27th Mar2011

Book Review: Star Wars The Old Republic – Deceived

by Phil Wheat

Written by Paul S Kemp | Published by Titan Books | Format: Hardback, 304 pages

“Malgus brought down the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in a brutal assault that shocked the galaxy. But if war crowned him the darkest of Sith heroes, peace would transform him into something far more heinous—something Malgus would never want to be, but cannot stop, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching. Her name is Aryn Leneer—and the lone Knight that Malgus cut down in the fierce battle for the Jedi Temple was her Master. And now she’s going to find out what happened to him, even if it means breaking every rule in the book.”

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Deceived is the second novel set in the Old Republic era and to be based on the upcoming massively multiplayer online game Star Wars: The Old Republic from LucasArts and Bio Ware. It is also partly based on the “Deceived” cinematic trailer and follows on from events in the “Hope” cinematic trailer which highlighted the Sith invasion of Alderaan.

The novel follows three main characters – Jedi Knight Aryn Leneer, smuggler and ex-republic drop pilot Zeerid Korr, and the anti-hero star of the “Deceived” trailer Sith Lord Darth Malgus as he tries to burn the Galactic capital of Coruscant to the ground. The multiplayer aspect of the Old Republic game world is represented with many of the characters from the novel being based on classes from the game – Sith Warrior, Bounty Hunter, Smuggler, Jedi Knight and companion characters which are said to be a big feature of the Old Republic game.

Paul S Kemp hasn’t written many novels in the Star Wars universe, but I’ve enjoyed both Crosscurrent and Deceived. He’s quickly becoming the go to guy for Old Republic era Jedi and Sith battles with his fluid, well described, fight scenes and compelling characterisation. I find it interesting that he can get the reader rooting for a man who has just wiped out a temple full of Jedi and wants nothing more than to see the most populated planet in the Star Wars universe burn, but he does. Kemp explores how Malgus’s fellow Sith see him as a barbarian for his unswerving commitment to the Dark Side of The Force and as weak due to his love of a non-human; Similar to the themes Lucas examined in Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side over the course of the prequel trilogy.

One point the novel drove home for me was how cyclic the Star Wars universe is – 3650 years before A New Hope and their technology is about the same level, there’s an evil Imperial Empire run by a Sith Lord, a Jedi Order with a very familiar temple, the Hutts are big players in the underworld and droids exceed their programming.

I’ll be interested in seeing how these characters are developed in future novels, and if they’ll turn up in the massively multiplayer online game. To sum up, Deceived is a decent stand alone novel, even better if you’re looking forward to playing the game, but not a must buy if you’re mainly interested in the era portrayed in the films.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – Deceived is available now from Titan Books.

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