Follow TV Tropes


Literature / Resident Evil

Go To
Rebecca Chambers, Science Hero!

The Resident Evil novels are a series of books by SD Perry which chronicled the events of the games from the original Resident Evil to '"Code Veronica''. By and large, the series was a fairly faithful adaptation of the series but emphasized action over horror.

The novels added a number of Canon Foreigner characters as well as All There in the Manual explanations for events. As such, they eventually drifted from the canon of the games and were cancelled as a series. The books remain very popular with many Resident Evil fans, though and are still in print.

These books contain the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: The books were quite popular, to the point that they were even translated to Japanese a few years after they were first published in English, but were stopped after RE0 was adapted. Notably, SD Perry can only speculate for the reasons of this as she would have happily continued them indefinitely.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Downplayed with Annette Birkin. She's portrayed as a caring and good mother despite being her Morally Ambiguous Doctorate status. She genuinely believes her daughter is safe during the events of the Racoon City outbreak and is horrified to discover she's not. That said, the more sympathetic moments she gets in her interactions with Claire from the game are absent in the book, and her behavior towards Leon grows more unstable over time.
    • To a lesser extent with the Umbrella Corporation as the Board of Directors doesn't have any of the Social Darwinist beliefs they developed in canon. Instead, the Umbrella Corporation really is Only in It for the Money. At least at first. It just so happens they really are incredibly bad at keeping a handle on their creations.
  • Adaptational Villainy: H.U.N.K and the USS didn't cause the Racoon City outbreak in the original story.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Downplayed, but the first novel expands a bit on Jill Valentine's past as to how she became a police officer and member of S.T.A.R.S., after her father (who was a thief and taught her how to use lockpicks) ended up in jail, and how the mission has a dash of It's Personal because among the victims were a pair of young girls she befriended shortly after she joined the force.
  • Affably Evil: Trent is either this or Creepy Good depending on what you think his agenda is.
  • All There in the Manual: SD Perry attempts to explain away a number of contradictions in the games as well as who is hiring who but this, unfortunately, helped contribute to its Canon Discontinuity as a few of those were answered in future games.
    • Trent was the employer of Ada Wong in Resident Evil 2.
    • Jill Valentine was, of all things, getting some nice underwear for her evacuation from Racoon City when the place became a miniature zombie apocalypse. The S.T.A.R.S. men, notably, had evacuated by this time.
    • There's even an extended sequence where Jill goes into great detail about why she can only pick certain locks and why she can't simply kick open the ones she can't; The locking mechanism is so unique and special that she has no clue how to get it open without a key, and then when she considers kicking it open she finds that the door and the frame are so heavily reinforced that she has no hope in hell of breaking it. She then considers shooting out the lock but fears that the bullet may ricochet and hurt her (an actual concern in real life). Barry on the other hand has no problem booting open one of these reinforced doors when he saves Jill from becoming a Jill Sandwich because, as a scene in an earlier chapter of him casually carrying a duffel bag that weighed well over 100 pounds implied, he's just that strong.
  • Ambiguously Evil: Trent is established as this being as he's an ally of our heroes but also an Umbrella Corporation Board member who wants Revenge on the company for stealing the T-virus from his parents. In effect, he's a predecessor and human variation of Lisa Trevor crossed with Wesker.
  • Ascended Extra: Rebecca Chambers went from being a minor character in Resident Evil to the star of her own book as well as a major supporting protagonist.
  • Betty and Veronica: Leon suffers a case of this with his conflicting desires towards Claire (The Betty) and Ada (The Veronica). Jill Valentine has a similar but lesser case toward Chris (The Betty) and Carlos Olivera (The Veronica).
  • Big Bad: The books have the villains of the games with some original baddies thrown in.
    • Albert Wesker, of course, is the villain of The Umbrella Conspiracy.
    • Jay Reston is the Smug Snake Corrupt Corporate Executive who runs 'The Planet' as well as being the Big Bad of Underworld.
