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

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

  1. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    The Old Republic: Revan is here to tell you about everyone's favorite videogame protagonist that isn't Kyle Katarn!

    Some rules: rate Revan 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:

    [link=]Republic Commando: Hard Contact, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]The Cestus Deception, by Steven Barnes[/link]
    [link=]Medstar I: Battle Surgeons, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry[/link]
    [link=]Medstar II: Jedi Healer, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry[/link]
    [link=]Jedi Trial, by David Sherman and Dan Cragg[/link]
    [link=]Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, by Sean Stewart[/link]
    [link=]Labyrinth of Evil, by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine, by Veronica Whitney-Robinson[/link]
    [link=]Tatooine Ghost, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Survivor's Quest, by Timothy Zahn[/link]
    [link=]Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Traitor, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]Destiny's Way, by Walter Jon Williams[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic I: Remnant, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic II: Refugee, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic III: Reunion, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]The Final Prophecy, by Greg Keyes[/link]
    [link=]The Unifying Force, by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest III: The Swarm War, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Outbound Flight, by Timothy Zahn[/link]
    [link=]Republic Commando: Triple Zero, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Legacy of the Force: Betrayal, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, by Drew Karpyshyn[/
  2. jmf4

    jmf4 Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 20, 2008
    I felt like Drew was just going through the motions with this one. It wasn't bad, but it was a bit of a disappointment considering how much potential a book with Revan and the Exile has. I felt like we didn't get much characterization for either Revan or the Exile which in some ways is understandable, since they each have their own game, but disappointing because they seem more generic rather than having the personality you played them as having. Scourge was an interesting character but I think most people would've rather had more Revan, the Exlie or even Bastila story content.
    Overall, this book would've probably been well (or at least better) recieved if it had been about characters other than Revan and the Exile. Instead, we have a fairly good story that falls far short of the treatment we might expect concerning its main characters.

  3. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    My Star Wars: Revan review

    I'm underwhelmed.

    I'm sorry, but I am.

    I like Drew Karpyshyn, I really do. I enjoyed the Darth Bane trilogy. They were a set of novels which managed to make a purely evil protagonist interesting to read about. I also enjoyed his Mass Effect novels (with the exception of Retribution). They were entertaining fluff that nicely expanded on several points of the ME universe. Plus, I absolutely love the story in every one of the video games he's worked on.

    Star Wars: Revan, however, doesn't do anything for me.

    For the uninitiated, the book is a quasi-sequel to the video game Knights of the Old Republic. I've mentioned before I think it's the greatest video game of all time and any sequel was probably destined to disappoint. I'm also one of the vocal minority that thinks Knights of the Old Republic 2 had its strong points (the Exile, the Sith Triumvarite, Handmaiden) but wasn't in the same league.

    The premise for the book is dealing with the biggest "left-hanging" element of KOTOR2. Revan and the Exile have gone into the Unknown Regions, seeking the Sith Empire. What sort of adventures did they have there? What sort of epic deeds did these two legendary heroes do? What was their ultimate fate, knowing the Sith Empire eventually invades the Galactic Republic?

    Yeah, we get the answer to that here and it's "nothing too impressive."

    I won't get into spoilers but the book pretty much defines Revan and the Exile's quest as a small-scale adventure that ends on a Downer Ending. Despite Revan and the Exile previously having been treated as epic champions of the Force, they are treated as fairly typical Jedi Masters. When compared with the Sith Emperor, both of them together are a fairly minor threat. Given the Exile defeated Darth Nihilus, a being capable of devouring whole worlds, this rings false.

    I'm not one of the guys who feels that Revan and the Exile have to be invincible Gary Stus. I think some of fans requests for Revan, like him being to be the one to defeat the Sith Emperor, are ridiculous. Still, Revan was one of the great Expanded Universe characters. The backstory given him was quite epic and a lot of fans had a vested interest in him. Would you have Luke Skywalker causally tossed around by a new villain so he could go train a new hero to defeat him?

    No, because that's disrespectful to the character. Plus, we already had that plot with Obi Wan Kenobi.

