Fatal Alliance Review

September 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Books, mmorpg, Star Wars: The Old Republic | 6 Comments
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Come to think of it, is that supposed to be Darth Chratis? Isn't he supposed to be old and decrepit?

It took me a while to read Fatal Alliance, it came out in July of last year, but I’m glad I got around to it. I am not quick to buy a hard cover, they are cumbersome, overpriced, and a storage issue. When it came out in paperback I picked it up relatively quickly.

I’m also usually hesitant to pick up game tie-in novels for relatively obvious reasons. Poor quality, dumbed down, and strict adherence to lore with little added imagination.

Fortunately the author, Sean Williams has worked in the Star Wars Extended Universe previously, and reading through Fatal Alliance quickly resembles the majority of Star Wars novels.

There are naval battles, jedi duels, firefights, mysticism, sci-fi ideas, and to top it all off as usual there is some form of grand non-sensical idea that mixes everything together and despite all effort doesn’t quite manage to ruin the entire book.

It goes from a mysterious auction to a heist story, then quickly into an action movie, then into space battles, a bit of a militaristic assault, into a fantastical finale that almost seems like more of a spectacle.

Most of the characterization is well done but I think you can tell which characters Williams likes. Despite her awful name Eldon Ax is deadly, smart, and powerful. She ingeniously makes her way inside a vault, outsmarts and overpowers a jedi, and stands toe to toe with the main villains.

I was pretty surprised that the book tries to incorporate every type of player class in the novel. It seems at first like an idea corporate headquarters sent down to Sean Williams. For the majority of the book I think he does an excellent job overall of tying everything together, making the characters work, showing (for the most part) their motivations, and why such a complex group might be thrown together.

However you are still left with a sense of confusion afterwards. Many of the actions and motivations of the characters are easy to comprehend, but there are 8 characters. I’m just left wondering why some of the characters do what they do. It just doesn’t feel natural at times. The bounty hunter presence, the imperial agent, or the smuggler, all move mysteriously and in the shadows. It fits the theme in some ways of those classes, but here it is just an excuse to cover up the fact that they don’t seem to have any real reason to be involved throughout.

There is a lot to like in the book. Characters, lore, action, and mystery. Essentially there are plot holes you could drive a truck through but altogether I did like reading it and wouldn’t have a problem suggesting it to Star Wars novel fans.

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6 Comments

  1. “there are plot holes you could drive a truck through”

    My experience with Star Wars EU (and…I have a lot of experience with that…) is that that is usually the norm and not the exception to the rule.

    I might give it a look if I can find a cheap copy of it somewhere.

    • This is one of the reasons I think of Star Wars books as fantasy novels and not sci fi novels. They tend to try to explain things with fantasy or at least gloss over the impossibilities instead of using science.

      • I’ve always seen Star Wars as more of a political fantasy that just happens to take place in outer space, as opposed to sci-fi. It’s really never been that heavy on sciencey stuff.

  2. Cowboys and Samurai in space… not exactly the collected works of Asimov but, god help me, I still enjoy it despite all of the obvious flaws because… Cowboys and Samurai… IN SPACE!

    (unfortunately, the design decisions of BioWare forced me to give up hope on SWTOR more than a few months back no matter how much I like the IP… no attempt to step away from the holy trinity whatsoever (as originally stated) but instead they completely embraced holy trinity to a greater degree than has been previously witnessed… disagree? Boba Fett can be a medic, and so can Han Solo… nuff said.)

    • (Boba Fett address Darth Vader)
      “Does uddems need a booboo strip?”
      (Lord Vader’s response)
      “It ouches!”
      Fett fires his kolto rocket launcher of +10 healing…

      In case you were wondering BioWare… this ^ is how you know you’ve gone too GD far into holy trinity!

    • Since every class can play the roles and switch between them as you play, as I understand it, it doesn’t bother me. It’s better than a fixed trinity.


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