Keith DeCandido steps into the breach of the Resident Evil novelizations usually occupied by S.D Perry. This is the first novelization of one of Paul W.S Anderson's Resident Evil movies, and is not connected to S.D Perry's game spin-off series of books. Mr DeCandido does a better job with regards to the quality of writing; the prose sharply presented and the description and characterization much more involving. S.D Perry can't be criticised too harshly; her first Resident Evil book `The Umbrella Conspiracy' was hampered by the need to adapt the static game play of the first computer game whilst attempting to set up a series. Her latter Resident Evil novelizations improve exponentially. Nevertheless, Keith DeCandido is presented with the same opportunity to make an impact with the first book in a series, and he more convincingly seizes the chance to shine.
The author overcomes what would be the first stumbling block in adapting an 85 minute movie; he adds 70 pages worth of back-story as a prelude to the events as witnessed in the film. This was a good decision. Were he to have jumped right in with the scene showing Alice waking up naked having fallen in the shower, the book would have been a maximum of 200 pages long. That Keith DeCandido details the events that occur before the arrival of the Commandos, enables the reader to delve fairly deeply into the world of the Hive and its occupants before they all get exterminated by the Red Queen. Some of the characters die horribly, so it's nice to be able to get to know them first! The opening 70 pages feature some very nice scenes and interesting story strands. The relationship between Alice and Spence is given greater focus, revealing that managing the security of the Spencer Estate is not the only thing they've been doing in that huge empty mansion! Alice also strikes up a fun friendship with Lisa, the IT specialist who runs Umbrella's Hive Firewall network. You may remember the character of Lisa as the sister of Eric Mabius' character `Matt' who played the fellow who is impersonating a Police Detective. In the movie Lisa only appears briefly when she attacks her brother when infected by the T-Virus, and in flashback scenes when the plot is finally revealed. In this novelization she is given a proper personality and is allowed to have a bit of fun going out to dinner with Alice and grilling her over her sex-life, before falling foul of the Red Queen's security protocols.
When the book catches up with the events as featured in the film the book zips along at a fair pace. And even though the depth of the first 70 pages is lost somewhat, this is not at the expense of the quality of the writing or the description of the action. You also get a curious glimpse into the psyche of Rain, One, Kaplan, Spence and even the Red Queen herself. Alice also comes across as a more feminine and sympathetic character - an improvement over her slightly one-note `snap-your-neck-with-my-thighs' ball-breaker from the movie. The book will refresh your memory as to how much fun the movie was to watch, and will very likely have you either buying the DVD afresh or picking it off the shelf to watch it again. DeCandido wraps the book up quite swiftly and leaves events open for his novelization of Resident Evil: Apocalypse. This is a good read. S.D Perry has to raise her game to meet the skill with which Resident Evil: Genesis has been written.