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Thread: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

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    Default My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    I'm going to go over every chapter in detail - note however that I won't be rewriting everything word for word, if it'll avoid copyrite law.

    However, this will contain about as many spoilers as any review can (if I ever have the patience to finish this).

    Stay tuned.
    ----
    Table of Contents

    The Title
    The Back of the Book
    Prologue
    Chapters 1 - 3
    Chapters 4 - ???

    StarCraft: The Dark Templar Saga, FIRSTBORN (Book One of Three)

    First thing I'm noticing is the title - FIRSTBORN, written in ALL CAPS and onewordsmooshing. Sure it looks okay on a book cover, but in text it comes off as plain... weird.

    Also written as Book One of Three, so apparently we already know this is a series and that the writer was probably given a deadline, etc. And other corporate finangled bureacracy!

    Anyway...

    The Back of the Book

    I'll give it to you word for word. It's pretty much the same as what it probably says on amazon.com.

    Quote Originally Posted by Word for Word
    Jake Ramsey - an unassuming, yet talented archeologist - has been given the chance of a lifetime. Hired to investigate a recently unearthed Xel'Naga temple, he knows this latest assignment will open up whole new possibilities for his career. Yet, when Jake discovers the remains of a long-dead protoss mystic, his hopes and dreams are irrevocably drowned in a flood of alien memories. Bonded to the spirit of the dead protoss, Jake has become the sole inheritor of the protoss's total history - every event, every thought - every feeling.

    Struggling to maintain his own fragile identity amidst the raging psychic storm in his mind, Jake soon realizes that he has stumbled upon a secret so cataclysmic in magnitude - that it will shake the very foundations of the universe.
    Okay, well the above is written in textbook grammar fashion. Not particularly bouncy or jumpy in anyway. Not really fun.

    Well... maybe it's good if say, the reader wanted to know right away what was happening and demanded that information in practically legal document form (because that's how people talk right?!).

    But how many people actually read the back of the book? Only fans of the game and story (or open minded readers with patience... or reviewers for that matter) are into this kinda fiction. So chances are, they are just going to flip to chapter 1 straight off (and read the prologue if they're interested enough, though not always). They don't wanna know what the book's about - the back is never satisfying. At least that's how my friends often were.

    The back of the book doesn't do anything to break from this boring-back pattern; it doesn't attract the eyes at all - and it's a literal dissertation of what happens in the story apart from the conclusive plot details like climax and resolution. It doesn't do anything to excite the reader beyond 'okay, let's see what happens', and for me - that's boring.
    ----

    Prologue

    It might be available on Amazon - right now, I'm playing it safe though.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Gist
    The reader is given purple prose about 'the preserver' whom meditates on the metaphysical intangibility of time, and of how important she is to her people in her chosen career. The preserver then sends forth a cry.
    That's it.

    Indeed... the purple prose is such that it became two and a half pages of filler. Essentially, Christie Golden is pulling something out of her ass about how the preserver percieves things.

    What is described is basically redundant and repetitious. In fact, it will be mentioned to the reader again and again - just in case the reader forgets that protoss are strange, and that they need to be reminded how especially strange the preserver's mind is and how important they are to protoss society (or 'her people' as it's initially referred to). The fact that she sends forth a cry is exactly that - cry to what, who knows? What kind of a cry? Fuck you! Keep reading! Her name isn't even mentioned yet.

    For readers that aren't really into starcraft - they'll be sorely confused, since they won't be sure exactly who this preserver is yet, or if she's a protoss, or anything. Basically, it can be assumed that she's a mysterious entity. And that there's a lot of purple prose.

    And if you're reading via the Amazon 'peek' feature (or whatever it's called) - it'll feel a bit like the author is being extra careful not to unveal any information to readers. If you want to learn anything about the lore, buy my book dammit! Basically.

    That said - the prologue doesn't really add anything to the coming story. The reader learns much more in the viewpoint of Jake Ramsey than the Preserver.
    ----

    Chapter 1

    Quote Originally Posted by The Gist
    Jacob Jefferson Ramsey thinks that Gelgaris is hell.

    As an archeologist, his job is difficult because confederate grants are stingy and they think that archeology isn't as important as blowing stuff up with futuristic weaponry.

    To his co-workers, he is neither a comedian nor a very social guy - making him quite the opposite of captain charisma. However, he is quite optimistic about his work - which has annoyed his co-workers.

    He's been to other harsh planets before, and Gelgaris is just another one of 'those kinds of planets'. So he's probably feeling particularly depressed about today, when the reader is catching up on him.

