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4.6 out of 5 stars
Star Wars: The Old Republic - Annihilation
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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.
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VINE VOICEon 17 August 2013
(3,641 BBY) Set after the events of 'The Old Republic' computer game and following on from 'The Old Republic: The Lost Suns' comic books, this book reveals a galaxy where the Sith Empire is finally being defeated by the Republic but calls upon one last trump card; a near-invincible warship called the Ascendant Spear. Knowing that the Spear could turn the tide of the war once more, the Republic sets special agent Theron Shan and Jedi Master Gnost-Dural the task of taking the ship out of the fight.

I was a bit dubious about the idea of Theron Shan as this book's main protagonist but actually found it quite refreshing to read about a non-Force-sensitive who uses Jedi techniques whilst simultaneously scorning Jedi philosophy. He reads a little like James Bond, with a curious mix of morality and ruthless expedience. Gnost-Dural (the Jedi voiced by Lance Henrikssen in the online chronology for TOR) complements this well by being the sort of battle Jedi who doesn't agonise over every being he kills. I also enjoyed seeing the stuff going on behind the scenes in the war, with Darth Marr's desperate attempts to hold together the fragmenting Empire and the revelations about the history between Supreme Commander Jace Malcom and Grand Master Satele Shan being of particular interest.

It's a little hard to quantify, but overall this book just felt a bit shallow. It lacked the depth and complexity of say a Timothy Zahn novel, coming over much more pulpy. That's not always a bad thing, but I just feel (as with Karpyshyn's 'Revan') that the subject matter deserved a more in-depth, sweeping epic. Another slight disappointment was that, as the last 'The Old Republic' novel, I would've liked to have seen some follow up to the other novels of the series. How is Zeerid Korr from 'Deceived' doing by the end of the war? What became of Darth Marr's apprentice after the end of 'Fatal Alliance'? Maybe a cameo from Lord Scourge from 'Revan'? I understand the TOR novels were all supposed to be independent stand-alones, but it really wouldn't have hurt for a bit of interlinking.
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on 7 November 2015
I read this book after the first few old republic books and games and it fits in well with the back stories from the years before episode 1 I'm a fan of the series and I'm glad in this book the don't directly follow a jedi or someone eventually becoming its more a separate entity working outside of the order so a new view of the universe and lots of plot twists make it an interesting read so I gave it full marks
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on 18 December 2016
Drew Karpyshyn is a great writer and once again he delivers! I wish Disney would get him to write more Old Republic books
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on 8 January 2018
Brilliant read it explains a lot of the story of the Old Republic.
Wish that there were some more books in the series.
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on 9 July 2015
Fans of the game and other Star Wars paperbacks will enjoy this. It sits comfortably alongside the X-Wing series as entertaining easy reading. The characterisations are solid (if a tad formulaic), and the action sequences are slick and well written (even if in some of them, you can almost imagine it being played out in-game, with the special attacks and all!).
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on 11 October 2017
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on 9 January 2013
'Annihilation' is Drew Karpyshyn at his finest, and I strongly recommend this novel to any Star Wars fan. Also, if you play or plan to play Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO, this'll provide some rich detail regarding some of the important characters.
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on 9 January 2017
A great read
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on 2 October 2015
BEST Star Wars book I ever read, following Revan and Deceived! Drew Karpyshyn is my favourite non-fictional writer still!
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