    • Alfred and Alexia Ashford are the villains of Code: Veronica
  • Canon Foreigner: Most specifically the Ambiguously Evil Manipulative Bastard Trent who is secretly responsible for a large number of the events like hiring Ada Wong to steal the G-virus in Resident Evil 2 to sending our heroes to destroy the Umbrella research facility in Underworld. For awhile, he was a Canon Immigrant according to Word of God but he never made any appearance in a game and has since joined Canon Discontinuity.
  • Classy Cat-Burglar: Jill Valentine was one of these before she decided to join the S.T.A.R.S. It explains her "Master of Unlocking" skill, at least. It was also, notably, a family profession.
  • Continuity Snarl: Inevitable with SD Perry attempting to explain away series issues and the changes brought about by Capcom.
    • Racoon City is a small Midwestern town of about 10,000 people as opposed to the miniature Metropolis it became in the games with over 100,000 people. Only about 7,500 people died in the disaster with it being destroyed primarily by an out-of-control fire. Unlike in the canon setting, Umbrella was also able to cover the cause of the disaster up and blame S.T.A.R.S.
    • Ada Wong was employed by Trent to get the G-Virus in the books adaptation of Resident Evil 2, which while not impossible, is unlikely given we've since discovered she's been working for Wesker as well as Simons during this time period. Also, the fact he's a non-canon character. To a minor extent, Ada also solves a number of puzzles in the adaptation which Claire and Leon did.
    • It was HUNK and the Umbrella Security Service which resulted in the Racoon City outbreak when they destroyed many samples of the T-Virus while slaughtering their way through William Birkin's lab. This is in contrast to the rats becoming infected with the T-Virus and spreading it through the waterways after Birkin mutated himself with the G-Virus and murdered the U.S.S., breaking several vials of the T-Virus in the process.
    • S.T.A.R.S. is no longer Racoon City's version of S.W.A.T. but a national organization which exists a bit like the real-life Academy Group as an organization that advises as well as assists local law enforcement with difficult cases. It's also a much older organization, with the original New York branch of S.T.A.R.S. having been founded in 1967, whereas the Japanese manual of the first game established that S.T.A.R.S. was founded in 1996 (just two years before the events of the game). It is also a private organization heavily compromised/paid for by Umbrella and has some similarity to the BSAA.
  • Cozy Catastrophe: Racoon City's destruction was far less of a world-changing disaster in this world even if it was a shocking and horrifying event. The casualties were less than a tenth of what they were in canon and didn't require a nuclear weapon to sterilize the area. As such, Umbrella was able to blame Western Terrorists, i.e. our heroes.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: In addition to the Spencer Mansion of The Umbrella Conspiracy, there is also the Planet in Underworld. The Planet is a massive zoo and research facility built by Umbrella in the middle of the Utah Desert. Needless to say, it doesn't last any longer than the others.
  • Epic Fail: Jay Reston unleashes all of the Planet's B.O.Ws onto Claire Redfield, Leon Kennedy, Rebecca Chambers, and an original character up to their level. He also tries to use a U.S.S. team against them. None of these work because every one of them have dealt with this sort of thing en masse and by themselves before, let alone as a group. It ends with them releasing a T-virus/Tyrant based on a T-Rex that destroys the Planet and kills Reston.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Inverted as we discover the Umbrella Corporation's bioweapons division is called "White Umbrella" with "Red Umbrella" being their legitimate pharmaceutical firm division. White Umbrella is responsible for all of the evil and nefariousness the company is up to with the Red Umbrella part being more or less completely ignorant of the other side's misdeeds.
  • Hope Spot:
    • At the beginning of Caliban Cove, the surviving Raccoon S.T.A.R.S. have reported their findings from the Spencer mission to S.T.A.R.S. HQ. Their hope is that the senior leadership will take it seriously and bring them in for the expected investigation into Umbrella's bio-weapons research and development. Then they quickly find out Umbrella didn't just compromise Wesker; their corporate tendrils have already penetrated much of the organization. There is no investigation, their own people have branded them as liars, and the Raccoon S.T.A.R.S. are now on their own with no backup, no resources, and no protection from inevitable Umbrella retaliation.