    It's a foregone conclusion the Sith Emperor will survive Revan and the Exile's plan and so will the Sith Empire. I don't mind this, personally, but I was hoping for something a bit better planned out than what we got in the book. It's hard to tell that Revan and the Exile were military geniuses, mostly because they act like typical PCs and their actions don't really require much thought.

    Speaking of the Sith Emperor, I was disappointed with him as well. We get the Sith Emperor's origins in this book and they pretty much amount to: "The Sith Emperor was the single baddest ************ ever born. He was an evil monster before he could crawl and he's the single nastiest guy you will ever face." Seriously, Damien Thorn has less of an apocolyptic origin. It's saved, somewhat, by the fact that it's told in the form of a legend and probably isn't completely true. Still, I was hoping for something slightly more original from Darth Bane's developer.

    The Sith, overall, are a big disappointment in these books. One of the things I liked about the Darth Bane trilogy is, while Dessel was a sociopath, you could understand his reasoning. He'd been kicked around from the day he was born and, one day, he decided to kick back. Here, the Sith are far more one-dimensional with Darth Scourge being someone who reminds me a bit of Darth Sion. He doesn't really have any motivations but power and is about as one-note evil as possible.

    He was so bad, I actually didn't buy his supposed revulsion at one of the Sith Emperor's experiments. The guy portrayed in this book would have enjoyed the power which came from destroying a world and ignored the consequences. Giv
    DurararaFTW likes this.
  4. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 22, 2010
    Revan is a tricky one for me. I've said before that KOTOR was my first exposure to the EU, and frankly, did more for me than the movies did in terms of getting me into the universe. So, obviously, on some level I'm attached to the characters.

    Revan is about what you can expect from a Karpyshyn novel; very visual, very straight forward, very fast. At this point, this really works well, in others, not as much. Probably because of his experience in writing screenplay's, I've always found that reading a Karpyshyn book is like watching an action movie. The events are presented to you, and you fill in the blanks yourself. You do get a good bit of what Revan and Scourge are thinking, but these characters speak mostly through their actions.

    I found my early worries about the novel to be unfounded. Very few things, if any, are retconned from KOTOR II. Left off-screen, sure, but I actually prefer that effort that Karpyshyn put into making everything fit. I was also originally worried that Revan would be characterized as a paragon of the light side. As evidence by his conversation with Atris (nice cameo, by the way), he's a nice guy, but not above picking some "dark side" conversation options :)

    Revan himself was a personal joy to read about. I greatly enjoyed seeing him on a last adventure with Canderous, and getting a look at the Mandalorians. I absolutely loved that it showed Canderous find the mask, offering a very nice tie-in to KOTOR II. I love the implications of Revan outright taking advantage of a Mandalorian tradition; hiding the mask on a deserted world is genius in its own way. Seeing Revan fight a basilisk war droid is definitely a fanboy pleaser as well. I'm also keen on the idea of Revan being adept with blocking lightning with his bare hands. Unless I've mistaken, the only other Star Wars character to really show skill in that area is Yoda, someone who had obviously at some point dabbled in the dark side. Revan himself probably made great use of Force lightning, to it makes sense to me that he could block it quite well. The way he handled Nyriss was certainly unique among Sith Lord deaths.

    I didn't have much of a problem with The Exile, or Meetra Surik. She was definitely shown as capable, and I enjoyed the fact that her reaction to Nathema than anyone else; she's the one that knows what it's like to be cut off from the Force. I can only imagine that feeling a whole planet would be much worse. Obviously her losing so Nyriss is a source of contention, and I'd be lying if I said I enjoyed it. I suppose that you could say that Meetra had some form of help with the three major Sith Lords she killed; with Nihilus, she used her "bond" with him to her advantage, and also had Visas hurting him through her bond; with Sion, though she arguably killed him many times, she eventually convinced him to let himself die; and Traya, who was powerful enough to single-handedly destroy the Jedi Council, and also defeat Meetra's entire party by herself, she either had or previously had a very powerful bond with her, that for once may have helped her rather than hindered her. A point is made that Nyriss is the most experienced of the Dark Council, and while I'd be hesitant to put her above Traya, she may be in the same league.