    He thinks that 'pimple on the butt of the universe' is a very ineloquent way of describing Gelgaris, so he's probably never been to very many parties on earth.

    They've labored in the way that archeologists do, for two years on Gelgaris with little to show for it.

    Jake gets out of his rockcrawler and back to base, and takes the time to describe to the reader in further detail about how depressing his situation is. He goes on long enough that when the wind howls, the author can't grasp a simile.

    All this in a three meter walk from his rock crawler (described in zero detail) to the door. When he gets to the door, he is just as relieved as the reader.

    Further details abound about the harsh conditions of the planet, the uncreatively named vidsys (video system smoosh) dated monitor at the base (itself, described as a tiny shelter), the decipede that bioluminescently glows for alien effect, etc.

    Some exposition is given about things that happen in the game (tarsonis, which is a planet, is dead - protoss and zerg are suspect).

    Jake gets rid of his armor, which he is only now described as wearing - and brushes through sandy brown hair (a description of his appearance that feels crammed in-between sentences). And then he notices a blinking light - because apparently that's how computers let you know that you've got video mail. Jake worries that it might be bad news and exposition is given about Leslie a-coworker Crane's mother dying of massive brain failure (let's hope I don't suffer the same fate, before the end of this in-depth review). Also, that the ferry-spaceship-thing won't arrive to pick them up for another 8 months. And then the reader is expected to forget about this information, because it's never mentioned again.

    Some exposition on the dominion is given, mostly about how much of a conservative pansy Arcturus Mengsk seems to be (because every bit of talk about the dominion involves the emperor - after all, one man's motivations and goals is the only subject of interest regarding an interstellar militarizing society, right?).

    On the vidsys (still having some trouble saying that out loud), Valerian Mengsk is revealed for the first time - described as handsome, impossibly perfect (should we hate him for that?), and with a rich smooth voice (latter description that is used many times for more than one character, and could mean multiple things on multiple levels; maybe it's just Christie Golden's definition of sexy?), and being the son of Mengsk.

    Played pretty neutrally in regards to speculation of good/evil (and this incredible neutrality shines through with no hints throughout the rest of the entire series). Some other details are given about his character - he's a military minded kinda guy, and a bit noble (so he probably prefers marine stim rush over a tank push). Officially, he doesn't exist. He wants to engage in the discovery of wonders.

    The first step in the Discovery of Wonders - is for Jacob to hightail it over to his place for nachos, brewskies, and a very high paying project - in that exact order (only it's wine, chocolate... yeah; royalty equivalent to what terrans usually prefer). No reason is given for why he chooses Ramsey for whatever job he has in mind. The reader is free to guess at his sexuality.


    Jay does seem a bit of a looker, but only if Val's into that kinda thing.

    Valerian gives them an image of a Xel'Naga temple on Bhekar Rho - now destroyed by the dumb dominion and their silly war with alien factions that Jake probably finds unimportant (this is a novel about archeology dammit!) - and Jake starts salivating over it. More exposition is given, either to convince readers into purchasing Shadow of the Xel'Naga or warning them away from it - we'll never know for sure, though.

    Valerian wants Jacob and his team of archeological side-characters to check out another temple - or something. The reader is informed that it'll probably be exciting and amazing, filled with more purple prose and a breathtaking dialogue on the nature of cultures that are completely alien to mankind's comprehension.

    Jacob's uninteresting extras, his co-workers, agree to the idea - particularly, loud-mouthed-but-loyal-friend-to-everyone-blue-collar-guy, and depressed-but-ambitiously-horny-college/intern-girl.

    Jay, being depressed of Gelgaris and other similar planets that apparently deserve only description of how harsh they are, as they probably aren't at all interesting beyond their harshness (kinda like mercury, I suppose) - agrees as well. He does this by typing in a super secret code.
    The way Chapter 1 unfolds is fairly plain - it does so slowly. The mood is presented well, but there isn't much appeal for those who actually enjoy sci-fi. At least in my opinion.

    Apart from that, it's a whole lot of exposition. Which is okay for chapter 1 - but just like the prologue, it's almost worth skipping. Jake's co-workers, the side characters are worthy of some empathy - but only for behaving like normal people thrown into the conditions in which they're in. Not much detail is given of them. Right now, you can assume it's because the author is lazy.
    ----

    Chapter 2

    Quote Originally Posted by The Gist
    Valerian is shown to be some sort of bad ass swordsman and descriptions are given of him performing textbook martial arts (not surprisingly; Christie never really details combat beyond what kills or wounds a character - so in order to know anything, it's clear how she'd resort to mainstream martial arts as well as refer to weapons simply as 'elegant' and/or by their exact names). After he's done, the subject is given no more attention for the rest of the whole damn series.

