Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: THE OLD REPUBLIC: DECEIVED (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    The Old Republic: Deceived, Paul Kemp's second Star Wars novel and Del Rey's second look into the era of The Old Republic, is out!

    Some rules: rate Deceived on a scale of 1 to 10, supplementing your rating with a review, if you want to (It's not necessary but is highly encouraged). However, please do not rate or review the book until after you've read the whole thing. Thanks. :)

    Go for it.;)


    Some previous review threads:

    Republic Commando: Hard Contact, by Karen Traviss
    Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover
    The Cestus Deception, by Steven Barnes
    Medstar I: Battle Surgeons, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry
    Medstar II: Jedi Healer, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry
    Jedi Trial, by David Sherman and Dan Cragg
    Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, by Sean Stewart
    Labyrinth of Evil, by James Luceno
    Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover
    Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno
    Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine, by Veronica Whitney-Robinson
    Tatooine Ghost, by Troy Denning
    Survivor's Quest, by Timothy Zahn
    Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, by Aaron Allston
    Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, by Aaron Allston
    Traitor, by Matthew Stover
    Destiny's Way, by Walter Jon Williams
    Force Heretic I: Remnant, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
    Force Heretic II: Refugee, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
    Force Heretic III: Reunion, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix
    The Final Prophecy, by Greg Keyes
    The Unifying Force, by James Luceno
    Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, by Troy Denning
    Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen, by Troy Denning
    Dark Nest III: The Swarm War, by Troy Denning
    Outbound Flight, by Timothy Zahn
    Republic Commando: Triple Zero, by Karen Traviss
    Legacy of the Force: Betrayal, by Aaron Allston
    Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines, by Karen Traviss
    Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, b
  2. GrandMasterKatarn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    Star Wars: The Old Republic:: Deceived by Paul S. Kemp takes the events of the trailer "Deceived" and makes a novel out of it. It stretches to three days, with the raid on the Jedi Temple happening on Day One and negotiations forced out in Days Two and Three. Thre are a lot of references to the Exchange and the Battle of Alderaan. Not surprising, considering Malig is the main focus while we have a smuggler to internally think about the Exchange. I remember the Exchange from the first and second KOTOR games. Nice to see a continuity nod to them.

    The characterization of Darth Malgus is a three dimensional villain, but, thankfully, not like "JINO/Caedus" in that one series. He is deeply immersed in the Dark Side of the Force, craving the death of everything. I'm not kidding. This guy makes Darth Nihilus look like a guy who had the munchies for Force sensitives; making Cronal look like a man with delusions of grandeur; makes Palpatine look like the Dark Side lite. Like every darksider, though, he as a secret that can be exploited. Her name is Eleena, a lavender (Kemp goes out of his way to repeat this several times like KJA with the anatomy of certain characters in the YJK) Twi'lek who is his lover. Darths Angral and Adraas, and Jedi empath Aryn try to use her to get at Malgus. Angral and Adrass are out to remove him from power or humiliate him. Aryn, though, wants to hurt her in retaliation for her master's death. Eleena is said to have nursed Malgus back to health after the Battle of Alderaan and his encounter with "that Jedi witch" (Satale Shan). After Aryn wounds her and Eleena proclaims her love for him, Malgus kills her so no one can ever use her against him ever again. He grows in character for this and at the end, kills Adraas for attempting to use his lover against him and proclaims that he is alone against the galaxy and will see its destruction.

    The character of Zeerid is of a former soldier from Havoc Squadron who becomes a smuggler after the Battle of Alderaan. He is in debt to the Exchange and is running blasters for them. He used a loan from them to pay for his daughter's medical expenses. To clear his debt, he is told to run engspice--an addictive spice that has people begging for more--and wants extra money for it. He buys his daughter a hoverchair while visiting her and his sister on Vultar. His last run is to take engspice from Vultar to Coruscatn, now under Imperial martial law. He runs into his former Jedi friend, Aryn, and takes both the engspice and Aryn to Coruscant. Throughout the book, he is being chased by a man. Towards the end, Zeerid spaces him out the airlock because said man knows about his daughter and might use it against him. He changes from bad to worse thougthout the book. When we reach the end, he as apparently become a farmer on Dantooine with his daughter who now has prosthetic legs.

    Aryn is a powerful Force empath who has a deep connection to her Master, Zallow. When Malgus kills him during the raid on the Jedi Temple, she instantly feels it. With his death, she begins to fall. She ditches the peace talks on Alderaan and goes looking for Zeerid, hoping he'll aid her. He does and brings her to Coruscant. They are shot down and pull a neat trick that hasn't been seen since CoPL. Aryn and Zeerid head to the Temple and discover Zallows utility droid T7. T7 shows her the recording of Malgus killing her Master. She duels him with her anger, falling deeper to the dark side. Realising she can't beat him, she flees. She discovers Magus's weakness is Eleena and hunts her down. She wounds the Twi'lek and gives her to Malgus. Aryn and Malgus duel again and he wounds her, but lets her go since she let Eleena live. At the end, she resigned from the Jedi Order and goes to live with Zeerid and his daughter on Dantooine.

