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Reasonable Star Wars style action but lacks depth and originality
on 7 April 2015
This is another Star Wars novel inspired by the various Old Republic video games. When the novels set in this era began to be released they made for quite a change from the multitude of those that had primarily been set around the six films or during several decades that subsequently follow the events of ‘Return of the Jedi’. They have now become more numerous and, unfortunately, as a result become a bit samey.
‘Annihilation’ is not the most original of Star Wars plots. The Sith Empire have a super ship/weapon of mass destruction that could turn the tide of the war and, therefore, the Jedi and various Republic agents are devising a way to destroy it against all odds. During these events the various Sith Lords are continuously vying for power in efforts to ascend through their ranks. It’s all been seen before, but the novel does do this type of thing quite well.
Annihilation’ doesn’t feel like a very suitable title. There isn’t really any ‘annihilation’ involved and at this particular time in the war against the Sith Empire the Republic seems to somewhat have the upper hand. It certainly is less under a threat of annihilation than it appears in many other Star Wars novels throughout the various eras.
Some of the characters are already established from other media other than the various novels. This tends to mean their characterisation within this book isn’t as strong as it could be. Knowledge of various comics does, no doubt, enhance the story but it is not essential.
The main protagonist, Theron Shan, is descended from a prominent line of Jedi but has no aptitude for the force. His heritage is, perhaps, more interesting than he is himself. There is some effort in the book to indicate that he is a bit of wild card but it doesn’t quite come across. If anything he seems a bit subdued at times. He is a pretty capable character though and without the force he copes more than adequately with fighting the Sith.
Gnost-Dural is in many ways little more than a typical Jedi Master. His characterisation seems to just depend upon him being a Kel-Dor. This leads him to be very like Plo Koon.
Teff’ith is a good character but it often feels that she doesn’t really need to be in the novel and that she has just been included for the sake of it.
There are really only two Sith Lords of any note in the story and Darth Gravus does no more than fulfil the role of the ‘idiot’ Sith. Many Old Republic novels seem to possess these Sith Lords who, despite their power and intelligence, serve as cannon fodder for the purpose of the story. Darth Karrid is potentially more interesting but is little more than an internal ship component. Certainly within the confines of this novel there is little to suggest exactly how or why she fell to the dark side other than her obsession with being in a symbiotic relationship with her ship.
Minister Davidge is one of the more interesting characters. Even though he is of some importance in the Sith Empire he is not obviously or overtly evil. Instead he is an administrator, just trying to get his job done but happens to work for Sith Lords.
The Darth Bane novels by the same author possess much better characterisation and a more intense exploration of the dark side.