Definitely the weakest of the new SW canon books I have read so far. There are a number of things that feel off to me and prevented me from really appDefinitely the weakest of the new SW canon books I have read so far. There are a number of things that feel off to me and prevented me from really appreciating the book. The greatest problem I felt with the book was its tone. A large part of this stems from the choice to have the book narrated from Luke’s first person perspective. While a first person narrative in and of itself is not that big of an issue (the only other SW book that used the first person, “I Jedi”, was not that bad IMO) the childish writing of this book left me feeling as if I was reading a Percy Jackson book. Coming from a fan who thinks that Luke is kind of a dweeb in the first place his juvenile inner monologue (Eww I got poop on my clothes; Ah shucks it’s hard to talk to girls) was not that fun. I have read in some other reviews that people felt like at certain points they were reading a junior novelization, and I have to say I kind of agree. Other than the (oddly graphic) death scenes sprinkled throughout the book this felt more like a kids book than most Star Wars novels.
The other major problem is this book is a total throw away in terms of story and contributes basically nothing to the wider cannon of SW. Now I understand it is little bit more difficult to write a SW book that occurs in the interregnum of the movies as opposed to the bleeding edge of the canon timeline, but other books that have been written in underexplored bits of the timeline have done a really good job of fleshing out back stories and characterizations (Tarkin in the new canon made a fist of this, and books like Rise of the Dark Lord and Plagueis were wonderful examples from the old EU). This would have been a great time period to really explore Luke at an important time in his storyline (especially given the dubious decision to frame the entire story in his head). But the handful of times the book starts to address where Luke is in the overall arc of the Star Wars narrative at this point, like his role in the rebellion after destroying the Death Star or his burgeoning abilities with the force, it was basically used for comic relief. If you ever thought that there is no un-cool way to manipulate physical objects with the power your mind, wait until you read about Luke’s multiple noodle-scooting practice sessions....more
The second book I have read from the new canon. Not bad and lots of action compared to Tarkin. Kemp does a good job of putting Vader in Beast Mode, buThe second book I have read from the new canon. Not bad and lots of action compared to Tarkin. Kemp does a good job of putting Vader in Beast Mode, but by the end of the book I felt some of the battles went in a bit too long. When you know that neither the emperor nor Vader will die in this book (spoiler?) it makes it kind of a slog to read through a whole chapter of them slaughtering their way through a giant ant nest. The one thing that actually really bothered me, and now that I think about was present in Tarkin as well is the fixation on the "mystery" around Vader. People in both books were always asking "how is this possible? A person shouldn't be able too move like that." As if they had not just lived through a galaxy wide war where Jedis where routinely opening up cans of whoop-ass all over the place. Heck the main character Cham worked with Anakin in the battle of Ryloth during the clone wars. I'm not saying anyone should be putting 2 and 2 together and realizing Vader is Anakin, or even having some sort of revelation about the Sith who haven't been around for thousands of years, but they should be able to guess that he has powers similar to a Jedi (he carries a freaking lightsaber for goodness sake) and not be slack jawed and amazed when he jumps really high....more
The best Bond book of the series so far. The story feels much less dated, and has a noticeably reduced amount of cringe inducing misogyny. Also conspiThe best Bond book of the series so far. The story feels much less dated, and has a noticeably reduced amount of cringe inducing misogyny. Also conspicuously absent is the casual racism of previous books, but since the story takes place entirely within 1950's era London and Dover Flemming was limiting his pallet so to speak of possible inflammatory stereotypes (unless you count the goose-stepping Germans, but in all fairness part of the story is that they actually are Nazis that survived the war). ...more
As a huge fan of the EU I am pretty disappointed with the cannon reboot. That being said however I am not going to let nerd rage get in the way of conAs a huge fan of the EU I am pretty disappointed with the cannon reboot. That being said however I am not going to let nerd rage get in the way of continuing to read Star Wars books. With that in mind objectively speaking I thought this was a good Star Wars book. It is a little bit ironic to me that James Luceno was the first author chosen to pen a post EU novel, as my favorite quality of his previous books was the fan-service references to pretty obscure EU material. Some of this was still present in this book, though obviously diminished since the amount of canon has shrunk so much. There were numerous references to Clone Wars plot points, obvious ones like Tarkin's involvement with Ahsoka, but also more oblique references like ownership records showing that certain pieces of hardware had once belonged to Admiral Trench's fleet. Luceno still managed to slip in a few references that are taken directly from previous EU material (Armand Isard is the director of Intelligence, Plagueis's droid 11-4D shows up, the "disastrous" trade summit on Eriadu is mentioned, Tagge Co mining operations are targeted by dissidents etc). None of these have much impact on the story but they are significant in that they are now officially element of the new Star Wars canon. The most interesting thing to me was that they let Luceno give Palpatine a first name (ironically in Plagueis Luceno even states that Palpatine did not have a first name and only used his family name). While it might not seem like that big of a dealt, the Emperor went almost 40 years without a first name, so him getting one is kind of a thing. The actual reveal is horribly anti-climactic, not only because his name is ridiculous, but also because it is presented in such a throw away manner (it reminded me of that South Park episode where everyone was waiting for the cop show to say "shit" on TV for the first time).
