S.D. Perry has written 7 Resident Evil novels to date, 5 are based on the game series & 2 are stand-alone new stories tying into the series as a whole. While they mostly follow the events of the games the author does delve into areas not touched elsewhere.
While having more details & insight into the series as a whole is a good thing it does force inconsistencies to crop up as the game series continued onwards. Reading these books I have to constantly remind myself that they are not canon & that the author could never have foreseen where the series (4 onwards) was going.
It was only a few months ago that I first played Code Veronica. Its initial release came at a time where gaming just wasn’t attractive to me so I didn’t play it. Then years went by & the game just didn’t enter my radar until its re-release on the X-Box 360. I finally picked it up & played it…I was so glad I did & I now consider it my 3rd favourite Resident Evil game.
I read the first few S.D. Perry Resident Evil books many years ago & didn’t exactly love them. My decision to try again was based on coming across the novelisation of Resident Evil: Code Veronica. It seemed like the perfect place to try & get back into them…
Based off the game of the same name Code Veronica stays very true to the games story & sees Claire Redfield captured by Umbrella & taken to Rockfort Island, a prison/medical facility run by the insane duo of Alfred & Alexia Ashford. All hell breaks loose when an unknown force attacks the island releasing the experiments contained there & causing another outbreak.
Claire is freed by a dying Umbrella worker & meets up with Steve Burnside, a young man with Daddy issues. Together they have to get off the island while dealing with the infection & the Ashford twins.
The 2nd half of the game re-introduces Chris Redfield who arrives to rescue his sister only to find someone he thought was dead, his old Captain, Wesker.
In the game Claire comes across as a somewhat confident & strong woman while Steve is a whiney teenager who is obsessed with showing off to the ‘hot girl’. This translates well in the book & the extra insight into both their minds is interesting…up to a point. As their relationship develops I found the books idea that Claire would stop seeing him as a child & actually start being attracted to him very strange. This whole ‘death, destruction & zombies breed love’ thing annoys me.
There is a bit in the book where it is even implied that Claire wouldn’t mind getting a bit more intimate with Steve. This isn’t the problem; no it’s that this comes almost directly after a plane crash! Surely this would be the last thing on either of their minds? I guess it was done to try & add to the emotional punch that comes later in the story. It’s a moment that did nothing for me in the game & book simple because Steve is such an unlikeable character.
In the game Chris plays a pivotal part but in the book his sections are cut down drastically as is Wesker’s. I was really looking forward to their face-off particularly over Alexia but it felt rushed & empty just like many of the big moments in the book. Writing boss-battles will never work like they do in the games but it is disappointing & feels lazy when a boss like Nosferatu is dispatched with a bullet to the head.
The characters that I was most interested in though were the evil twins, Alfred & Alexia Ashford. In the game they are a fascinating duo & this translates will on paper. I enjoyed the moments involving them & the build-up to the big reveal felt suitably epic.
It’s a good book but this is because of the games story rather then an excellent author. Not to suggest that S.D. Perry doesn’t do a good job of making it readable. It is definitely one of the better Resident Evil novelisations.
Resident Evil: Volume VI - Code Veronica