    • At the end of City of the Dead, the renegade S.T.A.R.S. and their allies hope the destruction of Raccoon is the beginning of the end of their nightmare. After all, the Spencer Mansion was easy to cover up, but Umbrella can't exactly hide the destruction of a major American city. Then, as Underworld begins, Umbrella has not only managed to cover up their role and come out of it looking like heroes, but they've also successfully framed the ex-S.T.A.R.S. for Raccoon's destruction.
  • I Have Your Wife: Wesker gleefully taunts Barry Burton about this fact in order to control him during the events of the first game/novel. It's also a lie. Becomes a case of Idiot Ball since he admits it's a lie in front of Barry at the end.note 
  • Karma Houdini: The Umbrella Corporation in the novels manages to get away with destroying Racoon City in the books, though if the series had continued it would have presumably been dealt with the same way by Resident Evil 4, and manages to maintain its financial power. Played with as they also suffer the loss of two additional laboratories and have The Mole with Trent.
  • Lampshade Hanging: SD Perry doesn't hesitate to do this a lot throughout the books. The main characters are often bewildered by Umbrella's use of puzzle locks and why Chief Iron's police station looks like a museum. One particularly funny bit occurs in Underworld when Leon points out how biological weapons can't be so profitable as to justify Umbrella's billions of dollars in research expenditures. Trent says its become more about power and control for White Umbrella than money.
  • La Résistance: Chris, Jill, Barry, Claire, and Leon all become the basis for one against Umbrella following Racooon City's destruction.
  • Lighter and Softer: Zig-zagged. The books portray a Black-and-White Morality conflict between the survivors and the Umbrella Corporation with the former acting as La Résistance against their The Empire. Our heroes are often frightened but never really terrified by the events they encounter and usually triumph in big ways that emphasizes their competence. However, Umbrella is much larger and more powerful in the books than the games and survives the events of Racoon City intact.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Umbrella's problems are almost all due to Trent playing puppet master behind the scenes. He's basically organizing their fall the same way Wesker did in Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles.
  • Mister Exposition: One of the roles which Trent plays as he adds a great deal of backstory regarding Umbrella's interior workings and plans.
  • Novelization: What the majority of the books are, with slight alterations.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The Umbrella Conspiracy amalgamates both Chris and Jill's scenarios from the original game, meaning that Chris, Jill, Barry, and Rebecca all make it out of the mansion as established by canon. Notably, Chris, Jill, Barry, and Wesker all make it to the mansion's main hallway after being chased by zombie dogs (and Chris manages to hold onto his gun) and it's only when Chris goes to investigate the first zombie that the group gets split up.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Not content with the established game characterizations, Perry opts to provide detail on Irons being a rapist and suggest Nicholai and Wesker are to make them truly vile.
  • Ship Tease: SD Perry has no problem engaging in this common fanboy past time with some of the more popular ships.
    • Claire and Leon have their only hook-up in this series as the two become extremely close following the events of Racoon City's destruction. This relationship causes Angst as Claire likes both Steve and Leon & Leon likes Ada.
    • Jill and Carlos become extremely close during the events of Resident Evil 3: Nemesis but she has an interest in Chris.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Trent is capable of these, much to the annoyance of the heroes.
  • Steel Ear Drums: Averted, as Jill is basically deafened for a brief time after the explosion that starts the adventure in Nemesis.
  • Smug Snake: Jay Reston is the lowest member of White Umbrella's board and is aware of it but still believes he's vital to Umbrella's interests. In truth, Umbrella considers him a placeholder due to the death of a more valuable and talented operative. Nevertheless, he is put in charge of the Planet.
  • Token Good Teammate: Carlos Oliveira is completely unaware the U.B.C.S. is a bunch of raving psychopaths, save for Mikhail and a few other grunts.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Umbrella is considered beyond reproach even after the events of Racoon City. This is due to making Chief Irons and the S.T.A.R.S into The Scapegoat.
  • Writer-Induced Fanon: The series is responsible for the Tyrant from Resident Evil 2 becoming known as Mr. X.