    On the name Meetra Surik; I don't outright dislike it like many, but it is a name that really just didn't click with me. It has gotten better, though, and now on future playthroughs of KOTOR II I'll be able to give her the correct name [face_laugh]. I actually wish we would have gotten Revan's last name, or even his "previous" name, the one the Jedi Council gave him. For my own personal benefit, I will pretend that brainwashed Revan's name was "Vaner"... of course, that makes the Jedi Council look rather uncreative, but it's not like that conflicts with anything.

    Ah, and that other guy... Scourge? Yeah, him. I can't say I disliked his sections of the books. Sure, I may have been mentally shouting "get back to Revan", but the part of me that isn't a
  5. Shepherd492

    Shepherd492 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Apr 2, 2011
    My review [link=]here.[/link]

  6. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    Charles' review pretty much sums up a lot of the problems and strengths of the book. I have my issues with the book which I have written about in both Revan threads. All I can say is that this book only partially satiates my hunger to know about Revan. And it glosses over other huge events which...was...just...weird.

    Vitiate is a cool concept though. Other than that...meh...

    In fact this book was so mediocre that I can barely finish attempting to review it. If one could call this a review.

  7. AlyxDinas

    AlyxDinas Jedi Knight star 4

    Jul 12, 2010
    I have to say that giving this book a score is something of a tricky enterprise. To be blunt, I think there's plenty of good here. Or rather, I think there are a lot of good ideas here that don't fully live up to their promise. And I think that, overall, while the experience is enjoyable, it is weakened by some of Karpyshan's more obvious flaws as a writer. I definitely think that this is Karpyshan's best work since PoD, but then again I'd be lying to suggest that the book lacks many of the same issues that the Bane series has.

    I guess I will focus on the things I enjoy first. First I think it must be said that for all of the weaknesses, the novel reads well. It is brisk and maintains a fast, exciting pace which I think it to its benefit. I also think that Karpyshan does a fairly good job with Revan and the Exile in terms of characterization. For the most part, anyway. We get some hint of a more human Revan (at least in the first half of the novel) and Meetra comes across as a generally self assured and charismatic individual too. The last protagonist, Scourge might be the weakest in execution but I must say that the core ideas behind the character are interesting. The issue really comes in the fact that Karpyshan rushes over developing them.

    I also think that, despite the more alarmist claims before the book came out, Drew does a fair job of leaving KOTOR II intact. I admit, this was a worry going into things for me since TSL is the pinnacle of EU fiction in my estimation but I think that Karpyshan's generally respectful of the material. And when it comes to his own characters, he excels even more. The highlight of the book might be the Mandalorian subplot with Canderous, actually. In all, I think that the book plays with canon fairly well, with only a few missteps. And considering the potential for massive stumbles, that's noteworthy.

    Lastly, I think that Vitiate is a very interesting villain, conceptually. Some readers might balk at his apparent strength and the breadth of his abilities but one of the nice things about the novel is that it presents Vitiate as powerful, to be sure, but also paints his background as interesting while also leaving room for the reader to back away from some of the more overstated aspects. Mostly because the more "Oooooh! He's evil!" information comes in the form of secondhand hearsay and legend anyway. And because our protagonist could have legitimately defeated him.

    And in terms of scale, although the story is not quite what I expected, it is helped by Karpyshan's flair for the dramatic.

    Unfortunately, it also suffers from Karpyshan's bombastic style as much as it is aided by it. There is a pervasive lack of subtlety throughout and plenty of the more interesting aspects of the novel are either glossed over far too quickly or dropped entirely in favor of less interesting tangents. It feels like the book is missing a few more developmental chapters, really, as many things are just not given the time they really need to breath. There's a lot of wasted potential here and it is wasted in favor of the fairly simple minded and direct "ACTION!" that your would expect. Sophomoric depictions of Force powers, half finished characterization, roundabout and fairly shoehorned looks at things like Force visions that could have been effective if properly examined, subplots that feel incomplete, unimportant action scenes that drag on while climatic moments are wrapped up in a matter of sentences.

