**spoiler alert** I had already read the first dozen or so DotJ comic books so much of the world was recognizable, even when it still doesn't make too...more**spoiler alert** I had already read the first dozen or so DotJ comic books so much of the world was recognizable, even when it still doesn't make too much sense for me... why would you turn the world of Star Wars basically into a parody of Flash Gordon (all "kingdoms" are planets and moons in one solar system) with swords instead of lightsabers and maybe sometimes blasters thrown in for good measure (otherwise "slugthrowers" which is nothing more than a fancy way to say "pistol").
Even the concept of "balance" between dark and light side would make more sense if it could be better incorporated into the narration... and it should have included an explanation why going light would be bad just because then the dark side well... stinks and feels uncomfortable... d'oh that's the good with being not evil... Evil will annoy you like hell. And so we get a "Je'daii" that only twice in her life struggles with the balance and then of course just to fear falling into the dark side... *sigh* That's not the problem, but the explanation "she needed to fight so she needed the dark side" was one in my eyes. What have the guys in all the other books and movies done? Meditated? Painted with finger colors?
Yeah it's hard to find new and original things to tell in the vast and stuffed full to the brim SW universe. And there's the word of god to not stray too far from his patented basic scheme and casting method... which doesn't make it any easier... But if you already struggle with making this somehow remarkable to maybe get some more sequels approved it is a bad idea to fail in all the descriptions and internal laws of the greater universe you've been invited to play inside of.
The protagonist is pale and without many obvious traits and abilities, she's basically just there to fill us in with an awful lot of flashbacks into how the big bad came to become bad (he sucks at playing Jedi and thus starts hating the force which makes him wish to life at any other place... so he searches for an ancient artifact whose activation just might destroy the main world in their little soap bubble universe / starsystem... Just that what took here 4 lines takes 200 pages in the book. *sigh*) and foreshadow a possible future inner conflict by playing with a kind of dark side clone (called an "alchemy of flesh" in the book) of herself... the big entrance of that alchemy thingy was probably the climax of the whole story, but that says enough about a 300 pages story which lacks in much more scenes of a defining nature...
The book was mostly okay, the buddy movie dynamics between je'daii lady and her scoundrel guide, advisor and flesh bullet shield were at least above average and as a introduction of a "new era" in the big line of Star Wars timelines served pretty well... but the general plot is boring and cliché ladden and after being pulled through hundreds of indistinguishable monastery style Jedi schools and a ton of bad guy nests like the Cantina in ANH i did not care too much about all of them dying through the portalbombthingy and thus the desperate chase to keep them from activating it was a bit less exciting than it possibly could have been if there had been also some SYMPATHETIC characters and scenes instead of changing between the flashbacks of crazy cloisters with Kung Fu Style monks mocking and harrassing the poor Force-Squib-Boy and thus "detective style" scenes in the hives of scum and villainy... Also having those many flashbacks reeked terribly of the stupid plan of Albus Dumbledore in the sixth Potter Book (Half Blood Prince) to educate Harry about the way to win by showing him "Voldemorts best home videos"... It does not become more intelligent or useful when a Jedi does it...
Not an awful book but it gives away lots of potential a new and untouched part of the SW history might have presented by just handling this like a kind of Steampunk daughterverse of the old already known stuff...(less)
**spoiler alert** Well, i've once before calles this book "Solo's Eleven" and i'm still sure that was the starting idea Zahn began wo work with. Sadly...more**spoiler alert** Well, i've once before calles this book "Solo's Eleven" and i'm still sure that was the starting idea Zahn began wo work with. Sadly a cast of eleven crooks is not really useable in a SW novel, for i'm not even sure about the race of most of the gangsters. Maybe i can't remember because Chewbacca was the only alien one and the others all were humans? Possibly. It wouldn't surprise me at least, as that's quite typical of SW novels. But be it as it may, most of the time it seemed that 3/4 of the team had nothing to do and just waited till their one task in the process, not very efficient of a high profile criminal group wanting to steal millions back from the mob.
