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4.3 out of 5 stars
Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 17 September 2010
I am not usually a Star Wars novel reader. I have read the novelizations of all six movies, but never moved into the expanded universe. I found this to be a perfect place to start. None of the characters are familiar - being set some 3000 years before "A New Hope" - but all are full of personality and Sean Williams does a fantastic job at keeping the reader gripped and wanting to know what happens next. I have never been a Sci-Fi reader, more of a thriller in the shape of Rollins, Child, Grisham and Patterson, but this has changed my view on the genre, and I have pre-ordered "Deceived", in the same series, and I'm really looking forward to it! I highly recommend this to anyone with the slightest interest in action or adventure as well as the obvious Sci-Fi/Star Wars fans.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 June 2011
Its a nice book to read while waiting for SWTOR.
It isn't the best star wars book out there, but I've read worse, and at least it talks about people/places we may see in the game (some of them we will for sure).
I didn't quite like the robot/android stuff because for some reason it didn't quite feel star wars.... I did like a lot of classes we will play were portraid by the book characters.
We had the trooper, Jedi, Sith, Smuggler, Imperial Agent... Even a droid companion.
All of them are in the book, and it was a nice way to see different takes on the same situation from all this characters.
In the end I give this book a 3 out of 5 and recommend it to anyone crazy for star wars and waiting for SWTOR.
For anyone not into the game, the book isn't going to be as appealing, and if that is the case you might want to pass this up.
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on 10 September 2012
Many books have promising beginnings and quality endings but struggle with an indifferent middle. This is the opposite. Fatal Alliance crawls for its first 100 pages, explodes in the middle 350 and then offers a disappointing conclusion. It's a real mixed bag.

The first act was worrying for two reasons. First, the premise gathering all the players together seems shoe-horned in, artificial and not exactly logical. It just doesn't make sense that the Hutts having fragments of a ship built of rare metals and a transponder (map) that nobody's examined would lead everyone to the conclusion that it must be from a new world. It might have made sense if the metals were unique or did something unique, or instead of fixating on the metals, the technology had exhibited some interesting properties but instead, it feels like what it is: a plot device.

My second issue is with characters' behaviour and choices, particularly the dialogue. I found the reasoning hard to follow because it wasn't very logical. Much of it was geared at creating context of the galactic situation and the ideologies of the Empire/ Republic but there's no proper train of sense (especially the Jedi master-padawan ethical debates). As with the first point, action seems unnaturally fitted to the demands of the plot.

Part of the underwhelming start could be down to the familiar roster of characters lifted from the source-material of the New Republic game (Jedi/ Sith/ Bounty Hunter/ Scoundrel/ Soldier/ Spy). These aren't the worst cut-out templates in a Star Wars book but they're also easily forgettable, particularly Padawan 101. Most effort seems to have gone in to the spy character, probably because his motives are garbled and could do with some unravelling. The others are pretty middling.

Fortunately, once things get started, the action is intense, fast-paced and quite inventive, kicked off with a three-way fight that quickly becomes four-way. A new faction is introduced that's imaginative- if a little conveniently powerful- and there's a vividly imagined location. The middle sections are more than enough to make the false start quite forgivable with a race-for-the-treasure caper that should see you drive through at a rapid pace. The only problems occur when there's a pause for characters to take stock and the faulty logic comes back in.

Then, just as things are coming to a head, it all stops suddenly (and a bit unconvincingly) and there are effectively 40 pages of epilogue that kill off the good vibe that had just been created. Part of the conclusion which should have been described as action is merely reported, as though the author got told he'd written enough pages and had to end things there (it's long for a Star Wars book). Instead we get a few dead squib endings for some characters. Thankfully, the epilogue proper and preceding chapter do something to rally it at the end, setting things up nicely for the more interesting characters.
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THE STORY:
Set before 'The Old Republic' computer game, during the uneasy peace between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic, this book tells the story of the discovery of a deadly new droid technology. At first agents of the Sith, the Republic and the Jedi all vie for possession of the technology but soon they realise that they must form an unprecedented alliance in order to end the threat it poses to the entire galaxy.

