on June 16, 2003
I've been a huge Transformers fan for years, knowing full well that it could easily be turned from a toy franchise into a full-fledged science-fiction franchise. There was so much story to draw upon, and so many characters. Surely, there would one day be a book that could capitalize on the idea, and give readers a level of depth and respect that would elevate the Transformers mythos.
This is not that book...
The editing of the book is poor, at best. While I know how easy it is to make these mistakes ('it's' instead of 'its'), most publishers hire someone to be an editor. In this case, someone figured that spell-checking is enough.
The writing? Well, take every bad Transformers fan-fiction cliche and throw them together in a nonsensical mix of gratuitious and graphic violence. Full-paragraph descriptions are given to just how innocent human bystander #1 died. There's less gore in most of Stephen King's work.
In the end, you get a book trying desperately to be 'mature' in the way you would expect Junior High boys to be. The book is too graphic and grotesque for the kids who might want to get it because they're into Transformers: Armada. Adults who have fond memories of Transformers can find something better written online.
This book hurts, rather than helps, the Transformers franchise. Avoid this like cosmic rust.
on November 4, 2003
I was delighted to stumble across this book. A real-life Transformers novel. It should be cool. Then I started reading it. Everyone else has mentioned spelling and grammar errors, so I will not say anything more about that. My biggest beef with the book is the characterization.
Optimus sounds a lot like Rodimus Prime, whiny and doubting. After being in command of the Autobots for 4+ million years, Prime would not have these kinds of doubts. Prowl is supposed to be second in command, yet takes orders from Bumblebee. Prowl is also supposed to be a highly intelligent and logical warrior, yet comes across as an stupid oaf. Soundwave talks way too much. Sideswipe can actually fly with Air Force jets and then gets blown to bits by one shot from Devastator. Bluestreak gets some nice characterization, but then gets killed by Jazz. the Autobots I know and love would have found a way to escape and not not only kill each other, but not lead to human deaths as well.
And then there's some disparity with Transformer weapons. Devastator can disintigrate Sideswipe and an entire squadron of F-16s with one shot, while Starscream can navigate a dangerous canyon, yet F-15 pilots are inept and crash into walls like TIE fighters in an asteroid field. Prime can slice Megatron's arm off with one pass of his energon axe. There is no way the way would have lasted for so long if the Transformers were so brittle.
As a fan since the beginning of the U.S. Transformers toys, this is one novel to avoid. A pure stinker. And what was with putting the word "transform" in italics every time a robot converted to their alt form? We KNOW they transform, that's why we're reading it. DUH! Piece of literary garbage. Almost as bad as some of the current MechWarrior novels, but that's a different story.
on September 2, 2003
I was really disappointed with this novel! My impression of this book, is that Mr. Ciencin never bothered to watch the series, or he's not really a big fan of the show. Secondly, he didn't do a very good job editing his manuscript. The grammer errors in the book are inexusable! Then the physical description of Spike Witwicky is totally off base. Spike has brown eyes and brunette hair, he doesn't s have blue-eyes, or dishwater blond-brown hair! Second of all, some of the players in the story were written totally out of character. Skywarp would NEVER challenge Starscream for the Decepticon leadership!! Soundwave's loyalties lie with Megatron, not Starscream. Soundwave would've formed a plan to rescue Megatron. Starscream may be an arogant jerk, but he's portrayed as a Hitler like dictator! Also, you don't mess around and change the canon, and killing off some of characters like Bluestreak and Thundercracker, and one of Reflector's robots! I certainly hope Hasbro didn't commission this awful dime store piece of trash! They would've been better off to hire some die-hard objective Transfans to write a novel. If you haven't read this book yet, skip it! If this is part 1 I'd hate to see what's in the pages of part 2!
on September 2, 2003
I'll start off by saying I am not familiar with Scott Ciencin's work. As such, I have no idea if the atrocious grammar in this book is due to a poor writing ability on his part or a poor editing ability on the part of his editor. Whichever the case may be, a book this poorly written should never see the published light of day. The first two paragraphs of the book alone are rife with ungainly runon sentences that could easily be split into much more coherent thoughts. Nearly every other page sees a spelling or punctuation mistake or yet another needlessly awkward runon sentence that only serves to interupt the flow of reading. Truly bad editing and/or writing here, people, so be warned.
Grammar out of the way, what about characterization? Well, Ciencin's portrayal of the various Transformers is similar to the treatment currently being given to them by Pat Lee and the people at Dreamwave comics, the outfit that managed to get the publishing rights to begin producing new Transformers comics. This is, to say, that they seem to be making it all up as they go along. Before this current "rebirth" of the Transformers occurred, the Transformers universe had been fleshed out over year and years through comics and cartoons back in the 80s and 90s. Writers in both America and the UK spent over a decade refining the characters of the Transformers, creating readily recognizable personalities.
Ciencin, like most of the writers at Dreamwave, seems to have completely disregarded everything that has been done in the past with these characters, character-wise and story-wise. Characters that at one time were bold and aggressive are now hesitant, whiny and naive wimps for lack of a better term. Bumblebee is a perfectly good example. In the comics that spanned the 80s and 90s, both here in the states and in the UK, Bumblebee's character went through great lengths to mature and grow into that of a respected, competent warrior. Ciencin seems to utterly disregard that and write Bumblebee back into being the uncertain "kid brother" of the Autobots. A step back in the wrong direction, in my opinion.
