The Old Repubilc: Revan

*** Note: this review does contain some spoilers ***

Coming off the success of the Darth Bane Trilogy, Drew Karpyshyn plunges into The Old Republic with Revan. Taking place in between  Knight of the Old Republic and Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords, and then later picking up after the second game, the book fills in the gaps of Revan’s story. With some of the classic characters, Karpyshyn plays on the nostalgia for gamers, and also builds up the events of what’s coming with Star Wars: The Old Republic.

The book kicks off with Revan and a dream of a far off world shrouded in darkness and lightning storms. It’s a world he can only vaguely remember, still plagued by his lost memories, and it’s one that will not let him rest. For those who played the KOTOR games, we all wondered what that unknown threat was that Revan chased after in the Unknown Regions. His first encounter with it drove him and Malak to the dark side. His second quest to find it was left untold, until now.

Revan’s journey begins after KOTOR and the destruction of the Star Forge. His strange dreams lead him to leave his home and Bastila behind in order to secure peace for the future. He heads off with his friend Canderous, and his trusted droid sidekick T3 in search of answers. Unfortunately all of Revan’s other companions only get name drops and no page time. As an avid HK-47 fan, this was a pretty big let down. Still, Canderous did play a small chunk in the story and it did fill in some gaps. Drew adds some canonical elements thus establishing a true Revan and not one built in the minds of gamers. One thing I really liked about Revan was how witty and sarcastic elements were added to his personality. It at times made for some funny dialog.

Intermixed with Revan’s storyline is a new character named Scourge. Scourge is a Sith Lord and a one of the red skinned Sith species. His viewpoint gives readers a glimpse of the Sith Empire out in the Unknown Regions and a very good look at the Emperor. A lot of details are revealed on where the Emperor came from and who he is. For his own part, Scourge is a somewhat interesting character. He shows a bit more restraint and forethought than most Sith. He’s the type to look ahead and see the larger picture. Yet he’s still a Sith and the Sith Empire really isn’t all that different from what one would expect. They are an angry, vengeful people who scheme against each and rule with an iron fist. Scourge’s role in the book wasn’t as memorable or as enjoyable as Revan’s, although that’s pretty much expected.

What was surprising was the arrival of the Exile. The Exile was the main character in KOTOR II and here Drew finally gives her a name. Furthermore, she plays a major part in the second half of the book. When I read the first half, I had the inescapable feeling that there was something missing. It was neat to see Revan and Canderous again, and the new Sith character Scourge was kind of neat, as was the glimpses of the Sith Empire, but there was a degree of characterization and prose missing from the novel. It was fun, it was enjoyable, but it wasn’t great. Yet the Exile’s arrival seemed to bring about a change in pace. The story shifted up a gear and I found myself finally being driven in deeper and caring more about what was happening. I truly loved her addition to the story.

That said, Drew did something different with the ending that ended things on a very weird note. Part of it makes sense; this is merely a novel leading up to Star Wars: The Old Republic. In fact the very last page of the book was a nice way to leave the story. However, as a reader, it leaves you in a very funny state, and it’s going to be a long while before we see a close to the story. Drew Karpyshyn has signed on for another novel, and I can’t see that book being anything other than a conclusion to this one. Perhaps once TOR kicks into high gear more story elements will come out, but until then readers are going to be left hanging.

Looking at the book in retrospect, I can easily say I enjoyed the novel. It was a good book. However, it wasn’t great. There wasn’t a whole lot of time spent on deep character moments or wonderful prose. The pacing was brisk. There were some cool, profound moments, but they were brief. If something cool happened, Drew didn’t spend a whole lot of time dwelling on it. There were ample opportunities for the characters to explore their situations and the events that were happening to them, an element that would have helped create a deeper bond with the reader and a richer experience, but these moments were passed by. Due to that briskness and those missed opportunities, I have to give Revan a 4 out of 5 metal bikinis.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

1 Comment »

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  1. I enjoyed your review, Skuldren!

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