Thu
Mar 6 2014 10:00am

Building the Death Star (Again?) On A Budget—Star Wars: Darksaber

Kevin J. Anderson, Star Wars, Darksaber, Drew StruzanSo…. This book.

For the second installation of the “Callista Trilogy,” it was decided that Kevin J. Anderson would write a novel that played alongside his recent Jedi Academy Trilogy, and also continued on from the events in Children of the Jedi. Hambly and Anderson worked together carefully to assure that everything merged, especially since Hambly was set to write the third novel in this progression.

Spoiler alert: These books do not go together. These books are tonally divergent as komodo dragons and toy poodles. But… things explode? There are more secondary characters to kill off? We revisit lots of places you might recognize?

Luke has that new girlfriend, Callista, remember? The one who used to be trapped in a computer, and can no longer use the Force? They go on a journey to try and rediscover her abilities, which leads to a very dramatic opener—Luke revisits Obi-Wan’s old hut on Tatooine and makes a plea to Ben’s ghost to help him. He even uses Leia’s tried and true phrasing: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope.” It’s all very sad and there are probably tiny violins playing in the distance because we all know the universe doesn’t really care about Luke’s problems.

Luke and Han find out that Durga the Hutt (who has taken over in Jabba’s place on Tatooine and also has control over the Black Sun these days), is planning to take a vacation on Coruscant, where he will steal the plans to the Death Star’s laser—why these are still lying around anywhere, let alone easily accessible we will never understand—and hand them over to the space station’s original designer, Bevel Lemelisk. Then Durga can have a shiny Death Star-type thing for his own and extort money from planets and star systems. This is actually kind of a better plan than the Empire had, so good for him.

In case you are confused: EVERYONE AND THEIR STEPMOM BUILT THE DEATH STAR. I’m serious. This spherical boat has been attributed to every single minor random character you can conceive of, and then attributed over again due to the prequels. There is Daala’s installation where it was developed, and also Grand Moff Tarkin’s meddling, and poor Qwi Xux’s brainwashed science-y contributions along with her cohorts, and then there’s the Geonosians from Attack of the Clones who magically have the plans in the first place because George Lucas can’t not explain things that no one cares about, but hell, let’s definitely not forget THIS RANDOM LOSER, who was also apparently helping the whole time. Look, it’s a big ship, so I’m sure lots of people had a hand in it, but with this many cooks in the kitchen? No wonder some poorly-placed exhaust port was all it took to make it go boom.

Sorry. I’m okay now.

It wouldn’t actually be that irritating, except for the fact that all of these people are always alive, running around, and in the exact place they need to be to cause maximum damage any time conflict is required.

Anywho, Luke continues on his Let’s Find Obi-Wan’s Ghost hike, which leads to Dagobah and then a Hoth romp that is patently ridiculous, involves refuges for some reason, and lets him re-encounter the Wampa he so rudely de-armed in Empire Strikes Back. It serves only to get himself and Callista stranded in the Hoth asteroid belt, conveniently the exact place where the new Death Star is being built. Only this time, the design will be streamlined, cylindrical, leading to its brand new christening: Darksaber.

That ringing silence you hear is me emphatically not applauding.

But wait, there’s a B plot! Admiral Daala is trying to corral the remnants of the Empire (they are literally never done fighting remnants of the Empire, this is the whole reason the Yuuzhan Vong invasion had to be a thing in the New Jedi Order series, because it’s just remnants of British naval officers snarking at each other in bad hats for decades), and for some reason Kyp Durron and Dorsk 81 are nearby! Dorsk recently left his home world of clones, Khomm, because they were expecting him to fold into clone rank and not be a Jedi there, which was boring and un-fun to him. This suits Kyp fine because he needs a friend to help him cause trouble—basically the only thing Kyp Durron does well. Well, that and genocide. (Yes, I know, I’m so sorry, I tried to stop myself from going there, but you know how it is.)

Because Daala sees Dorsk 81, she decides that she should target his people on her List of Planets That Require Blowing Up For Me to Achieve Galactic Domination ploy. This is also a super-specially idiotic move because anyone who has done a Wikipedia-level Google search on Dorsk’s home planet knows that his people are not even a zero threat level. They are a negative threat level. If they had a threat level color code, it would be Transparently Invisible. (Yet they are somehow a society of clones in a galaxy that’s weird about cloning, but I guess that’s what you get when you create a society of clones before the Clone Wars have been properly fleshed out in the films.) The attack on Khomm is devastating. It’s actually pretty depressing.

