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Double Star Wars Reviews: The Old Republic: Deceived and Riptide by Paul S Kemp

Double-Review time again! 🙂 I need to catch up with the reviews and doing Doubles seems the only way I’m going to be able to do that. 🙂

Star Wars The Old Republic Deceived

Now, I haven’t been able to play The Old Republic , so I don’t know what the storylines in the game entail, but after reading Sean Williams’ Fatal Alliance, this novel and Drew Karpyshyn’s Revan (review coming), it seems clear to me that The Old Republic is a massive project that stretches over quite a long length of time.

Deceived takes place during a lull in the war between the Empire and the Republic, and gives us one of the best Sith Lords to have ever existed in the Star Wars galaxy – at least in my opinion. I’m sure you all remember the amazing cinematic from before The Old Republic was launched showing how Darth Malgus attacked the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Well, I was blown away by that, and by the Sith Lord who had the (excuse me) balls to not only try something like that but to pull it off. I really wanted to know more about him, and Paul could easily have given us an all-over-evil psychotic Force-user with nothing but domination and subjugation going for him.

Thankfully, that’s exactly what Paul didn’t do. Malgus has one of the most interesting philosophies regarding the Force, the Jedi and the Sith that I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, the kind of philosophy that made the characters that Matthew Stover tackled so damned interesting and real. Yes, Malgus is badass, but he also comes across as fallible and, at times, even stupid. Powerful as he is he’s in over his head and eventually chooses the only path that keeps him true to himself. Just on the strength of that I’m hoping that Paul is able to return to Malgus sometime in the future, because the Malgus at the end of Deceived is someone I wouldn’t wish on even the most powerful Jedi force that could be assembled. Hell, even the Empire and the other Sith would have to beware! 🙂

But Malgus isn’t the only cool character in the novel – there’s a smuggler doing the best that he can for his daughter and a Jedi who is searching for the truth behind her master’s death; the smuggler is the guy that really had my sympathy – the man goes through some really tight situations in ways that would make Han Solo and Talon Karrde proud, and his very personal and practically unselfish motivation really got me cheering him on. The Jedi, on the other hand, had me worried, because we all know what happens when Jedi begin focusing on the things that their polar-opposites are known for. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as I’m making it sound, but it does illustrate just how easy it is to lose sight of that which not only gives you strength but which also keeps you humble and thoughtful. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions and wanting answers, but we may not always like the answers, something the Jedi discovers, and also something that gives her the kind of motivation that any reader can identify with.

Characters aside, though, Deceived is also an excellent Star Wars novel – the action is exciting and intense, the humour spot on and just that bit campy (in other words, perfect Star Wars humour), and the intense personal explorations that the characters go on are make this novel very cool.
Is Deceived a good jumping-on point for readers new to the Star Wars Expanded Universe? Sure – if you want cool characters, thrilling action and walk-the-line looks at the philosophies of the Sith and the Jedi, then you’ll enjoy this novel. Hell, you might even end up burning to play The Old Republic! 🙂

All in all, an excellent novel and another Force-strong effort from Paul; 8 / 10

Order your paperback copies here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And do go and check out Paul’s website.

Riptide

Riptide is the sequel to Paul’s Star Wars EU debut, Crosscurrent (reviewed here), and though it’s a quick read (I finished it in three days), it’s a worthy successor, too.

Crosscurrent brought us Jaden Kor (some readers might remember him from the cool Star Wars PC game, Jedi Academy) and sent Jaden on a journey to find the meaning behind some disquieting Force-born visions he’d been having. Through that novel he discovered a very dangerous remnant from the days of Grand Admiral Thrawn and two smugglers who were tangled up in what quickly became an intense trial of survival. Jaden also came across a Jedi and a Sith literally thousands of years old and was pulled into their struggle for survival, too. (Incidentally, Crosscurrent is a novel that can also be read alongside the (much better than Legacy of the Force) Fate of the Jedi saga as well as John Jackson Miller’s Lost Tribe of the Sith.

Riptide picks up where Crosscurrent left off and sends the story hurtling into some very surprising directions, especially as regards Jaden. Not only is he still trying to solve the mystery of the Thrawn-era remnant I mentioned but he’s also trying to lead a Force-sensitive on the first tentative and dangerous steps toward Apprenticeship and Knighthood in the Jedi Order. Taken together these set up some intense problems for Jaden to overcome, and by extension, his friends. Fans of Knights of the Old Republic PC game and even the new Dawn of the Jedi comic series from Dark Horse should enjoy this novel as it gives readers another glimpse of an almost godly race of beings. Careful readers will also pick up nods to a certain Sith Order-offshoot created by one of the most controversial EU characters (who was first breathed into life by James Luceno in Cloak of Deception), and the storyline also settles in nicely with the then-current events in the Star Wars galaxy, namely the chaos left after the Second Galactic Civil War.

