The Force Is With Karpyshyn Once Again

Posted on November 22, 2011


By Lewis Campbell

I’ve got a good feeing about this. The wait is over, Revan has returned.

Star Wars novels have massively increased in popularity and sales over the past decade,
even making it onto bestseller lists in America and the UK. Few fans will have anticipated any
such novel as much as Revan though, and its author, Drew Karpyshyn, has left us crying for
more than the mere 289 pages of sci-fi nirvana.

The story centers on Revan, the most powerful Jedi Master in the galaxy, whose visions and
dreams of a storm-covered planet warn him of an impending evil that will annihilate all light
and good. Fearing for his pregnant wife and the galaxy he saved almost single handedly from
a ravenous warlord not two years before, Revan recruits an old friend and war veteran and
they travel to the unexplored regions of space to seek out the danger and destroy it.

The worlds they visit, the characters they meet and the dangers they face are described
vividly, the action is fast paced and the plot intelligently crafted. The reader alternates
between being on the edge of their seat with excitement and cursing that they can’t read
fast enough and discover the next piece of the plot’s puzzle.

This comes as little surprise as Karpyshyn has already proved himself as a sci-fi writer,
appearing in the New York Times bestseller list with a trilogy of Star Wars books focusing on
a different era.

Revan is riding the wave of another current trend, the adaptation of video game plots. Video
games aren’t just for playing anymore, writers satisfy fan demand for answers with whole
series of novels. Halo, Mass Effect, and the Elder Scrolls series have all become a success
in print as well as for consoles. Revan’s progenitor was the 2003 Xbox Game of the Year
Knights of the Old Republic. This won accolades as the first successful game to combine an
in-depth plot with an involved gaming experience, spawning a sequel The Sith Lords in 2005.

Revan was the protagonist of the first game, based 3960 years before the events of Star
Wars-A New Hope. The adventures he and a group of Jedi, soldiers and outcasts had on their
way to saving the galaxy from his former apprentice became the stuff of endless debate and
discussion among gamers and Star Wars fans. He had captured their imagination in a way
that hadn’t been seen since Darth Vader, Han Solo and the rest in 1977.

The novel has been written lovingly, and with attention to continuity with the rest of the
Star Wars universe and its back story, fans will certainly be satisfied. But where does this
leave the casual reader?

Unfortunately this is its major flaw; there can be no casual readers of Revan. Unless you are
well versed in the events of Knights of the Old Republic and The Sith Lords, much of the book
will make little sense at all. The book also assumes the reader has extensive knowledge of
the functioning Star Wars universe, its various alien species, and the ways of the Force.

If you do satisfy these criteria though, Revan will not disappoint. Karpyshyn expertly gives
plausible answers to the questions posed by the original Xbox games, deftly tying off the

loose ends. Yet there is something left at the end as he leaves one last morsel open to
speculation and debate; the dreaded and desired possibility of a sequel.

Star Wars, The Old Republic, Revan.

By Drew Karpyshyn

Published by Titan Books

Price: £17.99