And then Daala tries to attack the Jedi Academy, but Kyp and Dorsk are way ahead of her, and Dorsk 81 levels up to Greatest Jedi Ever in order to prevent the annihilation of all Luke’s hard work for the past year or so. He and the kiddies throw giant boulders at incoming star fighters, stop ground troops in their tracks, and generally defeat evil. Callista tries to stop Daala and her TIE bombers, and we are meant to think she went down with the Admiral’s flagship, which she doesn’t. But in order to get the Imperials off Jedi turf for good, Dorsk 81 has to pull the neatest trick of all—he gets all the students to channel their power through him and shoves Daala’s cadre of Star Destroyers out of the Yavin system with his Force brilliance.

And then he promptly dies.

It occurs to me that this might have been a better journey for Kyp—after all the screwy things that poor kid did at the behest of Exar Kun in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, this could have been the perfect cap to his tale. Had Durron died saving the lives of fellow students, put his impressive abilities to use for an ultimate good, it would have been a logical bracket to his arc. Then again, I happen to really like Punk Jedi Kyp, so I’d have been sad to lose him so quickly. On the other hand, Dorsk 81 finding himself suddenly, miraculously capable of tapping into that kind of power doesn’t sell. It comes out of nowhere. Which doesn’t mean that I didn’t cry as a kid over his death, but these days it reads a bit more hollow than it did before.

Also, Callista’s vacation to re-find her Force abilities? They don’t go so well, as I mentioned. In fact, what she discovers is worse than simply being cut off—she and Luke realize that the only way she is capable of accessing the Force is via the Dark Side. She even unleashes it aboard Daala’s ship because she just has to help. Which might have been interesting had Callista been given the time to really explore what that means and become a more important character within the Expanded Universe. There was just one problem: fans didn’t like her. But we’ll tackle that issue for the following book….

There’s a very dark subplot here where Lemelisk is concerned, but it’s awkwardly shot through with hilarity. See, when Bevel made the Death Star for Palpatine, you might recall how well that went for the Empire. The Emperor was less than giggly over that, and apparently chose to kill Lemelisk in creative ways several times, always resurrecting him in a clone body. And that’s dark and disturbing and a great illustration of how cloning could easily be abused in the Star Wars universe, sure. Now that Bevel is at it again, he’s concerned that working for Durga could result in a similar demise—unfortunately he’s building the Darksaber with subpar materials and his workforce is basically a set of hive-mind monkeys. So it’s a disaster waiting to happen and he knows it. Shouldn’t be funny, but it really is. The thing actually gets sammiched between two asteroids. Durga the Hutt’s reign (because he had one, or at least we’re told he’s totally a real problem to some people) is short-lived and painfully ineffective.

This book also has the distinction of killing off the first “good guy” with a speaking part from the films. Anderson got Lucasfilm permission to execute poor Crix Madine, who infiltrates Darksaber and essentially pulls the one screw out of a wall somewhere that’s needed to make the whole thing come crashing down. So Crix sort of dies a hero? It’s supposed to be very emotional and moving and we’re meant to feel lots of things, but it’s sort of hard to get attached to Mr. Exposition #3 from Return of the Jedi when you realize that we actually know Dorsk 81 better than him, and that’s saying something.

Dorsk 82, Dorsk 81’s clone and successor totally ends up going to the Jedi Praxeum after surviving the assault on his home world, though. That’s something, I guess. Except we never hear much about him and he eventually dies in the New Jedi Order books, so never mind, it’s awful.

And Callista leaves Luke to go find herself at the end of the book because we all know that it’s got to be easier getting your powers back far, far away from one of the most powerful Jedi in the universe, right? He had his shot, he’s clearly no help, so she’s off and away and Luke is understandably sad about that. There’s an adorable scene between Mara Jade and Callista that occurs somewhere around here, which gives you a pretty good idea of what the whole fan problem with Callista was in the first place. Mara is not jealous, per se, she’s just not quite getting what Callista is doing hanging out with farm boy. She sort of thinks the whole thing is cute and weird and a little off-putting somehow…

…aw, the beginnings of True Luff are often so benign.