    Bottom line: for all the excitement and entertainment, for all of the interesting concepts, the novel lacks the certain polish that could have made it truly great instead of just good. Open minded readers will find a fun story but people going in with heavy expectations are certain to be let down.

    It definitely isn't the worst of the TOR novels but Kemp's Decieved still stands far above it, exhibiting the tautness that this work could have benefited from. In all: Good but not great, with as many letdowns as interesting ideas.

  8. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 36.5/6 = 6.08
  9. Nobody145

    Nobody145 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Feb 9, 2007
    Hm, Revan turned out better than I had feared, but its still not that great of a novel. Its still better than a lot of the other SW novels I've read in the last year, but still. I wasn't expecting much from this author as I haven't liked what I've heard about the Bane novels (just reading what happens in them on Wookieepedia is depressing), and his ME novels were passable, but nothing too memorable. This novel does bridge some of the gap between KotOR I/II and TOR and shows what happens to Revan and the Exile, but... its not as epic as I had hoped. I haven't played KotOR II yet, but still I was expecting a lot more to have happened than what we got.

    The writing was decent, but Revan's personality was still a bit on the bland side. It is hard to write a definitive character for a player character that had a lot of options, but Revan was definitely a lightside person in this book, with some sarcastic lines thrown in, and some guilt over his past actions, even though his memory still isn't all back. It was nice that it was Bastilla and their child that was motivating him through the whole book, through his years of imprisonment and then even at the end too. Not entirely sure I like them changing Revan's story to this, about him and Malak just being corrupted by the Sith Emperor, but oh well, that's just the effect TOR has on the whole Old Republic era.

    Bastilla was kind of wasted too. She's never been the greatest character, even back in KotOR, but still its hard to tell what she's doing while Revan goes off to save the galaxy. She's not an active Jedi, then she's pregnant then after that she's just waiting for Revan to come home? Not exactly a good portrayal. Or rather, it might've been nice to see a bit more of the post-KotOR Republic (a Republic that would eventually collapse into the state we see in KotOR II) or post-KotOR II Republic. I know the book's title is Revan, but still. Canderous was fine, as well as the Mando part with them hunting for Mandalore's Mask, although I kind of miss how simple the explanation for the Mandalorian Wars was in KotOR (Sith went to the Mandos with an idea), now its all manipulations and so on. Too bad no one else from KotOR aside from T3 joined them, Carth isn't even mentioned and everyone else is just off-screen (HK-47 is mentioned several times but nothing comes of it, although that might be because it'll be expanded on in TOR).

    I like the name Nathema for a planet and the Sith Emperor's backstory was slightly interesting, although a bit generic (super-powerful monster, drained the energy of an entire planet, leaving that place an abomination), although it kind of hurts that KotOR II already did quite a bit with that idea (Sion, Nihlus, Malachor V, etc.). Scourge was an ok character to follow, at least he didn't just betray the other two out of self-interest but partially due to a vision, although it was probably still a wrong choice. And not sure if they're really trying to retcon Dromund Kaas as the Sith homeworld (when, you know, almost every other source for the last few decades has confirmed Korriban as the homeworld, including the Return cinematic trailer), or if it was just the Sith Emperor's propaganda (rewriting history to make himself look better and all that), but if it was propaganda, there wasn't any explanation and it seemed pointless, so not sure why bother presenting Dromund Kaas like that. Too bad the Dark Council Sith were kind of generic, its kind of funny when I think the Exile is looking at the files and realizes that Scourge is just tired of waiting for the Dark Council to stop backstabbing each other and actually move against the Sith Emperor.

    The Exile was ok, although she seemed underpowered when she couldn't defeat a Dark Council member, even with Scourge, then Revan just walks in with his mask back on and wins. The name is... ok, guess they had to give her a name eventually, just like how it seems Revan is literally Revan's name. The KotOR comics danced around the issue of Revan and Malak's names in a much more clever fashion. She see
  10. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 42.5/7 = 6.07
  11. DarthRevan211

    DarthRevan211 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Feb 17, 2008
    Taken from the original spoiler thread. Sorry for the haphazard nature of this review:

    Overall, I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. Initial spoilers had me pretty wary, but that was mostly the TOR beta's fault (I still find that stuff despicable). The leaked page of the Exile's death was so much better in context but still quite upsetting. It played out kind of like how if this were KOTOR III and the PC (Scourge) just chose the dark side ending. Not exactly bad, but definitely something that makes you just feel let down somehow.

