Sarah's Reviews > Transformers: Exodus: The Official History of the War for Cybertron (Transformers

Transformers by Alex Irvine
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's review
Oct 20, 2011

really liked it
Read in October, 2011

** spoiler alert ** Think of an epic story of a group stagnated, unable to progress beyond their current existence. Now add two opposing characters, brothers in the beginning, working to realize a common idealogy. They are close and recognize the need for change, for testing, for the opportunity to exercise individual will and allow all the chance to discover the power within. As their relationship progresses they realize a vast difference, if not in ideology, but in the methodology. Eventually they come before a ruling body and try to explain that their cause is just.

One, strong and powerful with a magnetic personality, a gift for oration, who speaks of freedom yet behind his words lies secrecy and deceit. The freedom he speaks of is an empty, hollow freedom without law, without growth and guidance. He claims to want equality for all, but to accomplish this he wants the recognition and power and glory for himself. The other, humble, quiet, charasmatic in his gentle strength and honesty, presents a vision for a future filled with promise, with an existence for all based upon respect, understanding, and a clear definition of law to govern--in truth because adherence to a greater higher law of respect for the individual's right is the only true path to freedom--sees his role as a servant to a higher cause and desires no glory. When the second is given the role of leader he does not desire it, but chooses to accept in order to fight for freedom against the threat of tyranny. The first is angered and severes ties, falling from grace, bringing many others down with him into darkness, death, and an everlasting hunger for what he lost. The second picks up the sword to defend the helpless, to lead, to serve as an example, and, if necessary, sacrifice himself to prevent the destruction of his friends and brothers.

Sound familiar?

So begins the epic story between Megatron and he who becomes Optimus Prime, a simple data clerk named Orion Pax who possesses a desire for knowledge beyond his station and a drive to make things better. In the book the decriptions of Cybertronian society are amazing, the detail provided about the pits of Kaon and the soaring towers of Iacon city are vivid. I wish more detail and personal feelings would have been provided to flesh out (so to speak) the depth of the relationship between Megatron and Optimus, for they once called each other brother. I also wish the personalities of some of Prime's closest confidantes could have been expanded. I too, was confused by Sentinel's death as well as some inconsistencies regarding the fates of Bruticus and a few others.

Optimus Prime has always been a favorite character of mine, so reading his beginnings was exciting. He is portrayed in the story quite well, from humble beginning to assuming the mantle of Prime. He is also a little bit human, prone to self-doubt and second guessing. I liked how he is bouyed by his friends and brothers at arms, the Autobots. Jazz's lighthearted sarcasm is a good balance to Prime's melancholy. I also think Prime comes across as almost a father figure for the younger Autobots, like BumbleBee, who have never known the glory of Cybertron before the war.

Megatron at first is quite likeable and sympathetic, like a popular, charming pop star. His ideals are easy to identify with and say "Yes!" when he speaks out before his followers. Eventually he becomes one dimensional in some ways, but I think that is a good illustration on how his jealousy and lust for power consume him to the point he has nothing left but hate. A passage in the book decribes how he has grown to liken killing with power, and thus completes the descent into complete despotism. It is also illustrated as the Nemesis pursues the Ark in the end, how he abandons Cybertron to chase after a personal vendetta. Starscream is appropriately oily, slimy, and nefarious. The dynamic between him and Megatron is nastiness at it's best. The scariest characters to me, however, were the equally icky Soundwave and Shockwave, both chillingly menacing and disturbing. Soundwave is Megatron's lackey to the core, adept in betrayal and sufficiently without conscience. Shockwave is decidedly amoral, brazen in his disrespect of spark (life), and the truest representation of a sadist I've read recently. I think he incites more fear than Megatron.

I enjoyed the book and the glimpse into the universe of a dearly loved childhood memory. I look forward to reading more about the struggle about "robots with feelings...robots who get dizzy...robots who can die"--a phrase that describes the appeal of Tranformers.

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