So that’s the odd progression of Darksaber, and yet there’s still another tale to tell in this arc. Come back for your delicious bug-infested dessert—no, there really are giant bugs. Planet of Twilight is coming.


Emily Asher-Perrin would like to point out that it's no wonder Kyp is so messed up when pretty much everyone he takes a shine to dies. You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

42 comments
Colin R
1. Colin R
I know that The Crystal Star is officially The Worst, but this one holds a special, incompetent place in my... not heart. Spleen I guess? My impression throughout is that Kevin J. Anderson writes everyone like morons. Like, are we supposed to believe anyone could be threatened by Durga, or Lemelisk, or even Admiral Daala? They are all incompetent losers. Who needs Jedi to defend the galaxy when apparently the Keystone Cops would do?

And the heroes are little better. How weird is it that a plot arc that should be a big deal--renegade Imperial tries to destroy the Jedi Academy! Renegade Hutt is rebuilding the Death Star!--is basically ignored by the heroes? The main plot is not dealing with these problems but trying (and failing) to help out his star-crossed lover? The villains mostly thwart themselves.

I also 'liked' how they added Durga in as a minor character in "Shadows of the Empire" to try to establish that he is totally not an incompetent moron but actually a Big Deal. At least AC Crispin's books made something of him.
Colin R
2. Colin R
There is a picture of Durga shooting Crix Madine on Wookieepedia; it says it is from the Essential Chronology but it looks to me like it could have originally been in a WEG sourcebook.

Anyway I cannot get over the perspective of this:

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/File:Madine_death.jpg

How you get shot in the chest by someone while facing away from them??
Dave Thompson
3. DKT
Ha! I had friends who were FURIOUS that Anderson had the gall to kill off Madine.

Also, Luke returning to Hoth and runs into the Wampa whose arm he cut off is a perfect metaphor for how recycled this book is.

I enjoyed the Anderson books when I read them, but in hindsight, this is one of the worst.
Colin R
4. Vortimer
I'll start off by saying how glad I am to stumble on this website; I started reading franchise novels (Star Wars, Star Trek and Forgotten Realms) just before last Christmas, picked up the pace at Easter and became sort of hooked a few months later. I've found it hard to find anywhere on the web where these books are discussed in terms other than either total derision or more likely treated as a Holy Cow by fans unable to take on board that something carrying thier chosen brand trademark might be anything less than perfect.
Darksaber was the second EU novel I read (after a reread of Splinter of the Mind Eye) and despite it's gaping flaws I rather enjoyed it. At this point I wasn't aware of the sheer number of Super Weapons, Rogue Imperials and other overused elements in the EU that probably would cause me to be a lot harsher on DS reading it today. I'm currently reading KJA's Jedi Academy books and I'm in a lot less forgiving frame of mind.
One thing that stood out in DS is the awful plot, not holes, but logic failures. Durga didn't have to take his gremlin hackers on the fake diplomatic mission to Coruscant - he could have just loaded them on one of the undoubted thousands of freighters that dock there daily and they could infiltrate the unsecure achive just the same. Lemelisk then throws away 95% of the Death Star plans anyway. Might just as well have started from a blank sheet - a huge slab of plot that only exists to fill paper.
Chris Nelly
5. Aeryl
I liked Callista's reasoning for leaving Luke, and that's about it. Being close to Luke was the temptation to turn to the Dark Side for her, so she needed to get away to keep from losing herself.

Which is a pretty healthy message for a teen girl to get, IMO, that's it's OK and even a good thing, to walk away from a relationship because it's more important to put your own self care first. Which is also why I also like how it ends in the next book.

Really, I credit my teen obsession with the EU for my thoroughly NON romantic viewpoint on most things. Because the romantic stories always felt shoehorned in and unrelated to the rest of the book(like the shortlived Wedge Antilles/Qwi Xux romance in this book), and not organic. Which is why the best one to come out was Luke/Mara, because it took the time, and distance for these people to grow before the relationship came to fruition.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
6. Lisamarie
Unfortunately, I had the opposite opinion as Aeryl, if only because I already was a pretty big romantic coming into the books, so I felt like Callista treated/used Luke badly here, so I was upset when she left (even though from an adult perspective, it does make sense, and of course you have to take care of yourself). I accepted her answer, but wished it were otherwise. Akanah, on the other hand, I felt just flat out used him, and I hated her. I was kind of weirdly possessive as a young teen reading these books, looking back...although I would have been totally fine with Callista/Luke being the 'official pairing', I just wanted him to have a relationship that didn't go down in flames (and with an older perspective, I could also add, 'or, decide he was perfectly happy in singlehood' although that probably did not occur to me at that age).

