Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Darksaber

Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
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Jul 23, 10

bookshelves: star-wars, read-at-your-own-risk
Read in April, 2010 — I own a copy, read count: 2

Something is afoul in the Hutt camp, and the New Republic sends Han and Luke to Tatooine to sniff it out. They discover that Durga has codes for secret New Republic information. Meanwhile, Daala attempts to unify the Empire and strike out at the heart of the New Republic.
NOTE: Years ago, I read this book, and recently listened to the audio version.

I Liked:
I know a huge complaint about this book is how it deals with yet another superweapon (the third for Anderson). While I am no fan of this plot device, I did like how the Hutts were the bad guys this time and not so much the Empire. The Hutts have been rather unexplored since perhaps Return of the Jedi. There are more enemies to the New Republic than just the Empire, and this is one of the first times we get to see one.
I even liked how the Darksaber was built and "destroyed". Sure, it ended with the needless death of a Star Wars character (SPOILER: Crix Madine). But that is how life is. Sometimes life ends up with needless deaths. And at least Anderson had the gumption to kill off one of the characters from the movies. It took till Vector Prime for someone else to have enough chutzpah to do it again. But back to the Darksaber's destruction, it was because Durga got hasty, refused to do the double checking his top engineers told him to do (because they ARE the experts after all), and just fired. Nice touch of real life, if you ask me (customers do sometimes act that way after all).
Daala finally gets a chance to be successful. She even remarks, early on, how she was a failure and an embarrassment because she didn't think things through, she just acted on anger instead of strategy. The way she is able to unite the disparate faction of the Empire was exciting and a good tribute to her. Finally, she is allowed to win! I've heard some things about where she ends up in the Legacy series and I could sort of believe it now.
Having Callista being separate from the Force is definitely an interesting concept, one I wish that was explored even more. I also liked the small bit where Tionne shows her disgust that Callista is alive and not Cray. Good work!
We get a few new characters, or new light on old characters, which is really nice. Dorsk 81 gets a chance to buck the Cloning Blues and Bevel Lemelisk hearkens us back to the days of the Empire. Both were important and interesting aspects of the story.

I Didn't Like:
But this doesn't mean Anderson's book is perfect, only better *gasp* than its predecessors, both the Jedi Academy Trilogy and Children of the Jedi (personally, it's pretty sad that this is the best of the so-called Callista trilogy). Anderson still can't quite get a handle on our Big Three. Han doesn't fair as badly, but Leia laughs about behaving like a spoiled brat to Durga (?!) and Luke acts like he skipped a dose of Vallium. And why is the civilian Qui Xux on a military craft? So she can canoodle Wedge when he's off-duty? Please! And while Daala is much better, she still has the strategical skills of a dandelion.
As we saw in previous books, Anderson relies too much on superweapons to carry his novel through. What could have been an interesting look on the Force in Callista becomes yet another attempt to save the galaxy from the destruction of a huge superweapon. Yawn. Been there, done that, got the shirt.
Also, Anderson again writes the Jedi as being far too powerful. The Academy students are able to Force Push 17 Star Destroyers? I hate to even bring this up, but even Galen Marek had trouble pushing ONE in The Force Unleashed, and even there, I didn't like the fact he could do anything at all! These guys have been training for all of, what, two years max and now they can push Star Destroyers out into the depths of space? I know "Size matters not" but, wow, just wow.
My last complaint is Callista. I've never been a huge fan of hers, but at least in the previous book and in Traviss' work, she doesn't make me want to vomit. Here, all she does is whine about how she can't use the Force, claim to love Luke and yet blame him for her not being able to use the Force (?!). What kind of relationship is that? I know Anderson didn't create her and force her into this horrible, insanely rushed relationship in the first place (Hambly gets the credit for that one), but man, if he was aiming to make her disliked, he succeeded. After reading about her bemoaning losing the Force (which kinda doesn't make sense, how can she be devoid of the Force? Weren't the Yuuzhan Vong unique in that regard? Wouldn't Luke and the guys have had experience with the Vong after being around her?), I don't see how anyone could have wanted to cheer her on in a relationship with Luke. I could also complain about how she "saves the day" Mary Sue style, but I don't want to belabor the point.

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Perhaps a d*** or h*** but nothing more.
Qui Xux and Wedge are lovers. So are Luke and Callista.
Daala kills a bunch of Imperial warlords. Luke and Callista are attacked by a wampa. Bevel has been killed more than once.

Overall:
The second book in the "Callista trilogy", this isn't too bad--for brain candy. It's not the most brilliant work out there, but at least the characters aren't complete idiots and the story actually wraps up in a half-decent way. I definitely liked this more than Children of the Jedi, but considering how bad that book was, that isn't much of a compliment.
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