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

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Here it is, our first novel in the era of The Old Republic -- Fatal Alliance!

    Some rules: rate Fatal Alliance 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, by Drew Karpyshyn
    [link=http://boards.the
  2. YodaKenobi VIP

    VIP
    Member Since:
    May 27, 2003
    star 6
    My TF.N Review is here, as is Adrick's.

    7.5/10
  3. GrandMasterKatarn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    Fatal Alliance is about a group of character consisting of Jedi, Sith, Republic, and Mandalorian chasing after a mysterious ship. They find the ship, held by the Hutts. It leads them to a backwater planet no one has ever heard of and they find their prize. But the truth about the prize is that it is dangerous and deadly. And in the end, Sith and Jedi must do something they?ve never done before, something that all the agents of good and evil could never make them do: join together to stop a powerful threat that could destroy the galaxy.

    That's the summary anyway.

    Just a few things I wanted to share about this novel.

    Satele Shan has got to be the biggest joke of a Grand Master. I'm sorry, but I just can't wrap my head around that fact that a Shan is a Grand Master. Now, I have nothing against women or women in power. I don't even have a thing against a female Grand Master. It's just that Satele Shan reads like a bad YJK joke. She makes Allston's juvenille humor appear likable to me. Her action and lines of dialogue read like a chore, a very grating chore. She's boring and I just can't take her seriously. - 1/4

    HUTTA! Okay stop the presses. Did Sean Williams mean NAL HUTTA? Cos if he did, he really messed up on that name. Back in the KOTOR gmaes, it was always called and has always been called NAL Hutta. Did Williams even do any research or just half-@$$ed it like he did TFU? - 1/2

    The Sith Council???? How come this screams PREQUEL TRILOGY JEDI COUNCIL? Cos it is, that's why. The Masters are just darker, but their means of forming a council and running the Sith are just the same way the Jedi run the order. Pass the trials and you become a Knight. I expected more from the Sith and better from Williams. - 1

    The cast. Talk about cardboard cutouts! I found it difficult to follow their story lines and harder to car about them. Not a single one of them had anything special about them. None of them change over the course of the novel. They're still the same, except one's dead, two are now knights (one Sith, the other Jedi). - 1

    Plot... can someone tell me or point it out to me where it is? KJA, AA, TD, KT, CG, and even The Sith Lords all had plot, crappy though they were/are. At least they had PLOT! - 6

    And really, Sean, there are TWO suns in the Tatoo system. It's called a binary system for a reason. The system does not have one sun, but two. - 1/4

    1/10 not enjoyable in the slightest.
  4. Likewater Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    So you actually have very little to complain about the book.

    Cause Hutta is what they call Nal Hutta in the game.
    http://www.swtor.com/info/holonet/planets/hutta

    Its a mechanic of the TOR, and this is a "The Old Republic" novel.

    The "Dark Council" is also a Mechanic of the TOR universe. If you have a vast organization it helps to have a Buracracy in place to manage it. the "Dark Council" is not a Williams creation its a function of the game. Like the Earthen Ring or Cenerion Circle in WOW.

    and I am only up to chapter 20. But yeah Tantooien has 2 suns, is it relivant to the plot?
    So far I seriously doubt it. I can't post my review yet as I have not finished. but so far it is absent of all the "Straw Men" and "Point Making" and hamfisted attempts to rewrite continuity that have plagued LOTF and some of FOTJ.

    so far that puts them above most for me right now.
  5. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 8.5/2 = 4.25
  6. jedimasterED Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 4
    This book has it all (but that's not necessarily a good thing)! It does a decent job of establishing the environment in which MMORPGers will be hacking and slashing their way about. I personally don't feel a great deal of affinity for the environment myself, but that's not Mr. Williams' fault. The whole situation feels forced, what with the [ahem! Sith] Empire, the Republic, the Mandalorians, and the Hutts, all in some sort of tenuous balance. It makes sense for the mechanics of the game and I can kind of come to terms with it in the context of the GFFA, but it's a dense field.

    But, as I said, this book has it all: Jedi, Sith, Mandos, Hutts, troopers, smugglers, politicians, double agents, spooks... and that's just the cast. The plot has a MacGuffin (or two), deus ex machina, out there Sci-Fi adventuring, FPS scenes, spy games, sexual tension, humor, and more. Given the crazy "everyone's in play" nature of the setting, it's just a little much.