    He's also portrayed as a bit wise and arrogant and doesn't like being in the shadow of his father (which makes him a very interesting a unique character, not in anyway like other ambitious princely characters whom are the sons of powerful fathers... and then the author admits to using the cliche in pretty much the very next sentence).

    Via exposition - Valerian is accused by his father of being effeminate - which leads to further questions about his sexuality. Valerian is angry about this and eventually 'proves' to his father that he's not effeminate and nor is he a weakling (sexuality not withstanding). Arcturus is portrayed as a warmongering asshole, which isn't at all refreshing for those who've played the game (wherein he is also portrayed as a warmongering asshole). More exposition about Val's past shows that he's been traumatized - wherein he's forced to go planet hopping during Mengsk's rebel days.

    Val obsesses over a holo of what is essentially cloverfield-style killcam footage on Bhekar Rho. Apparently this is the only footage of the Xel'Naga temple and there is no knowledge of any others until recently - and via exposition, the author admits that Xel'Naga artifacts have become an overused plot device ever since the release of Brood War ('Just bear with me, okay?').

    Charles Whittier is revealed as a minor character - unprofessional and 'always a bit nervous' with 'a shock of bristly red hair that seemed to refuse to want to tame itself' (because Charles is an unprofessional neeeeerd; maybe Val wants to feel superior through having angst-ridden younger servants? Although Charles is supposed to be in his twenties and Val is twenty two himself. Whatever.).

    Valerian gets to meet Ramsey and then notes over the course of an entire paragraph, how much of an archeologist the guy truly is. Jake is amazed at the shoddiness of Val's crap shack, which has won many an interstellar crap shack tournament.

    Val out charismas Jake. Jake doesn't like to smoke, thereby encouraging a uniqueness of character (terrans usually smoke don't they?!), but is okay with a brewskie. As they get down to business, Val shows that he especially loves dollar store chocolate and pizza rolls. Jake, while divulging on technicalities (there is no proof that a Xel'Naga temple is actually a temple! Retcons go-go!), admits that archeology isn't at all romantic, which explains why not too many terrans are into the profession.

    Jake is shown to be humble, which Valerian likes in an archeologist - because Jake is an archeologist.

    Valerian then sends Jake off with a pre-recorded message to give to Jake's team of side characters - and they're all going to get on a big spaceship (which could be a battlecruiser.... I think? Not much description is given).

    When Jake leaves, Valerian turns the killcam holo back on, and masturbation is implied.
    ----

    Jake meets Captain Robert Mason and the Gray Tiger (confirmed as being a very rusty battlecruiser). Jake, lacking in social skills, accidentally offends Mason about the quality of Gray Tiger.

    It's revealed that Jake isn't the first archeologist sent on this voyage - which makes him feel distinctly less special and fearfully uncharacteristic of a protagonist hero. But then he learns that, apart from the equipment of the actual ship's crew, he is recieving good archeology equipment for archeologing (no description is given beyond the fact that it is brand spanking new and that the pre-fab buildings have plumbing).

    He then meets R.M. Dahl, leader of a team of five guardians, charged with protecting him. They have a conversation about the necessity of such simplistic security, and Jake demonstrates more social awkwardness.
    Well again, it feels like the author could be missing description where it counts (ie. the rockcrawler from the previous chapter). While such details, were they to apply, typically involve items that never get mentioned again, it doesn't matter so much considering that's what most sci-fi readers generally look for (how do things work? At least give us a description of machines, technology, planets, etc.). Instead, the author divulges on things that apply to the real world and the application of common character traits to re-appearing characters.
    ----

    Chapter 3

    Quote Originally Posted by The Gist
    Jake is excited about going to Nemaka (AKA the 'other world with the xel'naga temple') - his optimism is fresh once again. He feels nervous around marines that were once sociopathic killers though - particularly muscle bound Marcus Wright, whom used to be a cannibal, but not the intelligent cryptic kind that advise FBI agents played by Jodie Foster.

    The author never explains why marines are stationed on a battlecruiser that's being used for an archeology mission, when a simple armed crew could do everything the same. I guess all battlecruisers have marines - which is why they clearly show it in gameplay. Which also keeps with the theme that everything is exact in accordance to the name of the unit it represents. The terran dominion has specific units that are aesthetically identical, not military divisions! Why have divisions such as 'army, wet navy, air force, space navy, marines' - that'd be absurd.

    Anyway...

    Jake then has trouble with his mind spontaneously conjuring up images of slaughter, kind of like an uncontrollable homosexual fantasy that you have about your boss right when your boss is speaking to you.