    - I liked how Scourge's vision is hyped up. This is something that the early spoilers couldn't really relate for some reason. It's not so simple as Scourge backstabs the Exile because he's a jerk, but rather that the concept of these visions is incredibly intriguing to him as a Sith who can not feel the Force in this way and he becomes almost obsessed with this. Finally, at the end, he receives a true vision and he chooses to act on it. It felt much more believable taking the story as a whole.

    - Bastila's characterization felt a bid odd at times. Also, I have no idea where she kept Revan's mask all this time that he never stumbled upon it. "Honey have you seen my car keys?" "No sweetie." "Well, what's in this dra- :eek: " And why'd she hide it anyway? She comes off as very immature and selfish at times, though I guess this is in line with some bits of her KOTOR characterization.

    - On the two-page long shout out to all of the KOTOR party members, Carth is never mentioned. This bothered me big time. As the game's second most important crew member, I felt he should have made a cameo, nevermind a name drop of some sort.

    - Drew really missed a great opportunity to utilize Kreia in this book. I fear we'll never see her character again and it would have been perfect to have Revan meet with his old master one last time. Perhaps in the earlier section of the book before she becomes Traya (which would also make the Exile's passages about her flow better).

    - This here also became very annoying: "I am Meetra Surik!" "I am Revan reborn!" "I am Darth Nyriss!" "I am Lord Scourge!" Yes, we know who you are. Every single statement like this came off as an incredibly weak attempt to make the moment sound more epic and eventful. Especially the Exile's.

    - T3 we hardly knew ye. Sad to see him go. Though I have to say that Drew did a great job making him the likable R2-like droid seen in TSL rather than the dullard from KOTOR. He was incredibly useful throughout, slicing various terminals, taking out at least one guard, and even scorching the Emperor. Impressive.

    - Canderous's scenes were well done. I felt like he was the most in-line with his KOTOR persona out of all of the characters.

    - Vaner. Avner. :p Silly names, but good to see at least Bastila get a happy ending with her child and grandchildren. Revan with his holovid and eventually his efforts to reach out to his wife was quite moving, in a bittersweet but powerful ending.

    - The writing was the typical Drew K action-fest, like what's found in the Bane trilogy. Thankfully, I like it. I feel his books are "popcorn novels" if there ever was such a thing. Quick, easy, and overall very enjoyable to read.

  12. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 51/8 = 6.38
  13. Stymi

    Stymi Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 10, 2002
    I was underwhelmed. I really thought a Revan book by Drew K. would be a win. But despite that I liked the Bane Trilogy A LOT, I noticed with the second book in the series, that Drew has some limitations as a writer, and I think those came out in this book.

    For a book about Revan, I feel I did not come to know him very well at all (compare this to the awesomeness of the first Bane book--we really come to know, care about, and root for someone who is not a really good person). This was just a series of almost unmemorable incidents.

    Scourge came across as incredibly thick the whole book. He was entertaining, but come one already. And the whole rationale for him turning on the Emperor seemed week: the Emperor is TOO evil, even for a Sith (and how many times was the word "unnatural" used in this book--it reminded me of Vizzini from The Princess Bride:


    The search for Manadalore's mask was also pretty lame. Kind of ridiculous that the only way the Mandalorian tribes could unite again was to find...a mask? That being said, I found the story of that quest to be the most interesting aspect of the novel. I really enjoyed the interactions between Revan and Canderous, and I found myself hoping Canderous would continue to accompany Revan on his quest. Their exchanges helped me to feel like I was getting to know Revan the most--a sign of a well-crafted supporting character.

    The big reveal of why Revan went bad was weak (a super-evil--unnatural--Sith made me do it). I did enjoy hearing how the Emperor's back story, and how the events of TOR, fit in with what we already know of that era. But enough of the hidden Sith biding their time until they can finally come out of the Sith closet and exact their revenge. And can you really hide an entire Sith Empire...even if they are "hiding" in the Unknown Regions. Also, the back-story is exposition, not story.

