Fatal Alliance by Sean Williams – Book Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews Fatal Alliance, A Star Wars novel written by Sean Williams and published by Titan Books. It’s a tie in to the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game, and is the first novel in the series.
“Fatal Alliance is an action-packed, blockbusting read.” ~The Founding Fields
For those Star Wars fans, you may no doubt be aware of the Star Wars: The Old Republic video game that was released for PC recently. Most fans will probably own a copy. I would as well – apart from the fact that my laptop can barely hold the first three Dawn of War games. However, I picked up Fatal Alliance instead to keep me occupied, after seeing the fantastic cover art for this novel that you can see below.
This is a tale of a different age in the galaxy far, far away – and it’s not the one we’re used to. Fatal Alliance is set when the Jedi Council and the Galactic Republic clash with the Empire of the Sith. This is the backdrop for our tale, and we find ourselves thrust into the spotlight with a smuggler, going under the name of Jet Nebula – who has stumbled across a treasure that could make him richer than he could have possibly dreamed. The Hutts are auctioning it to anyone in the galaxy, Sith or Jedi – providing that they have the most credits. Soon, envoys from both factions arrive for the auction, but they have no intention of paying for the treasure. Whoever gets to that vault first will take the prize by force. However, not all is as it seems, and soon – the whole galaxy is at stake. Can the Sith and the Jedi hold together an alliance long enough to save the galaxy – or will it crumble and burn in front of their eyes, along with the galaxy as they know it? Also, what are the intentions of a lone Mandalorian, who also appears in this novel?
I was somewhat confused when I first started Fatal Alliance, the first tale to explore the Old Republic – especially seeing as not only have I no knowledge about this particular timeframe other than what I’ve seen in Star Wars: The Old Republic trailers. As it turns out, not much has changed before the timeframe that we’re used to, except for the fact that it’s basically like Jedi/Republic but with no Clone Troopers vs. Sith and the Empire (but with no Storm Troopers). There’s a whole lot that is similar to the original Star Wars setting – but that shouldn’t put you off at all. Whilst there may be little originality in the new setting, Williams certainly finds a way of keeping the reader reading.
Although Fatal Alliance isn’t the best Star Wars novel that I’ve read, it’s by no means the worst addition to the Expanded Universe. Williams shows the reader that he can write a page-turning adventure, action-packed and enthralling.
The characters contained in Fatal Alliance, whilst there are many, are well thought out and although some are more likeable than others, you should find them enjoyable, despite the fact that there are perhaps a tad too many characters on the show, and it feels that Williams could have done a whole lot more with one or two characters than the many ones that he put into this first Star Wars: The Old Republic novel – as most of them feel pretty gen
eric and stereotypical, with the exception of Jet Nebula, who in my opinion wins the ‘Best Character in Fatal Alliance’ award – and is one of the more memorable characters in a novel that would otherwise be quickly forgettable. He salvages Fatal Alliance’s Dramatis Personae, and quite possibly – the whole book from being a disaster.
Sadly, despite the fresh backdrop for Fatal Alliance, there’s nothing new that the novel can really give us to make it stand out from the multitude of Star Wars books on the market – and I’m saying this even as a reader who is relatively new to the Expanded Universe as a whole. It isn’t exactly something that will stick in my head as a ground-breaking book, but I’m pleased to say that it wasn’t a complete disaster. However, what some fans may like about Fatal Alliance is the fact that it’s a lot longer than most of the Star Wars novels that are being put out now, and to those of you who are looking for something a bit different to the normal size, then this will be a book for you.
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Next Star Wars Novel: Knight Errant by John Jackson Miller