The Star Wars universe is huge. No, really, it's colossal. Whilst for many, their knowledge of the Star Wars universe starts at A New Hope, and ends aThe Star Wars universe is huge. No, really, it's colossal. Whilst for many, their knowledge of the Star Wars universe starts at A New Hope, and ends at Return of the Sith, there is an entire universe of characters, locations, plots, and fantastical stories weaved into dozens of video games, hundreds of comics, several TV Shows, and at least 300 novels.
So, as large as it is, the Star Wars Expanded Universe has a lot of room to focus on other characters, and can include many, many genres other than just Sci-Fi. For example, the Coruscant Nights trilogy by Michael Reaves is pure noire, whilst the duology that I'm about to review is, of all things, a medical drama.
Set in the middle of the Clone Wars on the planet of Drongar, the book assembles a new cast of characters as they try to deal with the constant deluge of wounded and dying clone troopers that pass through the surgery, all the while trying to keep it together in the face of monumental human suffering.
Our main characters are surgeons Jos Vondar and Zan Yant, the sassy, kind-hearted Lorridian nurse Tolk le Trene, the slippery reporter Den Dhur, I-Five, one of the few droids in the Star Wars universe who are truly sentient, and Barriss Offee, Padawan to one of my favourite Jedi Masters, Luminara Unduli, and the only character from the movies to appear in the book.
Most of the characters are on Drongar to assist at the Rimsoo, which is a type of pop-up emergency medical complex, except for Barriss, whose mission from the Jedi Council is to track the growth of Bota, a valuable, highly adaptive plant that only grows on Drongar, and which both the Republic, and the Confederates want for their own ends.
But something foul is up on Drongar. From Filba, the Hutt quartermaster, to the monastic order helping with the patients, and even the Admiral in charge of the titular Medstar, corruption runs deep on Drongar.
Times are tense, and whilst our characters have to go about their day-to-day duties in the knowledge that at any moment, they could be obliterated, a spy is in their midst, watching and listening.
Despite the cover, which shows Barriss going Medieval on a battledroid with her lighstaber, there is very little action in the book. Ironic considering it's set in a war hospital.
No, most of the book is dedicated to scenes of surgery, intrigue, and quiet character moments as the cast reflect on their lot in life. There is even a couple of scenes where the gang play card games, which, it might interest you to know, didn't make me want to gauge my eyes out like the one in Dark Apprentice, so that's something.
The book was written by Michael Reaves with input from Steve Perry. I've never had the pleasure of reading any of his other works, but Reaves clearly has a flair for characters, and an excellent vocabulary, even if some of the medical terminology did make my head spin.
I'll be reviewing the second part of the duology, Jedi Healer (Star Wars: Clone Wars, #5) next before I go on to do the books I, Jedi and Revan. Then I'll try and start again with the Callista Ming Trilogy, which from my previous experience, was like trying to swim through honey. Until next time....more