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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am not the target audience, but...
I really am not the target demographic for this book. First off I don't play computer games and I don't read military SF... except for maybe Tanya Huff and Karen Traviss. If it hadn't been for the fact that I love Traviss' Star Wars Republic Commando books I would never have looked at this twice let alone picked it up... and if that had been the case I would have missed...
Published on 14 Jan 2009 by J. R. Bedford

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1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Gears of War crunching into reverse
I bought this book with very high expectations, and ended up sorely disappointed.

First the good points on the book. The characterisation and interactions was absolutely fantastic. It totally overcame the common pitfall of books/movies based on video game subject matter. No easy task. I'm very impressed. However, I think the depth to the characters perhaps came...
Published on 12 Nov 2009 by Bill5068073


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am not the target audience, but..., 14 Jan 2009
By 
J. R. Bedford (Huddersfield UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
I really am not the target demographic for this book. First off I don't play computer games and I don't read military SF... except for maybe Tanya Huff and Karen Traviss. If it hadn't been for the fact that I love Traviss' Star Wars Republic Commando books I would never have looked at this twice let alone picked it up... and if that had been the case I would have missed out because this book is good. It's hard to compare because - as I say - I don't have much Mil-SF in my reading repertoire to compare it with, but as a book about believable characters in extreme circumstances, coming to terms with the pain that life has thrown at them in the past and is still throwing at them in the present, this works really well. I'm not gushing; though it's by no means slow to start the action, it took me fifty or so pages to really get into this - possibly because I must be one of the few people on the planet who had no clue what Gears of War was about - but once I got into the pattern of this book and began to understand some of the world background it all fell into place. It's a pair of stories, one set in the book's present and the other in its past. The present story tells of humankind's fight for survival against an alien menace which has emerged from beneath the surface of their planet to destroy most of the population and reduce cities to rubble. The backstory is of three boys growing to be men and soldiers during the last few years of an eighty year war between human factions (pre alien menace) culminating in the Battle of Aspho Fields and the death of one of the trio. It's about secrets untold and words never said and the damage they can do which runs as deep as bullets. Traviss has a knack or putting a human face on war. You can tell in every line that she has deep respect for the men and women on the front line everywhere, in fact and in fiction, and she knows what she's talking about. (It's obvious she does from her bio.) The characters are, if not always likeable, compelling and - yes - I cared what happened to them, and what will happen to them, for though this book has a satisfying conclusion, Traviss has wisely not wrapped up all the loose threads. There are plenty more untold secrets out there, people left behind in need of retrieval, and a new threat developing for the ragtag bag of resource-depleted humans.

This book says it's the prequel to the award winning video game. Hopefully there's room for at least another prequel and possibly more. I'll be watching out for them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed thoroughly, 15 Jun 2011
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Mr. Andrew James (BRISTOL) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
Being a fan of the games, i was interested to see how the books panned out. I enjoyed this book and the insight into the characters. I think there is a good balance between characterisation and battles, and it helps fill in the gaps in the games. The way the story is cut between current and history works well and leaves you wanting to know what happens in the next book and game!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A slice of sci-fi warfare, 10 Nov 2010
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
I'm not usually interested in reading novels based upon a television, film or videogame franchise; the novelisations of 'Alien' and 'Aliens' are perfect examples of how sloppy even good writers can become when translating between the visual and written medium. It probably didn't help that I was familiar with the source material. However, I'm currently reading 'Aspho Fields' by Karen Traviss, the official prequel to the 'Gears of War' videogame - which I've not played. And most enjoyable it is to! My only criticism so far (I have about 1/4 left to read) is that the grubs (the bad guys in the scenario), aren't described in any detail, so I'm still at a loss as to what they actually look like, beyond being bipedal and able to tunnel through the ground at speed.

If 'Aspho Fields' maintains it's quality I might give 'Jacinto's Remnant' a go - it's apparently the offical sequel to GoW 2.

I've read other military-themed sci-fi in the past and discovered that I'm not a fan of grand, epic-scale space combats. I've always had an interest in modern warfare, from WWII onwards, but am more interested in the human scale and aspects of the combat, such as the horror experienced by soldiers on both sides in the battle for Stalingrad. 'Aspho Fields' concentrates on squad-level combat and is reasonably effective in the way it portrays the confusion and abrupt nature of man-to-man (or grub) combat. Tanya Huff's 'Heart of Valor (Confederation Novels)' stories (the first uses a re-imagining of the British defence of Rorke's Drift as it's setting) are also effective novels, and have the added bonus of being the creative output from a very talented writer - she's probably better known for her urban fantasy/horror 'Blood...' series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading...., 7 May 2014
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R. Gemmell (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
If you are a great Gears of War fan, then these books are a great supplement to the actual game. Recommend
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4.0 out of 5 stars Deep Into the Guts of the Gears, 28 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
If Hollywood has been unable to make a decent film out of a computer game, does the publishing world have much chance with a novel? On the surface you would not think so, as despite the insistence by games developers that they include great stories in their games, they rarely do. However, this has not stopped book shops now having a section dedicated to novels based on games and this includes Karen Traviss ‘Gears of War – Aspho Fields’, a novel set between the first and second games in the series, but also reflecting back on the Gears Universe before the Locust broke the surface.