The novel has great humour, especially when certain characters are in very tight spots, excellent action and lightsaber duels, and the kind of philosophical journey’s that make Star Wars tales the kinds of tales that many diverse peoples can understand. I was hugely impressed with the (excuse the word) balls that Paul showed in this novel by doing what he did and I’m seriously hoping for more Jaden-centric novels from Paul.

8 / 10

To order your copies of the book click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here for South Africa.

Till next time and the upcoming giveaway,

BE EPIC!

 
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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Reviews

 

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Star Wars The Old Republic: Deceived (Book Trailer)

There’s an awesome book trailer for Paul Kemp’s Old Republic novel available, and although I can’t embed it for you I can give you this link to check it out. 🙂

Looks awesome! Darth Malgus is an absolutely badass-looking Sith Lord, and I’m really looking forward to reading this! 🙂 Not the least because Paul writes awesome Star Wars. 😉 If you want a taste of the book, read Chapter One here, Chapter Two here and Chapter Three here.

Pre-Order your copies here from Amazon US and here from Amazon UK, and don’t forget to check out this entry on Paul’s blog for a chance to win the audiobook of Deceived. 🙂

Be EPIC!

P.S. My review of The Demi-Monde: Winter will be posted here on Monday. 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2011 in Announcements

 

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Review: Star Wars – The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams (Novel and Audiobook)

I was pretty excited to read this: the first novel (of three that have been announced) that ties into the MMO game, The Old Republic, a sequel of sorts to the excellent PC games Knights of the Old Republic and The Sith Lords.

Sean has proved that he knows Star Wars, having co-written 3 novels in the New Jedi Order saga (The Force Heretic Trilogy, Remnant, Refugee, Reunion) as well as the novelization of the most awesome game I’ve yet to play, The Force Unleashed. And with Fatal Alliance, he’s proved it again, but unfortunately, not as well as I would have hoped.

Fatal Alliance is an excellent novel – I truly did enjoy it, and it’s definitely one of the most action-packed Star Wars novels I’ve read, and it’s also packed with great characters that work their way through an awesome plot.

We’ve got an enigmatic Mandalorian who is central to the plot, as well as one of the most surprising characters in the tale; we’ve got a Jedi Padawan who goes through an expertly handled Hero’s Journey; a smuggler who practically stole the show; an Imperial spy who is terrified of his own shadow but believes in justice and balance. These are just some of the characters that fill this novel, and almost all of them were well-realized and brilliantly brought to life, but not all of them were:

The Sith apprentice, Eldon Ax, was someone I just couldn’t get a handle on; chapters from her POV were great, with plenty of action and Sith coolness, but I found that when she opened her mouth she sounded like the stereotypical evil Sith-Lord-in-Waiting. I could be missing the point entirely (there were definitely chapters in which she said what she needed to achieve a specific goal) but I was routinely jarred out of the flow of the book while reading her POVs – she seemed like two different characters to me. I am looking forward to seeing her again, though – at the end of the novel, having grown and gone through all she had up to that point, she is left in a really difficult situation, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens with her.

Three of my favourite characters: Larin Moxla and Dao Stryver.

Larin really had my sympathy – she’s living in a very tense time and in a very difficult professional situation, and her POVs were pitch-perfect and afforded much of the drama and danger that filled the novel.

Dao Stryver is one of the best Mandalorians I’ve read – in my opinion, on the same level as Boba Fett. Resourceful, manipulative, highly intelligent and focused, an excellent fighter, and enigmatic, Dao really impressed me. 🙂

Shigar Konshi was also pretty damn cool – there were echoes of a young Luke in him (hehehe, talk about a paradox, huh?) but he also had a personality all his own and made for some great discussions and thoughts about the Force, Sith, Jedi, the Empire and the Republic. I’m definitely looking forward to catching up with Shigar again!

Now, in terms of the action in the novel – damn! Massive set-pieces, excellent snub-fighter battles and great tactics; Sean definitely excels at these kind of scenes and it was like I was watching scenes on the level of Revenge of the Sith’s opening scene – that kind of massive spectacle. But Sean also kicks ass in the smaller battles – there’s a battle that takes place in a palace on (Nal)Hutta that is pretty damn awesome. 🙂

Tying into the action are some of the creepiest (thanks to Marc Thompson and Kevin Thomsen) and most interesting droids this side of YVH droids (Yuuzhan Vong Hunter, for those who didn’t know) – I hope we see them again some time!