    Interesting, yes, but exposition in itself does not make for and cannot replace story.

  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 58.25/9 = 6.47
  15. KnightDawg

    KnightDawg Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 26, 2007
    As a diehard fan of KotOR I & II, I was counting the days until the book's release. To me, Revan had the potential to be the Old Republic's "Luke Skywalker". Sadly, Drew felt otherwise. As much as I loved Drew's work on the Darth Bane Trilogy, I felt this book destroyed the legacy of Revan and the Exile. Both came across as slightly above average Jedi's...which is NOT what Revan and the Exile were. Oh well.....I blame myself for thinking so highly of both characters. I should've known SW would eventually find a way to water them down and destroy them. So much potential lost within this single novel.


    DurararaFTW and darth fluffy like this.
  16. Sable_Hart

    Sable_Hart Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 28, 2009
    Cursed {or blessed?} with intermittent stretches of free time, I?ve read Revan either four or five times since its release. My initial conclusion after the first speed-read was that it was a fairly decent book; my initial score of it was a 7 or so out of 10. Subsequent reads have compelled me to reconsider my preliminary assessment. My current view of the book is that it suffers from the same problem(s) that plague(s) the Bane trilogy written by Mr. Karpyshyn.

    Mr. Karpyshyn seems to advocate an approach to writing that is essentially all flash, no substance. He seems unusually keen on making certain characters THE GREATEST AND MOST POWERFULEST?and I assure you the caps are appropriate?CHARACTER EVER. He?s not the only author guilty of this, of course, but others?like Mr. Zahn?are able to compensate by making those characters multifaceted and intriguing. With the possible exception of Darths Scourge and Nyriss, there is not one fully developed character in the book.

    Bastila Shan might as well be called Bastila Shaft, because that?s exactly what she was given in this book {that she becomes pregnant in the book means this happened in more ways than one, amiright?!}. Gone is the stubborn, resolute, haughty Jedi Knight we loathed or loved and in her place is a woman whose entire nature is solely defined by her relationship with Revan. There have been long-standing accusations of misogyny leveled against LucasFilm for its relatively lopsided male/female ratio and the equally lopsided dispersion of that which we define as power between the two sexes, and while those accusations may or may not be valid, decisions like these don?t help. Consider Mara Jade Skywalker, a character who is largely relegated to backseat duty in terms of importance compared to her husband?what else can one expect from the wife of the galaxy?s greatest hero??and yet she manages to be a fully developed character with a host of personality traits, quirks, and a spectrum of strengths and weaknesses. She?s realistic and, moreover, compelling. Bastila might not have been a creative godsend like Grand Admiral Thrawn, but surely Mr. Karpyshyn could have done better?
    The Exile, aka Meetra Surik, fares better. But again, we?re given very little of her personality beyond her filial devotion to Revan. She manages to be resourceful, deadly, and all around more commanding than the marginalized Bastila. In fact, more than once, the Exile is in a position to singlehandedly snatch Revan from the jaws of certain doom when he was outmatched. {Though it must be said that the novel makes it very clear which one of the two is more powerful.}

    Scourge is in many ways your typical Sith: bigoted, ill-tempered, and ruthless?but Mr. Karpyshyn manages to find a unique attribute among these many flaws and Sith elements: a shred of genuine honesty and loyalty to a cause. His interactions with the Jedi in the book are intriguing because they strongly indicate that there?s more to a Sith Lord than simply seething with rage and lying and manipulating. His name is, of course, awful, but nonetheless he steals the show for me. {Not that that?s saying much.} To a lesser extent, Darth Nyriss is interesting because she conjures memories of Sith like Traya and Sidious; scholarly and manipulative, her tactics and intent are also somewhat compelling?she seeks her own agenda for what can be interpreted as ?the greater good?. But she?s not just a plotter; but this Sith can be quite the dark side lioness when the claws come out. Of course, next to a certain titular character, she?s but a domesticated kitten.