    Now, Mr. Williams tells a pretty good story in all of this, though. It wasn't the greatest SW book ever, but it wasn't the worst. I think he had a pretty good handle on the Jedi Apprentice Konshi (I hate his first name, though) and I liked his arc. Everyone else was somewhat one-dimensional (or at least 2-D flat with "Now in 3-D!" painted on). And expect that every one of the major characters has an NPC role in the game (since they're all pretty much unresolved and out there for players to interact with).

    My biggest beef with the book is the execution. In the first 100 pages or so, "baroque" is used three times to describe complex things; once would have been too much. Use the word "complex" or "intricate" or... anything else. It was like all of the French in Dark Rendezvous, it pulled me out of the story. Also, while some folks might use "brief" to stand in for "mandate" or "charge" or "jurisdiction", most people just use one of those three instead. Luckily, it was never used in the plural, or I'd have had a great laugh. Then there's the ol' "greasing of the path" mixed metaphor. You "clear the path" or you "grease the rails" to make something easier, but "greasing the path" just makes it more treacherous/slippery. The writing wasn't stellar and had little gaffes here and there but I'm not sure how much of that is because Mr. Williams is Australian and I'm not.

    In the end, I give the book a passing grade for being a pretty good story with okay characters. As others have said, it's not as bad as other video game tie-ins and it's certainly better than Mr. William's effort with The Force Unleashed.

    7.5 out of 10
  7. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 16/3 = 5.33
  8. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance

    It's better than Ruins of Dantooine.

    I think this is where being a World of Warcraft fan has seriously shot me in the foot. Everything in the MMORPG feels rather startingly unnervingly familiar. Satele Shan eeriely reminded me of Jaina Proudmoore.

    That's not necessarily a bad thing, except she reminded me of Jaina Proudmoore even more I started making comparisons between the book and WOW. She's a young, proud, female, magic-using Faction Leader who is doing her absolute best to be cheery and happy in an environment of near total desolation. She's also very hands on but not so much that it distracts from the main characters of the book. I'm already ready for people to start shipping her with Thrall, Kel'thas, and Arthas, or their PCs.

    Aside from this, I think the book has a rather monumental job of trying to introduce us to the reality of the Old Republic. There's a lot of discord between a lot of the writing and the setting, sadly. Our brief glimpses of the Sith Empire pretty much depict it as Mordor. The Sith Council and the Sith are just as evil as they've always been, though they're not particularly memorable. Theyr'e the same evil psychotic freaks we've always known them to be. I'm glad of this. I would hate for the Sith to be treated as anything other than the Satanic villains they've always been.

    It's just that almost every other character falls over themselves talking about how the "Empire" has the same moral authority as the Republic. Given the Empire steals babies, is ruled by psychopaths, has an immortal God-King, and seems to be a police state; I'm not sure what the Hell anyone is talking about. It seems pretty clear that the Empire is a bad place and the people who rule it are bad. Yet, at least one non-insane character thinks that the Empire is a superior group to the Empire.

    Likewise, the Jedi Knights and Sith get confused. A lot. No one seems to be able to tell the difference between Jedi and Sith. That's almost understandable when you're dealing with the Jedi Civil and Jacen Solo. They were, after all, ex-Jedi. However, this conflicts has been going on decades and the Jedi Knights are shining beacons of heroism while the Sith are treated as monstrous creatures straight from the Inferno. Are people in the galaxy just terminally stupid?

    Then there's the issue of the Tech level. I accept that the Old Republic is just as advanced as the Star Wars Prequel Era. There's a thousand year Dark Age ticked off by Darth Ruin, so I have no problem with technology regressing. However, the droids in the book are nanotechnological machines far and beyond what ANYTHING has been described as possible in the Star Wars universe. Seriously, a rogue not-particularly described as brilliant Sith droid maker creates a weapon that can conquer the galaxy in ten years. This isn't even some leftover Celestial technology, she just does it with some buddies. It strains credibility.