    There are a couple of great scenes about the Peace Talks on Alderaan. When the Jedi and the Senator learn about the attack on the Temple, they do not openly challenge the Sith. Instead, after some words are exchanged, they agree to surrender a few worlds in the Outer Rim
  3. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Deceived is strikingly similar to the Darth Bane books in tone and feel. Kemp has a more complex prose style but they kinda felt similar. Simple. Which can be a very good thing in EU writing. The story was breezy and fun. There was an adequate balance of action and character development. Darth Gus for all intents and purposes is Bane. He has the same sensibilities as Bane. He resents his fellow Sith for much the same reasons as Bane. And he is a hulking bald monster just like Bane. The difference is Malgus has a dangerous streak of sentimentality. This makes him slightly interesting. Darth Gus in love was interesting cause I think it answered the question, what would have happened if Padme had lived?

    I think I like Kemp as an EU writer so far. This was far more fun than Crosscurrent which was a competent novel if not a bit dark and dry. This was a more lively and sensible book. It felt better than some of the post NJO novels. One problem with the writing though. There was a repetition of thoughts at times. Aryn, the Jedi empath, going over and over her vow of revenge. For such a short book I found it lazy to read the same insights and obsessional thoughts more than a few times.

    For a book that has to give up so much game exposition, it's digestible stuff. It's far more subtle than Sean Williams. But it was just too short to charge full hardcover price. What ever happened to charging what TCW movie novelization cost? That was just over $20 and I paid for it without gritting my teeth. (I borrowed the copy I quickly read. Had I paid for it I might be a little cruel with the grade and that's not Kemp's fault. Del Rey is the disappointment here.) It isn't out of order for many tie-ins to run just over 200 pages. They just never come out in hardcover.

    I've thought a lot about what grade the book deserves considering the cost and page count. Taking that into account but without taking it out on Kemp, the book is a strong 7.5.
  4. jedimasterED Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 4
    I feel like I know Darth Malgus better after 250-something pages than I know Kerra Holt after 350+ pages of Knight Errant.

    Is the book a short, quick read? Yes. Does it suffer a little from being a MMORPG tie-in? Yeah, the faction/class/sub-class system is there. But it is a good, short, quick, MMORPG tie-in read. I enjoyed it and I don't feel ripped off or short-changed in any way.

    9/10
  5. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 25.5/3 = 8.50
  6. Kalphite Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2009
    star 2
    I went into this book expecting the worst -- I tend to dislike novels that just 'tell the story' of what we've already seen and know about. It definitely starts out that way, by disecting and analyzing characters and events that we knew about from watching the ToR trailer and reading the 'Threat of Peace' comic.

    Luckily, there was plenty in this novel to look forward to. Sure, it's a shorter book, but it's mostly non-stop action.

    Ultimately, the whole premise of ToR to me is about the Sith and Jedi both losing their ideals, deluding their respective orders, and coming to a truce/peace. This book is enthralling in that it focuses on two characters, one Jedi, one Sith, who hate the direction their orders are going in -- and they're not content to just sit back and do nothing about it. Throw in another good character - smuggler/trooper type, and we've got a great novel that kept me reading from start to finish.

    On a personal note -- Malgus killing Eleena, and the whole plot there-in, was the best thing I've read in a Star Wars book in some time. Malgus' transformation towards the end also raises some exciting questions, like what role he'll play in the upcoming game. Will he lead a rebel Sith group that opposes the Emperor and seeks to take down the other Sith Lords? It's looking that way -- and he'll likely be an enemy for both factions in the game -- I do love a good villain.

    9.5/10
  7. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 35/4 = 8.75
  8. BROWNHORNET Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 2007
    star 1
    Finished this book the other day. I loved it. I enjoyed Mr. Kemp's Crosscurrent, but this book was better. He has a great feel for flawed, gray area Jedi. I think Malgus, Eleena, Aryn, and Zeerid were all well written, particularly Malgus. Kemp did a great job of taking just two trailers and turning Malgus into a three dimensional character, with a believable and scary love for Eleena. I had a feeling he was going to kill her and it was awesome (I know, terrible right) when he did it. But it was a very Sith thing to do.

    As another poster said, the books put me in the mind of the Darth Bane trilogy, the last time a Sith Lord had been explored in such detail. I hope we get more Malgus adventures in the future. I really would like to see Malgus go against Angral.

