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Old 03-22-2012, 11:17 PM   #178
Drunken Savior
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I’ve been doing a lot of driving recently, which has given me time to listen to a lot of books on CD. All of them, but one, based off Bioware games! After buying them, and all their DLC, installing the new pages and the like, I can finally give you my opinion on some of them. So here are the first three, the other two will follow shortly.



Released October 2011
Author: Robert Kirkman (Author), Jay Bonansinga (Author)
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
320 Pages


Overall Score:
B-


The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor is the first novel based off the comic series of the same name. The first book focuses on the history of the comic’s most nefarious villain, The Governor and how he became the guy Rick and the survivors met at Woodbury.

Story Overview
The story begins with Philip Blake, his brother Brian Blake, his daughter Penny Blake, and his two best friends Bobby Marsh and Nick Parsons holding up in an upper-class house. The group had been on the run from their hometown of Waynesboro, Georgia once the zombie outbreak began. Philip is the de facto leader of the group, who sports a violent temper, but also sports the largest will to survive. His brother, Brian, is considered the runt. Sickly and overweight, Brian looks to his brother to help him through the chaos. Penny, Philip’s daughter, is considerably the drive that keeps Philip going. However with Philip attending to his leadership responsibilities, Brian spends most of his time looking after Penny at Philip’s request.

Throughout the story, the group travels through many places around the United States south. Beginning in an upper class suburb, the group soon moves to other sites including a small orchard, Atlanta, and of course, Woodsbury. As the story progresses, the characters actually do begin to change as events begin to shape them. This was actually one of the better parts of the story. Watching the events unfold actually changes the characters in the story and you see how certain aspects of the zombie apocalypse can change a man for better or for worse.

The book is not without it’s low points, however. Some of the dialogue is a little hokey and Penny isn’t really that interesting. However, since she’s mostly there to be a character development tool for both Philip and Brian, she gets a pass. The conclusion might leave you scratching your head a little bit and you might wonder if certain aspects of the ending are really necessary, or if they were just added to create shock value. It’s well done, but when you summarize the last part of the book, you’ll wonder why it all went down the way it did. In truth, I felt like the last few chapters kind of dragged on like an extended epilogue and that the conclusion was really occurred around of the way through the novel. In particular, there is one scene in the orchard that seemed to drag on and on and only seemed to exist to explain one part of Philip’s development.

In the end, this book is a good read for fans of the comic or those who enjoy the action included with the zombie apocalypse. The book deals with the darker side of humanity including torture, rape, suicide, and abandonment. Fans of the TV show won’t really understand the gravity of the Governor yet, so the book won’t have as much of an impact for them. If you like action, the book is for you. If you’re looking for a guidebook on surviving the zombie apocalypse, look elsewhere.


Released November 2011
Author: Drew Karpyshyn,
Publisher: Del Ray
298 Pages


Overall Score:
C+


Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan was released a month before Bioware’s MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic in an obvious effort to drum up hype for the game by putting Revan in the spotlight. Revan is the hero of the first Bioware Star Wars game, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic however his story has been, for the most part, in stasis since the ending of the 2003 game, save for some comics. However, this is the first story to continue Revan’s story written by Drew Karpyshyn who wrote the story for the game.

Story Overview
One thing to point out from the start is that book is really three stories and how they intertwine with one another. The first story is about Revan, the second is about Darth Scourge, and the last is about the exile from Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords, who has been given the name Meetra Surik. Some people feel like this was a dirty, MGS2 like, switch. People bought the book for Revan but spent most of their time reading about the Lord Scourge, a sith juggernaut who is curious about the force and Meetra Surik’s search for Revan.

Revan’s story involves him and Canderous Ordo on the search for the mask of Mandalore, which Revan had actually hidden when he defeated the Mandalorian Army many years prior. This story is actually the highlight of the novel, as the banter between Revan and Canderous is written as two old war heroes. However, this feels more like Canderous’ story with Revan in tow. So why is Revan there? Well he’s trying to retrace his past to jog his memories. And as he does so, bits and pieces do come back to him.

Lord Scourge is sent to be the warrior for Darth Nyriss, a manipulative Sith Sorcerer who’s dabbled in the dark side so long that her lovely features have given away to hideous wrinkles. The story is a game of backstabbing between Nyriss, Scourge, and Nyriss’ advisor, Setchel. Both Scourge and Setchel are sith, however where Scourge is big and strong, Setchel is small and weak.

Lastly, Meetra Surik’s story is set a few years later, where she is out searching for Revan. She quickly becomes involved with Scourge’s story and soon the two of them quickly become involved in Revan’s story where the overall novel comes to a boil over with the Sith Emperor.

The ending is definitely one of those endings that people are split upon, but not in a good way. Upon reflecting, this is really not a story about Revan, but more so a story about Lord Scourge and his rise to power. While it is a well written book, if you’re looking to reading this because you’re a huge fan of Revan, you’ll leave feeling very, very disappointed. However if you are taking the events at face value and interested in all of the story arcs, they interweave pretty well. Revan is still a character with tremendous respect in the story, but the story doesn’t revolve around him. More so, it’s a story of how many other minor characters changed in Revan’s presence.


Released March 2011
Author: Paul S Kemp
Publisher: Lucasbooks
304 Pages


Overall Score:
B+


Star Wars: The Old Republic: Decieved focuses on the story of Darth Malgus, a human who loves the thrill of the battle and despises politics. Maglus is the big Sith in the MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic. In the story, you see how he came to rise to power amongst the events that led up to the Treaty of Coruscant.

Story Overview
From the get-go, Decieved does not let up on the action. The book begins with Malgus sacking the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. It’s written very well, even if it’s just the literary version of the trailer. However more of the players are explained in the book. You are introduced to Maglus’ slave and lover, a Twi’lek called Eleena. You are also introduced to Lord Adraas, who acts as Malgus’ main rival, who uses poltics as efficiently as Malgus’ wields his lightsaber. Lastly, we briefly meet Jedi Master Ven Zallow who’s attempt to defend the temple sets forth the books plot.

Far away, a young Jedi Aryn Leneer is part of the Jedi who are meeting with the Sith to sign the treaty of Coruscant. However, with the sacking of the Jedi Temple, the Sith strong-arm the Jedi into signing the treaty that is overall in favor for the Sith. During the signing, Leneer feels a disturbance in the force and, worried for her master, Ven Zallow, goes rogue in an attempt to save him or, if necessary, avenge him. She enlists a smuggler, Zeerid Korr, to get her to Coruscant.

The story is the classic warrior vs politician story for the Sith, and the story of a Jedi out for revenge. Malgus is well written as the confused warrior who has to deal with Sith politicians. Malgus feels that the empire is moving away from the traditional warriors and that politics is a poison. Politics never want to really destroy their enemy, warriors do. Malgus wants blood, but he’s held at arm’s length by the empire. Aryn Leneer is a reckless Jedi who feels that the Jedi order is causing her to fail the ones she loves.

I really liked this book. Both stories are well written and both Leneer and Malgus are powerful characters who can really drive their respective stories. The book hits its peak when both stories begin to meet. Malgus, despite his complete lack of political understanding, is an intelligent character who is always thinking about the events around him. Leneer, on the other hand, is bash and compulsive. It was interesting to see a complete reversal in traits we usually associate with the Sith and Jedi.
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Games I'm hyped for
The Last of Us Part 2, RE2 Remake, The Last Night

Current Platforms:
PC (i7-7700K, 16GB, GTX 980Ti), Wii U, PS4
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