    Everyone goes through some decent character development. Some people die, some people fall in love (not the ones you might necessarily want to), and threats are dealt with. Frustratingly, the status quo is maintained at the end of the book with a stalemate maintained. The Sith lose something precious to them and the Republic loses some ships. That's a theme of this book though, everything is ridiculously balanced and it's driving people up the wall.

    Still, overall, I appreciate a MEATY book and this book is meaty. The Sith are evil, the Jedi are good. The Hutts are gangsters. There's interesting characters, albeit not mind blowing, and I was entertained throughout the entirety of the book. So I have no complaints about this book and I got more than my money's worth out of it.

    I'd like to see more stuff in the era.

    7/10
  9. Likewater Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I have just finished Star Wars, ?The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance?.

    Right off the bat I give it an 8 out of 10 even though I don?t consider it a ?Must read?.

    Let us be truthful , this is a tie in to the new MMORPG, and it is not bashful about it. The mechanics of the game hold true for the Mechanics of the book. Dark Council, Hutta and not ?Nal Hutta? Yes an Dao Stryver looks into the tantooien sky and wishes someone luck while staring at its sun.

    Hellfire and damnation so unforgivable (Sarcasm)

    There are six ?main? characters, each reflect the six classes, even though it?s not apparently reflected in their titles. But the characters are all nuanced in one way or another.

    Eldon Ax, is the sith Apprentice. And she is bad news, But she also grows the most, far more drastically than her Jedi counterpart in Shigar Konshi . Her relationship with her master is Abusive but the way it is abusive and how that abuse parallels with what her relationship with her mother might have been, makes it more than the standard Master-Apprentice relationship.

    There is a scene in the book where she wonders if ?Darth Chratis? is her father (We never enter his perspective, or Satele Shan?s) but there is a twisted realization that if he was it would make no difference.
    Because his twisted abusive possessiveness of her, he might as well be.

    This book dose more for the sith than it does for the Jedi I feel. Going into Eldon?s mindset, and character path, It is enlightening .
    Her interaction with Konshi is as well, Especially when she treats his apparent disgust with her sith mentality like a high school girl treats a compliment from a boy she happens to like.

    The POV Characters play of each other well.

    Shigar Konshi (Force using /Republic)[Jedi knight class]

    Larin Moxla (Non force using/ Republic) [Republic trooper class]

    Eldon Ax (Force using/ Empire) [Sith Warrior class]

    Ula Vii (non force using/ Empire) [Imperial Agent class] or close to it

    Dao Stryver ( Neutral/ semi evil) [Bounty Hunter]

    Jet Nebula (neutral/ semi good) [Smuggler]

    And the 2 master representing Jedi Consular and Sith Inquisitor respectfully, but as stated before we never see their pov.

    ? As stated before this book does a lot for the sith. Especially after the Fiasco of Darth Ceadus and the relatively unremarkable Kerishi Sith. You get the feeling that Darth Chratis alone would send ?Evil? jacen running back to Leia?s bosom , and scare the Kereshi all the way back to their home world.

    ? Both he and Ax come off as such unremitting badasses it is rather refreshing, evil and ambitious without stupidity, being arrogant without being moronic. If they are holding the Idiot ball, I don?t see it.


    This book, I don?t feel it is a ?Must Have?, It?s not Traitor, or Crosscurrent that just surprises the hell out of you. It?s not a Lynchpin like Star By Star, or an Exploration of an less deep telling like ?Revenge of the Sith.?


    But the entertainment value is high, the ?Antagonists? don?t act like they set out to loose, Characters behave with common sense. Frankly I would recommend this book over all of Legacy of the force? and ?Fate of the Jedi?


    8 out of 10.
  10. JediDingo Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2005
    star 3
    My review is a little short, but thats okay.

