Author Jason M. Hough
Published by Titan Books
Reviewed by Nicky White
Ascendance is the official Gears of War 5 prequel novel and I must say although I was sceptical of how it would it read, I was pleasantly surprised. This book is one for fans of the game but could actually be read by people who do not play.
I have not previously read any books that relate directly to games but this one is for sure one I am glad I read. The Gears of War franchise is a huge success and is one Xboxes best selling games. It has a cult following that awaits eagerly for the next game to be released. This book fits in very well between the end of Gears of War 4 and the beginning of Gears of War 5. It tells a compelling story that is expertly written following the main characters from the game on their battles prior to Gears of War 5. I awaited the game release prior to writing this review to truly understand how it fits in, having started the new game it expands on the prologue in-game and in my opinion it adds to the experience and understanding of the story. In-game you get a short snapshot of what is explained in the book but not with the same level of detail.
The main premise of the story (without any spoilers) follows JD Fenix, Kait Diaz and Del Walker, alongside some old favourites Marcus Fenix, Damon Baird and Augustus Coal “The coal train”. At the end of Gears 4, you saw Kait’s mother Reyna Diaz die at the hands of the swarm, with Kait swearing to get her vengeance.
The Coalition of Ordered Government- the COG who’s soldiers are nicknamed “Gears” their main role being to protect the human race from the Locust threat. Following the near-total destruction of the Human race in previous games due to the Locust horde the world had thought they had eradicated the threat completely and for most of the survivors of emergence day, they are living happily within the newly created and heavily fortified city of Ephrya. The rest of the people who remain outside the city are treated as outsiders and live in simple settlements who raid old COG bases for supplies to survive.
It is in these settlements where most of the story takes place, Kait is an outsider who ended up aligning with the COG soldiers JD Fenix and Del Walker in Gears 4. It is their story arc that this book follows. Following the death of her mother Kait and the crew are summoned to Ephyra by First minister Jinn who is seeking proof of the swarm and what threat they pose to what remains of the Human race. Jinn is not overly helpful to the cause and try’s hard to drive a wedge between the team.
Kait and Marcus Fenix break off from the rest of the team to go in search of any survivors from her settlement which is where the majority of the book is set following the challenges they encounter at the hands of the swarm. Whilst Del and JD go off on a secret COG mission to check out old Horde burial sites, and as you can imagine that does not go totally to plan. Both teams have back up from Damon Baird and his tech in the form of DB’s, Guardians and of course Dave ( a new Jack)
The author spent a lot of time with Gears development team to understand the characters and the story so far. This is evident within his writting, this book reads and feels like it has been written by the gears team themselves. It is well written with great descriptions of the characters and battles that ensue along with a little humour that will make you chuckle.
Can the human race be saved once again from the swarm? you will have to read the book and play Gears 5 to find out. I would highly recommend that you read this book as it is excellent.