When people ask what your favorite kind of videogame is, do you say "books?" Did you like playing God of War, but wished you could have learned more about what thoughts boiled ephemeral behind Kratos' mighty alabaster thews as he rent asunder the putrescent hordes of the underworld? Then you're going to love the shit out of the God of War novelization (by Matthew Stover and Robert E. Vardeman), due out May 25.
In advance of the book's publication, Sony and publisher Del Rey have released the large-print prologue and first chapter online, and it sports some of the most hilariously overwrought prose we've read since that second sentence up there. To see it for yourself, click here (via the God of War official site). Before you do, though, you should know that it contains gems like this, taken from the book's intensely detailed retelling of the game's opening cutscene:
"His arms hang, their vast cords of knotted muscle limp and useless now. His hands bear the hardened callus not only of sword and Spartan javelin but of the Blades of Chaos, the Trident of Poseidon, and even the legendary Thunderbolt of Zeus. These hands have taken more lives than Kratos has taken breaths, but they have no weapon now to hold. These hands will not even flex and curl into fists. All they can feel is the slow trickle of blood and pus that drips from his torn wrists."
"He steps to the final inches of the cliff, his sandals scraping gravel over the crumbling brink. A thousand feet below, dirty rags of cloud twist and braid a net of mist between him and the jagged rocks where the Aegean crashes upon them. A net? He shakes his head.
"A net? Rather, a shroud."
It may be wrong to judge a book by its first few pages, but come on: passages like that can't actually be read, they have to be chewed. To be fair, though, there's probably some kind of rule against telling a sword-and-sandal story about a grunting barbarian and not having it be outrageously florid. Besides, whether you think it's alarmingly dense hackwork or actually, y'know, good, you're bound to find some entertainment here; go read it and judge for yourself.
May 10, 2010