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Book Review – Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan

Last week was exciting for fans of books related to Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR). In addition to the release of The Art and Making of Star Wars: The Old Republic, readers were treated to Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan by Drew Karpyshyn. The author is no stranger to the story of Revan; Karpyshyn was a lead writer on the game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) and also included the teachings of Darth Revan as the inspiration for the Rule of Two in Darth Bane: Path of Destruction. The Revan novel is a great read that expands the lore of KOTOR and its sequel, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords (KOTOR II). The novel includes a history of the SWTOR-era Emperor, and the story’s conclusion has fascinating implications for the lore of the upcoming SWTOR game.

There are two major plot lines in the novel, with one following the title character and the other involving Lord Scourge, a young Sith Lord. Revan is haunted by visions of his lost past, with nightmares of impending doom for the Republic. The living legend will travel to the Unknown Regions in a desperate attempt to ensure a better future for his family. Lord Scourge is a male Sith, only two years out of the Academy but already a proven warrior. Called back to Dromund Kaas, Scourge finds himself out of his element as he is plunged into the politics of the Empire and its Dark Council. While the Revan material is strong, Scourge’s story stands out as the more engaging tale.

Karpyshyn ties together KOTOR and KOTOR II very nicely through this work, bringing the story of these two games together to a common, open-ended conclusion. While the reader with knowledge of the KOTOR games may better appreciate some of the minor details in this novel, the author does a good job in giving enough context to help the new reader while neither alienating nor boring the KOTOR veteran.

Cover art for KOTOR and KOTOR II
Cover art from KOTOR and KOTOR II

Generous excerpts of the novel are available from a variety of sources. The first fifty pages (Prologue through Chapter Four) are available from the publisher, which is embedded below and also available via direct link. In addition to the publisher’s offering, SWTOR.com offers Chapter Eleven as an excerpt. Readers who are unsure whether to buy this book should definitely take the opportunity to read these excerpts to help make an informed decision. There is even an audiobook excerpt available from the publisher for those who prefer that format.

 

Fans of the KOTOR games and Star Wars in general will enjoy this book. The political intrigue of the Sith Empire is the best feature of Revan, familiarizing the reader with lore that will definitely be an integral part of SWTOR. Revan fits in well as a prequel to the other two SWTOR novels, Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance and Star Wars: The Old Republic: Deceived, with Deceived being the best of the trilogy. While Revan is an excellent work, Karpyshyn’s Darth Bane: Path of Destruction remains his best Star Wars novel.

Bottom Line: Must-read novel for SWTOR lore fans, with an open-ended conclusion that extends the lore of KOTOR into the SWTOR-era. Five of five stars.

Five of five stars

 

Cover art for Revan Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan
Drew Karpyshyn
Published: November 2011
ISBN 10/13: 0345511344 / 9780345511348
Hardcover; 320 pages
$27.00 USD

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2 comments

  1. I agree with all of your points in the review, especially that the Scourge tale is more interesting than Revan’s and that Path of Destruction is still Karpyshyn’s best work so far. I enjoyed Revan overall, but I was a little disappointed. I had my fingers crossed that Revan would equal or come close to Path of Destruction. Revan doesn’t come off as finely crafted, like it was rushed. To be fair to Karpyshyn, he did have some limitations with this project in having to create a tale within the framework of the lore of the two KOTOR games. I think more could have been done with the Exile; for me, she was never fleshed out as a character enough. It will be interesting to see how the ending of the book plays out in the SWTOR game.

  2. @Thross: The Exile portion did seem a bit rushed, as if it was added after a good portion of the novel was already developed. While I understand the desire to include KOTOR II, I would have been more satisfied seeing the author draw on the original KOTOR companions to fill the role that the Exile plays in this novel.

    While Path of Destruction is the better book, I believe Revan is still a 5 of 5. Books like Path of Destruction don’t come along that often, and I will be pleasantly surprised if the author writes something even equal in quality any time soon.

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