Yes, i confess that the deed itself was thrilling and had lots of nicely thought out nooks and crannies that worked well. Still that is not enough to balance out the whole atmosphere of utter amateurishness the rest of the book showed about our "heroes". And the Black Sun mobsters were not much better off. Somewhere in between them having three factions of their own who all wanted to backstab and outsmart the two other ones, they made so many mistakes which were basically all the help the "Eleven" needed. Then there were the imperials, which presents us with a stunning five competitors field for the same grand prize. I think this planned complexity of the story was one of the reasons i did not like it half as much as i'd expected after the description came out in solicitation months ago. Too big, too complicated and with the lackings described in the text above it just flowed lazily along until it was time to actually break into the villain's lair. Then it got action filled and suspenseful, but a hundred brilliant pages of Mission Impossible style B&E do not make up for a tormenting 300 pages of mind warping preparations and plot twists just to keep the whole thing from ending sooner.
Maybe Zahn should have rather written a third Hand of Judgment novel and leave the crimetime to other writers, it might have spared us a lukewarm rip off of a very cleverly made thievery movie.(less)
So this is it... the end of the newest year-long mega series for the Star Wars universe.
All in all i'm not completelly dissatisfied, but i'm not compl...moreSo this is it... the end of the newest year-long mega series for the Star Wars universe.
All in all i'm not completelly dissatisfied, but i'm not completelly happy either with how this story line has developed.
For one thing i'm getting sick and tired of all the ever same "Jedi versus Sith" story lines! I won't pretend that everything the publishers have thrown at us without Sith in it was pure gold, but at least it held some resemblance of originality and here we even get fed the whole "now it's Jedi versus Sith for all times" idea as the whole and only truth for every time after this book... Then there's the psychological strain of ever new dispopulated worlds or ever repeating devastating attacks on Coruscant.. Just for the lulz? It's so disappointing that when in doubt the whole apparatus that creates the books always will fall back on the same old and often abused concepts, yet expects the fans to be enthusiastic about every new storyline.. which them promptly does prove that it isn't so new. And lastly... I'm the last person that will complain when an author lends a bit of realism to his story by killing of even central characters. It's just that with Star Wars they're meanwhile killing of a lot of original characters invented by Del Rey or Dark Horse yet the movie people are more or less untouchable... If that is realism they should go back to unrealistic "Redshirt" ways of storytelling!
But let's go back from the general problems of the book series this days to the book in question... Apocalypse wasn't a really bad read, but in my eyes it has failed in several core points that the series predating it has led me to expect... namely the invincibility of Abeloth just ceased to exist exactly at the point when the plot needed it. Honestly, that's shitty storytelling! If you spend 8 books to show somebody is not to beat in a straight fight you can't toss that ruleset out of the window just because Book 9 is your last one for this setting and you've got to finish the whole mess somehow. Also a lot of threads that seemed rather important in earlier books turned out to be either unimportant or quite nonexistant in the last (few) book(s)... namely the involvement of Fett and the Mandos, the fate of the Shelter Younglings (although that's somewhat crossed with Abeloth's fate it more or less stopped being a subject a long time ago... And i'm not sure if the whole "why did Jacen turn dark" part of Luke's voyage was really answered wholly and to everybody's satisfaction... But parts of this can be shown to be caused by the damned thirding of the series... all three authors have their own cast and storyideas and the other two don't need to care about any of theat so it often vanishes when Author A is done with his contribution to the series. That's a pity as often times such strings of ideas would have fitted perfectly into all nine books yet could not be "forced" upon the two other authors...