For all intents and purposes ‘Aspho’ should be an empty and vacuous novel similar to the meathead writing of the Gears games, but that is not the case. ‘Aspho’ is a sensitive portrayal of friendship during combat, the hurt of loss and the futility of war. All heavy concepts, but all elements that Traviss seamlessly weaves into a tale about Marcus and Dom swearing and chainsawing aliens. There is certainly juxtaposition between the violent action and the sensitive portrayal of the men. It has to be Traviss’ perspective being brought into the series that makes it work as she really seems to deepen the characters that have always felt shallow to me, despite Epic Games trying over the years.

It is the ability to explore the internal monologue of the men and women fighting which raises the book above the game’s narrative. Whilst the second and third ‘Gears’ games tried to explore heavy subject matter, as a gamer it all felt a little heavy handed and embarrassing. In ‘Aspho’ it is done with far more sensitivity, without skimping on the grisly details the fans like. The story of how Dom loses his brother is a powerful one and explains to some degree why Dom and Marcus are like they are in the games. ‘Aspho’ also fleshes out the world of ‘Gears’ and gives you a better understanding of the relationship between the army and those that decide to stay stranded outside.

There are issues with the book. I think non-fans of the games will struggle with some of the concepts as you rely on knowing some vehicles, people and places from the games, but why read a book like this? Some of the battles also go on a little long and drag. However, as a game tie in novel it is by far the best I have read to date, an impressive read with more heart than you may expect.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book for the fans, 11 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
I've read this book back in 2011, after having played Gears of War 1 and 2 and when I was eagerly anticipating the release of Gears of War 3. The story takes place before the events depicted in Gears of War 1 and features some characters that are in that game and some new ones. In my opinion this book is quite good, easy to read and has decent pacing. The atmosphere created in this book really reminded me of the atmosphere of the first game, a bit dark and gloomy and very Gears of War-like. The characters feel like the ones in the game and the new ones blend in with the world quite well.

I would recommend this book to the fans of the Gears of War franchise that want to experience more of the Gears of War-universe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GEARS OF WAR: ASPHO FIELDS, 19 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
Okay so first off, I am not usually a book person but after looking at reviews on YouTube and a couple of interviews with Karen herself, I was really drawn in by this book as I have always played the Gears games! I must say it is one of the best I have ever read! Starts off a little slow for the first couple of chapters but soon gets going after. It switches back and fourth from the present to the past, which I really like as you get to see how Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago met as kids and just how close they really are.
There are things in this book that are never mentioned in the games so that's a plus. Overall a great book to read, would recommend to anyone & especially Gears fans! Already ordered book 2 (Jacinto's Remnant).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalyptic military science-fiction at its best and most human!, 11 Feb 2014
This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
Gears of War: Aspho Fields by Karen Traviss - 5/5 stars

I couldn’t fault this book. The characters were very realistic and the plot continued to engage me throughout.

Karen has done an incredible job bringing out the characters in ways that allow us to learn about them more. Their inner qualities don’t diverge from the characters in the video game series either.

The story seemed to center on Dom’s search to discover what happened to his brother Carlos at the battle for Aspho Fields. It isn’t all reflection though for we leap into the past for most of the book. The reader is there on Aspho Fields in an incredibly described operation involving characters everybody who has played the video game is familiar with: Hoffman, Dom, Marcus, Bernie, and more.

I totally recommend this book to anybody familiar with the video game series and to those who aren’t who like apocalyptic military science-fiction at its best and most human.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 23 Jun 2013
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Love this book could not put it down read it in one week love that the story fills in parts the game did not
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5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant novel by a brilliant writer!, 16 May 2013
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This review is from: Gears Of War: Aspho Fields (Paperback)
I first heard of Karen Traviss through her Star Wars works; the Republic Commando books mainly. I haven't read these though, as I'm trying to read the Star Wars novels in chronological order (according to the order in which they occur), but I'm aware of their acclaim. So, when I'm browsing through Amazon one late night and I stumble across a series of Gears of Wars books, THEN discovered that Karen Traviss wrote them, I had to buy!

I've played Gears of War games since they first hit the Xbox 360, and putting aside my little rants about Judgment, I've generally enjoyed them. I can safely say that this novel does the games justice, and adds substance and character to the... characters. We all knew that Cole was a playful ex-sports star, that Marcus was a rather closed-in guy with little displayed emotion, and in general we knew a little about all the characters we've grown to love in the Gears of War series. This book (and I'm sure the books to follow does the same) really gives those characters personalities, and after reading 'Aspho Fields' I can see that they aren't just video-game characters with a few quirks.

I strongly recommend this novel to anyone who's played the 'Gears of War' games, and anyone who's interested in military stories. 5/5.
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Gears Of War: Aspho Fields
Gears Of War: Aspho Fields by Karen Traviss (Paperback - 4 Dec 2008)
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