While I enjoy just about any Star Wars book, I admit that this one kind of let me down, especially considering the hype it got as the first official tie-in novel to the Old Republic online video game. While it does a decent job of introducing the feel of the game, the way Sean Williams does it is damaging to the plot and tone of the book. Overall not my favorite.
The characters are both the strongest and weakest point of the novel. The cool part is that each major character is based on the individual classes of the video game that you can play as (Jedi Knight, smuggler, soldier, etc.). While this is nice as an introduction to the game, it causes a few problems as well. First, eight major characters cause perhaps too many storylines and it becomes difficult to keep track of everything that is going on. Star Wars focuses on drama, and the effect it has on a small number of characters. I felt Fatal Alliance became a little too complicated for a book of it’s size. Second, because of the major differences in the character types, each one feels shallow and hastily written. More backstory would have been better, and this would have either resulted in fewer characters, or a longer plot, both of which would have improved the storyline.
The plot of Fatal Alliance is interesting but has very little to do with the events of the video game. The other major Old Republic novel Deceived does a better job of this, even though it is much earlier in the timeline. Fatal Alliance, however, takes place in during some of the events leading up to the game and even includes some of the major characters, but the actual plot does not resonate as much as it should. That said, I love the main conflict of the book. I just wish it could have more of a bleeding effect outside of the book, so it’s not an isolated event. Without any spoilers, I’ll just say that the main conflict is big…like galaxy threatening big. It would have been nice to see more of it elsewhere.
Chronology Note: This book takes place just before the video game The Old Republic and includes several of the same characters. Other than that, it doesn’t have much to do with the overall events of the mini-franchise.