As for the rest of the plot, this summary is just cracking me up. I doubt I was quite as critical of it when I was reading them, but these ones weren't my favorites...
Colin R
7. Theo16
After his fourth bad book, I swore off Kevin Anderson for good after this one. Ugh.

However, at least we should be fair to Bevel Lemelisk. He was actually the official first designer of the Death Star. He (or his name, at least) originates in the Death Star Technical Companion RPG book, which came out in 1991. So Daala, , Tarkin, the Genosians and all those other guys are the extra people who just had to be involved. Poor Bevel is the original guy.
Chris Nelly
8. Aeryl
The part that ticked me off with the Geonosians, was that then it took 20 YEARS TO BUILD IT?

I mean it served the point that all of these disparate factors were being manipulated by Sidious to get the outcome he wanted, but SRSLY? 20 YEARS? Especially with how fast the second one came together.
Colin R
9. CERTOR
I remember reading the Kevin J Anderson series of books and being happy someone finally invisioned a partner for Luke. The poor guy has been living with his sister's kiss too long. Mara Jade I thought was a perfect story too. The assasin begging to kill Luke falls in love with him. Classic theme; The enemy falls for the hero love story, but still a great story.
Stephen Shores
10. 2nihon
I liked Callista Ming until Kevin J. Anderson stepped in. I thought Luke and Callista could have, and should have, made it work. It was time for Luke to have some real romance and get married, but that rug was rudely pulled out from under us. This one is probably #1 on the list of Star Wars Books That Piss Me Off.
Colin R
11. Colin R
I can sort of see a Death Star taking years to complete. It takes us like seven years to build an aircraft carrier, and a Death Star is the size of a small planet! As for why it didn't take so long to build the second, I suppose I'd assume that the plan was always to build more than one Death Star.

Palpatine wasn't exactly a half-measures kind of dude. He's the kind of dude who screams "UNLIMITED POWEERRRRRR" while killing you. Of course he would want a Death Star for every star system.
Merchanter Pride
12. MerchanterPride
I don't think I can ever forgive myself for the time I spent as a teenager reading Kevin J. Anderson books. They're more like dirty sponges than novels: they rubbed up on some interesting things, but you really don't want to hang out with them.
Tom Smith
13. phuzz
This was the first EU book I ever read, I never read any of the others. This review makes me think maybe I should.
Chris Nelly
14. Aeryl
Start with the Timothy Zahn book, Heir to the Empire, followed by The Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command.

Then read his next series, Hand of Thrawn & Vision of the Future. You can honestly skip everything in the middle, if you really want to. Then move into RA Salvatore's Vector Prime, which kicks off the New Jedi Order series, which is the best of the EU IMO.
Colin R
15. James2
@13, Let me add in Outbound Flight and Survivor's Quest if you like Zahn's novels.

They serve as nice book-ends to Zahn's Thrawn myth-arc.
Brian Haughwout
16. bhaughwout
I agree with the idea that the idea that the second Death Star was in progress while the first was launched (similar to how classes of ships are built in a staggered series), with Tarkin's being the first completed. After it's destruction, there was likely a halt to the few others* in the works to add in vent protection and shield generation. After the fall of the Emperor & the second's destruction, any partially-complete ones were likely scrapped as the first business of the Rebels.

(*I'm thinking of how carriers or battleships are built, such that wars' ends can leave 20%-complete ships scrapped and dismantled, while a planned line of a dozen ships might only get three built due to time and resources -- as big & rich as the Empire is, imagine how much a Death Star costs to build if there's a 20+ period to build for a galaxy-spanning wartime culture/military government!)
Meg K
17. KittenSwarm
@13 I would also recommend the Thrawn Trilogy and then Zahn's duo after that, but also add in the X-Wing series (Rogue and Wraith Squadrons) and I, Jedi.
Courtship of Princess Leia people seem to love or hate, but I'm one who loves it. Meanwhile, I really disliked the New Jedi Order series. That series is what made me quit the EU.

