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Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived
by Paul S. Kemp
Edition: Hardcover

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid at all costs, 10 Dec 2011
I don't claim to have amazing taste in literature, I'll give anything a try.

As a Star Wars fan, this book is awful.
As a fan of the English language, this book is awful.

There is nothing inherently wrong with it, it is just bland, shallow, and instantly forgettable.

The characters are described so thinly, they don't have enough substance to be called 'shallow'. They are just shadows of characters. What colour are her eyes? Does Malgus have hair? Will removing Malgus' respirator for more than a few seconds kill him or is it just to help him breathe a little easier?

The only character given any sort depth his Eleena the twilek slave, who has been so abused that she suffers from Stokholm syndrome and actually loves Malgus... when she isn't terrified of him. Or is that not quite correct? Who knows... the author Kemp certainly doesn't. Considering Eleena is only around for a few pages, it doesn't bode well for the rest of the book.

The whole book feels like a rough first draft that he has planned to go back an flesh out later. Instead it was published. I don't think it was even edited judging by the structure of some sentences.

Kemp just doesn't have a style. Every paragraph feels like Stephen Hawkin's voice box instead of the oration of Patrick Stewart. The words are just on the page without any sort of flow or rhythm. I'm guessing Kemp wrote this over a long weekend, and it is so short that this is entirely possible. You can read through it in a few hours, and instantly forget it. Thank God I didn't spend a fortune on the hard-back copy. Buying that is bordering on theft.

"As one, the seven Jedi moved toward Malgus and Eleena, and Malgus and Eleena moved toward them."
He wrote that line seriously, and an editor let it through? That is just from the top of my head, but there are many many clunky paragraphs that need to be looked at.

Our hero's ship is called Fatman. And that is all we know about it. I have no idea what it looks like, how big it is, what colour it is, whether it can make the Kessel run in 4 parsecs, or what sort of weapons it has. It is described simply as a ship. The Millenium Falcon was as much a character of Star Wars as Luke Skywalker is. And unfortunately for this book, Fatman is as much as a character as all the others in the book. i.e. nondescript.

In the "Dramatis peronae" section at the start of the book, jedi master Ven Zallow (the 'hero' jedi from the trailer) is classified as "Male, species unknown". Kemp's writing about a character and he doesn't even know the species? Did no one at Bioware bother to tell him? Or was that one of the bits of information that was supposed to come later, but never did?

What does the jedi temple look like? I only know because I have seen the trailer. Kemp doesn't bother to describe it. Nor does he bother to describe the ship that smacks into it. Nothing is described in the entire book, other than the colour of Eleena's skin and the scar on her neck. That is not an exaggeration, that is the truth. Everything about this book screams UNFINISHED.

It is as if Kemp watched the "Deceived" trailer, and was promised more material later which would let him flesh out the book. And the material never arrived, and the book was published. I understand that this is common practice with movie and game tie-ins.

It is insulting that they keep printing Star Wars books of this quality.

After reading this book, I found a quote online:
"DECEIVED: how Paul Kemp deceived someone into paying him to write"

I would have to agree with that.


A Singular Destiny (Star Trek: Crossover)
A Singular Destiny (Star Trek: Crossover)
by Keith R. A. DeCandido
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.25

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Save your time and money, 9 Aug 2009
Save your time and money. This book takes 350 pages to go nowhere, and takes its own sweet time in getting there. And when we do finally reach page 350 for Chapter 20, the big reveal is not worth the wait or time invested.

Following on 1 week from the events of the overblown Destiny trilogy, we have professor Sonek Pran touring the galaxy writing everyone's wrongs. I have no problem with the author attempting to create a non-starfleet passive hero, but I do have a problem with the character he created.

Pran is the most sanctimonious, self-righteous, holier-than-though and preachy character I have ever read. Imagine Guinan x20, and you you'd still fall short. Each time I read the character, I imagined him walking around with a big smug self-satisfied condescending grin on his face.

Even Pran might have been tolerable if the story or writing had been good. But Singular Destiny fails in both of these areas too.

The writing is blunt, without a style, and is as plain as the interior of Archer's Enterprise. We are never given a description of any of the locations we are taken too. The President's offices feel just like the Romulin leader's offices, which feel just like the mining colony, which feel just like every single other location in the book. Not once does the author set a scene. The story just happens, it doesn't seem to take place in a believable place.

Speaking of the story; there isn't one. This book is obviously just a filler or stepping stone from the galaxy changing occurrences of the Destiny trilogy, to whatever comes next. Whichever book comes next and deals with the (so-called) ending of this book, will have an interesting political theme, more in-keeping with the political dealings of Deep Space 9.