    At first, I wasn't so sure about it. The action between Dao, Larin, and Shigar seemed...awkward and out of place. I also found it really hard for some reason to picture just about anything, but I think once I play that game that will change. While I am familiar with some of whats going on in the Old Republic era, I was still feeling a little confused about what was going on and such. Perhaps a good explanation of the events that have transpired since Kotor would have made it a little better. Besides those things though, I started to really enjoy the book once it got rolling. I did not think these characters were cardboard cutouts as one reviewer but it, but found them interesting - especially Jet and his droid. I thought the conflict Ula had all the way through it was very enjoyable and seeing a Padawan come to turns with what the galaxy really looked like was good to see. I wasn't a huge fan of how it ended, with the characters explaining to their various superiors what took place after the shuttle took off but I didn't feel that it took too much away. All in all, I enjoyed it. Granted, it's no work of Stover but it was a fun read. I'm looking forward to Kemp's novel, which I think that they should be doing more instead of this style of novel until it comes out - novels that step up the galaxy after Kotor and until the events of the Old Republic.

    I give it a 7 out of 10
  11. Nobody145 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2007
    star 4
    Hm, it was an ok book, definite a step-up from the TFU novelization at least, but maybe this time the author had more freedom to write original stuff.

    The characters were all ok, nobody was really outstanding or memorable, but at least the Jedi Padawan wasn't laden with too much angst or arrogance, although given he was Satele Shan's apprentice, he had better be well trained. Most of the main characters just fall into certain classes, Shigar was the Jedi, Larin was the trooper, the Mando bounty hunter, the Sith, the smuggler, etc. The smuggler was good, at first his name sounds really unoriginal, but given how smart he is, that's probably intentional, though he seemed a bit too smart. As the smuggler he's based on Han Solo, but Han is rarely allowed to be this cool and accomplish this much in his own time period. Kind of reminds me of Dash Rendar from Shadows of the Empire actually, with his own junk-looking but overpowered ship and loyal droid.

    The glimpse into the world of TOR is interesting, with the Cold War state. I can understand how just about any clash between the Republic and the Empire could lead to something bigger, but as this is just a tie-in, nothing really changes. One random Darth is killed, and Darth Howl seems like an interesting Darth, but they're all just evil, mwa-ha-ha, with nothing connected to the overarching storyline of TOR, what the Sith Emperor is up to. Several annoyances, like how certain scenes could be moved to the OT era without changing a word, with all the talk of Imperials, but that's Bioware fault, not the author's. Although with the stalemate, its kind of boring, but oh well, there's only so far a tie-in can go.

    The fight scenes were kind of clunky at first, but the Jedi vs. Sith vs. Mando fight was when the book got better. Its nice to see a Mandolorian fight a Sith for once, almost every other time they're always fighting Jedi, and are often being used by the Sith, though it kind of clashes with the Mandalore bio I read on the TOR site, but its just nice to see a Mando beat up a Sith for once. Although it might just be me, but the writer sometimes uses too many metaphors, and it just feels... awkward or clumsy, but the writing and events aren't too annoying at least. Although the final battle was a bit too big, with the characters scattered all around, and so much going on.

    The droids were at first interesting enemies, but they also seem way overpowered for Star Wars. Self-regenerating, highly adaptive, self-reproducing (somewhat) nanotechnology? The only time I ever saw something close to this was in Clone Wars Adventures which is supposed to be a bit out of continuity with the rest of the EU. Not to mention some random droid maker came up with them alone, and then there was the creepy mother/blood thing. Hope that doesn't show up in the game, but then, KotOR had the Rakghouls originally, so who knows. And they were dangerous enough to warrant a temporary alliance.

    The Sith at least are quite evil, even if Chratis was kind of dumb for a Darth. Ula was delusional, as its not his Empire, its the Sith's empire, he just works for them. The author always seemed to try to write him as a sympathetic character, but... he's a spy, so not sure I see the point, not to mention all his whining until he realizes how cushy his spy job was, then he was whining to go back to Coruscant most of the time.

    Satele was at least a good Grandmaster, wise, powerful, and still working mostly well with the Republic despite the tension, although a POV from her view could've helped, but that kind of fit with the whole gameplay feel, in that she's the NPC, who gives out missions/quests, not a player-character. Wouldn't have minded seeing what Tython looks like, but that'll probably be left to the game. Kind of glad the Shigar/Larin romance didn't take off, I'm kind of tired of Jedi having romances when they're forbidden to, which leads to secret meetings, longing looks, etc., etc., and they just chalked it up to battle stress. Not sure if Shigar's militant stance at the end was good o
  12. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 45/7 = 6.43
  13. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Well it isn't Shadows of the Empire in terms of game tie-ins but Fatal Alliance had a lot going for it. I liked William's plot construction. It wasn't overly confusing yet it was lengthy. It didn't read like translated game play. The characters were more interesting than I thought they'd be. I guess it did a fairly good job of introducing that world. It had a fast pace and kept moving.

