I read the book last night and I copied and pasted a review that I wrote for Amazon.com below. Additionally, I'm copying another review from Amazon as well. I think the person that wrote it did a better job than I did.
I am particularly interested in hearing feedback from people that played Kotor 1 and Kotor 2.
My Amazon Review:
**My review contains spoilers about the ending.**
Let me begin by saying that I have always enjoyed Drew Karpyshyn's books. For the most part this book is well written and there are several very cool geek out moments. I was particularly excited to reconnect with Revan and the Jedi Exile after a long absence. These characters were introduced back in 2003 and 2006 respectively in the Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR 1) video game and in the Knights of the Old Republic: The Sith Lords (KOTOR 2) video game.
First of all, I admit that I was disappointed by the slim size of the book when I first picked it up. The book reads well and was enjoyable until the last couple of chapters. My main problem is with how Karpyshyn chose to end the book.
I think Karpyshyn forgot exactly how much people are invested in the characters of Revan and the Jedi Exile. We didn't just read about them in a book or watch them on a screen. Many people are like me in that we PLAYED and REPLAYED these characters in KOTOR 1 and KOTOR 2 games. Of all of the Expanded Universe (EU) characters, the three I am the most interested in are Revan, the Jedi Exile, and Galen Marek of "The Force Unleashed" fame. Both KOTOR 1 and KOTOR 2 ended on cliffhangers and fans of these games have waited for years to learn what happened to Revan and the Exile.
I'm not sure why LucasArts wants to kill off every good EU character (Mara Jade anyone?) and keep ramming crap like Jar Jar Binks down our throats. Galen Marek was obviously written off by LucasArts as evidenced by their lame and uninspired sequel to "The Force Unleashed". In much the same way, it seems that the main purpose of the ending of this novel is to get Revan and the Exile out of the way and out of the KOTOR storyline in order to make room for the upcoming KOTOR MMO video game that LucasArts is now pimping on us.
It is simply unacceptable that the Exile is killed with little or no explanation. Her death is described in three lousy sentences. A character that I played for 50+ hours is simply gone with very little explanation. Thanks, Drew. Worse yet, Revan is basically living out the next couple of hundred years as the Sith Emperor's TV dinner. For a final kick to the groin, we learn that Bastila grows old and lives out her life without ever learning of Revan's fate.
Simply put Drew, you ruined my KOTOR experience. I wish I had never read this book. Not knowing what happened to Revan and the Exile was much more preferable than learning the fates that you created for them.
My honest recommendation is to skip this book if you enjoyed KOTOR 1 and KOTOR 2. If you have to read it, stop on page 274.
Drew, do everyone a favor. Fix this travesty by rewriting the ending. You can start on page 275. Post your revised ending on your website and allow everyone to read it for free.
Amazon Review by Annihilatrix1138:
**This review contains mild spoilers. No text is hidden**
The Companions of the Ebon Hawk deserved better..., November 16, 2011
By Annihilatrix1138 (CA, United States)
This review is from: Star Wars: The Old Republic: Revan (Hardcover)
I don't think Drew Karpyshyn properly grasped how much emotional investment fans of Knights of the Old Republic have tied up in this story, these characters, and the ending that never seemed to come; if he had, this novel probably wouldn't have turned out the way it did. It might be unfair to judge this novel the way I am right now, since the bias here can't be understated. It's been seven years since I played both games of the KotOR series for the first time, which was one of the most memorable gaming experiences I've had in my life. Since then, I've played the games many times over, always wondering what happened to Revan, the Exile, and their respective companions.
THE OLD REPUBLIC: REVAN attempts to give those of us who've been waiting for more than half a decade some form of closure, but instead manages to effectively kick all of the loose plotlines into a shallow grave, and plant a big sign on top of it that reads, "You happy now? Move on."
