Star Wars: The Old Republic – Fatal Alliance
One of the impossibilities of trying to read all of the Star Wars books in order is that you end up getting side tracked as new books that take place previously in the Star Wars timeline become available. Such was the case with James Luceno’s new book Darth Plagueis and such is the case with a new series of books based on the massively popular MMO game from BioWare Star Wars: The Old Republic.
While books like Sean Williams’ Fatal Alliance have little to no relevance to the Skywalker saga and the subsequent events that shape the Star Wars universe, they do include all of the species, rivalries and locations that we are familiar with. The Sith still hate the Jedi, the Jedi still hate the Sith (even though not really because hate leads to anger which leads to fear which leads to . . . well, you get it) and the Mandalorians still hate both of them. In fact, one of my favorite lines from Fatal Alliance is from a Mandalorian who describes both the Sith and the Jedi as ‘dangerous cults that turn children into monsters.’
As a science fiction story, Fatal Alliance holds up in addressing some standard themes of the role of artificial intelligence and its often uncomfortable role vis-a-vis sentient organic life. As a Star Wars story, the book explores the common theme of both the Jedi and Sith and their fostering of the galaxy’s force sensitive children. In other words, once again we see that neither the Jedi nor the Sith are much loved among the Galaxy’s non-force sensitive beings.
You might have guessed that the alliance that Fatal Alliance refers to is one among the Jedi and the Sith and, to a very lesser extent, the Mandalorians. However, the alliance theme seems more like a gimmick than a real exploration of what it would take for two rivals to join forces or how an alliance could affect both. Still, Fatal Alliance is an entertaining read and sheds more light into the Sith before Darth Bane’s Rule of Two .
Finally, and as a side observation, I am always struck by the stagnation of technology and culture as one moves up and down the Star Wars timeline. Blasters, hyperspace lanes, Turbo lasers , Starships – these are all present 1000 years before the Battle of Yavin (the commonly referred to ‘A.D.’ of the Star Wars saga). It seems as if nothing demonstrably progresses during those thousands of years and I feel like that is a weakness and an unexplored facet of the pre-Skywalker books that detracts from their dimensionality.
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