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Gamertell Review: Tom Clancy’s Hawx novel by David Michaels

by Jonathan Gronli on Feb 10, 2010 at 09:39 AM

tom clancys hawx

Title: Tom Clancy’s Hawx
Author: David Michaels
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Release Date: January 2010
Price: $9.99
Pros: Interesting story with realistic supporting characters that is supported by the same intrigue as other Tom Clancy licenses.
Cons: Follows one character and it’s the most irritating, least interesting and least developed character.
Rating: One thumb up and one thumb down, 75/100, C, * * 1/2.
Overall: It’s a good story ruined by a main character who alternates between irritating and uninteresting.

Tom Clancy tends to put his name to solid gold military and spy fiction. So the question is whether or not the novel Hawx stands up to the fine traditions that both Tom Clancy and David Michaels have set down. Let’s see where it goes right and horribly wrong.

The System Works

The good thing is that the story is intriguing. You’re witness to a lot of different things and some of the emotional content is believable, especially the strain that going to war can have on different relationships. The relationships that are played up and strained the most are those of the family as well as the boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. There’s also a similar level of intrigue to pretty much everything that Tom Clancy has either written, licensed or will license.

Many of the supporting characters are also realistic, non-“cookie cutter” character archetypes. There is a certain urgency that makes it engaging, which makes you want to read. The story is a bit formulaic so you can tell when there is something big is about to happen, especially if you’ve read any novels by Tom Clancy, rather than novels based on licenses that Tom Clancy put his name to.

The formulaic predictability of the story isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just means that there’s an aura of familiarity to help the reader cope with to Michael’s style if they haven’t read any of the other Tom Clancy license-based novels. The story itself works, if you can get around the main character and focus on the story.

Engines Failing

One of the hardest things to do with writing is making a good, meaning believable and tolerable, set of characters to pull you into the story. If you can tolerate the characters and believe them, you start to care about what happens in the story. The supporting characters are very well done and you start to, at the very least, believe them right from the start. You might even like them right from the start.

The problem happens with the main character. He’s the focus of the story and he’s one of the least likable, least believable characters to put up with in this genre. That being said, the story is hurt pretty badly since you’re primarily following him. Troy Leonsch is one of your stereotypically obnoxious, arrogant, self-absorbed, showboating jock types. Note, this is not putting athletes down but is referring to the stereotype about athletes since that is what the character is. He’s nothing more than a stereotype and occasionally even the writer has to punish the character a lot for having been written into a stereotype. There are occasionally times where the character starts to act human and then he just becomes irritatingly stupid and, at best, two dimensional. Even at his best times, he’s not that interesting. So you either end up hating Troy or just being bored by him.

If the story had the same shifting perspective as Splinter Cell Endgame or Tom Clancy’s Endwar the story would’ve been a stronger piece of work. Either way, with the emotional aspect, there’s usually multiple sides to the story and it would’ve been a good idea to show those perspectives outside essentially having someone say that either Troy’s being an idiot, an obnoxious jerk or that they have a thing for them. Shifting perspective would’ve been a venue for showing each of the supporting character’s thoughts on Troy. Either way, a lot of the side characters are better developed than Troy. So it’s still a wonder on why he is the one we have to follow.

Shot Down

Despite the quality of the story and storytelling itself, it didn’t work quite as well as expected. It’s pretty well-written but character flaws and focus choices make the product unravel bit by bit. The emotional content works really well but the focal character’s reaction and oblivious nature toward the emotion content doesn’t. Due to the focus and main character problems, the book is very average though the overarching story is a good one.

It’s hard to justify buying this book. Either look for it in a library to test the waters for yourself or, if you can’t live without things with Tom Clancy’s name on it, try to find it in some used book store like Half Price Books or try to find it as an e-book, since most them tend to be considerably cheaper than the hard copy.

Purchase [Borders] Site [HAWX (video game)]

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