Sunday, April 3

Star Wars: Decieved - a review

Star Wars: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp

Deceived is the second book in the Old Republic series, which was created to go along with the upcoming mmorpg.  It is set thousands of years before the movies when the Sith and Jedi were at war.  Though the second book in the series, it is not a sequel.  Rather, it follows different characters through a different set of events in the years before Fatal Alliance

The opening sequences of the book feature the action from the cinematic trailer of the same name for the online game.  If you haven’t already, check out the trailer:

Having read the majority of the Star Wars novels, this was quite an exciting event to read (and watch in the trailer).  For those who skipped the trailer as well as for some further background information, I’ll summarize:

The Sith and Jedi are at war, each side dealing heavy blows to the other.  The Jedi just defeated Sith forces on Alderaan in what the Republic hopes will be a huge turning point for the war.  But then the Emperor, leader of the Sith, presents his willingness to participate in peace negotiations.  The Jedi agree and send a negotiating team.  However, they are unaware of a secret attack being planned.  Darth Malgus leads a strike team to Coruscant where they launch a surprise attack on the Jedi temple.  The Jedi present are killed and the Temple is leveled.  Coruscant falls under control of Sith.

Meanwhile, Aryn Leneer, a Jedi Knight, is on Alderaan and feels the disturbance in the force.  Her master, Ven Zallow led the charge against Malgus in the Temple and was struck down.  Feeling his death, Aryn vows to bring the killer to justice, especially after the Jedi and Sith agree to continue with peace negotiations.

Aryn teams with Zeerid Koor (Z-man), a smuggler she knows from years ago.

Deceived was a good Star Wars novel, but not a great one.  The attack on the temple (which happens early on and is the inciting incident for the story) is by far the best scene in the novel.  Seeing the sheer power of Malgus and the Sith and watching them enter under the Jedi’s noses is amazing.  The only other scene that I would say rivals it in recent Star Wars lore is the blockade of the Jedi Temple in the Fate of the Jedi series, though that wasn’t perpetrated by Sith.

Previously I reviewed Red Harvest, which also happens during a time period where Sith were both numerous and powerful.  What elevates this book above Red Harvest are the implications of the actions.  Red Harvest contained a small story that seemed to be limited to only one planet.   The events here are much deeper.  We learn a bit more about Sith politics, and get an fairly good look into Darth Malgus’ mind.  In fact, in the stories around the Sith Era, I would say only Darth Bane surpasses him in how well we get to know the character.

Aryn is the typical rogue Jedi character.  Forsaking the Jedi order, her driving goal is to make Darth Malgus suffer and die.  This type of story line can get a bit cheesy or hard to do within one story.  Kyp Durron’s story took place slowly over three novels.  Still, it was handled fairly well.

The ending to the story is probably the part of the book which has the greatest potential to turn off readers.  At first I didn’t like.  Actually, I still don’t like it, but I understand it.  Since this book is meant to prep for the release of the mmorpg, there are some threads which weren’t fully closed and elements which weren’t explained as well as I’d like.  One of those threads is, why does the Emperor try to continue negotiations even after capturing Coruscant?  But, it seems like something that could be even better revealed in the game.  That also seems to be why this isn’t a sequel to Fatal Alliance, which also had unresolved plot points and left a lot of questions.

Still, this definitely isn’t the strongest Star Wars novel ever.  One, the story is a bit too short.  I would’ve loved more from the Sith and to learn more of their politics.  Additionally, the book is barely over 250 pages, which seems short for a Star Wars novel.  More on the destruction of Coruscant would be great as well.  As such a heavily populated planet, surely someone would’ve attempted resistance.  Than in itself could sustain a good sub plot.

3/5 stars

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