Iset's Reviews > Deceived

Deceived by Paul S. Kemp
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Aug 06, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: star-wars
Read from March 04 to 05, 2012

Another mixed bag on this one. I don't know what it is with Star Wars novels in the past few years but more often than not they seem to miss the mark rather than hit the target. I'll explore this in a moment, but first the good stuff.

It was far from all bad. The good news about Deceived was that I definitely felt that it contained some solid, enjoyable elements that I have felt were lacking in other SW prequels/sequels of recent years. Kemp was pretty good at creating imagery, bringing the story to life in my mind. And whilst the stories of characters like Zeerid and Aryn have been done to death, Kemp manages to pull it off without proceedings descending too much into cliche or tired tropes. Malgus' growing desire for change, and his feelings for Eleena, were an interesting twist and I genuinely didn't know how that strand would turn out. The first half to two thirds of the novel I felt were a good, strong, well-established premise that made me want to continue reading to the end to see what happened. This was enough to earn the novel just over half marks from me.

However, there were problems.

1) Aryn's actions subsequent to arriving on Coruscant suddenly became all too predictable. Her avoidance of crossing over a line, in her first face off with Malgus, is way too contrived, and then in their second encounter she takes the predictable Jedi route. I must have read this a thousand times before. How disappointing that a character I found fairly interesting and had begun to invest in followed the same old resolution.

2) Malgus' plans for Aryn seem to get left by the wayside with no explanation. (view spoiler)

3) The Imperial attack on Coruscant was too easy. I get that the intention was to really shock and change things up by creating this Imperial assault on Coruscant and (view spoiler)

4) The Empire is modelled way too closely on the Empire from the films. This is supposed to be 3650 or so years before that period in Star Wars canon, right? And in Revan's eponymous novel, we were talking about (view spoiler). What the heck has happened between then and now to make this a Human dominated empire JUST LIKE IN THE FILMS? Sorry but this makes it way too overused/tired. Okay, I accept that there can be more than one empire in the long SW history, but make them different from one another, will ya?! This empire seemed to have the same racial policies, the same command structure (bar multiple Sith Lords running around), even the same flipping grey uniforms. This is NOT what I envisioned when several years ago it was hinted that (view spoiler). No carbon copy empires, thank you! Oh, and Malgus looks just like Darth Malak but with a differently shaped respirator. I'm begging the powers that be to create a Sith that DOESN'T look like either Vader or Malak in appearance.

5) All these prequels/sequels in recent years are too short. 250 pages in hardback. I mean, really?! That is seriously pushing it. And you know what it does seem to have a connection to the apparent recent decline in quality. The novels have felt so sparse, their stories thinly sketched, stretched over little more than a frame of a hardback cover. Even Deceived, which felt a bit more in depth and which I started to really get into, was two thirds over at the point I thought to myself "this is a really interesting, solid start - first few chapters of what could be a really meaty epic". But no, it tails off and wraps up in a hurry because it's just so short. I miss the SW chunksters of old like I, Jedi and the Thrawn trilogy.

So, there you have it.

Random thoughts: Did anyone else notice Zeerid Korr and Vrath Xizor's surnames and wonder if they were ancient ancestors of Prince Xizor and Jaden Korr?

6 out of 10. Best I can do. I genuinely liked this one much more than I have other recent SW publications, but I can't give it more than that due to the inherent problems.
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Reading Progress

03/04/2012 page 20
8.0% "The slim human man who sat beside her had the same sallow skin as the woman, the same pale eyes, the same glare... His dark hair and long beard - braided and forked into two tines - could not hide a face so lined with scars and pitted with pockmarks that it reminded Aryn of the ground after an artillery barrage. - I'm totally envisioning a battle-scarred Viking berserker here. Nice imagery."
03/05/2012 page 154
60.0% "He had disobeyed an order, taken the first step down a path he had never before trod. He still wasn't sure why."
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Crystal Starr Light Keep me posted on what you think of it!

Iset Will do! Over halfway done now, and cautiously enjoying it so far but kinda surprised that it feels like the story is still just getting started and yet I'm over half finished... *prays that there won't be a last minute hackneyed ending* !

Crystal Starr Light Love your review! Sounds like a lot of the things that bugged me also bugged you.

I cannot wrap my head around this idea that thousands of years before Luke and Darth Vader, the Empire is virtually the same. In fact, most of the story doesn't feel like thousands of years Before Yavin.

I love what you said about Aryn and her story. I too was frustrated at her resolution, how similar it has been to so many books of the past.

I never even thought about the ease with which the Sith take over Coruscant, but you are so right! Having the help of a lone Mandalorian (and there is no reason to believe there is more than one) wouldn't tear down the defenses of a city planet. And as for the Jedi...great point there too! And Malgus' plan for Aryn and Zeerid...again, I didn't put much thought into it, probably a good thing, as his motivations and reasons start to flounder under too much inspection!

I guess I am not as upset by the shortness of the hardback as I am by the price. A 250 page hardback is STILL $25 in the US?! Ridiculous! I remember buying Zahn's "Outbound Flight" for $26 and it was twice as thick, at least! I am hoping that Del Rey will slow down the publishing schedule so that authors can really dedicate time into a book, instead of pumping them out as fast as possible.

message 4: by Iset (last edited Mar 06, 2012 02:43PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Iset I can't describe how much that hacks me off, actually. This is not supposed to be the same empire as the one in the films and the Bantam era novels. Sure there's some kinda Sithy movement around Bane's time (c. 1000 YBY), but aside from a few incidents it's Old Republic peace time for thousands of years - until you go back far enough and hit this era. But the empire here and the empire of Luke/Leia/Han's time is not supposed to be connected at all! So what gives with the racial policies and the grey uniforms?! As I said, anyone who's into Revan's story should know that this empire really shouldn't be Human-preferential at all... and I always envisioned it as being, as I said in my Revan review, truly weird and strange in its culture and set up and so on... This bugs me more than anything else. The villains... and arguably the heroes... are all beginning to look alike, have the same social mores and values, make the same decisions and have the same backstories... they're all beginning to blur into each other!!! I am NOT a satisfied Star Wars fan.

Crystal Starr Light Isis wrote: "The villains... and arguably the heroes... are all beginning to look alike, have the same social mores and values, make the same decisions and have the same backstories... they're all beginning to blur into each other!!!"

One of the things I think the Darth Bane novels did well was to make it feel like a different era. And reading the Jedi vs. Sith comic makes those differences even clearer.

I almost feel that Lucasfilm is trying to win NEW fans over; hence why this Empire is so much like the Empire from the classic trilogy. Only, it is just more confusing; I could see new fans being like, "Where's Luke and Leia?" while long-time fans don't like the unoriginality/continuity snarls with other materials from the same era.

I personally am tired of the xenophobia that crops up whenever you bring up an Empire. I don't like how the technology and beliefs are virtually the same 3000 years in the past. Why bother setting a story in this time when there is essentially NOTHING new? (Other than to toss Sith, Jedi, and Mando's all in the same pot, which could technically be done in any era.)

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