This is a really good piece of Optimus/Megatron slash. It's not really a good piece of military science fiction. (There was one point where I was thinking, "wow, I'd rather be reading a David Weber technical explanation than this".)
The sequel is coming out Tuesday. I will likely pick it up, because I am promised action on the lost Cybertronian colonies.
- The Aligned continuity seems to be a synthesis of as many previous incarnations of Transformers as it can manage.
-- G1 cartoon (Vector Sigma, Alpha Trion, Omega Supreme being the guardian of Crystal City)
-- Marvel comics (lots and lots, mostly in place names)
-- Dreamwave (Orion Pax being a data clerk, Ultra Magnus being a Wrecker)
-- Armada (minicons - whatever those are in Aligned, the book isn't too clear)
-- Animated (Ultra Magnus with his lightning/EMP hammer)
-- Bayverse (what happened at Tyger Pax)
- For a story about Transformers, there is very little about their alt-modes. These really should be used more in Transformers fiction, because they are a fundamental part of any given character. Here, we've got almost no idea what anyone turns into. Heck, we barely know what they look like in robot-mode
; Irvine seems to be allergic to describing his characters.
- The info-dumps in the first handful of chapters are really
- The author sometimes seems to forget who his minor characters are. (ex. Halogen - we are initially told few Cybertronians believed anything he said because they figured it was part of a plot to annex the Hydrax Plateau, like he's been trying to do for aeons. Then when we go visit the Council, he's the respected speaker for the Council.)
- I do like the use of different minor characters' points of view to show events where the big four aren't. Even if we do sadly either have them die or have them never show up again.
- Die, Alpha Trion, die. Also, not too fond of the Covenant of Primus being a book of fate type of artifact.
- The Dark Energon plotline was not compelling. After the politics and rebellion in the first half of the book, this was disappointing. By contrast, the exodus plotline was
So, for those keeping track at home, it was: Good stuff, BORING, good stuff.
- Alex really seems like he needs an editor keeping track of things for him. Way back before Orion Pax became Prime, we have Soundwave overhearing a discussion of awakening Omega Supreme, the guardian of Crystal City. Then he doesn't show up until chapters and chapters later, and he's in Iacon for no explicable reason. We have a reference to Starscream having been a scientist once, then later on it's said he's not a scientist. There's a bit where Optimus Prime, Jazz, Ironhide, and Sideswipe are mentioned as a "team of four" going off to do something, then suddenly Bumblebee pops up halfway through the sequence and they act like he's been there the whole time.
- Okay, we're thousands, possibly millions of years, into the war. Why is the narration still referring to Megatron's ground troops as "gladiators"? They haven't been that for a long, long time.
Also, what is with referring to various nameless Decepticons as "it"?
- So I'm not sure if the Underworld denizens are mutants or what. They're definitely not demons, since Optimus references them as being Transformers not sworn to Megatron but also not caring about the surface. On the other hand, when he's fighting some guards in a place described as having Underworld influences, the guards are not really described any different from normal Transformers. So, what? Cybertron has an Underdark?
- Did we seriously need to capitalize Corruption Spikes?
- What is up with Jetfire and the Aerialbots? Okay, the Aerialbots are Seekers loyal to the Autobot cause. Jetfire is the only defector Seeker. Where did the Aerialbots come from? I was pretty sure it was mentioned the Vos-Tarn exchange caused a number of Seekers to join the Autobot cause, which suggests there should be more defectors than Jetfire.
It's a problematic book, it really is. The slash, though....
"We will always be brothers. We are bound together," Megatron said. "You cannot escape me, brother. I will hound you across the stars if I must, until every star in the galaxy has burned itself into a cinder. I will hunt you, and I will find you, and when I find you-"
It practically writes itself.