Wednesday, January 19, 2011

2011 Reading List: Book 1

Transformers: Exodus

I know, my first book isn't super intellectual. It was purely a guilty pleasure read. I said I would put a book review up of each book I read in 2011, and review it I shall.

Transformers: Exodus gives us the history of Cybertron from before Autobots and Decipticons existed through the time they leave Cybertron and make their way toward Earth. I grew up watching the Transformers TV Show. I loved the 1986 animated movie (still do). The book caught my interest because it promised to show us how Optimus Prime and Megatron came to be the leaders they are. The book sets up a number of intriguing and exciting plot lines that ultimately fall flat due to execution. I will give only one example: Megatron begins as a rebel who is trying to overthrow the oppressive caste system of his planet. Optimus shares his ideals and they become friends, ultimate becoming co-leaders of the anti-caste movement. This is good stuff. Anyone who has ever seen any form of the transformers know Optimus and Megatron are mortal enemies. They hate each other. But, wait, what? They were once friends? This opens the opportunity for the author to really develop their friendship. To show them grow together, then slowly apart, with some event leading to a violent break between them. Instead we get 30-40 pages of weak build up with an unconvincing event leading to a lackluster "betrayal".

The author also failed to ever establish a consistent form of measurements or terms. In using words like "cycles" and "orbits" he tried to help the reader feel like they were truly reading a foreign history. Instead, the inconsistencies make reading a juvenile novel feel exceedingly difficult.

I was hoping that Transformers: Exodus would be the Silmarillion for the Transformer mythology. Not even close. Hey, Hasboro, let me take a crack at this thing. I promise to do the mythology and its characters more justice.

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