Darksaber is near the bottom of the EU novels for me, but I did always like Luke's visit to Tatooine that opens the book. His asking for Ben's help and getting no reply helped show just how alone Luke was in trying to be the teacher of a new generation of Jedi.
Colin R
18. Colin R
I think it's best to start with Brian Daley's Han Solo series. They are old but they are great, and everyone likes them so they aren't ignored like a lot of other early EU work is. AC Crispin's Han Solo books fit nicely into those too. And yeah, the Zahn books, while not my favorite, are competently made and are sort of foundational at this point.

I wish you could skip Vector Prime, really; it's not awful, but it feels much different than a lot of the other NJO series. Salvatore seems like a gun for hire rather than someone who is interested in writing star wars novels. It is, however, kind of obligatory.
Chris Nelly
19. Aeryl
Salvatore was supposed to write more novels in the series. Once you read it, you'll understand why he didn't(fan overreaction).

I've never read Crispin's, but Daley's books are OK. Seem much more like conventional sci-fi than Star Wars, IMO, but they are good. They also come back into the story, once you hit the NJO series.
Colin R
20. Colin R
Well they were certainly going for a reaction with Vector Prime, and he gave it to them.

I didn't actually read it until several years later because that was around the time when I got distracted from reading Star Wars books regularly. But it definitely stands up and announces "This is not your Bantam Star Wars anymore!"
Chris Nelly
21. Aeryl
"This is not your Bantam Star Wars anymore!"

And THANK GOODNESS! I get the complaints of the NJO, but the Bantam books had pretty much lost the ability to concieve of a single threat that wasn't laughable. They had to bring Zahn to do that!
Meg K
22. KittenSwarm
@21 Aeryl
That's so true; at some point it was laughable how many Imperial Warlords and superweapons were popping up. It made sense for the years immediately following the collapse of the Empire, but it became ridiculous as the timeline went on.

I liked the concept of the NJO series, especially the shared storyline with multiple writers. The story and tone just lost me around book 5 or 6. Maybe I'll try to pick them up again and see if they sit with me better this time around.
Colin R
23. Vortimer
I, Jedi is the Star Wars novel I enjoyed the most of the 21 I've read so far. The Heir of the Empire trilogy was highly enjoyable, but the level of praise it recieves in some quarters is insane. I read (possibly reread, it started triggering childhood memories as the pages turned) one of Brian Daley's - I picked up an original copy in a second hand book shop, I love it's 70's pulp sci fi yellow paper and cheap, badly illustrated cover, instead of the slicker more corporate novels of the EU proper. It was fun but lacked the scope and sturm und drang of later novels - not necessarily a bad thing.
I've tried a couple of the NJO books, but I don't think they are for me.

How do people feel about Shadows Of The Empire? It seems to get almost Zahn levels of love but I found it poor.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
24. Lisamarie
I'm of two minds on the whole Vector Prime/Legacy of the Force stuff (if you're not a completist, skip the Swarm War stuff in between, unless you want to read about some super creepy Force threesomes (it's not as cool as it sounds)). I totally understand why they did the change in tone, but...eh...I just want my heroes to have happy endings.

Anyway.

Going back the OTHER way, I reccomend Karen Travis's Clone Troopers books, which are a pretty interesting look at the ethics of using a clone army. That said, she's a bit of a base breaker since she's super into the Mandalorians and not too fond of the Jedi.

I also really enjoyed Kenobi, by John Jackson Miller, which is a standalone about Obi-Wan after Revenge of the Sith.

Tatooine Ghost, another standalone, is pretty good too.

If you like short stories, the Tales of the Bounty Hunters is one of my favorites, Tales from Jabba's Palace and Tales from Mos Eisley Cantina is good too.

I haven't read a lot of the newer stuff that Zahn has come out with, or some of the newer standalone/genre-straddling books (like, I'm pretty sure there was a Star Wars/zombie book that came out recently) but I intend to, because they sound fun.
Colin R
25. Colin R
Shadows of the Empire feels like a tie-in novel, which it is. It's been a long time since I read the comics, but I think they're worth a go--most Dark Horse stuff is.

Generally I think Zahn benefits from his competition--most of the other authors writing at the same time that he was just weren't turning out very good Star Wars novels. Apologies to Mr. KJ Anderson, but how good a writer do you need to be to look good compared to Darksaber? Zahn is a satisfactory writer; he at least understands plotting, and how to create credible threats. I find that I'm not really that impressed by his insistance that Thrawn and Karrde are geniuses though. But hey, he sure struck gold with Mara Jade eh?