    There's not much I can fault with this book. Even though I'm not inclined to ever say anything is perfect, screw it, I'm rating this one pretty close.

    9.9 of 10
  9. Lord_Hydronium Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2002
    star 5
    I hate trying to distill reviews into numbers, but I figure I should offer a dissenting opinion here.

    Thoughts here.

    Overall...let's say 4. That's a Hydro-absolute-scale 4, not a Lit 4. Mediocre, not entirely devoid of value, but below average.
  10. Darth_Gamek Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 10, 2009
    star 6
    9/10

    Not gonna go in depth, but that was one of my favorite books I've read. Paul S. Kemp's got 2 for 2 in my book. [face_peace]
  11. AusStig Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 3, 2010
    star 4
    9/10

    The only things I disliked was that it was not longer, also I disliked 'z-man', but I liked everything else.
  12. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 66.9/8 = 8.36
  13. Darth_Furio Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2008
    star 7
    The Good:

    I really enjoyed this book and I love love love the Old Republic era so far. Darth Malgus had a lot more depth to him than Darth Chratis in Fatal Alliance, and his killing of Eleena was necessary because it absolutely was a weakness that Darth Adraas and Angral would exploit. Malgus was an opposite to "Z-Man" who saved that which his enemies would exploit, in his daughter. I thought that Aryn was a little thin in terms of her development but over all I enjoyed her character too. Darth Malgus though, my fav hands down. The Epilouge was really fun and I loved how he brought the insults of Eleena back to Adraas to pay for.

    The Bad:

    Xizor was under used and should have had more page time in my opinion. Also the page count was too short for the price and I would have liked to have seen more of the "Peace talks." Getting into the politics would have made the story richer and fixed the page count issue. I would have also liked to have seen more of the Jedi Knights and more information on the Sith Empires members.

    8/10
  14. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 74.9/9 = 8.32
  15. KnightDawg Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2007
    star 4
    Wow....he did it again, another great novel. Somehow he had me hating and rooting for Darth Malgus at the same time. Top that of with the perfectly written character, Aryn Leneer and her decisions and how close she came to crossing over to the Dark Side.

    9.8/10


  16. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 84.7/10 = 8.47
  17. yipyipyah Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2011
    I found the book disappointing. The writing seemed simplistic, and I didn't like the characterization all that much. For example, Malgus was shocked when the Sith started playing power games, when that's what Sith are known for. Attacking Adraas in front of their mutual superior? I'm surprised Malgus wasn't killed on the spot. And Malgus killing Eleena was basically the plot of Sacrifice only without the annoying breaks to catch up on our Mandalorian.
    Zeerid was a boring character, and I quickly found myself skimming the chapters that focused on him. I completely fail to see how him killing Vrath towards the end of the book came as a surprise to anyone. The man tried to kill him twice and Zeerid was explicitly stated as willing to do anything for his daughter. Combined with his resolution to take no unnecessary risks, the solution was obvious. The only really surprising part about that chapter was that he didn't do it while Vrath was asleep, so as to make it easier for both parties, and that it took him so long to realize what he needed to do. And Z-man? Really? That was the best name everyone involved in the project could come up with? Did they even once think of themselves actually saying it?
    Aryn? Not sure of the name. The jedi bothered me because of one huge plot hole; if she considered her master her father, and Jedi are known to be able to feel emotions, how wasn't her love for him stamped out years ago? I mean, this is the equivalent of walking around Isreal with the Nazi swastika emblazoned on your forehead from the age of two. No way to hide it, and it would be straightened out pretty quickly. She also seemed too powerful to me. Her master could only barely go toe-to-toe with Malgus and was killed doing it, and she could do the same after going for days on small rations and expending most of her force energy cushioning a fall from the stratosphere? Not to mention the mere idea of some random Jedi Knight going up against a Sith Lord is absurd. (Jaina vs Caedus is completely different, as Jaina has been stated numerous times to have the skill of a Master.) And the absurdity of the conflicts wasn't helped by the constant feeling that the revenge plot was just an excuse for some Sith-Jedi action. It also bothered me that she was known for being an empath when all Jedi have that skill. And remember all that stuff about starting down the path of the dark side? How it will dominate your destiny? Apparently that doesn't apply to all Jedi as once she returns to the light there's no mention of her being tainted by darkness or even feeling deep regret for nearly murdering someone in cold blood.

    The pace of the book was rather slow. One one hand we had the scene from the deceived trailer recounted a whole three times, followed by the characters spending half the book learning something the reader already knows. The author then felt the urge to describe pages and pages of planets which were unimportant and had no real impact on the story. We spent a few pages describing the planet Zeerid's daughter lived, where nothing happened, and another few pages describing the Works, which I thought was leading up to Malgus finding them down there, which would make the description important. That never happened and so the page long description was pointless. Then, on the other hand, we have the authors tendency to not describe the important areas at all. Malgus and Aryn's battle at the destroyed temple, for example. We have ruins and things jutting from the ground and that's basically it. Their second fight was in a hangar bay. It's a waste of potential when you design an amazing area and then make it absolutely pointless.

