I’m a big fan of the Terminator films, especially the first (original Arnie is awesome) and last (a brilliant way to re-energise a franchise). Luckily, the good people at Titan Books were kind enough to send me some tie-in novels for the Terminator Salvation movie. I’ve always been interested in shared world novels to see what different authors can do but not had much chance to read such fare.
Timothy Zahn is a prolific writer and has written a number of franchise novels. It’s clear why; he’s a competent and engaging storyteller. Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes, is a fun, action packed read that drums along at a great pace. Touching on the ever present relationship between John Connor and Kyle Reese, this prequel does a brilliant job at setting the scene, and tone, for the movie’s premise. It introduces some other great characters as well, namely Sergeant Justo Orozco, a US Marine, as well as Connor’s right hand man, Barnes.
The novel focuses on Connor’s band of fighters who are trying to prove their worth to the military brass running the Resistance. Tied to that is the story of Orozco and the community he helps to protect, including Kyle and Star. As Skynet closes in on the survivors in LA, Connor sees an opportunity to take the fight to the machines. However, he needs to use his fellow humans as bait, including Orozco’s group.
What Zahn does exceptionally well is to sew a line through all the ideas of fate between Connor, Kyle, Skynet and the past/present/future conundrum the franchise presents. We get to see a lot more of what makes the man that is John Connor but also the history of Kyle Reese. It’s fascinating to consider the strange möbius loop relationship that the two men have with each other as mentor/son and soldier/father. Whilst they never meet in this novel, both inadvertently help the other to survive.
Terminator Salvation: From the Ashes is also just damn fun. There’s plenty of action amongst the ruins of LA and some of the descriptions really set a fantastic scene as the T-600s try to destroy the human race. If you like the films, check out the book – I’m definitely ready to read some more in the Terminator world.
Published by Titan Books