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This isn't the Revan *I* know.....,
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This review is from: Revan (Star Wars: The Old Republic, Vol. 3) (Hardcover)
Alright, I could write a really long review highlighting the many, many things I didn't really care for with this book, however I'll keep myself focused on the title character.
As background, I'm a no holds barred KOTOR (Knights of the Old Republic) junkie. I've probably played and beaten the first game a couple dozen times at the very least, and the second (much of which I regret Obsidian getting their hands on) I've played through at least a dozen. Suffice it to say that I have been looking forward to this novel for quite a long time, how disappointed can one fan get?
First and foremost, Revan is powerful. Kreia stated that looking at Revan was like staring into the heart of the Force. Training aside, to say looking at him was equivalent to seeing the living, breathing Force. The Force (can't imagine anyone reading this and not knowing it, but anyway) is the force of life, that energy that binds all living things together. Now, staring at this man, again, all training aside, would be overwhelming to say the least. Revan was said to possess immense charisma, so much that he led much of the Republic military forces and Jedi off to war with the Mandalorians. He was said to be a brilliant tactician, performing feints and counter-feints that left the Mandalorians in complete disarray. The Mandalorians (again for the layman out there) are a warrior culture born and bred for combat. Military tactics, combat styling and synchronized attacks are happenstance thoughts, so to say that this Jedi came along and did what they did, only far better is to say he was not only connected to the force on a level unseen before, but also an incredibly intelligent man just as himself. These traits equal out to an incredibly powerful foe.
Now Revan not only led the Republic forces to war against the Mandalorians, but he won. The Mandalorians on their conquests never stood a chance against Revan, but as a culture that respects the Warriors Way above all else, they revered Revan. He battled Mandalore the Ultimate, their leader and greatest warrior in single combat and won. Revan wasn't only to be respected but feared. After defeating the bulk of the Mandalorians, he chased the remainder into the unknown regions. When Revan returned, he and Malak had become conquerers, but not in the typical sense. Revan and Malak didn't target regular worlds for conquest, they targeted worlds with strategic value for military operations. This signaled that maybe Revan wasn't actually bent on the destruction of the Republic, but instead felt it was ill prepared for a coming threat and was gathering and preparing the resources he needed to battle it. Revan did actually succumb to the Dark Side of the Force, but dark side doesn't necessarily mean you are a Sith or following any of their ideals. The Sith are an actual species and force sensitive beings that have overtly given in to the dark side. So that said, Revan was fueling his newfound powers and conquests with the dark side of the force, but it would appear he was preparing to battle the Sith.
Let's talk about the Revan in the novel. This Revan has some skill, but seems like he's lost. Yes, when the Jedi council wiped his memories they essentially destroyed his identity, but its made very clear that his identity returned at the end of KOTOR and he remembered the threat he needed to face and left to fight it. The Revan in the novel has no sense of power in his identity. The author puts alot of emphasis on Revans identity being shattered, but someone with that much natural attunement to the force, that much natural intelligence and charisma would still have many of those traits, identity or not. The author though continues to portray Revan almost as a regular master. He fails repeatedly to capture the immense strength and power that the character possesses. And these complaints are only about the character and his core personality.
The author seems to have gotten a checklist of notable events and things Revan as well as the Exile did and was told to write a story about it. What should be a fitting conclusion to an amazing story is left as a "Well this happened in game so I'll mention it, then we'll speculate this happened and then so and so did this and got us here" type of story. Everything has detail, but no substance to it. Revan is a superficial character (well all of them are really save for Lord Scourge, the pansy Sith Lord) that you end up not really caring about. You sense that there is great destiny wrapped around him, but the author fails to really capture what that means let alone properly explore the sheer depth of the character. Why they named the book Revan is a little beyond me. It seems this would be more appropriately titled "Lord Scourge" as the only character that has much substance is the Sith Lord that routinely fails to follow Sith ideals. Sith respect power above all things, and anyone who can seize power from another is rightfully entitled to whatever that other person had. Lord Scourge for the bulk of the book is kind of bumbling through the Sith landscape being played like a violin and is consistently suspicious yet still surprised when someone plays him. He's a weak character but not forgettable as the author spends a large amount of effort bringing him to the front of the story.
Overall, I really had higher hopes for this book. I don't really feel that my time has been wasted, but I thought that Revan deserved a much, much better book for his story than this came out to be. Hopefully someone will revisit his story and give him the conclusion he deserves, sadly that time doesn't seem to be now.
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Initial post: Nov 20, 2011 8:15:41 PM PST
"Bumbling" is the perfect word to describe Lord Scourge. The title would have been more honest if it had been described as "Revan & Scourge" instead of just Revan.
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