Plot-wise, Fatal Alliance is a massively sprawling novel – the (Nal)Hutta sequence (from the novel’s blurb) is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much that happens, so much that the characters have to go through, that I was expecting something to fall flat somewhere, but Sean handled the plot masterfully. The tension and action ramp up continuously, and since I was listening to the audiobook, there were times when I just didn’t want to get back to work, or even go to work. There are plenty of surprises in the novel – just when I thought I had a handle on the story and what would happen, Sean proved me wrong – always a goo thing. 🙂

Now, another problem: I just didn’t get the feeling, the true sense, that this novel was set in the Old Republic. Now, hear me out here – my reasons might be trivial, but here they are: too many times, the terms “Empire”, “Imperial”, “Emperor” and “Republic” were used, and I wasn’t confused by this -I know when the story takes place- but instead of grounding the tale in the Old Republic era, these terms made me constantly think that the tale took place in some kind of ‘Infinities’ alternate era, where Luke, Han, Leia or any of the characters we know were never born and the course of the galaxy’s history had changed. It was a bit confusing and I was expecting to hear someone, somewhere say “Darth Sidious”.

But Fatal Alliance was still an excellent Star Wars novel, nonetheless, and it definitely set the scene for what players of the MMO could expect – the Cold War is on the verge of erupting into all-out war and I can’t wait to see what Paul Kemp and Drew Karpyshyn bring to the Old Republic. 🙂

Not the best introduction to the Old Republic MMO storyline, but a highly enjoyable if sometimes confusing novel.

7 / 10

Audiobook:

Once again, the team brought their best game. Marc Thompson did an incredible job with the massive cast of characters, giving each of them a vibrancy and a uniqueness that really made listening to him an experience; his treatment of the droids I spoke of earlier was incredible, and I’ve never been so creeped out by a robot before! The music and sound effects used came across as perfect and natural, really adding layers of sensory enjoyment to the tale, and I remain a fan of Star Wars audiobooks and the people who bring them to us. Excellent job!

10 / 10

To order your copies of Fatal Alliance, click here for Amazon US (novel and audiobook), Amazon UK (novel and audiobook), and audiobook download at Audible. Check out Sean’s website here and the official Star Wars website here, and for extra info about Fatal Alliance (beware of spoilers, though) check out the novel’s page over at Wookieepedia.

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2010 in Reviews

 

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Paul S Kemp gets a new Duology-deal in the Star Wars EU

Some great news has been doing the rounds for a couple of days now, via the Star Wars.com message boards and hints on Twitter, but the news is now finally official: Paul has signed a two-book deal (hardcovers) for a duology set in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. I for one am extremely chuffed!

I read and reviewed Paul’s first Star Wars EU novel, Crosscurrent, a while ago and loved it, and I’m eagerly awaiting his The Old Republic MMO tie-in, Deceived (featuring the Sith Lord, Darth Malgus) and the sequel to Crosscurrent, Riptide – by the time Riptide is on the shelves we should have a good idea of what his new Duology will entail. 🙂 Until then, though, if you haven’t yet read Crosscurrent, get down to your closest bookstore and pick it up. You can also have a look around for Paul’s non-Star Wars novels – check out his website here (Erevis Cale), here (Pathfinder) and here (RA Salvatore’s War of the Spider Queen) for the details.

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Star Wars, Dark Tower & Wheel of Time News!

Man, what a day for news!

Let’s get right into it; first off, I’ll show you the cover to Sean William’s Star Wars: The Old Republic novel, Fatal Alliance:

Awesome, right? Check out the details for the novel at this post on the official site.

Sean is not only an awesome guy but knows what makes Star Wars so great and brings it in droves to the novels he writes in the Expanded Universe, so I’m definitely looking forward to this!

Next up, the long-awaited naming and cover-reveal of The Old Republic novel by Paul Kemp; I’ll let the cover do the talking! 🙂

Awesome, right? 😀 And yes, that is the kickass Sith Lord who we saw in action in the cinematic of The Old Republic. 🙂 Check out the details of the novel at this post at the official site; if you want to have another look at the cinematic, check out this post at Paul’s blog, and here’s his announcement. 🙂

Very, very chuffed for Paul that he got the chance to write a novel focusing on such a badass character! Here’s hoping that the story behind the cinematic is also included in the novel! 🙂 He’s already sent in the first draft of the novel, so everything looks a-okay for the December release date!

Paul’s Crosscurrent (reviewed here) showed that he has an awesome understanding of Star Wars, so this will, most probably, be awesome. 🙂

Now for Wheel of Time news!

Check out this post over at A Dribble of Ink; Aidan gives us an extended blurb of Book Thirteen of The Wheel of Time, Towers of Midnight. If you haven’t read it yet, I’ll say this: Perrin and Mat.