And the story? Again, it's clear that Ciencin, or someone, is basing his or her ideas off of the current iteration of Transformers' lore and saga that is currently being "created" by Dreamwave. The events in the book seem to take their cues from events that occurred previously in Pat Lee's recent "Generation 1" comic series from last year. Events chronicled in the follow-up "Transformers: War Within" comic miniseries also seem to be referenced in Ciencin's story.
I say "seem" because the problem here is that no clarification on these events is ever added. If a reader is not familiar with those comic stories, then he/she will have no clue what Ciencin is talking about at certain points or he/she will miss the implied importance of the connection between the two stories. Ciencin unfortunately doesn't take the time or effort to draw the connections clearly between his story and Dreamwave's stories as I think one should when referencing previous material created by someone else.
And then there's that little fact that approximately 10 years worth of previous story and characterization created by the Marvel Comics and Marvel UK Comics writers seems to have simply been thrown to the side as if it were nothing, but why worry about such trivialities, right?
In any case, when you take a story that has poorly formed plotlines with underdeveloped connections as this one has, toss in embarrassing character "development" and add a heaping of editorial mistakes, you have what has to be one of the worst stories I've ever forced myself to read through. As others have already mentioned, this is most definitely not "your father's Transformers". This doesn't even rate as "good Transformers" as far as I can tell.
Do yourself a favor, if you want truly good Transformers stories filled with epic storylines, engaging and well thought out dialogue and believable characters, read any of the graphic novels by Simon Furman. You'll be happier in the long run.
on August 5, 2003
OK, I hate being so critical, but this book has ruined Transformers for me. The story really goes nowhere, ending nearly as poorly as it began. There are basically three separate plots, none truly interesting. Many times various Transformers appear only long enough to die, contributing nothing to the story, save perhaps to spare those that died the horror of getting through the whole book. I had to flog myself to finish this one. Also, making a conservative estimate, there was an average of two typos per page, minimum; I cannot imagine that it was proofread at all to end up in this state, full of misspelled words, grammar errors, punctuation errors, and homophone mix-ups. It was SO terribly distracting, but actually not any worse than the story itself. There are so many twists and turns that it's impossible to determine the nature of anything, and even though it clearly says "Book 1" on the cover, there still should be a full resolution for this book in itself. However, there simply is not.
on July 30, 2003
Excitement and optimism were my initial reactions when I saw this book on the shelf. Disappointment and confusion are my reaction as I return Hardwired to the shelf. The greatest weakness of this "work" is the plotline - or lack thereof.
The author skips erratically between at least 3 distinct plot threads, none of which are particularly engrossing or solid. To be blunt, the story reads like a traffic accident involving "Gladiator", "Con-Air", "Ocean's Eleven", "The Hulk", any of a number of Star Trek episodes, and childish glee after opening Optimus Prime as a birthday present. The story thread involving Las Vegas and the Autobot attempt to save the city is devoid of continuity and convoluted. The disappearance story concerning Prime, Megatron, and 200 citizens of earth is brutal but poorly contrived. This is but another "alien abduction story" and is unoriginal in premise. The arc involving Spike and Franklin is uninspired and plays more like an "X-Files" knockoff than anything involving Cybertronians. The writing style is reminiscent of child action-figure play: "and then this happens, and pretend that Soundwave didn't see that coming..." The story degenerates into stream-of-consciousness story telling as opposed to well crafted fiction.
Death abounds, gore persists, and sexual innuendo appears in unnecessary places. An "adult" Transformers story need not involve "language, sex, and violence" - what it needs is plot depth, an engrossing story, and good overall characterization. The characterization of Optimus is a good start, although in the final analysis, it also fails to present him as anything more than a two-dimensional action hero. The combat sequences are cliche' and uninspired - in essence, fighting breaks out whenever the author writes himself into boredom.
The audience that reads this work will do so out of nostalgia and hope. The responsibility of the author, then, is to carefully craft an entertaining fiction worthy of returning to the "good-old days." Unfortunately, this book fails to deliver as a coherent, meaningful, "adult" reinterpretation. I loved Transformers as a kid, and I am diappointed that an attempted return to that world was actually less than met my eyes.
on July 18, 2003
As a devoted fan of the Transformers for the past 19 years, i can say unequivocally that this book is the bottom of the barrel in Transformers literature. From the beginning, this book is unnecessarily violent, describing in far too much detail the way humans die in a Transformer battle. Sexuality comes into play in chapter 2, where Spike's sexual relationship with a woman is described in far too much detail for good taste (especially the little line about Spike implying that the two of them were "doing it" in the backseat of a Transformer). In addition to being disgusting and out of character for the Transformers in all their incarnations, the relationship does not fit in with the established relationship between Spike and his girlfriend/wife Carly, who were pretty much together from 1985 on according to all other sources. Buy a Furman book instead. Maybe the next books will be better, if the author uses a mature writing style directed at mature readers rather than sixteen year-olds wishing to be mature.
on August 17, 2003
there is little I can add to what else has been said by Previous reviewers. I'm 27 years old and I've been a TF fan from day one and I have to say this is certainly the worst book I've ever read. If you want a quality Transformers story Pick up the collections of Simon Furman's works. If you're in the mood for a good Transformers novel look into picking up "Eugenesis" by James Roberts. His was actually the first Transformers novel. He self published it and it is, of course, not officially licensed and basically fanfiction but at the same time it is a quality novel and one of the best Transformers stories ever.