    Marcus asks Jake if he plays poker. Jake thinks he's really good at poker, believing that black jack is the only poker game that still exists in the future. But then he recalls that other poker games are supposed to exist, so he half-lies that he's 'not really'.

    Jake is caught off guard by RM's ass, and then begins to think that she's gonna start trouble.

    Marcus corrects Jake in that she doesn't start trouble - rather, she stops it. The wit of the man is immeasurable.

    ----
    As our lovable characters sit down for dinner, Jake has a schizophrenic episode - believing that the 10,000 degree plus warmth of a firebat's superheated plasma is used to heat MREs; which themselves literally date from the dawn of the confederacy. Jake heroically manages to control himself enough that he doesn't go spouting off in a wild, naked rant, until everyone else thinks he could use a brain panning to keep him on task.

    Jake passes on 'Chocolate Surprise' which he begins to suspect is probably some sort of diarhea blend.

    Jake, after meeting the rest of his new archeologing crew - begins to hate RM Dahl for her sexiness, and the funny feelings it's giving him.
    ----

    When our heroes arrive on Nemaka, the author quickly explains to us that it isn't very interesting so that she doesn't have to ooze purple prose over something she doesn't really feel like describing. Maybe it was a monday?

    Jake has always made a point to refer to a xel'naga temple as a 'construct', such that he has trouble calling it a temple whenever he discusses it with his team. There's no real reason for this, considering most intelligent species are religious, as humans (being quite religious in all of their cultures) are the only evidence from which anthropoligists and the like can derive, and so the assumption of the place being used for religious worship (as no other function can be presently identified) is only natural. Jake's OCD is made more evident. I guess the future hasn't cured it yet.

    Jake decides to let his team know about stuff he was supposed to keep secret between him and Mr. V (prince Valerian's witty, easily traceable alias), and faces zero repercussions for doing so.

    Jake explains that marines apparently discovered Nemaka 15 years ago. Man, they do everything, don't they?

    Jake then turns on a holo recording of an expeditionary survey, and his entire team muses over how much of an idiot one of those marines was when recording this thing.

    Jake thinks again about how uncouth Daerius is - despite basic co-worker edicate teaching you to be respectful of other people's dispositions. Our hero, everyone!

    Jake makes a point that the Temple shouldn't be damaged - and no wants to risk it either. Even though the thing, via exposition, could withstand a nuke (and there's only one type of nuke that terrans ever use, right?).

    Jake explains that the Temple is no longer dangerous, because the energy jellyfish inside it left long ago. However, he still does a mental double take for quickie cliffhanger purposes.
    The characters get to know each other a bit better in this chapter. And the reader gets to know more about important characters (of which there is only two) as well as off-the-wall side characters that the author felt like going into more detail about, maybe for the sake of drawing in any possible reader intrigue that she thought she missed out on.

    Jake doesn't feel anything beyond anxiety around marines - nothing is given about the level of intimidation he's feeling (not even a 1 to 10 scale; popular with my therapist). And not much detail is given regarding the fact that many of them are mentally reprogrammed/retarded formally sociopathic killers'n'stuff, or even... or even what they look like?

    In fact, the only real thing on the subject is a simile about marine armor hanging suspended like hooks of meat. Description of the battlecruiser, Gray Tiger? Well, some of the rooms are big; from that, we can ascertain that the battlecruiser itself is, in fact, big. That's all, folks! So yeah - StarCraft fans, eat your hearts out. Or go fuck yourselves.

    Not much more to say about this, except that I thought they were supposed to mention peach cobbler in this chapter. Guess I was wrong - though I could re-read. Except that I really don't feel like it. Well, maybe later...
    ----

    Chapter 4

    Quote Originally Posted by The Play by Play
    We continue our adventure with Jake and his team of archeologists, beginning with this sentence.

    "The first two dropships, crammed to the gills with expensive equipment..."

    Dropships have gills? Wait, wait. I don't even know what the first two dropships are doing? Why are their so many marines all over the place? What are they all here for?

    Well, I guess we should know by now. This chapter tells us that the marines are bringing generators for... something. The author then goes on to describe them as 'children's toys' - the marines or the generators? Well, I guess everything is all in the purview of a child. After all, it is based on a video game. Regardless, the description just depresses me. I thought marines were exciting! Wouldn't carrying generators that weigh a ton shake the earth (or Nemaka)? Wouldn't the marines seem extra scary as they spit and curse, all the while shouting 'make way, comin' through!' (if they had dialogue, they could at least spout common game quotes and it'd be more exciting then the prose... sheesh).

