3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 10 July 2012
This is definitely a case of "don't judge a book by it's cover" and for all the wrong reasons which is a shame, because the cover looks awesome. The cover character, Darth Malgus is far from the major bad-ass he appears to be and serves underneath another Darth and an emperor. After an auspicious, action-filled start, he meekly submits to being relegated to the sidelines, taking any scale of grandeur the plot has with him.
The whole thing is a bit of a conundrum: what there is of it rattles along at a decent pace, has some decently inventive moments, but nothing major seems to be going on. The plot shifts between the perspectives of 4 characters: Malgus, a Jedi, a smuggler and an assassin (note that I'd have to look back on the names, they're that memorable. The characters are thinly-realised with a very generic Jedi. There's nothing detestable about them: there's not enough characterisation to make you care. The smuggler is the only one given any form of background but they all seem to be minor players carrying out their minor lives against an epic backdrop.
It's such a jobbing effort, it's like the skeleton of a project that even the author didn't care about it. There's no description to flesh it out beyond a rough draft.
It just feels like it's an opportunity missed: perhaps the subsequent books will up the ante; perhaps it makes sense if taken in the context of the game of the same name, but it has to stand on its own merits and it's too underdeveloped to do so. When you're getting charged for a full book and only getting 317 pages you should get a complete story but this feels like Act 1 and an undercooked one at that.
Two minor details to add:
1. There are too many characters with names beginning with "A". There's an Arryn and an Arrya and the Sith twins Aldus and Aldus (or something so close it makes no difference). As they barely register as characters, it's hard to keep track of who's who.
2. The author doesn't seem to trust the audience to pick up on the subtleties of his language: he keeps following characters' speech with explanations that amount to "he was being sarcastic there" or "she was a wee bit angry there". It's nothing terrible, just symptomatic of how basic the book is.
Read SoylentPurple's one-star review: it hits the nail well and truly on the head.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2014
I've been a longtime reader of Star Wars novels, from the glory days of the Bantams right through to the present day. There are a fair number of turkeys in the run, and while I wouldn't necessarily say this should be among their number, I did find it lacking in some respects.
As a standalone novel, Deceived is largely okay, but there are a lot of good points that make me like it, but I couldn't help thinking that it was somehow flawed. Set in the Old Republic era, the novel ties into the MMORPG "The Old Republic", and the opening sequence of the novel has already been seen in one of the trailers for the game. That was a nice touch. However, I do have a slight issue with the Old Republic novels (that isn't limited to Deceived alone, I should add), insofar as they reference events that it is assumed we, the readers, know about, but which have not been "seen" by us, the real-world public. Fatal Alliance had the same problem, and I was left feeling a bit lost, like I'd missed something important, when things like the Battle of Alderaan were mentioned. I assume, though, this is nothing to do with the author, but by design of the publisher. I'm sure someone who has played the game would not have these same feelings, either, but nevertheless it did make me frustrated whenever such references cropped up.
The story is basically about one Jedi's desire to avenge the murder of her master during the sacking of Coruscant. Now, Star Wars fans the world over know that Jedi do not seek vengeance, etc etc, but this seems to be a disturbing trend of a lot of the EU literature to try to make Jedi more "human", but this is misplaced, to my way of thinking. I accept that it was the whole point of Anakin's fall to the dark side, and as an isolated incident I have no problem with it per se, but we now have so many others doing the same thing as to make it a regular occurrence, and to an extent, the story of Anakin's fall has lost a lot of its force because of this. Personally, I would like to see a story about a really ascetic Jedi who was completely dispassionate in the face of personal loss - that would be really different!
There is, of course, a smuggler character, who is again a distressing stereotype of "the noble rogue". There is a sort of romance between the Jedi and the smuggler, which is so under-developed that it completely surprised me when I got to the end because I genuinely didn't see it happening! The smuggler storyline is, for me, one of the absolute worst parts of the book. There is a long sequence where he goes to visit his daughter on what I think is supposed to be his homeworld, and the location is described in such terrestrial terms that it doesn't feel like Star Wars at all. For pages of the book I felt torn out of the GFFA setting by this effort to depict normality.
And on a side note, I thought there were entirely too many instances where people jumped out of moving vehicles!
But I do find myself liking this book. This is in part for the sections dealing with Darth Malgus, the bald chap on the cover. I felt it was a really intriguing character arc, in particular his relationship with his servant Eleena. While attachment is forbidden for Jedi, I'd never really thought it would have been a problem for the Sith, but it turns out that they weren't too happy about it, either. The dynamic between the two was really interesting. Of all the characters of the novel, Malgus is probably the most three-dimensional.