Basically... after having bought nine hardcover novels over the run of a year and a bit of change i'm not sure if this story really was worth so much space and attention... If they'd concentrated only on the central story arond Abeloth, the Shelter Jedi and maybe Jacens downfall and the consequences for Ben, Jaina, Tahiri and the masters it would have made a very nice, rounded and intensely written duology or maybe trilogy. With all the other filling storyarcs around politics, the changing heads of state, the moff conspiracies, Fett's mission and the Kilik nests it told more than the necessary minimum, but more often than not this additional story parts were wasted instead of used to the best effect and impact. It does remind me of all these "mega crossover" events in the comic universes... they're long, elaborate, expensive to follow and ultimately more hot air than solid content as they can't really leave any of the contributing series in a worse state than they got them into their hands.(less)
**spoiler alert** Sooo... Finally we get a novel unter the "Old Republic" Label that really deals with characters from the original KotOR games. And i...more**spoiler alert** Sooo... Finally we get a novel unter the "Old Republic" Label that really deals with characters from the original KotOR games. And it might have been my high expectations that were inspired by my extreme liking for said games which lead to me being rather disappointed, but honestly, it's not really up to the level of even the second game (whose story was cut short and partially butchered by time pressure and monetary concerns from the publisher) and is far from the genius of the first part.
But to the story itself. For the first half we get to see Revan as he behind the scenes acts in the time frame between the end of Game 1 and the start of the second part. Many of these deeds we have already heard during the second games dialogues (T3, Canderous) while Bastilla is pregnant with his son and therefore missing. In a second Story Arc two sith from the Empire at Dromund Kaas in the Unknown Territories conspire against the Emperor who is planning an invasion of the Republic. After helping Canderous becoming the new Mandalore and giving him the task to prepare for a looming invasion from the Sith he barely remembers, Revan sets out to retrace his own steps during his first Quest for Power and Knowledge with Malak... He ends up a prisoner of the said Siths for 3 years until the Jedi Exile (Meetry Suril) has finished her own quest for Malachor V and against the Siths of Darth Trayas Order. T3 aims her on the trace of Revan and she manages to rescue him, but Revan can convince her and the surviving Sith Lord Scourge that they must stop or at least halt for the next future this dangerous invasion plans. They rush in for a fight, (view spoiler)[but as he envisions a negative outcome Lord Scourge betrays both Jedi and Meetra dies. Revan is held captive by the Emperor who wants to use his knowledge and power to prepare for the invasion, but he battles the Sith for over 50 years in a barely believable mental struggle, holding off the invasion for several generations.
I've already once today described the ending as the most perverse, disgusting and despicable Happy end I've ever seen. It's at the same time so depressing and sad and still so noble and brave. It's a hell of a job to be a Jedi. And most of the time it sucks hard. (even more bitter is the fate of the slain Meetra, who uses her own force ghost as power boost for the struggling Revan, slowly fading but glad that she still can help...) (hide spoiler)]
I think in the hindsight i can see why this is being published under the "Old Republic" label as it ultimately seems to be more of a blank slate for the NEW game than a final Quest for the old Games. Yet, for some time between the pages 100 and 220 i could have seen this as the plot for a true KotOR 3, connecting both earlier games into a final part for the trilogie, putting something of a final stroke under it all. Then it turned weird and ugly and all that was left from the games was killed off and i stood there and could not think of a reason. But then... it's kind of the perfect preparation for many things i've seen and read for the MMORPG story and so it was probably meant. And that's the reason it fails. Revan should have been a story of its own, not a purrle piece closing the missing gaps behind the world 300 years later. Karpyshin is not a bad author, but here he seems to have gotten too many preset conditions his story had to meet so somewhere in between the story arcs it lost the inner coherence and began to work as a check list of things that had to be shown and ultimately being set aside so the new story and vision can come into it's own right.
That doesn't make it a bad story per se, but it takes care that the story can never reach its full potential either. So it's likeable, but it might have been great if not for the demands of how it had to end and what it had to do on the way. After all Revan is a legendary figure, both as a Jedi and as a Sith!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I had some problems to find into the narration and i think it's partially because Luceno did not really write a novel here but rather a documented his...moreI had some problems to find into the narration and i think it's partially because Luceno did not really write a novel here but rather a documented history of the two Siths preparing for the Clone Wars and the Fall of the Jedi. Just like some of the movies on history channel it's interspersed with played out scenes but in the mainstay it's rather sterile counting of facts and integrating of as many storylines from the Star Wars franchises past as Luceno possibly could grasp, ending with the epilogue of the happenings during the Phantom Menace as crowning highlight of the Sith's ambitions.