All in all it was one of the better Star Wars books I have ever read and not a bad start to the new canon, if it has to happen....more
Joe Schreiber's books probably have the least "Star Wars" feel to me of any of the EU books. That's really not saying much when you are talking aboutJoe Schreiber's books probably have the least "Star Wars" feel to me of any of the EU books. That's really not saying much when you are talking about his "zombie" books, but even here in what is theoretically a more established corner of the EU his writing style feels drastically different (at one point, during one of his "gladiator" fights Maul sinks his arms elbow deep into his opens chest so he can grab it's heart and crush it with his bare hands Mortal Kombat Fatality Style). As I read the book it felt to me like someone had taken a Warhammer 40,000 book and just randomly assigned some characters Star Wars alien identities. The fact that a character is a Twilik or Gamorean or Nelvaanian, or Nogrhi played absolutely no part in the story beyond being an adjective. Even Maul's character doesn't really resemble anything close to his wider EU self. First of all he goes by the name Jagannath (which makes as much sense for a character name in Star Wars as Jesus or Odin) for about 90 percent of the book. And then for some throw away reason he is not allowed to use the force, until about three quarters of the way through the book when for whatever reason it becomes okay again.
Being a huge Star Wars fan this was disappointing, but I could overlook that in the interest of being entertained, yet the issue of strange tone was also compounded by a pretty disjointed story. There were whole sections of the book that I felt were either totally unexplained or completely useless to the narrative. The most obvious example of this is the entire Artagan/Eogan story arc. I kept expecting them to have some sort of important part to play, but nothing ever really materialized. Another example would be the blink-and-you-miss-him Dakarai Blirr. I won't bother posting a "spoiler" since pretty much anything I could say is apparently supposed to be a "twist" but I just thought everything about him was ridiculous. The inclusion of the Bando Gora and Komari Vosa seemed really superfluous to me as well, though I think that was included mainly to create some sort of connection to the rest of the EU set in that time period.
That in itself though brings me to my next complaint. There is a surprising amount of tangential references to other EU work, and without a pretty solid knowledge of prior Star Wars lore (like books, comics, and even a video game), there is a lot of stuff that will go over your head. Most of it is trivial, except for the novels MacGuffin, which if you have not read Darth Plagueis beforehand, will probably mean absolutely nothing to you. ...more
Now that I am 700 some odd pages into this series, I am getting frustrated that I still have basically no idea what is going on in the overarching stoNow that I am 700 some odd pages into this series, I am getting frustrated that I still have basically no idea what is going on in the overarching story. I feel like this entire story could have been told in a few chapters that led into another book. While I was pleased with the tone and I got the feeling that the characters seemed more mature than in the previous book, I couldn't help getting irritated at how drawn out and slow the progression seemed. Also Jorge had some of the most aggravating dialogue of any character I have read in my life. His constant "muchacho" and "hermano" wannabe Blood in Blood out crap was honestly kind of offensive to me. ...more
The premise of these books appealed to me and I started to read them to see the re-imagining of Greek mythology in the modern world. The first book waThe premise of these books appealed to me and I started to read them to see the re-imagining of Greek mythology in the modern world. The first book was pretty good at incorporating lots of different parts of mythology, but this one seemed somehow lacking. With the novelty of reading about reimagined characters like Circe and Polyphemus wearing off the weakness in the writing starts to show through. I know these books are for "young adults" so I am not exactly the target audience but I haven't found the style of other teen series to be quite so grating. I will probably still finish the series though since I am already so far into it. ...more
I read a lot of negative reviews of people comparing this book to Ishiguro's earlier novels, so I think I am glad I read this one first. I found it toI read a lot of negative reviews of people comparing this book to Ishiguro's earlier novels, so I think I am glad I read this one first. I found it to be a thought provoking and well written book and I actually felt quite emotionally attached to Axl and Beatrice by the end of the book, which is pretty rare for me to be honest. That being said if this is one of Ishiguro's weaker novels I am excited to read his others. ...more
I have really liked James Luceno's other Star Wars books, especially his ability to weave obscure elements of the broader EU into his novels. I read tI have really liked James Luceno's other Star Wars books, especially his ability to weave obscure elements of the broader EU into his novels. I read this novel directly after Plagueis, which was probably a mistake. While both books are more on the level of a political thriller than action-space-fantasy and chronologically Plagueis comes first (well starts first at least) Plagueis is far and away the better book. I was hoping for the same sort of in depth treatment of the pre-Phantom Menace intrigues in Plagueis from the point of view of Valorum and the Jedi. Instead it was an underwhelming throwaway story only minimal significance to the wider EU. ...more