Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Tyrant's Test

Tyrant's Test by Michael P. Kube-McDowell
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's review
Jun 13, 14

bookshelves: read-at-your-own-risk, star-wars, so-bad-it-s-horrible, so-boring-it-s-boring, don-t-quit-your-day-job, ha-ha-ha-no-really
Read from April 27 to 30, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 2

"What has this all been about?"
The crisis with the Koornacht cluster is on the brink of war. Leia's position as president is in turmoil and Han has been captured. Meanwhile, Lando and team are on the cusp of discovery and Luke is growing closer to finding the Fallanassi.

I Liked:
Kube-McDowell saves this series with the political machinations between the New Republic and the Yevetha. Leia is forced to choose between her tenure as president and her husband. This decision is tough and ugly, but it is realistic, and I appreciate an author who isn't afraid of putting an unhappy solution in a novel.
Lando's mission reaches an interesting climax when Lobot interfaces with the Vagabond, though I would be lying if I said I enjoyed the resolution of this plot line.
In the previous two reviews, I have been exceedingly critical of MKM, but I think he deserves credit for elevating Chewbacca above the sidekick role. Here, we get to see his family, how he behaves with his son, and his rescue of Han, one of the best things Chewbacca has ever done in the series.

I Didn't Like:
I can't help but echo Luke's thoughts: What has this [trilogy:] all been about? Why do we care about these missions, these crisis, these journeys? They bear no relevance on later books, they have no lasting impact. To illustrate, let me take the major plot lines:
Lando: So Lando learns the secret of the ship, but he and Luke, who comes whizzing to the rescue at the end in the only plausible tie-in to the rest of the trilogy, won't see any results of this three book long quest, because it takes 100 years for their efforts to "bloom". Wow, and why again was this mission so important that we needed to shoe horn it in with the Yevetha crisis?
Leia: So Leia's presidency is challenged and she declares war on the Yevetha. This could be the beginning of an amazing series...but it is promptly wrapped up with the appearance of Luke and the Omnipotent, Amazing, Peaceful, Wonderful, Godly Fallanassi. Thanks, MKM, for destroying a good story. You put us through one book that barely begins the conflict (I guess that's why it was called Before the Storm, yuk, yuk), another book that steadily rises the conflict to the next level, then rapidly, and hastily wraps it up in the last one. Talk about a waste of effort!
Luke: His whole reason for leaving Yavin 4 was supposed to be because he needed to be a hermit. But that lasted all of one chapter, for he spent the rest of the trilogy with Akanah, the worst girlfriend he has ever had (and proof positive that he is a diehard submissive). The most distrusting, untrustworthy, dishonest, deceitful, manipulative, oppressive, and demanding woman that supposedly was a "good guy" (Uh, huh, yeah, you really bought me on that one--not) proves her integrity by lying with Luke to get him to tag along with her. And I really don't know why. She found all the "clues" (i.e. big, huge, obvious arrow signs) and refused to listen to any of Luke's advise, resting solely on her "vastly superior" knowledge of this previously unknown force, the White Current. It is my personal belief that she is on drugs and what she sees during her psychedelic mind trips is the White Current. So, we (and Luke) trudge through this, supposedly to learn more about Luke's mom (which, those of us who have seen the prequels, know won't happen) only to come out with absolutely nothing. Luke returns to Leia with the always insightful knowledge that he ought to spend time with family. God, and we had to read three books with the worst chemistry, the worst female character ever to come out with this gem???
All in all, the only things we've come out through this tripe are the following:
1) Tie-ins with the most derided SW EU media, the Star Wars holiday special
2) Luke learning the value of family (cue sappy music)
3) Lumpawarrump becoming a man and killing his parents for giving him such a God-awful name.
Wow, I so couldn't live without that.
I've lambasted the plot and the characters (specifically Leia, Luke, and Akanah) to no end, but there is one thing I've forgot to mention in my reviews to the previous two books: Nil Spaar and the Yevetha. While there were some good aspects, I felt on a whole, they were just an excuse for an enemy, one that had absolutely no redeeming value (to human morality), so they could be wholesale slaughtered and no one would bat an eye. I never once sympathized with the villains or felt anything beyond disgust and revulsion. Even the Yuuzhan Vong from the New Jedi Order were better done. I could feel sympathy for Nen Yim and Mezhan Kwad, even for Tsvong Lah.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Little to none.
Akanah and Luke share a room.
The violence in this one is pretty darn heavy. Nil Spaar kills someone so violently, his head is severed. Han is brutally beat to a pulp and people think he is dead. The entire Yevetha society considers murder only a crime if a lower-caste member kills an upper-class member.

Political intrigue aside, there really is no reason to read this series. Want a real threat to the New Republic that doesn't deal with the Empire? Go to the New Jedi Order. Want political intrigue? Try Cloak of Deception or Specter of the Past. Want to see Luke learn about his family? Er, guess you will have to keep waiting (Leia finds out about her dad, though, in Tatooine Ghost. Follow Obi-Wan's advice and just "Move along. Move along."
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