    The Hexes were interesting. Not really Star Warsy. Not really plausable in the GFFA almost 4000 years before Luke and the gang yet against the Enterprise this would have been utterly credible. But I don't mind more far out sci fi in Star Wars. Sith and Jedi get tiresome. See FOTJ.

    One thing. Why in Tatooine's one sun is Laren interested in Uli?! So he grows into not only a decent guy from a rat but he might be a hero? Yeah, I hated him. I mean really. He's a rat.

    Williams really makes a point of telling us that the Republic and the Empire are not all that different. I thought the whole point is that they are. They are very different. Also, how jaded and worn down can the Jedi Order be after 10 years of the crap from the Empire? It's only 10 years. What would they be like in the New Sith Wars if they're burnt out here?

    A fairly long book yet I wasn't dying for it to just end already. 7.5
  14. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 52.5/8 = 6.56
  15. Jedi Vince Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 2, 1999
    star 3
    Besides Death Troopers, this is the worst Star Wars book I've ever read.

    The prose lumbered, the plot meandered, the characterization was non-existent, and the concept was awful. I struggled to finish this, and I've enjoyed Sean Williams' previous works.

    1/10
  16. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 53.5/9 = 5.94
  17. Dougie_Five Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2003
    star 1
    I had to hunt to find this review thread- not many people reading it then?

    Anyway, I just finished reading this today, and I really enjoyed it. After the linear monotony of TFU I had low expectations for this, but I'm happy to see that Sean Williams is (in my opinion) capable of writing good Star Wars when left to his own devices.

    The book had to paint a brand new era of Star Wars to a relatively ignorant reader and I think he pulled off familiar-yet-different very well. Exploring the motivations of the protagonists - their personal conflicts and the fact that all the characters had their worldviews shifted - not unbelievably far, but just enough - as a result of their interaction with those who would normally be their enemy.

    I give this book 8 out of 10, and look forward eagerly to the game.
  18. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 61.5/10 = 6.15
  19. King_of_Red_Lions Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2003
    star 3
    This game novelization was leaps and bounds better than Williams's The Force Unleashed.

    The page count was satisfying and I enjoy the Old Republic era. I enjoyed reading this one more than I did the first two FOTJ novels.

    I don't believe the one sun reference at the end of the novel is a mistake. Just because there are two suns in the sky, doesn't mean that someone looking at the sky has to look at both of them, right?

    7/10.

  20. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 68.5/11 = 6.23
  21. GoA Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2007
    star 2
    While certainly not a bad novel, I didn't find it very interesting. I actually found myself struggling through a lot of it. None of the characters really stood out as interesting to me, and the main story was ... decent, but not exactly overly enjoyable. A decent change of pace in an era I find myself interested in, but not a novel I'll ever see myself reading a second time.

    Usually I go into more detail than this, but that's usually because there's something good or bad worth noting about the book. In this case, the book neither had any memorable good moments, but also didn't have any bad moments that made me want to rant about them. Instead, I'll just skip ahead to the score.

    6.5 out of 10
  22. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 75/12 = 6.25
  23. vong333 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2003
    star 4
    I'm going out on a limb but I'm giving this book a 10 out of 10. The reason for this is beacuase the book had everything that we could possibly see in the MMO, plus, the story was self contained, exciting, and investive. It's a bit clone warish, but the menace was real and the threat refreshing. Something different than the usual sith vs jedi, these droids given time can do extreme damage. Not even all of the clone war battle droids ever come across that menacing. It was also good to see that Satale is in the MMO.

    Overall, this was the best video gmae novel for star wars, and makes me want more both the MMO and next two novels in the cycle.

    10 out of 10
  24. Zebra3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2004
    star 5
    Sorta boring. There seemed to be a lot of waiting around for stuff to happen.

    Didn't love it. Didn't hate it. It was mostly just... meh.

    7/10
  25. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 92/14 = 6.57