Revan: Star Wars (The Old Republic) - Drew Karpyshyn "I feel so helpless. So useless."

Revan has had many titles and jobs - savior of the Republic, Jedi, Sith, mercenary, etc. But now Revan is content to be "husband" to Bastila Shan - until strange dreams of his hidden past haunt him. He teams up with Canderous Ordo to track down his past and hopefully destroy the evil before it destroys those he loves.

I'm going to just come out and say it: I, a huge fan of Star Wars, have never played either of the "Knights of the Old Republic" games. I know, I know, sacrilege. But I haven't been a big gamer and now that I am interested, my Vista laptop won't load it. So I was excited about this book - learning more about Revan, delving into his secrets. I wanted it to make me on fire for the game and the comics. I wanted Drew Karpyshyn to come in with his glory (as he did in the Darth Bane trilogy) and blow me out of the waters.

I am MASSIVELY disappointed with this effort. Honestly, it doesn't even feel like Karpyshyn is trying. The characters are bland, the story is boring, the ending makes the entire story pointless, and the writing is mediocre. This is nowhere near as good as his Darth Bane novels. It wasn't exciting, it wasn't compelling, and it didn't ever make me interested in learning more about Revan, Canderous, or any of the other characters.

But before I heap on the criticisms, let me dole out some compliments.

1. Karpyshyn does a nice job personifying the Mandalorians. I honestly think Karen Traviss, the author who dedicated a lot of her novels to fleshing out their culture, would be pleased at how Karpyshyn wrote them. Sure, it was silly they had to find a "Mask" in order to find a leader, but this is the past. People do weird things in the past. Don't you know that we used to be obsessed with the size of people's head? They developed a whole "science" dedicated to this weird belief and called it "phrenology".

2. Karpyshyn can write action. There are some good action scenes in here. Unfortunately, bland characters and bleh writing take away what would be some kick @$$ scenes.

And...that's all folks. Sorry.

The characters were so boring and bland, honestly, it's as if Karpyshyn cut them out of cardboard and wrote "REVAN", "BASTILA", and "SCOURGE" on the top so we'd know who was who. Revan, our Gary Stu of the novel (because EVERYONE thinks he's SO GREAT - even though, in the book, he doesn't do a whole helluva lot), could have been any Jedi. I got no sense of a deep history with him, feelings, desires, doubts, anything. It's like he was a blank sheet and kept TELLING us how we should feel instead of SHOWING US.

I could FEEL Bane's anger to his father. I could FEEL Bane's desire for power. I never felt Revan's love for his wife, compassion for his friends, or frustration at not knowing his past.

But honestly "boring", "bland", and "indistinguishable" isn't a characteristic solely attributed to Revan. The entire cast could be described with these adjectives. In fact, if I were to do as I normally do, name a character and then describe them, it would look like this:

"A is boring and bland."

"B is bland and boring."

"There is nothing special about C."

And so on. And because I don't want to subject you to that, I'll skip "analyzing" each character and instead tell you some general trends that bugged me.

The women are HORRIBLY treated in this novel. Which is strange because I felt that Drew made Zannah one of the better written female characters in the Star Wars universe. Bastila Shan NEVER gets to do anything. She's always told to "stay home" and do her womanly duty, look after the child (even when she is only a month or two pregnant! Both Leia AND Mara were kicking @$$ when pregnant!). Bastila is a JEDI. She could have helped Revan in his initial mission. In fact, according to everyone else, she's supposed to be a kick @$$ Jedi. But no, Revan says to stay home with the baby, so Bastila stays. If I didn't read other reviews and conversations about KOTOR, I'd think that Bastila was yet another weak-willed "Padme Amidala", who does nothing but sit and home and mope about her man being gone.

(And my complaint isn't that she is upset about her husband being gone, it's that she never acts to find out what happened, instead foisting it on other people, as if she isn't a powerful Jedi.)

The OTHER annoying thing was the jealousy between the two women (Bastila and Meetra) over Revan. Bastila is jealous of Meetra, because Meetra is Revan's apprentice and has a "special relationship" with him. Meetra is jealous of Bastila because Bastila is Revan's wife. Does this happen in real life? Sure! Is the exploration here any good? HELL NO! Does it serve any purpose! HAHAHAHAHA, no way! Karpyshyn doesn't take the time to delve into each woman's feelings about Revan or push the narrative to a new level. It's' just a throwaway detail. Because, we can't have two women with separate connections to a man (wife, student) without the two women immediately being jealous of each other. I can't tell you how many times I've seen this flouncing around in Young Adult; I NEVER thought I would EVER have to complain about in a Star Wars book.

The last character I want to highlight is Scourge. Scourge is a great example of Informed Ability. We are told time and time again how "smart" and "skilled" he is, but he is constantly being out-maneuvered and outwitted by nearly every other character. It got to the point where I figured that he deluded himself into thinking he was great; he actually was probably a mediocre to poor Sith.

The gist of Revan's story here is supposed to be about him "finding his past". But then we get this weird story about Scourge and all the ways everyone can dupe him and outsmart him which doesn't make sense until 2/3 through the book. Both stories felt very much like video games: go here. Defeat boss. Get MacGuffin. Decode. Wash, rinse, repeat.

What probably disappointed me even more (if that is possible) is the ending. I can't say much, but I will say this: WHAT WAS THE POINT? Why write this story if THAT is your ending??? I hope that Karpyshyn TRIES to tie up these ends in Annihilation.

And your favorite and mine...NERD NITPICKS!!

1. The Mandalorians, a rather practical culture as defined in recent Star Wars lore, cannot have a leader of all their clans without a "Mask". This method of rule is just bursting full of problems. Though it does make a good MacGuffin for Canderous and Revan to chase.

2. I am soooo tired of Star Wars authors feeling the need to write an even more evil, bad, horrible, wicked Sith than has come before. It's at the point where you might as well just have Satan come out of Hell and start attacking the Jedi, because that's what the Emperor basically is in this book.

3. "Basic - the lingua franca of interstellar trade was known to virtually every spacefaring species in the galaxy" Why is this line in here, not once but TWICE? I think most Star Wars fans that would be reading this book would be able to WRITE forwards and backwards in Basic (Aurabesh BTW). The ONLY ones who could benefit from this are newbies, and WHY would a newbie pick up this book to start off with? Are the publishers trying to reach gamer fans of KOTOR who aren't into Star Wars? HUH??

Thank you for joining us in another NERD NITPICK!

I won't mince words: this book is massively disappointing. Disappointing as a Karpyshyn fan, disappointing as a Star Wars fan, disappointing as a potential Revan fan. I'm so underwhelmed with this novel, I'm almost dreading to read anything else by Karpyshyn or starring Revan.

I don't recommend this for fans of the video game. I don't really recommend this to Star Wars fans, new or old. This is not Karpyshyn's best work, and I don't know if that is because of deadlines, because of storyline restrictions or what. All I know is I'm one sad Star Wars fan, who is hoping [b:Annihilation|13533656|Annihilation (Star Wars The Old Republic, #4)|Drew Karpyshyn||19095339] is better.