In general i like such motifs and plot devices and i would have been glad to find as many comic and book story lines in these pages as humanly possible if only the main story would have had a tad more of an impact on me. I'm not sure if Plagueis is such an neutral character that i wasn't able to bond or if it was something about his motivation to be eeeevil which did not really behoove his persona as seen in the book. Palpatine/Sidious is a little bit better, but he owns only a distinct second place to his master in the course of the narration.
It's a good book to read if you're deep into the whole Clone Wars and before era or if you want to have a crude overview over the time but not invest in fifty comic books the TPM movie and half a dozen novels. If you don't care much for the Sith or were already disappointed by all the "some time before the Prequels" Story's we've got to know over the time, then it is probably not your kind of story. And even hardcore Sith fans might be better off with the Bane franchise or the Lost Tribe books.(less)
**spoiler alert** The story slowly creeps towards the climax with only one more volume still to come out. But it doesn't do so in the most thrilling w...more**spoiler alert** The story slowly creeps towards the climax with only one more volume still to come out. But it doesn't do so in the most thrilling way, half of the book is quenched in unnecessary lenghts and the great revelation was obvious from the first time the person involved made her first appearance instead of being only talked about on the holonet. And even the most intriguing aspect of the storyline, the "Lost Tribe" does loose much of it's appeal when they slowly turn from backyard fanaticists to "antipodal Jedi" that did catch up with the modern times, technologies and politics just to show themselves as nothing more than big bad imperial moffs with queer eyes, laserswords and the random sadistic streak above the call of duty. Why in the name of everything that is good should the authorial triumvirate really go and with full intent reduce the one special element of their common storyline into just another repeat of boring and too-often-seen clichés?
I'm growing more and more disappointed with the current policies of Lucasfilm ltd as this whole unhealthy fixation with the conflict Jedi vs Sith does tend to limit the possibilities authors can invent new ways of telling stories, create new interesting characters and limits the whole portfolio of things that eventually could and would happen in any given situation. It's more and more like one has already read the gist of anything that's published several times all over and so only one point of consequence does remain from almost 400 pages of "just the same"... (view spoiler)[That the Jedi Order does leave Coruscant, probably in preparation for the Legacy-Era comics and such where it's central planet is Ossus or was at least till their equivalent of the sith wars. (hide spoiler)]
The sad thing is that the book isn't really badly written. Christy Golden is a complete professional and knows how to put things down on paper... but it's spectacularly lacking on the side of good and believeabla continuation of the storyline, the protagonists characterisation and the general "Warsyness" as description of the general athmosphere of the book is concerned. It's always that little tad of ALMOST right besides the real thing, not even paying attention to the annoying small habits like introducing real world stuff like cigars in barely hidden form as ciggarras into "a long time a go in a galacy far far away". ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
An interesting project to go back to a time between the movies (the first and second of the original three) and recount some new adventures yet unknow...moreAn interesting project to go back to a time between the movies (the first and second of the original three) and recount some new adventures yet unknown. Even more interesting as it is the same main cast as in "Allegiance" where they were simply brillant from the start to the end.
Now this book... takes a little bit to come to its paces but when after not quite half of the pages it finally arrives it does not shame its prequel. There are a lot of story threads simultaneously unravelling and most of them stay important right up to the epilogue. That's storytelling as i like it! Now the cast can't quite compete with the first book they starred in, but maybe that's just the lack of exposition which tends to make the first half of the book rather slow to read or maybe it's because most of what happens is happening due to very few scheme-kings that play their version of galactic GO with all the pawns and ships that otherwise would be important on their own. So ... as they traipse around blindly in the fog of war of other peoples machinations they loose a bit of their former appeal to assume a more earthly and "mortal" characteristic. There are no superheroes, just heroes who are super good at doing their job... or could be or would be if not... So it takes a while until the wargames show first signs of culmination until our protagonists gain more momentum of their own and when that happens there's finally back the old spirit of Allegiance.