Characters and story threads race along so quickly, you wonder why they were even included. In one hilariously bad example, Dax's security chief beams down to the mining colony and solves the murders in 2 paragraphs. This could have been have been happening behind the scenes for half the book, and those same 2 paragraphs could have described a complicated investigation instead. But what we actually get is a nasty little deus ex machina just so the plot can be moved along, and help out the Starfleet Corps of Engineers with a completely different problem.

Speaking of the Corps of Engineers, they start off solving a problem which could have had some merit (How do you get to and from a planet that you cannot beam to or shuttle to, and how do you scan something that cannot be scanned), but suddenly these characters are just dropped and Dax emails them her scans from the crime scene and problem solved. Another wasted opportunity.

This is just another Star Trek book from the great Trek publishing machine of turgid conformitality. Quite frankly anyone book that has character's praying to "The Great Bird of the Galaxy" deserves to be ignored (If you don't get the reference, then this book is definitely not for you).

If any following books actually take into account the end of this one, then that could be a good thing. But as it stands, this whole book could have just been a paragraph at the beginning of the next one (Which of course it will be, as the people that hadn't read this one will still need to know the background.)

A final note: Each chapter is interleaved with a news bulletin or a ship's log etc. This again is a missed opportunity. Apparently the news service writes in the same style as ship's councillor's logs. Instead of exploring different styles for these 2-3 page inserts based on the character writing them, they are all just the same bland 'style' as the rest of the book.


Infinity's Prism: Myriad Universes Bk. 1 (Star Trek)
Infinity's Prism: Myriad Universes Bk. 1 (Star Trek)
by Christopher L. Bennett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.01

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, 5 July 2009
When I first started reading this book, I thought it fan fiction. I thought 3 fan fiction writers had pooled their money together and paid to publish a book themselves, knowing no reputable company would publish.

Only after finishing all 3 books did I discover that these were experienced authors with many published books under their belts.

The style of writing is simplistic and represents everything that is bad about the mountain of Star Trek and Star Wars books that are written. And that is: Slap the logo on the front and fans will buy it. Doesn't have to be good, as long as the copy-writer can spin a good yarn on the back cover.

The stories are essentially just ways to kill off the characters we all know and love and render all the stories pointless.

The only saving grace of this book is James Swallow, who actually gives some style to his writing, but isn't allowed to run free as he has to stick to the Star Trek of writing.

This book also contains probably the worst Trek story I've ever read (The awful Voyager story which was just an excuse to get Janeway together with Chakotay). The writing of this Voyager story is mechanically and dull; it feels like a 12 year-old's first attempt at fiction. In one hysterically bad piece of writing, Kes is about to become pregnant and have a life changing decision to make, only for it all to be reversed and rendered null-and-void, all in the same paragraph.

If we continue to buy rubbish like this, then they will continue to publish rubbish like this. Fans should avoid on general principle.


Star Trek: Myriad Universes #2: Echoes And Refractions (Bk. 2)
Star Trek: Myriad Universes #2: Echoes And Refractions (Bk. 2)
by Keith R. A. Decandido
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.54

1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid, 5 July 2009
When I first started reading this book, I thought it fan fiction. I thought 3 fan fiction writers had pooled their money together and paid to publish a book themselves, knowing no reputable company would publish.

Only after finishing all 3 books did I discover that these were experienced authors with many published books under their belts.

The style of writing is simplistic and represents everything that is bad about the mountain of Star Trek and Star Wars books that are written. And that is: Slap the logo on the front and fans will buy it. Doesn't have to be good, as long as the copy-writer can spin a good yarn on the back cover.

The stories are essentially just ways to kill off the characters we all know and love and render all the stories pointless.

The only saving grace of this book is that it is fractionally better than its predecessor:
Infinity's Prism: Myriad Universes Bk. 1

That book contained probably the worst Trek story I've ever read (The awful Voyager story which was just an excuse to get Janeway together with Chakotay).
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2009 3:50 PM BST


SudokuManiacs (Nintendo DS)
SudokuManiacs (Nintendo DS)

76 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid this like the plague, 27 April 2007
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
I should have known better. The title in Amazon didn't match the title on the picture of the game, and the advert boasted an "infinite" number of puzzles (which is of course a mathematical impossibility and false advertising).

What is the main selling feature of the Nintendo DS? The touch-screen technology right?

Well some one should tell the jokers that made this game that the DS has a touch screen. The Sudoku grid stays in the top screen, and you navigate it by pressing buttons like a cheap electronic sudoku game you buy in the supermarket. And as there are no diagonal buttons, you have to go up one, left one, just to move to the next square if it is on a diagonal.

Another major flaw is that you cannot add little mini-numbers in the boxes to remind you what the number might be.

I bought this 'game' (or 'torture' as it should be called) to keep me occupied for a 9 hour flight. Now I am not even going to bother taking it with me. That is how bad it is.

If anyone still wants this, you can find my virtually untouched copy on ebay in a couple of weeks when I get back from holiday.


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