Wall mountable in case your bookshelves are full of Transformers?
I don't care about the 13 Primes either. It is remarkably unimaginative. Is this some sort of official product? I suspect it will itself ignore previous lore just as much as future lore will ignore it.
The writing is pretty poor as well for such an expensive product reading those preview pages. Particulaly annoying phrases I picked up on flicking through: "quantum of time" (makes zero sense, especially when they actually mean instant or moment of time. Both of which serve the narrative flow far better without making you look like a plonker) and descriptions of one of the Prime's forging the groups "gear". The Covenant of Primus is that down and trendy with the yoof dontcha know, bro?
Maybe I'm just being picky, but that much money for essentially fan writing? And bad fan writing at that.
Also am I the only person that does not care at all about the original 13 Primes?
Nope. I don't particularly care one way or t'other myself. I don't recall the idea existing prior to the last few years (not even as far back as the Ultimate Guide's "Thirteen Original Transformers". The first time I can recall tripping across the idea of a gaggle of simultanously-existing Primes was in ROFD, where it seemed to just exist to provide an explanation for why Optimus was the "born of the holy bloodline" one and rightful hero who can vanquish evil and save the land and the lesser beings.
From my point of view the whole Thirteen Primes thing belongs to the modern reiterations of Transformers, and I don't really retain the backstory stuff for those particularly closely compared to the Marvel stuff.
And yep, this is an official product - it is officially the true story of the ancestry of the Transformers, told for the very first time. Which I doubt will prevent anyone from going along with it more in the breach than the observance.
*notes that it has reflective foil for eyes on the cover picture*
I think most of the price is paying for the sound chip - it says somewhere that when you open the case to get the book it makes the Transforming noise - but seems this sound chip & case costs £50. Hope Hasbro don't get them to make sound chips for toys. We had sound chips in £10 toys in the past.
Up until now the 13 Primes thing has been told in a new innovation in storytelling, eschewing such outdated notions as films, comics, audio, animation, theatre or even sound. Instead it has been told entirely through nth hand accounts of Hasbro toy panels at conventions. So moving to the newly created media of 'wall-mounted bleepy reflective foil eyes' books makes complete logical sense.
Up on Amazon UK but no price. If we got it half price then it would make it better. Seems it's written by UK writer - so that should cut down all the TFCC fanwank stuff in the book. It'll be awful if it was written by the TFCC comic Timelines team.
I doubt the nationality of the writer will have any correlation with the quality of the writing. Especially as this looks to be based on Hasbro's in-house documents for their 'alligned universe' thingy.
I am as much a fan of Transformers fiction as I am the toys themselves. The Marvel UK comic was a staple part of my childhood, discussed daily in the playground and pored over repeatedly until the stories became ingrained in my soul. You’d think then that perhaps I’d be automatically negative toward the concept of the new aligned continuity, riding roughshod as it does over everything I hold sacred.
To a degree that’s true, but I am also able to step back and enjoy Transformers stories in their own context. The G1 cartoon for me was like that. I couldn’t reconcile it with the comic, but as a standalone universe I loved it. So hearing a few years back that Hasbro were intent on rebooting the chronology with a new all inclusive timeline appealed to me in that I was curious to see how all of the various toy ranges, cartoons and comics over the years could be mashed together into a coherent story.
I think what we’ve had makes sense, even if I don’t subscribe to it fully. I liked Alex Irvine’s books, I’ve enjoyed the games, and Prime had me hooked right from the explosive opening of the first episode. It isn’t TF:UK, but for today’s 11 year old perhaps it is. With that in mind then, I was open to finding out what this new book actually is.
It certainly isn’t what I was expecting. After the glory of the Vault a few years ago, I was hoping (and expecting for the price point) that this would be a retail version of the much vaunted brand bible document. Something that explained exactly what Hasbro is working from in terms of what is fed out to fiction creators. However this is nowhere near that. The easiest way to describe it is by saying that if you consider Exodus and Exiles to be the Lord of the Rings of the rebooted Transformers world, this is the Silmarillion; at least for the first half anyway.
It starts in that tone, with narrator Alpha Trion’s sombre sermon detailing the battles between Primus and Unicron in a biblical style that tries to give the book some gravitas. To start with this works well, but the style jars noticeably when in the following chapters the Primes converse in direct speech, and then later in the book it evaporates completely in a mish-mash of writing styles that leave the reader wondering what the true purpose of the book is. As a novel it lacks depth and detail, and as an historical document it lacks consistency.