    Also, Nemaka apparently has a 200km wide crater. The author says that this was caused by a meteor, which also destroyed the atmosphere. What exactly, does that mean (if anything)? Removed the atmosphere? How is that physically possible? Add to the atmosphere (the debris, etc.), changing it? Okay, sure. But it wouldn't destroy it! Common improperly placed words interfering with basic exposition. I know Christie isn't a science writer - but c'mon!

    How deep is the crater? I guess it doesn't matter, because nobody important will be going near the thing. If there's a side plot about somebody living in the crator (or something! anything?), it'd be an interesting one - but the author has her mind set on the current story. I suppose I should be fair and say that we're only on the 4th chapter, but I'm really getting the snaking feeling that Christie was told to include this tidbit by some random blizz staffer, just so that she could get her facts straight. And so she inserts the facts. It flows well, but it doesn't really mean anything. Why even mention a super-crater? The reader is only going to be busy imagining that on a post card rather than reading about whatever happens next (which is what I sometimes do - I'd read and don't absorb the information unless I'm interested in the subject matter).

    We then find out about the generators, explained to us by Graham O'brien (the ship captain; I could continue to refer to him as the captain, because that's his defining feature - yet, the author feels everyone deserves a name, just to confuse things - Decandido did the same thing with StarCraft: Ghost, and it angered me then just as much as it does now). We're given more in depth description of Graham based on how feels. He is bored. So... what does that mean? He's a blue collar guy? A trucker? Bored, even though his work requires great responsibility and is essential to (ie.) the economy? Stereotypical? Very much so! Thanks.

    He explains that the generator is going to create a forcefield of incredible diameter, with breathable atmosphere. There's no science given to describe this at all. We can only assume that it is SCIENCE! No wonder StarCraft 2 goes crazy with random government technology. Psi-emitters we can accept, and even psi-disruptors are pushing it, but everything in the campaign is out of whack. I guess we can only thank Christie for contributing to this self-created trend of group think in blizzard itself.

    Kendra says to Graham 'will you be coming out to take a look?' and we, as the readers, are supposed to immediately assume she's horny again. Jesus christ, if the author finds a character archetype that she thinks is funny, she's going to stick to it.

    'Hell naw... it was interesting the first time, but after that...' The first time? So you mean to say that you aren't going to fill us in on all of the other temples that were found, or even where they were located? I know Jake isn't the most charismatic guy in the world, but he could at least open up those questions for the readers. Seriously, the story could have been told a lot better in the first person.

    'Everyone was trying to appear calm and unprofessional'.... why?

    'But beautiful though the dozens of shining, blinding, heavenly crystals were, Jake had no interest in them'. Oh thanks, Jake, I guess now Christie doesn't need to describe any finite details of the plot-relevant temple either. I don't know who I'd shoot first, if I were a marine in that situation - Jake, or the author.

    'It was a long four hours, but they used the time to establish the camp'. Oh okay, I guess 4 hours goes very quickly, with only 'long' to suggest that it was boring and nothing useful to plot or character development happened. This is the GM's way of saying 'the night was uneventful'. In other words, a typical GM can describe the passing of time too. Cool, right?

    Okay, admittedly I'm being a bit harsh. Christie describes the temple as 'insect like'. She also describes Jake's feelings of how amazed he is. So, like, from that we're supposed to understand that this shit is the bees knees. I guess... ?

    Seriously, the least they could've done was get Richard A. Knaack to do this.

    'See and touch and feel this amazing relic that awaited them'. The relic is amazing. It must be touched and felt, and loved and cuddled and... now I'm wishing Jake will suffer a horrible fate.

    'He felt like the king of the universe'. While being pampered? Usually men feel like kings when they have ascended above their peers in some respect. It seems like Christie is narrowly missing a major character angle, what with Jake being a hedonist-wannabe and all (I'm sure he enjoys all the same spas as Christie too).

    '(The place the archeologist people are staying) has running water.' Oh, a joke. Haha. If only sarcasm could translate to text, then there's be a lot more jokes in this review. :P

    '*RM lifts a raven eyebrow. And she finally had some respect for his change in demeanor* Good, maybe they could stop circling each other now?' .... what? In what context, if any, does that make sense?

    So, you mean to say that they were physically circling one another all the while the character exposition is getting delivered?

    'She had some respect, etc.' Whelp, I guess RM's a hedonist too.

    'Most of the computers and comm equipment were portable and a shiver of excitement went down Jake's spine'. Yay! Computers to boop boop boop on. And nothing else. No detail about how terran operating systems work, no information on software. Nothing on networking. Ah, fuck it. I'm not going to bother with mentioning technology anymore. Even if it is a sci fi. That's how messed up this is.

