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 October 15, 2003
Being a Transformers fan from the begining, I found that the book was awsome. I truley am into the original (or G1) Transformers, and thought the book brought them from their golden years and put them into "todays" events. I even liked how they threw in the human factor and made the story come more alive. I mean, big robots trampling all over the earth, how do normal humans feel about it.
I believe in stories to be great, there is not really a definite good or bad side. Everything has a mix, and the book brought that emotion out into the Transformers world. I, for one, am looking forward to the next two books, and hope that fuel is added to make this book come more to home than it already has.
Good Job, Scott Ciencin!!!!!
on September 28, 2003
I'll admit that the grammer errors in this book can be quite annoying, and that there is no excuse for it. The story though is great. This story follows the time line of the new Dreamwave comics but don't worry the book DOES fill you in if you've never read one. This book has taken TransFormers out of it's kids roots and brings a real world feel to it. Characters do die and real decisions have to be made. Some might complain that this isn't the TransFormers that they read while growing up and I say good. You won't see Optimus dying because of a video game here, or TransFormers becoming actors or professional wrestlers like in the old comics. It is true that by ignoring the later seasons of the cartoon and old comics that Bumblebee has not reached the maturity level of Goldbug. But it's a worthy sacrafice to be able to ignore the screwed up timeline of the cartoons later seasons. TransFormer characters still have there old traits but have the maturity that only a mature story could only tell. For example when Megatron goes missing Soundwave decides to stay at Starscream's side so he can keep an eye on him. Confident in Megatron's abilities that he will return. I like the little things that the author added. Like finding out that Jazz who's always been fascinated with Earth culture is a big Jackie Chan fan, or when a Chucky Chesse gets flattened during a battle. I always hated that mouse. This book leaves a lot of questions but you have to remember that this is the first book in a trilogy. Over all this is a good book for anyone that's willing to except a TransFormers story for adults. If you love the old comic books or cartoons that's fine. I love them to, I have great memories for the old stuff and will cherish them with the rest of my childhood memories.With this new book it's great to see my old childhood heros and villans in a frighteningly real adult world.
on September 13, 2003
While it's true that there are a great number of grammatical errors, the story is well-paced and full of surprises. I didn't like that a couple of well-known Transformers die over the course of the novel, but it was was still intriguing. My other complaint was that the personalities of the characters in the novel don't really match those of the mythology. For example, I always pictured Soundwave to be a stoic loyal soldier to the Decepticon cause; not a sadistic weakling who runs his mouth during combat. Despite all these flaws, I'll still check out Book 2.
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 28, 2003
okay, this story took off rather fast and it was kind of compicated. then there were other side stories that could have been left out but needed them to explain how powerful Soundwave and Starscream really are. other than all the type-o's this book didn't make sense. is the story line taking off from the comics or the show? from the comics then, does it happen before vol. 2? a timeline would have been nice. thats why i gave it a 3, uknown timeline and a choppy story. maybe the next two books will set this "foundation" straight.
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.
on August 11, 2003
I may give this book a higher rating if not for that. However, as yet, it isn't even a really good copy. Transformers will never have the same impact as the X-Men. It just won't happen, since Transformers are not really relatable, but everyone feels like a mutant sometimes. The storytelling isn't necessarily bad, it just is too much deja vu.
In addition to that, the editing was atrocious. Some things are forgivable: forgetting to hyphenate a complex adjective isn't very surprising. However, when words are misspelled, in the wrong tense, MISSING, or otherwise mangled, it makes it difficult to read an otherwise sub-par book.
Not a book that I would buy again. Matter of fact, I probably won't buy the rest of the series, either. This is not the Transformers you remember. They are all whiny and uninteresting and the editing is terrible. Barely a reader, not a buyer. Rent it or borrow it instead. Ciencin can do much better, though. For example, read The Night Parade. Fairly frightening and very graphic. A great book with a lot of cool imagery. This seems hastily put together in comparison. I wouldn't be surprised to find book two within three months. I really wouldn't bother.
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.