Hmmmm, hmmmmm. There are many things to like and dislike. Most of the things to dislike, in my opinion, are issues related to following canon and the...moreHmmmm, hmmmmm. There are many things to like and dislike. Most of the things to dislike, in my opinion, are issues related to following canon and the requirements Karpyshyn would have had at the start to lead this story into the TOR MMORPG story.
The first half of the book I definitely enjoyed the most, partially because of the return of (view spoiler)[Canderous and T3-M4 (hide spoiler)] but also because the plot of one of the leading protagonists, Lord Scourge, is so interesting. I enjoyed his plot line and Karpyshyn has created a dark side character that is not two-dimensional. Excellent!
In fact, that is part of the main appeal of this novel, which makes sense, given who the main character is - it explores the dark-side/light-side boundaries a little more than some other Star Wars tales do - I could happily have spent a lot more time reading about that exploration.
I was disappointed that most of the original cast of KOTOR were absent, and that pretty much no one except (view spoiler)[Meetra (hide spoiler)] appeared from KOTOR 2. I was actually always far more invested in The Exile than Revan - don't get me wrong, I love both characters, but it was The Exile's fate I was most concerned about, partially due to the rushed KOTOR 2 ending. I wanted to see a proper resolution for The Exile and her companions. (view spoiler)[And yeah, I was pretty cut that Meetra's ending is "Woo, I'm a spooky force ghost who exists to provide Revan with more sanity, woooooooOOOOOOOoooooooo". It's just, she had almost all her agency stripped away, and her death wasn't even a noble/conscious decision, even though clearly she decided to make the most of it. I'm just mad because I was so attached to her - her ending was not what I wanted at all. Do I think that means it was a _bad_ ending? I'm not so sure. Certainly, it added more meaning to Scourge's "betrayal" and we'd only just had the "Jedi are willing to sacrifice" foreshadowing. But. My Meetra feels! And T-3, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. (hide spoiler)]
I don't see the lack of companions as a failing of the book. It was clearly always going to have quite a limit on length that Karpyshyn had to work to. I'll just have to turn to fanfic if I want to see more of the crew. Just a shame that Meetra/Atton seems to be canon, according to what I've been reading in Wookiepeida, but that doesn't get a mention here, (view spoiler)[and probably never will, now, in official media ;_; (hide spoiler)]. I really, really got into the Meetra/Atton romance.
But, this book was titled "Revan" after all, not "The Exile", so, I was happy to get what KOTOR 2 content I did, really.
Revan's fate is a little frustrating, but it's clear that from the start, Karpyshyn needed to find a way to (view spoiler)[write Revan into TOR somehow, but also limit the actions he was able to take during/leading up to TOR. This ending lets Revan survive to TOR-times without aging much, and become even MORE of the stuff of legends. (hide spoiler)]
I do think that trying to write so as to only make canon what was absolutely necessary to make canon - to let players keep their internal ideas about Revan and Meetra as intact as possible - was always going to be incredibly difficult. Plus, having to write so that TOR has some good threads leading into it - I don't envy the task.
This is always the problem with writing fiction for multi-pathway type games. People want to read about the player characters. But writing about them forces you to lock down what choices were actually made, which will alienate a lot of players from the novel version of their characters. And if you avoid the playable character and only follow NPCs, people are cranky about the giant hole in the universe where their character should be.
I just wanted to know why Revan left Republic space again after KOTOR 1, and what happened to The Exile after KOTOR 2. Now I know. And I'm happy I know. Although like many others, I wish I had control of their stories - it's never enjoyable having a character you feel like you've shaped have their narrative taken out of your hands. And I would have made some different choices if I'd still been in control of their choices. But Karpyshyn's job was to provide closure and connection to TOR, which he certainly did.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton (which was a very nice touch).
The first segment of the book is largely dialogue seperated by "he...moreI listened to the audiobook, narrated by Wil Wheaton (which was a very nice touch).
The first segment of the book is largely dialogue seperated by "he said" and "she said" (or more accurately, "Dahl said" and "Duvall said" x100). Which was distracting.
Also, it felt like all the characters were basically the same person, just with different backstories. Which, okay, could kind of fit the whole "redshirts" concept, but the non-Intrepid characters were also like that, for me at least. No one really seemed to have a distinct personality. Just a different coat of paint.
All that said, it was a fun idea and a pleasant, un-demanding bit of fluff to listen to on the way to work. There were a few jokes that made me giggle. Giggling is good.
Contrary to what some other folk have said, I actually really enjoyed the third coda. (view spoiler)[I guess because the whole sub-plot with the Yeti's wife seemed really clunky in the actual narrative, but in the coda it actually became something worth exploring. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I haven't read an entire novel in one evening for quite a long time. It's one of the things I really miss about my childhood and teen years - you gene...moreI haven't read an entire novel in one evening for quite a long time. It's one of the things I really miss about my childhood and teen years - you generally were meant to be doing something else (often that thing was sleeping) but you could let yourself go all the same and just read.
Whereas these days I think, oh, I need to change the kitty litter, and lunch isn't made for tomorrow, and if I don't get to bed soon, I'll be a wreck at work, and I want to work on this post I've been meaning to write for ages... I can't afford to spend an evening enjoying myself.
Which sounds a lot more depressing when I write it down. I do still enjoy myself. But sitting very still with a book for four hours straight, that's a pleasure I've not been able to enjoy for some time. Sitting here, after giving an entire evening away to this book, I am just so pleased. Both with the pleasure in reading the story, and with the fact that I was able to appreciate it it just as I would have when I was younger.
Which in a roundabout way is precisely the core of this book. It is childhood, and all the freedoms and powerlessness that comes with it. As another reviewer commented, it is nothing like my childhood, and yet it is all so very familiar.
Naturally, Gaiman weaves myths into the story - not myths that have ever been told before in this world, but it tastes like a myth to me. And the characters are both outside of and part of the myth.
If you want to bring on some introspection and nostalgia for something you never did but most certainly felt, and you enjoy Gaiman's other stories, I'm sure you will like this one too.(less)