    I noticed a recurring them in this book is hypocrisy. When Aryn tells the other Jedi to stick with the Order for the exact reasons that mean nothing to her, and when Zeerid spends half the book telling Aryn murder is wrong, only to do a 180 and kill Vrath in cold blood. Was it necessary? Yes. But if you're prepared to kill to protect your daughter, NEVER tell someone else not to do it for something that's equally
  18. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 86.7/11 = 7.88
  19. Juma-Juice Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2006
    star 1
    7.5/10

    I enjoyed the novel. I thought it was very well paced and Kemp succeeded in giving Malgus, a previously mysterious and one dimensional character, quite a bit of depth. Zeerid's backstory and journey was my favorite part of Deceived, and it was a refreshing break from "Malgus Malgus Malgus!" that the book, and really the entirety of the TOR project, has screamed at us. Though by no means a masterpiece, it was an entertaining and fun read, and it is always enjoyable to me to read of a Sith instead of a Jedi.

    I docked points because I think Kemp missed a grand opportunity to expand upon the Sith politics of the time period, and didn't give us a real backstory on Malgus either. Also, some of the combat scenes dragged a bit and Kemp did little to change up his limited vocabulary during these moments.
  20. BoromirsFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2010
    star 4
    8.5/10

    I would have docked this a bit, as i got bored during some parts of Aryn and Z-man and drifted off thinking about ROTS or Legacy.

    But the Malgus parts and the majority of Aryn and Z-man were great, as well as the novel as a whole.

    The Elena Eilena, i forgot her name, but the lover of Malgus....i found her role to be something not generally seen by sith. I kind of saw her fate coming, but i didnt expect the nature of it, especially in Malgus. He did not do it out of hate of her, but of necessity to his vision. Also, perhaps he spared her a more painful fate at being exploited by the other Siths.

    It was still sad, and i hoped he would not do it, but he still did.

    I was satisfied with this novel, mostly because of the way the middle to the end had very satisfying scenes and actions.
  21. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 102.7/13 = 7.90
  22. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    I hope no one minds me bumping this? If not, please don't storm my house and kill me the way Malgus did Andraas.

    So, obviously I just finished the book, and I enjoyed it. It was simple, quick, and very, very action packed. Kemp has a talent for fight scenes, and his descriptions really, for me, evoke an "animated" feel. I can clearly picture something out of one of the CGI trailers, or even The Clone Wars show. Really fitting for this era.

    Malgus has received some flak for being cliche, I believe, and on the surface that looks to be true. A breathing respirator, very tall and muscular, his name even sounding similar to a previous Bioware Sith Lord (Malak). However, I think Kemp does a good job with him. He's more like Bane than any of the other Sith Lords I've seen, but he has something that Bane doesn't; a trace of humanity. I believe he probably originally only kept Eleena around for sex, though that obviously turned into something more. I actually didn't expect him to kill her, since I thought she was alive in the MMO, so I enjoyed the surprise, and thought it was a very logical conclusion. Him sparing Aryn, as well. He may say it is only repaying a debt, but someone like Bane would have surely "repaid" that debt by giving her a quick and painless death. I think Kemp's short story added to this story as well, and shed some light on Malgus's humanity.

    One thing that I feel is strongly implied, but never outright stated, is that Eleena was originally thought of by Malgus as essentially... a sex slave. That's definitely a disturbing thought, but one I don't think would be out of place for a Sith. It's a disturbing thought, though interesting how something like that can "create a weakness" in someone like Malgus.

    Aryn and Zeerid were interesting enough. I do think Zeerid's daughter was interesting, and I like the fact that she originally had a wheeled chair; occasionally nice to see some "archaic" technology in Star Wars. I can't help but notice his last name, though... is he supposed to be related to Jaden Korr? If so, that family name traveled quite awhile. I wonder if some of his actions were signs of latent force sensitivity that would increase thousands of years later through his bloodline. Obviously, I don't know very much about genetics XD

    I notice Aryn was quite powerful, as well. I wonder if she was naturally that way, or was it her anger? Probably a bit of both. Also, I guess she would be one of the Lost Twenty?

    Either way, enjoyed the novel quite a bit. A little lighter on character than I would have liked, but some very fluid action scenes. 8.5 out of 10.
  23. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 111.2/14 = 7.94
  24. Shepherd492 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2011
    star 1
    I'll go ahead and add my review too.

    6.7 out of 10
  25. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 117.9/15 = 7.86