Ryan Thomason

Terminator Salvation: Trial By Fire – Review

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Ever see a movie and even though it wrapped up it’s main plot points, you know that that world is still going on and things are happening. You’ll just never know what happened to the characters after the movie ended. The Terminator movies have been like that, there are typically huge leaps between each one, you get John Conner, a Terminator out to kill him, and lots of guns, explosions, etc. At the end of the movie, you know that there is a whole bunch of the story that you’re just never going to know about. So when Titan Publishing asked me if I wanted to review a book based around characters from the last Terminator Salivation movie, and written by Timothy Zahn I didn’t hesitate to answer with a huge yes.

Mind you, I am not a fast reader. Also, yes, I haven’t seen Terminator Salvation. I know, I’m a horrible geek, I’ll make amends soon. I’m a more methodical reader, I re-read a chapter if I didn’t understand it to where I want. I plowed through this little more than 300 page book in about two solid night readings, or about 5 hours. Now, that doesn’t mean that the font is big and the spacing in the book is very generous, it’s not. The book has a great flow that is easy to get caught up in, it’s just as easy as that.

There are really two point of views in this book. One point of view is of Kyle Reese as he is stuck literally between a rock and a hard place. With the terminators up to something before his eyes, he has to act quickly and decidedly with his other comrades to save the Resistance. The second is with resistance fighters Barnes and Blair who at the wrecked out VLA lab find a large cable heading to a unknown mountain town. The two seemed to have had a falling out, and when Barnes asks for the mission to the lab to bury some dead, Conner uses it as an opportunity for the two to make amends.

That is all of the spoilers I’ll give you, which is pretty much what you could get off the back of the book but more elaborated. There is a third point of view, but I think it is better left unsaid, not because I didn’t like the character, but because when the pieces started to drop and fall into place, I couldn’t help but grin. Zahn does a great job of making the characters believable. Nobody is some stand out cliché; they are human, which given the context of the universe around it, pretty brilliant. I was more interested in the Barnes and Blair point of view to be honest. Not that Kyle Reese was boring, but with the exception of the end didn’t seem to have much action.

The secondary characters worked well, though I could see the holes in the story on one of them that had my head screaming “THAT ONE IS WORKING FOR SKYNET”. I liked the relationship between Hope and Susan, they played their small part well, and help give a sense that wrongs can be reversed. None of the other side characters really stood out for me, which is good, I don’t like a story with overflowing people that distract from the main points and people.

Overall, this book stands out for two really good reasons. If you saw the movie, this gives you a nice little taste of the world you got to experience. If you didn’t see the movie but know the franchise, the book still stands on its own because you know John Conner and that is enough for Kyle Reese, Blair, and Barnes to work off of. Since a majority of you out there are probably faster readers, this book is a good one to fill a void as you’re waiting between books.

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