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J de Juegos > English Articles Opinion x Webmaster
[ 28/October/2010 ]
Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant by Karen Traviss

After reading Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant it becomes rather clear than in this opportunity Karen Traviss was given almost free reign as far as her creativity and style were concerned as long as she kept things within the right GoW lore, context and the current timeline of the games. She certainly does that and instead of filling in blanks like in Aspho Fields she pictures and tell us about the events after the sequel as well as prepares some ground for the next installment of the game.

Her third person style remains unchanged although I would say that she starts to zoom out a little in order to tell a broader story and encompass more of the situation, of what is happening. In this opportunity she focuses on the characters, yes, but not so much in their struggle against the Locust Horde as much as in the struggle to save what is left of humanity in Sera. In the process, she also manages to present us with the human side of the characters as well, we see them without their hero status, as soldiers, as brothers/sisters, as friends, as lovers, as other survivors.

Jacinto's Remnant is also a story about the sorrow and the very personal inner struggle of Dominic Santiago as he battles with what he did in the second Gears of War game and the circumstances that brought him to do it and the hard fact that he can't change them, couldn't change them, would give his life to change them.

As we read the novel becomes as much a telling of what happens with the survivors of Jacinto after the events of the sequel, and the characters, as it is about the survival of the soul and mind of Dom. There is also a subtle inclusion of narrative events that most certainly aggregate to the context with which the third installment of Gears of War starts. Like how the interest of Anya Stroud to become a frontline Gear is progressive and not something out of the blue (sort of).

Just like with Aspho Fields, Traviss manages to link and relate a big event from the past with one of the present. Something that can be seen as much as a narrative style as a way to expand the lore of the GoW Universe; the games usually focus on the right now and right here so there isn't much context for one of the characters to start recalling what happened a decade ago.

If Traviss's first novel in the Gears of War universe is rather personal, focusing on Delta Squad and its surroundings, in Jacinto's Remnant she broadens her vision and starts to tell us more about the people of the planet, the other people around Delta Squad, and the world they live in and which encloses them.

As much as Aspho Fields was very likely a team work between the developers and Traviss, Jacinto's Remnant feels more of a story by her, rather than by them. There is inevitably a lot of working together but the story seems one that she came up based on what she was given, rather than one she wrote based on what she was --being-- told, if that makes sense.

All in all Gears of War: Jacinto's Remnant is as good as the first and allows us to know much more about each character, but in this case we also get to know more about the world of Sera, the Tyranean people and the COG. As with her previous novel in this setting Traviss manages to complement, fill-in and expand on what a player saw, lived and went through in the games without thus making the novel inaccessible or impossible to understand to someone who picks it without knowing anything about Epic's franchise. There is a lot of empathy in it, a universal language in the background that makes both novels accessible to anyone with interest in soldiers, survivors, and what wars do to them and those around them. It's GoW but its also, a little, her life and experiencies --directly or indirectly-- on the field.

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