    Exposition:

    Jake turns on a holo. They watch a video of Mr. V telling them about the temple (sorry, the structure or the artifact - alternate between words respectively). V says that the temple's already investigated and admits he lied. Everyone gets mad. RM calms them down with a feminine shout (though I imagined it as the kind of one made by Dr. Evil's assistant lover).

    V says there's a hollow area deep inside the temple, but 'we can't get into it'. No reason why is given. He says there's commentary from other teams, that would provide an explanation.

    Jake insists on going into the temple as the point man. He says that the rest of team will check it out, once he's determined its safe (which could take forever). RM says she'll go in with him. She brings along her 'rifle' - which I'm pretty sure is a gauss rifle. Aren't those things rather big for anyone without 1000 pounds of powered armor as acting leverage? Or is the weapon so large that there's hardly any recoil.... still, it'd be hard to aim and incredibly awkward... ah fuck it! I said I wouldn't go into technology, and that includes weapons. The author sure does have a way of pointing towards what we should look forward to.

    Anyway... Jake ventures in deep enough that he encounters Leslie and Darius. Apparently they went in after him too.... I guess? I thought he was supposed to be point man. Maybe the author skipped ahead without us realizing it. Stuff is happening too fast! Flying colours! Crystals everywhere! Throw in crystals and the mystique is turned up yet another notch... this always works, always (apparently). Some broken, some not. Brilliant, and now dull. Dark hall ways! Snaking tunnels! Mysterious patterns of unrecognizable heiroglyphs! All a part of the temple. And... totally expected.

    Eventually Jake ignores a warning in the form of a piece of rope lain out by a 'previous excavator', because he's fucking stupid, and falls through the flooring just ahead. I really wish it'd end right there...
    The narrative goes back and forth. One moment, it's telling us how much force field generators weigh, and the next it's telling us that marines and scvs look like children's toys (inspiring, truly), but that their task is important (protecting Jake and his team), even though the audience already has a bit of a clue about that.

    It feels like the author just had some descriptive sentences and didn't know which paragraphs to put them in and then went 'shit, now I gotta decide which sentence comes after the other sentence and which before... fuck it'.

    Obrien says about the temple, 'it was interesting the first time, but after that'. Y'know, that's exactly how I felt when I played the game. It was interesting the first couple times, but after that... fuck this game! I'm never playing it again - especially since graphics are all that's going for it.

    Will the author be done going through the paces? Well, reading on...

    No. She isn't. It just keeps drolling on and on. Even providing detail to 'dazzling and beautiful', our author falls flat. Why? Well, lets just say, there comes a point when so much cliche description provides so much lee-way for imagery than none at all appears. Have you ever felt that? I have. All the way through this fucking chapter.

    I mean, the characters are being introduced to the Xel Naga temple where everything started. But, the author just feels really bored.

    A lot happens - and I'll give you the rundown. Jake and his team arrive in a dropship, Jake sees the temple up close for the first time ever, Jake waits for 4 hours, Jake witnesses the fucking sky changes colour as a new atmosphere is established within a 200km wide force field bubble, and Jake falls through a floor inside the temple. The author looked over that and said 'well I'll just fancy it up. I don't need to engage the reader, because maybe I don't know how or something, fuck it.'

    Oh yeah, okay, it was beautiful. Jake's attention was focused elsewhere. Fuck that other thing, the plot's moving too fast, and I can't get caught up in describing irrelevant things.

    Yeah, the atmosphere is terrible in this novel. It fails to get established in this chapter, and it failed to get established in any previous chapter. And because of it, I feel absolutely nothing for the characters.

    Oh yay, Jake fell through a tunnel, but of course he won't die, because Ardo Melnikov didn't die when he fell through a tunnel (something that occured in a much more exciting novel).

    Well, I guess we'll have to see what happens next.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chapter 5
    Jake falls a really long way without being hurt (twisting an ankle is inevitable though, since he's a ninny). RM Dahl brings along a coil of rope and tells him that the entrance (above) has closed up.

    Instead of saying 'aw fuck; this whole journey was pointless', he doesn't lose confidence. He just says 'closed up, huh?'.

    'It looks greener here.' Yep. RM promises to get a stretcher, even though the entry way has already closed up and she doesn't know her way around the temple. She then leaves very quickly, so I guess she does know her way around? Good... good stuff.

    Jake is a bad ass, so he ignores RM's desire to get him on a stretcher (stretch her? Sorry, just trying to shoehorn a sexual joke in there... done.), aaaaaaaaand. The hallway gets greener. And things are suspenseful, because something might happen soon.

