Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Starcaft II: Flashpoint - Christie Golden



Title: Flashpoint
Author: Christie Golden
Genre: Sci-Fi
Published: 2012
Formats: Hardback/Paperback/Ebook

Available at:
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The Book Depository
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Amazon UK

Back in the late 1990’s I discovered a PC game called Starcraft that I loved from the moment I installed it. Since then it has become a video game franchise that has continually entertained me although I never seemed to find the time to read any of the related novels. However, as the next game in the series was being released today I decided that I would read Christie Golden’s novel entitled “Flashpoint” which serves as a link between the newly released game and its predecessor. I probably did this mainly because I had to find some way to calm my anticipation that was running in overdrive.

The plot picks up directly from where the single player campaign in “Starcraft 2 – Wings of Liberty” concluded with Jim Raynor carrying Sarah Kerrigan out of a cave on Char following her transformation back into partly human form. From then on, the reader gets to follow Jim & Sarah as they attempt to firstly flee from Zerg infested Char and then escape the continued machinations of Emperor Arcturus Mengsk who is more determined than ever to ensure their deaths. Of course there are hidden dangers as well, especially as some of those who help them in their journey are after more than just simple gratitude.

The writing and pace seemed tidy and competent which I was happy to see in a video game tie in novel like this one but unfortunately I felt that the plot itself was a bit limited. For example, whilst there are some interesting developments and revelations in the book, they are all rather minor and I can’t say that any of them really surprised me. In addition, due to the book needing to tie in with the games there was no real sense of drama or risk as I knew that all the main characters were going to survive. I will add that Golden does try to deal with this by killing off a secondary character but this just felt a little forced and therefore it didn’t really work for me.

Whilst the story itself may have been a little bit lacking I found that the characters themselves were captured perfectly. Golden has done a great job in making it feel like all the major and minor characters have stepped out of the game and onto the page. The main character element of the book however is probably the relationship between Raynor and Kerrigan and how both of them react to Kerrigan’s return to humanity. I specifically appreciated seeing how Kerrigan was no longer the same woman she had been before infestation as she was now troubled by desperation, guilt and rage. These elements have all combined to create a highly damaged persona which is very understandable considering the billions of lives she has on her conscience.

Overall, I found this to be an enjoyable appetiser for the new Starcraft game that captures the characters perfectly. However the plot itself was probably a little bit limited in scope which I suspect this may be due to the constraints enforced by the games it is linking. Without doubt, this book’s appeal is limited to fans of the Starcraft franchise only and I couldn’t imagine someone enjoying it without any of the background that playing the games can provide. However, even for fans I am not sure if it will add much now that the latest game has actually been released which will probably cover most of the limited points revealed in this book anyway.