I can't stand Stackpole's writing at all, but I think I'm probably in the minority on that. Actually, I quite liked Anderson's Tales of the Old Republic comics; I'm sure the artists contributed a lot to that, but still, credit where it's due.
Meg K
26. KittenSwarm
@23

Most of my fondness for Shadows of the Empire is from the Nintendo 64 game, which is excellent. The book... it's okay.
Anthony Pero
27. anthonypero
If Al Gore can Invent the Internet, I have no problem with 25 people claiming the Death Star as their baby.
Colin R
28. BrandonH
Darksaber was one of my absolute favorite books when I was growing up. Now, I still have fond memories and think some of the concepts are cool, but I recognize more of its flaws.

A lot of Kevin J. Anderson's writing will call back to the source material extensively and contain scenes that conjure up great visuals. This is both a strength and a weakness, as there are lots of coincidences, Small Universe Syndrome, and nonsensical decision making that go into making those outcomes happen.

Darksaber definitely has a big scope. They go to a lot of locations in the galaxy, and there are two significant threats to the New Republic to combat.
Shariq Ansari
29. DarkeSword
Love the re-reads of these old-school Star Wars novels.

One thing I'd love to see on Tor.com is an article series on the old NPR Star Wars audio dramas. Those are some of my favorite pieces of Star Wars media, and "expanded" Star Wars in such a great way years before the EU came into being. Highbridge Audio actually released a special edition of the 13-episode A New Hope drama just last year.

http://starwarsradiodrama.com/
Jonah Feldman
30. relogical
Darksaber was the only one of the Callista trilogy I actually read as a kid, because I heard the Hambly ones weren't good and too girly. I didn't like it as much as most of the Star Wars books, and in retrospect the plot is like confetti. It does have that scene where Daala and Pelleaon dispose of all the minor Imperial warlords, which signals the EU giving up on using the Empire as villains past that point in the timeline and setting up Pelleaon as the reasonable adversary.

When I was a kid I imagined all the Bantam authors meeting in a boardroom and screaming at each other about how they screwed up each others' characters. For instance, all the EU's romantic arcs that stall for years in-story because of authors all trying their own thing and introduce their own love interests. There are probably some good stories of the behind-the-scenes stuff in the 1990s, though it probably took place over passive-aggressive emails on AOL.

The EU was always best when it tried to fit things together, and create the illusion of consistency and progress that most licensed universes lack. So many beautifully convoluted retcons about who built the Death Star, and who stole the plans, and how pre-prequel EU stories fit into the post-prequel EU, and so on.
Colin R
31. Howard Decker
I'd say I've never read a good KJA novel, but since I've only read one of his novels, that's probably unfair. However, that X-Files novel was so profoundly not good that I have no intention of reading anything else by him.

I've read a couple dozen SW EU novels and haven't yet found a writer whose style and take on Star Wars really work for me. That includes Zahn -- I read his first Star Wars novel in hardcover, when it was first published, and still haven't bought the others. But I live in hope.
Chris Nelly
32. Aeryl
There actually wasn't any coordination when it came to the Bantam books, which is why the continuity is all over the place.

The return to Del Rey was a definite improvement in that regard.

@22, I would recommend dipping back in. The front half of the series is hard, for reasons I won't go into since you didn't get that far in. Suffice it to say, when the Republic's war effort is at it's lowest point, things start to turn around again. There's just a LOT of crap getting dumped on our heroes to get through before you get to that point.
Colin R
33. Colin R
What I noticed about the NJO is that they definitely had a different direction for the novels in the beginning. It is clear that they wanted the focus to be the Solo children and other new characters, not so much Luke. The earlier novels tended to have a certain perspective--one book might focus on Han Solo, another on Jacen, another on Corran Horn. This has its ups and downs. I think it made the novels more coherent as novels rather than just chapters in a bigger story. But if you don't care about say, Corran Horn (I don't) then there is a temptation to sit his books out and wait for the next one.

The first half of the NJO is the last time I can keep straight what individual novels are about though. By the end of the series they had clearly decided that they still needed Like, and that some new characters weren't working out. And they had settled on a format of individual books just being chapters of a larger whole--that is how the next few series play out. I couldn't tell you what happens in which novel of the Legacy of the Force novels.
Chris Nelly
34. Aeryl
@33, I can give you a definite on what happens in Sacrifice and the last one(can't remember the name), but yeah, they all blend together.

