by Paul S. Kemp
Published by Del Rey
Adrick's Rating: 2 out of 4
Based on the new trailer created for the Star Wars online video game, this novel tells the tale of a mysterious Sith Lord in the Old Republic who infiltrates and succeeds in destroying the Jedi Temple, thus setting the stage for the famous Treaty of Coruscant. The second novel set in the Old Republic era and based on the massively multiplayer online Star Wars: The Old Republic ramps up the action and brings players face-to-face for the first time with a Sith warrior to rival the most sinister of the Order's Dark Lords--Darth Malgus, the mysterious, masked Sith of the wildly popular "Deceived" and "Hope" game trailers.
Malgus brought down the Jedi Temple on Coruscant in a brutal assault that shocked the galaxy. But if war crowned him the darkest of Sith heroes, peace would transform him into something far more heinous--something Malgus would never want to be, but cannot stop, any more than he can stop the rogue Jedi fast approaching.
Her name is Aryn Leneer--and the lone Knight that Malgus cut down in the fierce battle for the Jedi Temple was her Master. And now she's going to found out what happened to him, even if it means breaking every rule in the book.
I?ve been surprised to find myself enjoying the way in which the backstory for The Old Republic game is being doled out. I wasn?t particularly interested in the MMORPG itself, but I grew intrigued as the web site, the online comics, and the novels gradually revealed more and more about the era. We?ve seen the same events from different perspectives in different mediums, which I feel has always been one of the strengths of the Expanded Universe.
The trailers for this game have been particularly impressive; fantastic mini-movies that provide a lot of action, but not a lot of context. Deceived expands upon a particular trailer of the same name, and, as the cover suggests, is largely the tale of Darth Malgus, the Sith Lord who stormed the Jedi Temple in the trailer.
During that attack, the novel reveals, Malgus slew the Jedi Zallow, whose death was felt by his apprentice Aryn Leneer, during peace negotiations with the Sith on Alderaan. These events cross over with those of the online comic Threat of Peace. Leneer sets out to avenge her master?s death, recruiting down-on-his luck smuggler Zeerid Korr to take her to Coruscant, where the final showdown takes place.
I?m not a gamer, and don?t intend to play The Old Republic game, but it?s been an adventure seeing the story unfold. As part of a larger story, Deceived serves its purpose and is an enjoyable read.
Deceived struggles to stand on its own as a novel. Kemp succeeds in bringing some characters to life?Malgus, for example, could have easily been a Darth Vader knockoff but here has motivations and character developments all its own?while others fall flat. Zeerid Korr, for example, is pretty much the standard good-man-turned-to-crime-for-his-family archetype, and his romance with Leneer is underdeveloped. And then there?s the inexplicably named Varth Xizor, who is neither Falleen nor particularly interesting.
The story is stronger here than in Kemp?s previous Star Wars novel, Crosscurrent, but the characters are, on the whole, less interesting. Deceived really only succeeds as an expansion of the larger Old Republic storyline; there is not a lot to recommend it as a standalone novel.
Darth Malgus kissing anyone was a visual I didn?t need?let?s hope that?s never in the game?