    Oh yeah, and Jake discovers a light wall - which is like, this wall that lights up. And it contains a golden ratio. Oh wait, he's supposed to discover that later.

    Reading on...

    Okay, yeah, Jake discovers a green tunnel that gets greener. And then he finds some alien blood scrawled on a wall, and the wall lights up when he touches it. And he thinks the entire thing is a spaceship.

    And then the crew starts having nightmares, and there is supposed to be some psychological tension because like the pilot of the spaceship is still alive and stuff, and it might be a ghost, or it might be some sorta psychic eldritch horror, but I don't feel it because I don't care. I think I'm gonna review eragon next. But hey, I'm reviewing age of empires 3 too.

    So anyway...

    So, Jake reports his findings back to Valerian. He then gets into an argument with RM about security. RM wants more power. Jake says that they're professional adults. There's supposed to be social or sexual tension or whatever, but I don't feel it. I'm not feeeeling it. Nnnnnnnope.

    Okay, done. Eat your hearts out.
    The colour green really sparkles the imagination. That's all I've got to say. Also, blinding golden light.

    What did you picture when you read this chapter? Personally, I don't like to strain my brain with the possibilities of these things.

    However, this chapter is better than the previous one. There's more tension, and the perspective actually switches up. The atmosphere actually gets established a bit, but I think that's because the author wanted to suddenly shift things to psychological horror, but only because the mood demanded it.
    Last edited by solidsamurai; 04-15-2012 at 04:32 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    I might re-look over the chapters so far and give futher input/re-write it so it's funnier. Feel free to flame, or whatever.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Meh. You've basically nailed what bugged me about the Dark Templar Saga, bugged me enough that I still have yet to get the third book.

    Christie wasted a lot of pages describing how beautiful/cultured/petite/doll-like Rosemary-Sue Dahl is. To a lesser extent, Valarian and whatsisface Criminal got the same treatment. Honestly, I think you get more mileage by showing the audience what the characters think and do, rather than telling the audience what they look like.

  4. #4

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel View Post
    Meh. You've basically nailed what bugged me about the Dark Templar Saga, bugged me enough that I still have yet to get the third book.

    Christie wasted a lot of pages describing how beautiful/cultured/petite/doll-like Rosemary-Sue Dahl is. To a lesser extent, Valarian and whatsisface Criminal got the same treatment. Honestly, I think you get more mileage by showing the audience what the characters think and do, rather than telling the audience what they look like.
    Yeah, in the writing community, it's called 'show don't tell'.

  5. #5
    Gradius's Avatar SC:L Addict
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    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Quote Originally Posted by solidsamurai View Post
    The back of the book doesn't do anything to break from this boring-back pattern; it doesn't attract the eyes at all - and it's a literal dissertation of what happens in the story apart from the conclusive plot details like climax and resolution. It doesn't do anything to excite the reader beyond 'okay, let's see what happens', and for me - that's boring.
    "Jake soon realizes that he has stumbled upon a secret so cataclysmic in magnitude -- that it will shake the very foundations of the universe."

    So that's not remotely attractive? You don't want to know about the secret "so cataclysmic in magnitude -- that it will shake the very foundations of the universe."?

    Quote Originally Posted by solidsamurai View Post
    Indeed... the purple prose is such that it became two and a half pages of filler. Essentially, Christie Golden is pulling something out of her ass about how the preserver percieves things.

    What is described is basically redundant and repetitious. In fact, it will be mentioned to the reader again and again - just in case the reader forgets that protoss are strange, and that they need to be reminded how especially strange the preserver's mind is and how important they are to protoss society (or 'her people' as it's initially referred to).
    And what exactly is wrong with that? God forbid an alien race has a sense of mystery to it. My problem with these books is that protoss are too humanized. After reading it, you get the impression that protoss are just like humans, only from a different culture. Zamara even tells Jake that "you know more about the Protoss than most Protoss do" or something to that effect.

    The fact that she sends forth a cry is exactly that - cry to what, who knows? What kind of a cry? Fuck you! Keep reading! Her name isn't even mentioned yet.
    What does this have to do with anything. I really don't know what you're complaining about here. That the author is trying to get the reader curious about what's going so they can keep reading, like most prologues are supposed to do?

    For readers that aren't really into starcraft - they'll be sorely confused, since they won't be sure exactly who this preserver is yet, or if she's a protoss, or anything. Basically, it can be assumed that she's a mysterious entity. And that there's a lot of purple prose.
    Never thought of it that way. But I think it can be pieced together from reading the back of the book description.

    but just like the prologue, it's almost worth skipping.
    I'm confused on whether you read fictional books for entertainment or plot relevance? You could skip the majority of most books if you only enjoy reading what's "relevant to the plot".