Have you started on Fate of the Jedi yet? After I got burned with the waiting on NJO(I fell into poverty about midpoint and it took me almost another 5 years to finish the series after that) I've always waited until the ongoing series is completely published before moving in. I just wondered how it rated amongst the others.
Colin R
35. Colin R
I liked Fate of the Jedi quite a bit. The villain is creepy in a Lovecraftian way, which is kind of novel, and I like that the Sith are treated as people, not as robots that must always follow their Chaotic Evil programming. And they finally got comfortable with using Luke without letting him overshadow all the other characters. I like the new character Vestara Khai a lot too.

Though, we're 40+ years after the fall of the empire now, I'm sort of wondering what K'Kruhk and the other surviving Jedi are waiting for...
Colin R
36. Jeff R.
I sort of hope we get some Fate of the Jedi discussion at the end of this series, considering that it does have the coda to Callista's story in it as part of its general "Widow Luke shalt never get play, ever again" subtheme.
Joseph Newton
37. crzydroid
I think the only thing I remember about this book is the one-armed wampa directing an army of wampas at the rebel base because it remembers the blue glow of a lightsaber.

I think I was otherwise a poor judge of what was a good or bad story when I was reading Star Wars books. Even the one where the Dark Jedi who has the kid who can't use the Force is teaching other Force-sensitive kids to use lightbulb lightsabers, and there is some interdimensional portal I thought was ok. Even though I think most people hate that one.

My memory in general was that I thought I had typically enjoyed all these Kevin J. Anderson books when I'd read them and I liked him as an author. So imagine my excitement when I saw a book called "The Last Days of Krypton" by Kevin J. Anderson. Also imagine my disappointment when I actually read it. It was bad. Not only were the situations and dialogue very cliché, but the writing style was just awful.
Chris Nelly
38. Aeryl
Even the one where the Dark Jedi who has the kid who can't use the
Force is teaching other Force-sensitive kids to use lightbulb
lightsabers, and there is some interdimensional portal I thought was ok.

CRYSTAL STAR!!!!

*shakes fist*

That one did have some good stuff. I never tire of a good Leia and Chewie roadshow.
JOSEPH HOOPMAN
39. hoopmanjh
Ah, yes, Crix Madine, honored possessor of the Worst Haircut in Star Wars.
Matt Diamond
40. MattDiamond
Thinking of Hambly having to collaborate with a hack like Kevin J Anderson gives me a migraine.
Lisamarie LiGreci-Newton
41. Lisamarie
cryzydroid@37 - you thought Crystal Star was ok???? LOL. I also had pretty low standards, but even I thought that one was pretty bad. Maybe not in terms of the actual writing (I don't remember much of it, there very well could have been okay parts when taken in isolation) but just the story itself was just...huh???? But, it will be fun to discuss that when we get there!

Good thing I didn't know that at the altar ;) Does this render our marriage vows invalid? (just kidding!)
Joseph Newton
42. crzydroid
@41: It wasn't so much I had low standards, but that I was oblivious to what was a good story, I think. I don't remember ever not liking books until I got to a few of the Star Trek novels, but then it was mostly for things like, "She keeps saying LARCS instead of LCARS!" or "They use kiloquads, not kilobytes!" Wheel of Time definitely raised my standards in terms of writing...I don't know when I finally started to pick up on what was a bad/silly plot. I feel I'm still not as astute or critical as some of the people on the DS9 rewatch, though.

I'm willing to suspect that if I reread a lot of the Star Wars books I read when I was 15, I would think they were bad. Although I don't remember much about them. Oh, I kind of remember Shadows of the Empire. I remember the one X-Wing book where they try and disguise one of the pilots as an Ewok...does that count as a bad plot? One part I remember that I liked was when Corran Horn or somebody tried to use a mind trick and thought it was working because the stormtrooper was just repeating him. I remember the old Dathomir woman calling Yoda a flirt. Oh, I think I remember Truce at Bakura more or less...mainly Luke jumping on tables with a broken leg. I guess I just don't remember not liking any of them though...at least not back then. Freshman year of college I tried reading the first NJO book (those are the ones with the Yuhzan Vong, right?) and I couldn't get through it.

Subscribe to this thread

Receive notification by email when a new comment is added. You must be a registered user to subscribe to threads.
Post a comment