On a completelly different note i'd like to say that i think the title is complete and utter bullshit, but then it's only what has to be written on the cover to sell a book. Titles don't make good books as good books can even survive mediocre titles. This one sure as hell does!(less)
**spoiler alert** "In the end, what we are is ... alone" Using the bracket of the ongoing clone wars as a backdrop this book tells of the interaction...more**spoiler alert** "In the end, what we are is ... alone" Using the bracket of the ongoing clone wars as a backdrop this book tells of the interaction between many different force users. There's this team of young Padawani and their masters sent out on a mission with a disastrous outcome. There's the veteran Jedi-Elite-Team Skywalker/Kenobi coming to the(ir) rescue. There's the Sith-Couple Dooku (Darth Tyrannus is still an inbearably stupid name) and his student Assajj Ventress that made her first escape from the Comic books into the "true" literature with this novel. And then there's Yoda having trained most of the afore mentioned in some kind or another. And he is forced to remember much of his personal history with the Count while going willingly into a trap, hoping that the once bright and shining young Jedi will be salvageable from the realms of Darkness, just to have everything shatter in one of the Padawans ancestral home where the dark side is strong and madness rules.
This book is very different from your classical Clone Wars narrative in that there are only few mentions of the wars at large, no Clone Troopers need to be led in the fields and on most levels it could havwe happened any time during or outside the infamous clone wars. But then it's also one of the best written and most well-thought-out Books that ever were published in this storyline, not the least because it hadn't to take care of all those much clichéd story parts and usual random elements inserted into other books. And it has those great portraials of Yoda and Dooku in past and present while having the chuzpe to awaken the hope that a new generation of Jedi Knights might grow up during the war but not scarred and maimed by it, only to remember then that it's only months until the temple will get wiped clean of such innocent younglings...
I won't pretend it's world literature, but it's as good as they're coming when compared to the other SW novels and does scratch on the "must read" barrier for every scifi enthusiast who at least knows the movies and might tolerate reading more in that universe created for the silver screen.(less)
I wasn't exactly thrilled how the FotJ series ran up till now. But nonetheless this latest installment in the story arc was simply enjoyable. That it'...moreI wasn't exactly thrilled how the FotJ series ran up till now. But nonetheless this latest installment in the story arc was simply enjoyable. That it's the seventh in a row to handle the same characters, factions and ideas seems to finally pay off after some rather disappointing books where the balance and weighting between those same elements did not really work out to a fine result. What's more important: now we have reached a point where those same elements extort a feeling of "what? No! it can't be the end of the book, i want to know what happens next" rather than "ah good there we go again" or even worse sentiments. it might even get to the point where the whole awkward storyline will be worth the amount of attention that it has got with a complete 9 part series.(less)
A good complimentary to the comic series of the same name this might also be the greatest weakness of JJMs narrative: without the comic book you can't...moreA good complimentary to the comic series of the same name this might also be the greatest weakness of JJMs narrative: without the comic book you can't really get close to the setting and character until very far into the book, too much is expected to be known to you at the beginning.
Other than that it's the start of a new timeslot in the ever growing star wars franchise, but not too distinct from the rest of the show to be unrecogniseable. There's a lot of similarity to the background of the KotOR games and comics and some foreshadowing of the Bane-Timeline, all centered around a rather unique setup of warring nations of sith lords competing with one another about the barbaric rim of the galaxy which the grand republic at it's center has had to give up lost because of this very same wars and warlords. The protagonist tries to do something about the suffering and chaos in this god forsaken region, but one Jedi in a world of Sith can#t do too much.
Interesting concept, but probably too early to judge where the storyline will end up finally. Nice novel with a fine twist at the climax and some new stuff for the upcoming comics and possible sequel novels to keep readers hoping for more.(less)
It was not too smooth a read but i liked the idea and for most of the time also the author's style. Towards the end it started winning pace and so aft...moreIt was not too smooth a read but i liked the idea and for most of the time also the author's style. Towards the end it started winning pace and so after the big showdown i'm quite satisfied with the story.
After all it's not too often that we get "classic" Luke and Co Stories, so enjoying whatever they bring out seems to be the best strategy ;) With books like this an easy task.(less)