Lair of the Geek

Bringing you all the geek stuff

By Oliver Bowden.

Review by Ian Clarke.

From Penguin Books.

Usually, I would start my review by giving a brief plot synopsis. In this case however, as the storyline of Revelations the novel almost entirely follows the plot of Revelations the game many of you will either be familiar with the plot, or will not want their surprises in their gaming experience ruined by spoilers…So in deference to all you gamers out there I shall use the blurb provided by Penguin:

When a man has won all his battles and defeated his enemies, what is left for him to achieve?

Ezio Auditore must leave his life behind in search of answers, in search of the truth. In Assassin’s Creed®: Revelations, master assassin Ezio Auditore walks in the footsteps of the legendary mentor Altair, on a journey of discovery and revelation. It is a perilous path – one that will take Ezio to Constantinople, the heart of the Ottoman Empire, where a growing army of Templars threatens to destabilise the region.”

Exciting stuff eh? My thoughts exactly! The plot itself is interesting enough to keep the pages turning, although I was more than a little disappointed to discover that this novel (and in fact the previous books) focuses solely on the exploits of Ezio, with no mention at all of Desmond Miles or the Animus itself. In the Assassins Creed games I had always found the link between Ezio and Desmond to be one of the most interesting plot mechanisms, so the fact Oliver Bowden has chosen to ignore that whole section of the Assassins Creed metaplot was a big disappointment.

Who is Oliver Bowden anyway? A quick google search reveals that it is a pen name for Anton Gill, a widely published historical author with 35 books to his name. Splendid, a historical author would seem ideally positioned to be able to add colour to the rich background of the Assassins Creed games would he not? In theory yes, in practice, no. Sadly I found Mr Gill’s writing to be stilted, awkward and, in the first few chapters, so filled with grammatical errors that I almost gave up reading. As I progressed through the book the writing became easier on the brain, but I was forced to wonder if the use of punctuation etc had improved or if my mind had been beaten into submission and had begun unconsciously moving the commas and full stops into the positions they should have been in.

Along with the clumsy writing, the dialogue that is more than a little stilted. Some of the conversations read more like transcripts of the tutorial sections of the game itself and the writing does little to imbue life into any of the characters.

In summation, I found the book significantly less satisfying than the game. Personally, I’ve always found novelisation’s of films to provide fuller and broader experiences, as words can set your imagination into flights of fantasy that no filmmaker could ever capture. I imagine with a well written novel about a video game the same would be applicable. This isn’t that novel. It’s a crying shame as well, because the richness of the Assassins Creed game is crying out to be expanded upon and enhanced. I can’t see this book enticing anyone into playing the Assassins Creed games, and sadly, saying this is a book for fans of the game would be doing gamers a hefty disservice also.

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