Oct 5, 2010

[Books] StarCraft: Uprising

StarCraft: UprisingThis is the last of the StarCraft books that I have immediate access to (in other words, the ones on my shelf), and it's certainly been an interesting ride. For the most part, the StarCraft novels are pretty decent in their own right, largely dependent on the author. I can understand how tricky it is to write a story in a pre-existing franchise universe since it can be very different than what you're used to or you're inevitably going to bump into the dark, scary place that geeks call "canon" and thus they guard it with their lives.

But in other cases, the authors are able to have fun with the book and just go with the spirit of the franchise and that's when we get some pretty good entertainment.
I can only imagine how difficult it is to write for the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Talk about the overwhelming weight of canon.

I'm not sure if I'm willing to get the other books in this particular franchise - I love StarCraft as much as the next guy, but then the books seem a tad too inconsistent for my tastes.Then again, I've only read the first four books written in this particular game universe and perhaps the quality has improved over time. Maybe.

If anything, I can always go back to just enjoying the actual game.

The StarCraft Archive coverImage via WikipediaStarCraft: Uprising is the fourth published book based on the StarCraft universe. It was written Micky Neilson, who work seems to be limited to Blizzard products like StarCraft and World of WarCraft.

The story talks about the origins of the Sons of Korhal - the rebel group made (in)famous in the first Star Craft game as commanded by General Arcturus. The time setting has us seeing the world well before the desruction of Korhal when they were just the Korian Rebellion trying to shake up things in the Confederacy. Mengsk the Umojan Protectorate when the deadly attacked happened and he soon gathers even more followers to his cause for a very special mission.

They first cross paths with Sarah Kerrigan as a lab experiment at the Fujita Facility under Doctor Flanx. The rebels were able to raid the facility and capture sensitive information aboutan unknown race of xenomorphs we'd all come to know as the Zerg. They were also responsible for the rescue of Sarah Kerrigan from their telepathic experiments, thus forever binding her to Mengsk through a mix of loyalty and gratitude. And thus they continue on their mission at Mengsk's direction while Confederate Colonel Edmund Duke pursue their battleship, the Hyperion, in an effort to quell the insurgency.

This last book wasn't too great nor was it that horribly. I guess after reading three other Terran-focused StarCraft books, I kind of wish they'd start exploring the other races more. Then again, I can't imaing the Zerg having much dialog beyond Kerrigan and the Protoss might end up with way too much dialog given, well, thinking things "aloud" is a heck of a lot easier than actually speaking the words. Still, Terran stories are getting a bit old for me really, really fast.

And this one was okay but nothing overwhelming. It focuses on the beginning of the Sons of Korhal but it spent more time depicting the events from the eyes of the people around Mengsk and not so much Mengsk himself. Sure, he had his moments here and there but I think even the first novel, Liberty's Crusade, shared a lot more about Mengsk's character than this book did. At the same time, it had a lot of useless Kerrigan air time that didn't do much for her either.

I think that's what bothered me the most about this book - there were a lot of characters and a good amount of dialog and narrative around each of them but in the end you walk away feeling like you didn't actually know them. A good book is able to bring the characters to life a heck of a lot more than what was done here and so that kinda irked me. Instead we had people playing out the events and the battles but letting the plot dictate things instead of giving the reader the feeling that the characters were actually shaping the events based on their actions. It had a good amount of potential, but it so didn't go the distance, at least for me.

The book did have its share of kick ass scenes though. I'll not even go into whether or not battlecruisers really have energy shields - the whole broadside manuever Mengsk orchestrated was just brilliant and deserves to be depicted as a scene in an big budget action movie. In fact, it's a scene that would do well in some Star Wars story or something, but that's just me.

StarCraft: Uprising is a decent read but not a necessary one. Besides, there's a lot of geek rage over some of the facts in this book contracting other stories out there, so it gets a little confusing. It gets 3 super awesome siege tanks out of a possible 5.

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