    While such details, were they to apply, typically involve items that never get mentioned again, it doesn't matter so much considering that's what most sci-fi readers generally look for (how do things work? At least give us a description of machines, technology, planets, etc.). Instead, the author divulges on things that apply to the real world and the application of common character traits to re-appearing characters.
    Christie is not very strong on her science writing unfortunately, but I think she does try. She relies more on connecting the reader to the characters. But I think Blizz should keep her away from Protoss writing, she's the reason why SC2 has all this prophecies & magic crystals crap.

    Not much more to say about this, except that I thought they were supposed to mention peach cobbler in this chapter. Guess I was wrong - though I could re-read. Except that I really don't feel like it. This chapter's dull enough.
    To be honest, if the rest of your review continues the dull trend it's on ("everything about this book sucks"), then I won't really feel like reading it either.
    Last edited by Gradius; 09-18-2011 at 09:39 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Quote Originally Posted by solidsamurai View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Quirel View Post
    Meh. You've basically nailed what bugged me about the Dark Templar Saga, bugged me enough that I still have yet to get the third book.

    Christie wasted a lot of pages describing how beautiful/cultured/petite/doll-like Rosemary-Sue Dahl is. To a lesser extent, Valarian and whatsisface Criminal got the same treatment. Honestly, I think you get more mileage by showing the audience what the characters think and do, rather than telling the audience what they look like.
    Yeah, in the writing community, it's called 'show don't tell'.
    As a member of the writing community, I'm well aware of that.

    My beef is that I can read the books and know more about how the characters look than I know about their actual character.

  7. #7

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    And what exactly is wrong with that? God forbid an alien race has a sense of mystery to it. My problem with these books is that protoss are too humanized. After reading it, you get the impression that protoss are just like humans, only from a different culture. Zamara even tells Jake that "you know more about the Protoss than most Protoss do" or something to that effect.
    Well, if the intention was to humanize protoss, the author basically flip flops by consistently repeating they are mysterious, but in no way attempting to make them interesting beyond that.

    I'm confused on whether you read fictional books for entertainment or plot relevance? You could skip the majority of most books if you only enjoy reading what's "relevant to the plot".
    The two should really go hand in hand. It's disconcerting if you think they don't.

    If you want a story that has a bunch of 'entertaining' details, then you should create a more complex plot.

    My beef is that I can read the books and know more about how the characters look than I know about their actual character.
    True. We only really get a full glimpse (as much as the author wants to give) into the mind of say, Dahl, until book 2 or 3. Meaning the author had 500 - 700 pages of leeway to get there.

    To further compliment this fact, RM hates having her mind read. God forbid we'll learn anything about her character before the author wants us to. :P

    My beef is that I can read the books and know more about how the characters look than I know about their actual character.
    Well it's mostly in the trend of other reviewers that dwell on the negative and only briefly mention the positive.

    It's for entertainment - but to be truthful, I didn't like the series enough not to make fun of it. I don't hate it with a burning passion either, though (there's a lot more worth hating).
    Last edited by solidsamurai; 09-18-2011 at 09:28 PM.

  8. #8
    Gradius's Avatar SC:L Addict
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    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Quote Originally Posted by solidsamurai View Post
    The two should really go hand in hand. It's disconcerting if you think they don't.

    If you want a story that has a bunch of 'entertaining' details, then you should create a more complex plot.
    Nope. The aim of literature is to have an impact on the readers, not to be 100% plot-relevant, even though that would be nice too. There are plenty of award winning authors who get away with focusing on characterization over plot. The idea of a novel being 100% plot-relevant is quite bizarre, and I challenge you to find one.
    Last edited by Gradius; 09-18-2011 at 04:32 PM.

  9. #9

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Quote Originally Posted by Gradius View Post
    Nope. The aim of literature is to have an impact on the readers, not to be 100% plot-relevant, even though that would be nice too. There are plenty of award winning authors who get away with focusing on characterization over plot. The idea of a novel being 100% plot-relevant is quite bizarre, and I challenge you to find one.
    Characterization is part of plot development, imo. Understanding the drive of characters to advance the plot in one direction or the other is essential.

  10. #10

    Default Re: My Review of The Dark Templar Saga [Mega Spoilers Ahead!]

    Yes, but not all plot development and characterization needs to be absolutely essentially to the story's MAIN plot.

    And not all character development needs to be at the behest of the events happening IN the main storyline.


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