To start off: don't let the title and that picture of the eponymous hero trick you. This book is NOT about Revan; if anything, only a third of the book's scant 280 pages actually centers on him. The rest follows a previously unknown Sith pureblood called Lord Scourge: a Dark Lord with a name so campy that his dark side compatriots can't help but poke fun at it. For reasons that I'll probably never understand, this Lord Scourge is the absolute focus of the book. This is about his rise to power, his trials upon the Sith homeworld, his misdeeds; while Revan is relegated to going through the motions and reenacting events that were already thoroughly covered in the games, the majority of which he spends helping Canderous Ordo reclaim the Mask of Mandalore.
And yes, Canderous Ordo, the trigger-happy Mandalorian who helped Revan escape Taris, makes an appearance, as does Bastila Shan, T3, and the Jedi Exile from KotOR 2: The Sith Lords (permanently named Meetra Surik for the rest of the book). Unfortunately, no one else manages to make an appearance. Not one of them. In a very awkward part of the book, Canderous suggests excitedly that they get the old gang back together for their coming adventure to recover Mandalore's Mask, but we are quickly given very bad reasons why this would be impossible. The old Companions of the Ebon Hawk are each given a brief mention, but are otherwise completely forgotten for the rest of the book. (Though, for some reason, Carth Onasi doesn't even get the token mention the rest got, and his name doesn't pop up even once in the book.)
And it's especially disappointing because even when characters like Revan, Canderous, or Bastila make their appearances, they don't even faintly act how they did in the games. There's no humor, no candor, only a few brief and forced mentions of the old days, and when someone talks, it's so direct as to almost make them sound robotic. Even when Revan and Canderous return to the Ebon Hawk, the book briefly mentions the ship's shape and a recap of how they got it, and the story moves on. Karpyshyn allows for absolutely no sense of fond reminiscence, no revisiting of old adventures, and characterization I can only describe as barebones. You could've switched around the names of every character in the book, and I wouldn't be able to tell you who was who.
Once again, it feels as though Karpyshyn's work is the victim of this mythical deadline that he's apologized more than once for. Characterization is not as dense as it should be, dialogue is scarce (which is totally weird, coming from the writer of dialogue-heavy games like KotOR and MASS EFFECT), and actions that should take up a paragraph take pages for themselves. Too much of this book seems like filler.
So, Revan's part in this book - this book titled REVAN - is actually very minimal, and most of what he does here is actually covered in the games. The Jedi Exile is dug back up, minus any mention at all of her respective companions (Atton Rand and the gang), is given a name and an ending so badly implemented that I almost stopped reading right then and there. Not to mention that the canon established by the games is trampled to suit the overall goal of the book, which appears to be to set up the story for BioWare's new MMO, THE OLD REPUBLIC.
With all of that in mind, I'm still asking myself: What was the point of this book? If it was to give KotOR fans some closure, it utterly failed in that regard. I'm sitting here more unsatisfied with the state of Revan's story than I ever was in the seven years since playing the game. If it was to set up the new MMO for potential players, I have no real idea how anything that happens in this book would be more informative than just playing the games or reading their synopses, since a lot of what happens is just extended action scenes, sans the one chapter that actually, and directly, sets up the MMO.
This book is one of the most disappointing things I've ever read, and that is not an exaggeration. Seven years of waiting led up to this book - a book that didn't even bother to supply meaningful endings for the characters that Karpyshyn helped create. But, again, I have to mention the bias here; my expectations here were extremely high. I'd expected to revisit old characters, see their stories to an end, and unravel the mystery of Darth Revan that the games had spun so well. But when all is said and done, we have a bitter and (unbelievably enough, given the timeframe) rushed ending for Revan, a token mention of characters we'd spent so much time with (if they were lucky enough), all of which is completely overshadowed by the story of a Sith pureblood named Lord Scourge: a story so uninteresting, I nearly skipped most of his chapters.
And then, as if to rub it in our faces, the rug is pulled out from underneath us, revealing the book's true intentions: a not-so-subtle sign pointing the way toward THE OLD REPUBLIC MMO. "You happy now? Move on - preferably in the direction of the TOR subscription page."
No, thank you. The Endar Spire still spins with or without this book.