    The Sith Emperor is arguably the second most important character in this book and one of the more intriguing ones?at least at first. Though he is heavily involved in the plot {since it is ultimately he whom Revan must confront and defeat}, his actual appearances are quite sparse. Much has been said about him: That he?s the newest and greatest Star Wars badass?THE GREATEST AND MOST POWERFULEST SITH EVER. Mr. Karpyshyn spared no expense at hyping up this cloaked
  17. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 64.75/11 = 5.89
  18. sjibben

    sjibben Jedi Youngling

    Aug 26, 2008
    As a huge Revan fan from the KOTOR games, I was really anticipating this book. I also really enjoy Drew Karpyshyn's novels. I have never read a book so fast in my life. I absolutely loved this book, and I hope Drew's next TOR book coming out next year is a sequel.
  19. Kuag

    Kuag Jedi Knight star 2

    Dec 11, 2009
    I came off of this book feeling like I'd just spent a day or two in purgatory. It's just "Meh" all the way around. It's not bad. But it's not good either.

  20. Genghis12

    Genghis12 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Nov 18, 1999
    I'm nearly in agreement with Charlemagne as well.

    This book gets a 4.5 from me.

    It is telling that Havac opened with: "The Old Republic: Revan is here to tell you about everyone's favorite videogame protagonist that isn't Kyle Katarn!" That's actually an understatement. Revan is arguably one if not the most popular EU creations in recent years.

    Revan is everyone's favorite videogame protagonist that isn't Kyle Katarn precisely because of the Knights of the Old Republic series of games. NOT because of his appearances in TOR. And under the banner of "The Old Republic" as a spinoff from the upcoming MMORPG, The Old Republic, rather than as a spinoff of the source KOTOR I & II games, the novel, TOR: Revan, gets saddled with a lot of unwanted baggage and becomes the worse for it.

    Really, what nearly everyone was expecting was the logical expansion - a novelized sequel - to KOTOR and KOTOR. And everything and everyone that came with it: Bastila Shan, Carth Onasi, Canderous Ordo (Mandalore), Jolee Bindo, Juhani, T3-M4, HK-47, Mission Vao, Zaalbar, the Jedi Exile, Atton Rand, Bao-Dur, Brianna the Handmaiden, Mical the Disciple, Mira, Hanharr, G0-T0, and Visas Marr -- and most importantly, Revan's epic fight against the True Sith -- out there in the Unknown Regions.

    What we got instead was a very, very unsatisfying bait-and-switch trick.

    I understand that this entire novel exists as merely a setup to the MMORPG, The Old Republic. And, unfortunately, that game has its own player-character protagonists -- and Revan ain't one of 'em. So, unfortunately, there was absolutely nothing Revan can do within TOR that could compare to what he did in KOTOR, and whose mythos was further built up in KOTOR 2.

    But, the character that is everyone's favorite videogame protagonist that isn't Kyle Katarn deserves much better.

    This novel would benefit from being the dark "Empire Strikes Back" to a follow-on novel -- the second of which leaves Revan his "RotJ" ending characteristically epic of the original 2 KOTOR games. But, sadly, we've gotten glimpses of what Revan's fate is likely to canonically be -- and if TOR's current content holds, then it actually gets even worse for our beloved character than this ending.

    Outside of the TOR baggage, and likely impossible expectations, the novel wasn't that bad. It's just that everyone -- and the character named "Revan" most of all -- should have been named something other than the same as those characters who appeared in the previous KOTOR games. (It would've worked just fine as a TOR spinoff about a group of Jedi trying to follow a path to Sith.) And, of course on the subject of names, at least one whole score point is docked for naming the Jedi Exile something so clunky as "Meetra Surik." And then the repeated permutations of Revan -- Avner & Vaner -- did get old. The spur-of-the-moment use of "Avner" was okay once and by Canderous -- a man not generally known for his thinking skills. But, the baby didn't then have to be named some different version.

    De-coupling Revan from my TOR gripes, I'd likely give the novel an 8. It did capture some basic Revan mythology game tropes: the lost memories, banter between Revan and Canderous, and even Atris. But, with the "Old Republic" as a subtitle to the novel, it becomes impossible to decouple the novel in such a way. And so, the 4.5 stands for me.

