Perry, S. D.
About the Author:
Stephani Danelle Perry lives in Portland, Oregon, USA with her husband and their son Cyrus Jay. She has collaborated on writing projects with her novellist father Steve Perry and has also written under the pseudonym Stella Howard.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
3.3 out of 5
Resident Evil: Caliban Cove
The second book of the series is a wholly original story rather than a novelisation of a computer game. Discredited by Umbrella's smear campaign, the STARS survivors of the Spencer mansion go underground. One of their number, Rebecca Chambers, then joins another STARS team as it undertakes an unsanctioned mission to investigate the Umbrella facility at Caliban Cove. However, the Cove is home to several new breeds of zombie mutants as well as a deranged scientist whose own agenda is even more sinister than Umbrella's.
Because this book isn't a novelisation of a game, I was glad to see that Perry dispenses with most of the ungainly gameplay-based scenes and delivers a far more coherent plot.
Unfortunately the new STARS featured are underdeveloped and, in some cases, more or less copies of characters we've seen previously. Also, although the annoying key-fetching that plagued books zero and one is gone, the author does feel obliged to include a series of puzzles which have to be solved in a specific order for the STARS to advance. Although clearly a nod to the games, I found it to be a bit silly in what is otherwise a tense action story.
Followed by 'Resident Evil: City of the Dead'.
3 out of 5
Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy
The first book of the Resident Evil series and the novelisation of the classic original 'Resident Evil' computer game. For those not in the know, this book follows the STARS police team as they find themselves trapped in a mysterious mansion in the woods. Within the mansion they discover that the Umbrella Corporation has been experimenting with viruses which mutate people, animals and plants into deadly monstrosities.
This game franchise, with its tense action and intriguing plotlines lends itself well to novelisation and Perry does a very good job here. We get a bit of prelude to where the game begins which allows us to get to know the STARS as individuals before they're thrown into the horror of the Spencer mansion.
Where this book falls down is in that it is too accurate a novelisation. That means that the author has included all the puzzles, key collecting and backtracking that takes place in the game. This rapidly becomes repetetive and, combined with the fact that the characters keep separating to explore alone like in the game, comes to bring the whole credibility of the plot into question. Zombies and mutant dogs I can cope with, but having a team of armed professionals keep telling one another to 'wait here' and then wandering off into danger alone stretched my suspension of disbelief to breaking point.
I really did enjoy this book for the most part, but it has to be said that a great deal of that enjoyment was boosted by nostalgia over the computer game. If you don't have that nostalgia, then the plot holes and repetition may spoil the experience for you. It's also worth noting that I read the prequel 'Resident Evil: Zero Hour' before this one and I found it more than a little odd that Rebecca Chambers never mentions having encountered zombies before. I understand that at the time this book was written, the prequel hadn't been thought up, but that sort of discontinuity is exactly the sort of thing that spoils the ability to immerse yourself in a franchise novel.
Followed by 'Resident Evil: Caliban Cove'.
3 out of 5
Resident Evil: Zero Hour
A novelisation of the computer game 'Resident Evil Zero' and a prequel to the Resident Evil novels. In case you're a newcomer to RE then the overall story is that the ruthless Umbrella Corporation has bioengineered a virus which mutates animals and turns people into zombies. Naturally, the virus escapes and it's down to a few dedicated (and well armed) individuals to get to the bottom of the conspiracy. The novelisation of computer games isn't always a good idea, but if there's one game series that's suited to it, then it's the tension-filled, story-driven Resident Evil games.
Here, whilst out on her first mission, Rebecca Chambers, a member of the elite STARS police team, finds herself trapped aboard a speeding train with the convicted killer Billy Coen. However, Rebecca and Billy have far bigger problems than each other to worry about as they soon find themselves trapped within an Umbrella facility which is filled with mutated monsters and zombies. It all sounds pretty shallow, right? Well, in a broad sense I guess it is. However, Perry manages to draw us into the minds of both main characters as they're driven by fear and adrenaline.
There's plenty of tension here and I enjoyed the concept of one of Umbrella's own monstrosities dedicating itself to collapsing the corporation. If I have one criticism, it is simply that the author decides to include the tedious going back and forth to collect keys and solve puzzles that sometimes became annoying in the games and is unnecesary here. I was definitely pleasantly surprised and look forward to reading the other books of this series.
Followed by 'Resident Evil: The Umbrella Conspiracy'.
4 out of 5