Alan Dean Foster contributed yet another prequel to the Transformers franchise novel adaptations. Taking place between Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Transformers: The Veiled Threat focuses more on the Autobots working alongside their new human comrades to locate Starscream and stop him from creating a new Decepticon army. While this prequel did tie in nicely to Revenge of the Fallen and did have fun parts, The Veiled Threat was not as clever of a prequel as Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday was to Transformers.
The actual Transformers are a good place to start in The Veiled Threat. The only familiar Transformers readers will recognize from the novels and first movie are Optimus, Ironhide, Ratchet, Starscream, Frenzy, and Barricade. All of the other Autobots and Decepticons are new. Having new Transformers is great for readers, especially for fans who may recognize a few of the newcomers, or at least their names: new Autobots include Longarm, Knockout, Salvage, and Beachbreak and new Decepticons include Macerator, Payload, Dropkick, Trample, Tread, Kickback, Blademaster, Ruination, Swindle, and Dead End.
Having introduced so many new Transformers was entertaining, yet it wasn’t executed as well as it could have. One of the great things Foster focused on was when the Autobots talked to one another about human customs and how they did not understand why humans did what they did. This was very entertaining to read. However, when Foster introduced the robots to the readers, it seemed jumbled. The Autobots were the robots that were the main focus of each chapter. It was the Decepticons that, upon introduction, would either be killed or would run away. It just seemed like the Autobots won or the Decepticons gave up too easily. The Autobots from Revenge of the Fallen are briefly mentioned having arrived (Sideswipe, Mudflap, Skids, etc.), but do not make an appearance. Yet, when one thinks about it, where do the newly introduced Autobots and surviving Decepticons from The Veiled Threat disappear to when it comes to the Transformers sequel? Not to mention the Decepticon Barricade randomly disappears at the end of Transformers (movie and novel), randomly makes a very small cameo for a few pages in The Veiled Threat, and then randomly disappears again. So what is the point of having Barricade?
The novel could have benefitted greatly if Foster had added a few scenes. For example, there were plenty of scenes with the Autobots, but not nearly enough with Starscream and the many new Decepticons. Perhaps there could have been more scenes of the Decepticons strategizing or Starscream sending them to various locations around the globe (for there is much traveling in The Veiled Threat). There were some random scenes thrown in with Seymour Simmons and Frenzy so Foster could have elaborated more on these scenes. Foster could have added Sam’s graduation towards the beginning of the novel since Sam is entering college in Revenge of the Fallen. Sam and Bumblebee don’t make an appearance, but they are mentioned at various points in the novel. Lastly, the story could have benefitted with perhaps an origin on NEST. Aside from Revenge of the Fallen, The Veiled Threat is the first real introduction to NEST. This story could have been the beginning of NEST: building it up from nothing and having the humans and Autobots traveling around the world be their first missions together.
Transformers: The Veiled Threat is a good prequel, but it did have many missed opportunities. Foster’s strong writing style definitely carries the story from start to finish and it did have its enjoyable moments. The Autobots and Decepticons (for a few chapters, anyway) were more dominant in this story than they were in Transformers with the human factor knocked down a few notches. The human characters did a great job of supporting their larger-than-life out-of-this-world comrades rather than getting into trouble all the time and the Autobots were entertaining as they tried to figure out human customs. The characters traveled to all different parts of the world: Africa, South America, Australia, and Rome among the main places and they ultimately end up traveling to Shanghai, which leads directly into Revenge of the Fallen. The book could have done with more additional scenes and perhaps a twist on the original story, but it may be a story readers, perhaps mainly fans of the Transformers franchise, find entertaining.