    The clear shining light in all of this is T3-4M. Sadly, where Artoo gets his head blown off and returns at the awards ceremony all new and shiny, reinforcing the win of good over evil, our beloved droid in this novel? doesn't.
  21. Malachi108

    Malachi108 Jedi Master star 3

    Aug 8, 2009
    The book was very short and very fast paced - less than 6 hours read in all. And yes, like noted above, it's showing DrewK's writing style - lots of action, many things happening and only secondary attention to character's thoughts and feelings. Things just moved too fast: there was little flavor in chapters, barely any jokes, no detailed descriptions of settings, no attention to details, no mundane everyday things, even bringing the reader up to date on events of the games was too short and condensed while it could be spread out and told in subtle details and nuances.

    In short, this book felt more like a movie script or a preliminary outline of a book/comic - you get the story from it, sure, but there is little emotional impact felt from it apart of course from the downer ending. Which is another case of course: you managed to blow up T3-M4 to atoms, backstab the Exile in the back and leave her as Force Ghost and make Revan prisoner for centuries, with his mind locked in eternal struggle he can't win, [hl=black]only eventually to be killed by a random band of adventurers, who loot his body[/hl]. Thanks a lot for it. Like said above: when people asked for years for either KOTOR 3 or a novel/series of novels to continue the story of Revan and Exile, this was NOT what they had in mind! They didn't even go down in blazes of glory, like Chewie or Anakin Solo - they were betrayed and totally owned just to make Sith Emperor seem more bad [hl=black]when he is finally killed by another random nobody[/hl].

    I mean really, of Revan, the Exile and some newly created Sith dude the later gets the most character development, where "most" means "just slightly above zero"? The book being divided in 2 parts obviously assumed the reader is familiar with both KOTORs - but apart from passing mentions of the original crew it doesn't even describe the actual feel of the state the galaxy is in.

    It's not that I felt disgust at reading the book - the plot was actually pretty cool for the first 85% of it. But it really pales in comparison to either KOTOR, or even Deceived and Fatal Alliance. Those 2 actually told character stories over some cool plot: Revan has some decent plot with downer resolution and zero character development. Sad.

    Sudooku likes this.
  22. KnightDawg

    KnightDawg Jedi Padawan star 4

    Nov 26, 2007
    Perfectly said. I agree with every word. I'd love to have Drew K. reply to your review and answer to all of us why he discarded and disrespected characters that have pretty big followings. So much potential thrown into the garbage.

    Sorry, Havoc, I know this isn't the discussion thread, but Malachi108's review was too good for me not to reply.

  23. instantdeath

    instantdeath Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 22, 2010
    I don't think the implication that the guys in TOR are nobodies is at all an accurate one, though. It's not like galaxies, where there are a million of each class running around; as far as canon is concerned, there is only one Jedi knight, one bounty hunter, one Sith warrior, and so on, and they're among the greatest of their era.

    Naturally, we're more familiar with Revan than these new guys, but it's still not akin to the relative "nobody" status of the characters in Galaxies.
  24. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 90.65/15 = 6.04
  25. Kalphite

    Kalphite Jedi Youngling star 2

    Sep 4, 2009
    This book was highly entertaining. I loved reading it. It is a good set-up to TOR, and is a good stand-alone. There are some things that weren't explained, that imo should have been, like:

    -How did Malak lose his jaw? Seriously?
    -Did the Emperor tell Revan/Malak about the Star Forge? If so, how did the Emperor know?

    And there were some things that didn't quite make sense, like:

    -The Emperor was able to send a messenger to manipulate the mandalorians into starting a war...but he apparently doesn't have any contacts inside the Core to know what's going on? He didn't even know what happened with Revan and the Civil War until Revan came back? WTF really? Talk about a poor intelligence program during this time period -- especially considering that we know from the TOR timeline videos that he will shortly place spies on the Jedi Council..

    Still though, like I said, I really really liked this book. Revan is awesome.


    DurararaFTW likes this.