This is compounded in the final chapters when the story strays into the territory of the tales already told in the novels, games and tv show, and lines like Arcee saying, “I don’t think I can even remember half the things that have happened, so I’ll stick to the important parts and hope someone else has connected the dots,” leave the reader wondering why the book doesn’t stop where Exodus starts. On one page Alpha Trion says, “There were many more stella cycles and many more adventures and trials on the long voyages of the Ark, too many and too complex to relate here,” and then follows that five paragraphs later with, “annotations and additions of my own are noted where they occur for the sake of completion.”
Complete this is not. It almost seems as though the writer fancied a go at trying to write a book that filled the holes in the references to the back story that have come out of the aligned continuity so far, but then didn’t know how to finish what she’d started. It is ultimately a disappointing read and doesn’t really add much to what has already been alluded to in the other media. In fact if anything, laying it all out like this just removes the mystique references to the past did have. The reader is left with an overwhelming feeling of, ‘oh, is that it then?’
Which can also be said for the plastic case the book comes in. Overall this is a $99 package, which has been selling on Amazon before and after Christmas anywhere between £30 and £60. It’s a big deal, you could have a Masterpiece Prowl for that money. I do actually have the case on the wall at the moment in my study because I’d put a screw up to hang a picture from I don’t yet have a frame for, but I don’t think it’ll stay there long. It is the autobrand, it does slide open (sadly with movie style transformation noises), but it’s cheap looking and not an ornament or wall hanging that the discerning fan would be proud of. For a start to accommodate the book it’s too thick.
The book itself is nicely bound and presented, and is probably the highlight of the whole thing. It feels weighty and nice to hold, and is printed on good stock, but the illustrations inside are very much of a take it or leave it variety because the Primes are very movie styled in appearance, and the later splash pages of Transformer battles are no better than anything you’d see in an IDW comic. In that vein there have been far better hardback art books printed in recent years.
I have not here made any comment on the story itself, the filling in of the back history and how the Primes relate to the Transformers. The book does fit it all together, at least up to Exodus, but does reinterpret some events in the way that all these new fictions don’t quite fit together. This apparently is something Hasbro is fine with, and to be fair, the inconsistencies are far less wide reaching than those of the original timeline. It does detract from the point of creating a new continuity though. It isn’t aligned.
Overall, this is a misfire. It needed a tighter brief and tighter editing to create a consistent narrative voice. If it had been issued as a £6.99 paperback to sit alongside Exodus and Exiles without straying into their territory, it would just about work. But I couldn’t honestly recommend anyone spend the asking price for this book. Sadly, for all the wrong reasons, the most memorable parts of this are the worst parts, like the entirely pointless interlude when just before the Ark reaches Earth and the crew encounter a race of shape-shifting female robots descended from Amalgamous Prime, the original transformer, and outright flirt with them - ‘“What does that mean,” asked Bulkhead chuckling, “sounds kinky.”’ Umm, no. Just… no. In short, to assimilate everything this book has to offer you don’t really need to read its 170 double columned pages. It isn’t told well, it should have been about the facts, and the TFwiki page: tfwiki.net/wiki/Transformers:_The_Covenant_of_Primus will give you everything the book does inside twenty minutes of reading.
While I have not got the book due to the prohibitive price, this seems to be the vibe from most of the reviews of it, and my own feelings about what it is. It sounds just like glorified, expensive fan fiction (I mean that in the mistake fan fiction often makes in thinking that the 'epic backstory' is what is important about a franchise, rather than stories about people, not trying to disparage anyone, including myself!)
I pre-ordered this from Amazon and forgot I'd done so. It arrived completely unexpectedly. I opened the Amazon box and looked at the item in it's neat shrink-wrapped tidiness. It was a good feeling. I put it away in a wardrobe.
I got this as a birthday present and am about 75% of the way through reading it.
Basically the writer had the tough task of putting together bits and pieces of Hasbro designs rough concepts and ideas that made up the weird bible to the sort-of almost but not quite single continuity that was mooted to tie War for Cybertron/Fall of Cybertron/Transformers: Prime all together (or aligned continuity).
It doesn't read terribly well, but I'm still finding bits and pieces of fun just seeing how it pans out (at times you'd swear its fanfic).