Book Review: Deceived by Paul Kemp

I’ve just finished reading Deceived by Paul Kemp.

250px-Swtor_deceived_coverDeceived is based on the popular online game Star Wars : The Old Republic. If you aren’t familiar with it, it is set in the Star Wars universe thousands of years before Luke Skywalker blows up the Death Star, but pays great tribute to the movies. There are Jedi and Sith, Smugglers and Bounty Hunters fighting for freedom or power.

I enjoyed the novel (and thank you to the friend who gifted it to me) but I would only give it three stars.

The story of Decieved centers around one of the iconic events potrayed in the game’s trailer – the sacking of the Jedi Temple. This is actually one of the books primary faults for me. For as talented a writer as Mr. Kemp is, I’ve already seem this battle portrayed in with stunning visual effect in the game’s trailer. I skimmed the scenes that described the battle. I already had a clear vision in my mind. Now, if you aren’t familiar with the game or if you hadn’t seen the trailer, his descriptions of the battle are quite vivid even if he does use the word crosscut far too often.

What Mr. Kemp attempts to do is a Paul Harvey like ‘rest of the story’. Here is another place the novel threw me. The title and cover art all show the Sith (evil Jedi) who sacked the Jedi Temple, yet the novel opens with a smuggler on a smuggling run. Eventually, it all comes together, but when I first picked up the book, I had to do a double take. It didn’t make any sense. I didn’t know who this person was or what he had to do with the attack on the Temple.

Eventually, you meet the main four protagonists, and here again I think the link to the game hurt the novel. It almost felt like the author was pressured to include specific classes from the game to help market them. “Here, we will put Vrath in the story for the Imperial Agent players.”

Another element that threw me out of the story was Mr. Kemp uses some odd descriptions, almost like he’s trying to hard. For example, “A yawn escaped past his teeth.” I would have to stop and reread.

The book suffers from something of a muddled middle, and I had to fight to stay with it. The last quarter is the best part. The four characters come together and each changes and learns from their encounters. I was even a bit surprised by part of the ending (though another part I could see coming from a parsec away).

There are other books also set in the universe, but I think if I’m going to consume a story from Star Wars the Old Republic, I’m going to play the online game rather than read a novel.