🙂

And lastly, news of the Dark Tower movies!

Thanks to my buddy Lood, I can tell you that Ron Howard has been tapped to direct a trilogy that’ll bring Stephen King’s absolutely massive and brilliant series to the big screen. Just how he’s planning to cram 7 novels-worth of plot into three movies I have no idea, but this is Ron Howard, and I’m sure he’ll do movies that’ll be as true as possible to the King’s epic. 🙂 Check out the info here.

That’s it for now,

Have an awesome weekend!

Be EPIC!

P.S. Oh, and here’s something you all have been drooling for – the first pic of Thor. 🙂

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 30, 2010 in Announcements

 

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Star Wars News and Updates!

Man, I’m gone for two weeks and the whole Star Wars Expanded Universe explodes!! 🙂 Hehehe, I’m definitely not that important, but then you all knew that anyway. 🙂

Okay, where do I start?!

The great, big, huge mother of all MMO’s, Star Wars: The Old Republic, is on its way, and if you follow this link, you’ll be taken through to the game’s website – why, you ask? Well, if you would like to get a bit of an introduction to the storyline of this MMO, the guys have set up a webcomic on the site that serves as an intro for some of the major characters and sets the stage, so to speak. 🙂

Next up: Star Wars: Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil – here’s a cover blurb for you all from the official Star Wars site! Let the bloodbath begin! 🙂

The Sith are gone — all except Darth Bane, creator of the “Rule of Two,” which states that the new Sith Order will consist of only two: a Master and an apprentice. But how does one train an apprentice whose ultimate goal — and proof of success — must be to kill the Master?

Darth Bane is beginning to suffer the effects of drawing heavily on the dark side of the Force for so many years. At the same time, he’s beginning to doubt his apprentice, Zannah, because she hasn’t yet tried to kill him and take his power. Is she weak? Unworthy of being his apprentice? When he learns of an ancient Sith artifact that might hold the secret to immortal life, he heads out in search of it alone. But Zannah is anything but weak, and now that she has glimpsed his worries, she knows that the time is ripe to take him on. The Forces of evil will clash in spectacular battle, with the future of the Sith hanging in the balance!

Does that sound cool or what?! And here’s something extra, too – author Drew Karpyshyn dropping hints! 🙂

I don’t really know if I can say anything else about who might be appearing in the novel, but I’m going to throw a couple names out just for kicks: Cognus, Set Harth, Andeddu.
Wow, I probably said way too much. Maybe I should delete that. But for some reason I’ve been very in touch with my own personal dark side lately, so let’s leave it for now and see if I get in trouble.

*rubbing hands in anticipatory glee* Sounds good huh? For those who don’t know it, there were Sith mentioned above – but wait! you say, there are only supposed to be two at any time! 😉 I think this novel is going to KICK ASS!

Next: Deathtroopers renamed!
Nonono it’s not what you think, I promise! They’ve only put in a space between ‘Death’ and ‘troopers’, and here’s the cover art as it will be for the hardcover coming out in October of this year! 🙂

Death Troopers

Death Troopers

Here is the official blurb, too:

When the Imperial prison barge Purge breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope seems to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting, derelict and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back — bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours, nearly all aboard the Purge will die. And death is only the beginning.
For aboard the Star Destroyer, amid its vast creaking emptiness that isn’t really empty at all. For the dead are rising, soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.

Next up: A book about Vader!

“Fully licensed with Lucasfilm, VADER will be the definitive book on the history, myth, and cultural impact of Darth Vader. From his early development by George Lucas in the original classic films, to the new legends created in comics and novels, to his appearances on everything from commercials to bedspreads, VADER will present a complete view of the character. This book will contain unique pieces both printed flat and removable, including never-before-seen concept sketches, rare promotional materials, early comic books, video games, action figures, merchandise, movie posters, and more.”

The book, now titled Vader: The Dark Lord and His Universe, is by Ryder Windham and Pete Vilmur and is due out in October.

More info on that as the info is released! 🙂

Next up: Monthly Yuuzhan Vong, anyone?

If you haven’t heard about it, we’ll be seeing more of the scarheads in Invasion! 🙂

Check out this post for more updated info, and below is the cover art for what has been confirmed to be the first issue:

Anyone wanna place bets on who’ll survive this encounter? 😉

Okay, that’s it for Star Wars for today. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

P.S. I’ll have the review of The Modern World up tomorrow, or later (depending on how lazy I get 😉 ), and I thought I’d also let you all know that I found A Clash of Kings day before yesterday, and all I can say is, “Mr Martin, you gave me one hell of a surprise with Stannis!” 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2009 in Announcements

 

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