Norman's Reviews > Deceived

Deceived by Paul S. Kemp
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May 24, 12

bookshelves: star-wars
Read from February 16 to 17, 2012, read count: 1

Deceived is one of three books that serve as lead-ins to the events of the new online game Star Wars: The Old Republic (or TOR). It's set some 3500 years prior to the events of the original Star Wars trilogy, and as you might expect its setting isn't quite what we're used to from the Star Wars movies. Jedi and Sith number in the thousands, and an intergalactic war sees two major forces: the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire, in a deadly stalemate.

While this sounds like a fantastic setting for some great Star Wars fiction, in reality there are only a couple of games, these three books, and some comics. Most Star Wars fans probably don't even know there's such a thing as an Old Republic era, let alone know what its setting entails. So it's strange to see the writers of both Deceived and Fatal Alliance make the same grave error of not introducing its readers to the setting in any regard. Indeed, the only way to know what's going on is to read up on the Old Republic era's backstory either on a wiki, the The Old Republic game's website, or in the horrifyingly short back-story (2-3 pages for 20000 years of history) detailed in the appendixes of the Fatal Alliance and Revan books.

Not a good start. But to those who have followed the new Star Wars online game and played both of its predecessors (Knights of the Old Republic 1 & 2), like I have, Deceived does have some redeeming assets. Primarily the fact that it touches on two of the three opening sequences to the game, and a key figure in those scenes. The characters are also mildly interesting variations on the standard Jedi, Smuggler, and Sith Lord molds.

It's unfortunate then that even if you are familiar with the setting from playing the games and reading the backstory, Deceived's story still fails to be engaging. It reads like more of a marketing ploy for the game, a book that had to be written to detail some of the events prior to the game, rather than a book that was written by an author with an idea for a great story in this particular Star Wars setting. I don't want to spoil anything, so I'm not going into any specifics, but suffice it to say that Deceived features mildly interesting characters that undergo changes, but their quests feel utterly unimportant and at times even bland throughout the entirety of the book, and especially towards the end. That feeling will be even worse if you made the mistake of reading Fatal Alliance first, in which case you'll already know much about the ending of this book.

Should you feel compelled to read up on this Old Republic era, then I would strongly advice against reading these three books in order of publication. Instead read Revan first, because it takes place 300 years earlier and actually introduces the reader to this strange 'old' setting. Then read Deceived, and lastly Fatal Alliance. Don't worry: that's also the chronological order of events, and save for the premise of Fatal Alliance spoiling the ending of Deceived these books are otherwise entirely self-contained.

The characters and integration with the new Star Wars game's back-story made me rate this 2 stars.
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