I also felt that the novel had the feel of a first part of a trilogy. Much is made of the sack of Coruscant, and the subsequent peace treaty between the Republic and the Sith Empire, and of Malgus' attitude to the latter. In the epilogue, we see Malgus in a sequence that strongly reminded me of the opening sequence of the Elektra movie (bizarrely enough!) that I felt was setting the stage for where he will be going next. In the classic hero stories, once the hero has come to a personal epiphany, he sets himself firmly on his path ready for the next phase in his journey, and while it is probably a stretch to characterize Malgus as a hero, this is nevertheless the feeling I had from the ending (before the saccharine "final ending" on Dantooine). Maybe we'll see more though...
I'd not previously read a Paul S Kemp novel, despite having two more of his Star Wars novels on the shelf, but thought he definitely had the right kind of pacing needed for a Star Wars novel. Despite an overly-long first half of the novel, which apparently takes place over one day, the action was kept hurtling along quite well, which is always to be appreciated.
It's good, don't get me wrong, but I'm just overly picky at times when it comes to the dearest franchise to my heart!!!
on 10 April 2012
The problem with franchise universe books such as this one is that the publishers rarely choose top grade writers. You don't see them hiring Iain Banks or Ray Bradbury to write them. It shows very much in this novel. Given the return of the Sith to known space and the probable end of the Jedi Order and the Republic, you would think that is what would concern the writer. Even more so given that this novel sets the stage for Bioware's new MMO: The Old Republic.
I'm afraid the author has chosen to write instead a writing school type book. Damaged hero, check, romance for the hero not resolved until the last bit, check, villain with a redeeming feature, check, Totally evil villains, check, double-cross and predictable plot twists, check. A great writer uses individual stories to tell the great story, this writer uses the great story of the collapse of galactic civilisation to tell us a story about characters we have never heard of, won't hear of again and don't care less about. You learn nothing of the Sith or the Jedi here. If you want to understand the Sith, there's a short moment in the video 'return' made for The Old Republic where a Sith lashes out at a spaceship in pure frustration, knowing he can't harm it but unable to control anger and desire. Malgus also shows a true Sith warrior in the video as he lovingly strikes down his master. Here, he's a character that would never have made it through the academy.
Sorry but I wanted a story about the return of the Empire and war on a galactic scale, what I got was a cheap action novel dripping with cloying sentimental overtones.
on 26 February 2012
Paul Kemp's first Star Wars novel, Crosscurrent, was a pleasant surprise and possibly one of the best Star Wars books I've read in some time. So it was with mixed feelings I picked up his second effort. Would it be as good as his first, or would he prove to be a one-hit wonder?
Right from the opening page, this book was a good read. Paul Kemp has a way of writing that makes you want to keep reading and almost makes the text come to life. Although I felt the plot was slightly predictable, it didn't take away from the enjoyment. I thought the book was just the right length for the story being told. Any longer would have made it drag on. The half happy/half sad ending was also a nice touch in my opinion.
My only real complaint - such that it is - is that Malgus was a little too much like Vader in terms of his appearance; the only difference seemed to be the lack of a helmet.
In all honesty, I don't think it was quite as good as his first book but it was still very enjoyable. I'd certainly recommend it to a fan of the books...
on 2 July 2013
What I loved about this novel was the perspective of Darth Malgus. I loved the way his allegiance is tested throughout, in such a way that you almost feel sympathy for such a cruel lord of the sith. In a rather short story, you really come to understand his desperation for power. Alongside his story however, we follow a roguish, charismatic smuggler across the galaxy on a last minute, desperate act of courage to acquire a final big payment so he can retire safely and tend to his daughter. His story brings heart to the Star Wars universe, a story of the working guy, trying his best to do what he can, and what he's best at isn't particularly good, nor safe.
The action sequences in the story are well written and well paced, with plenty of descriptive flourishes without dragging out the fights, a tricky thing to get write, I often find.
Overall I really enjoyed my time with Deceived; it's fast and punchy, with very little downtime, exactly what a Star Wars story should be.
on 14 July 2011
I really liked this book.
Characters and story are all around the video "Deceived" from the upcoming game "Star Wars the Old Republic" so if you haven't see it yet, go check it out, its amazing.
The book tells the story of 4 characters that all converge to Curuscant for different reasons, and they all end up fighting.
A former trooper now turned smuggler, a Jedi abandoning the order, A former Imperial Agent and now free lancer Operative and the Darth Lord responsible for the razing of the Jedi Temple... Darth Malgus himself.
The Sith politics, as well as the Republic/Jedi weakness in this period are very well explained and really show the power of this story and the upcoming game.
4 out of 5 for me, and it would get a 5/5 if it was a little bigger and with even more info/events. Obviously the Author had to let the rest of the story unfold when the game finally comes, somewhere in the future.