Revan by Drew Karpyshyn (Star Wars: The Old Republic)

Here's the one we Knights of The Old Republic fans have been waiting for, finally the mysterious fate of Revan is revealed in a novel that bridges the gap between the first two KOTOR games and new Old Republic MMO. So, is it worth the wait?

Well, initially, it’s hard not to feel slightly disappointed. When a great mystery is being solved, and there have been several years of fan speculation to deal with, the author has their work cut out and is doomed to never fully satisfy readers.

Revan, is something of an enigma. He has roguish elements, and is a fun if thin character. Meetra, the exile from the second game, suffers from this even more, especially by the time she turns up. This is the downside of adapting playable characters into another medium, the author feels compelled not to write anything that might contradict how the gamer played that role. The downside is thin characterisation.

New addition Darth Scourge has the biggest journey and the most action. He’s certainly a character I hope to see more of in the future.

Bastila Shan fans be warned: she only plays a minor role here, and seems to have lost that fire which made her so popular. Elsewhere, many fan favourite characters get lip service only; but some do make short cameos. I suppose I would have preferred an adventure cast more akin to the original games that would make it feel more like the KOTOR 3 we never got.

Revan's story takes a while to get going - but that was true of the KOTOR games I guess. The story falls into a routine and takes a while to get out of it. When Revan's story finally kicks into gear, the book gets more interesting.

Then there is a significant time jump just after the mid way point of the book. The first half of the story is set between KOTOR 1 and 2 and fills in some of the gaps. The second half of the story is set after the events of KOTOR 2 and I wonder if this would jar readers who hadn't played that game. Although the events of that second game are explained, I think it helped me accept the appearance of new characters because I was already familiar with them.

But then, I can imagine the majority of people who read this book will be familiar with the events of the KOTOR games. Indeed, references to characters from the games are written assuming the readers prior knowledge.

This time jump is also a little jarring as it occurs not long after Revan's story really begins to get interesting. In fact, the book really does feel like two different (though linker) adventures. Ultimately, this story works better as an exercise in gap filling. As such dialogue is occasionally exposition heavy as is some of the prose. But, if you've played the game you'll be familiar with exposition heavy dialogue. Karpyshyn likes to spell things out sometimes, a shame when many of his characters live in shades of grey.

If the review so far seems particularly negative, I did find plenty to enjoy even if the whole doesn’t quite flow or give me everything I expected or wanted. Karpsyshyn’s action is clear and fast, there are a few fun twists and it’s nice to spend time in the company of old friends.

I also really liked the idea that the mysterious forces that had led the Mandalorians and then Revan to attack the republic prior to KOTOR are a key part of The Old Republic. It neatly ties things together and makes sense. There is a sense of inevitability to the novel’s ending, but Karpyshyn throws in a few final ideas that keep things interesting, and leave tantalising hints of what players might eventually find in the new MMO.

For, as I have said in the previous reviews for this series, that is the true purpose of these books; to lay some narrative ground work and interest potential players in this new online galaxy. In that goal the book succeeds - although I kind of find myself wanting to replay the older games instead.

Revan is a fun and interesting read which should, if not must, be read by long standing fans of the series.

7/10 Revan is a fun and interesting read which should, if not must, be read by long standing fans of the

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7/10 from 1 reviews

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