WHAT'S GOOD:
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, having feared that it would be little more than an advert for 'The Old Republic' MMO and having particularly bad memories of Star Wars' other MMO tie-in novel (the dreadful 'Galaxies: Ruins Of Dantooine'). Instead we're given an insight into the state of the galaxy through the actions of a group of indivduals who find themselves adrift in it; a Jedi Padawan struggling to become a Knight, a disenfranchised former Special Ops trooper, a Sith apprentice out to prove herself and an Imperial spy with increasingly conflicted loyalties. Thrown into the mix are two very different underworld characters, the ruthless Mandalorian bounty hunter Dao Stryver and the mysterious smuggler captain Jet Nebula (yes, the name is ridiculous but that is directly addressed in the book). My favourite part of the book was the eponymous fatal alliance on Sebaddon. In particular it was great to see the Jedi Padawan being forced to work alongside and learn to appreciate the power of Sith Lord Darth Chratis, whilst the Sith apprentice finds herself suitably impressed by fighting alongside Satele Shan, Grand Master of the Jedi Order. In the end, despite my initial cynicism, this book succeeded in not only telling an enjoyable story but also leaving me hungry for the world of 'The Old Republic' game.

WHAT'S BAD:
The plot of this book is more than a little contrived, with vast leaps of logic which leave gaping plot holes in their wake. In fact, the plot is treated like nothing more than an unfortunate necessity in order to bring about the alliance and set-piece battle at Sebaddon. Also, although it did work on me, the fact that this book is essentially marketing material for the TOR computer game is all-too apparent. In fact, the eight main characters presented in the Dramatis Personae directly represent the eight classes of character available to play as in the game. Worse than this, is the cringe-worthy summing-up between Stryver and Nebula in the epilogue which pretty much reads as a 'We need YOU to be a HERO' game advert.
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on 28 December 2011
i actually read the second book in this series first believing it to be the first and after really enjoying it i bought and read this. it was an enjoyable read i read it within two days of having bought it.
it has the usual race against time but through most of it you are not entirely sure what the schemes of everyone are and at point you believe it to be a sort of half time and certain people will switches ends and i'm still not sure whether they did or made their own side.

if you enjoyed the star wars books that never focused on the movie characters then you will enjoy this book, the sci fi authors of star wars universe have been in need of a new area in which to write freely and the clone wars and and after have been filled with books that are by a large good but don't have the same sense of adventure as this series introduces.
the feel of it may seem a bit like a rerun of the rebellion versus the empire, but that adds to the enjoyment really.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2010
I wasn't really looking forward to this book - Sean Williams' last video game tie-in (The Force Unleashed) was pretty unremarkable and I'm a little sceptical about the whole TOR era. A few chapters in and it wasn't looking good: we're rapidly introduced to a set of new characters with bafflingly similar names (Shygo, Satele Shan, Stryver, Stantorrs) and I was having a difficult time getting interested in them or the plot.

However, once the characters are thrown together they quickly become a likeable bunch. They soon find themselves in a classic Star Wars setup of mismatched adventurers on a smuggling freighter (complete with eccentric droid), albeit in a way that is perhaps a little too similar to the 'fatal alliance' seen in recent Fate of the Jedi books. There are still a few niggles - the battles are a little drawn-out and told from too many perspectives, particularly the battle in a Hutt palace in which Williams repeatedly shows the same time period from seven different perspectives.

I enjoyed this book, but I think it still might be one for the completists and TOR fans. Otherwise, wait for the paperback.
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on 9 January 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the longer-than-most Star Wars book, 'Fatal Alliance'. Being a player of The Old Republic enriched this experience, as I got to understand some of the characters a little better. The most prominent and interesting feature of this novel, in my opinion, is that it'll most likely make the reader see the Jedi and Sith in a different light, in terms of their relationship with one another.

Some fantastic characters are introduced in this novel like the Padawan Shigar and the terrifying Darth Chratis, but there are some old favourites like Satele Shan, too.
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on 10 May 2015
I have never played the old republic games but took great interest and watched videos on youtube. I bought this book and then googled some of the characters names, just to get pictures and a quick backstory. I have to say its one of the best sw books I have read. awesome characters great enemies gripping story from start to finish. it was action right from the start and never stopped. exactly how sw eu books should be. the droids ( hexes) are the stuff of nightmares and at one point I thought theres no point in attempting to fight these anymore. but...... MUST READ
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on 4 May 2015
I read this on meh kindle, so I can't say anything about the delivery.
I really enjoyed this book (apart from the first two chapters, and the ones from Ula' s point of view; I was as bored as he was!) And it was good, with great detail and tension.
Unfortunately, I got lost about 80percent of the way in. I couldn't understand WHAT was happening, it just all seemed a jumble :(
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on 15 July 2014
Didn't know what to expect as I'm a massive Star Wars fan and this was my first time giving the Old Republic a try and it didn't disappoint, the characters grow on you quick and you soon recognize the similarities of the universe you know and appreciate the new timeline, I really enjoy the book it moves at a good pace and it is a great introduction to the franchise.
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