn how each of the characters deals with their painful emotions… over and over again. It seems like every other paragraph the characters think about how sad they are. That’s the mark of a great book.
With all the emotions, you might be worried that this book strays too far from the spirit of the games, but rest assured it doesn’t. The book does an excellent job of resolving no plot points about anything you’d like to know about, just like the games. You kind of learn why Marcus was in jail in the first game, but aren’t given any details and you don’t know anything new about the Locust at all.
There’s also plenty of shooting, explosions, and chainsawing up of enemies in fact, you get to read about bad guys getting eviscerated with a chainsaw at least three or four times. I was hoping for a bit more explanation of how a chainsaw rips apart a monster, but maybe there can be more in a follow up book. Seriously, it never, ever gets old.
If you like Gears of War, sci-fi, or epic battles you must read this book.