Tag Archives: Book Review

Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Kenobi’

Title: Star Wars: Kenobi
Author: John Jackson Miller
Release Date: August 27th, 2013

Warning: This review may contain minor spoilers.

How excited were you for this book? I mean really. I remember when this book was first announced. It was last October at New York Comic Con. Believe it or not the book wasn’t announced to much fanfare. Not because fans weren’t excited for it, but because there were hardly any fans there to hear the announcement. The Star Wars Books panel was being held in the lower level of the convention center in an open area. There was an awesome panel of Star Wars authors including Tim Zahn, Jason Fry, Pablo Hidalgo, and Dan Wallace but there just weren’t many fans there. There were maybe 100 people there for the panel but most were either leftovers from the previous panel or waiting for the next one. If I had to guess I would say that approximately 20 fans were actually there to see the Star Wars Books panel. To make matters worse the area was so noisy you could hardly hear the authors as they spoke.

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Ghosts of Crucible – SWBW #10

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Review this Episode: Star Wars: Crucible

Star Wars Bookworms is a monthly podcast but we have gone above and beyond this month releasing a second episode with (maybe) a third on the way! In this episode we are joined by Expanded Universe expert Geralyn Bray, a blogger over at the fansite Roqoo Depot. At the top of the show we give her a short interview to learn more about her favorite things in Star Wars.

Force ghosts, Force ghosts everywhere! We also discuss the Episode VII rumors that both Ian McDiarmid and Ewan McGregor may return to the Star Wars movies. As Force ghosts, clones, holocron projections? Will McGregor get a stand alone Kenobi movie?

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Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Crucible’

Title: Star Wars: Crucible
Author: Troy Denning
Release Date: July 9th, 2013

Warning: This review may contain minor spoilers.

Where to even begin? I blame myself for how I feel about this book. I was so excited for it.
Too excited.
Han, Luke, and Leia together again on an adventure? This was going to be like old times. But it wasn’t. It was more of what we have gotten recently from the trio’s ongoing story.

Let’s look at the official synopsis before we get too deep.

Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo, and Luke Skywalker return in an all-new Star Wars adventure, which will challenge them in ways they never expected—and forever alter their understanding of life and the Force.

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Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void’

Title: Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void
Author: Tim Lebbon
Release Date: May 7, 2013

Into the Void is the third Star Wars novel released in 2013 and is very much different from the first two. In January we got Scoundrels, the highly anticipated novel by Star Wars writer royalty Tim Zahn. February saw the release of The Last Jedi, a novel that was basically the unofficial 4th book of the Coruscant Nights series. Scoundrels featured a large cast of characters including film characters Han Solo, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca. The Last Jedi didn’t have any of our film good guys but did feature Darth Vader as the main villain.

Into the Void had no film characters to rely on to attract the casual readers. It didn’t even have the familiar eras. In fact it started it’s own era, “Before the Republic” (yes the Dawn of the Jedi comics officially started this era but Into the Void is the first novel). Hopefully this unfamiliarity will not drive off readers, because I believe the strength of this book is how different it is. 

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Book Review: ‘Star Wars: Scoundrels’

I really, really wanted to love this book.  It was written by Tim Zahn, the man who defined the Star Wars Expanded Universe.  It was a Star Wars version of the movie Ocean’s Eleven, and I loved that movie.  The main character was Han Solo.  This book had to be awesome, right?

Well, before I get too deep into it, here is the official book summary.

Han Solo should be basking in his moment of glory. After all, the cocky smuggler and captain of the Millennium Falcon just played a key role in the daring raid that destroyed the Death Star and landed the first serious blow to the Empire in its war against the Rebel Alliance. But after losing the reward his heroics earned him, Han’s got nothing to celebrate. Especially since he’s deep in debt to the ruthless crime lord Jabba the Hutt. There’s a bounty on Han’s head—and if he can’t cough up the credits, he’ll surely pay with his hide. The only thing that can save him is a king’s ransom. Or maybe a gangster’s fortune? That’s what a mysterious stranger is offering in exchange for Han’s less-than-legal help with a riskier-than-usual caper. The payoff will be more than enough for Han to settle up with Jabba—and ensure he never has to haggle with the Hutts again.

All he has to do is infiltrate the ultra-fortified stronghold of a Black Sun crime syndicate underboss and crack the galaxy’s most notoriously impregnable safe. It sounds like a job for miracle workers . . . or madmen. So Han assembles a gallery of rogues who are a little of both—including his indispensable sidekick Chewbacca and the cunning Lando Calrissian. If anyone can dodge, deceive, and defeat heavily armed thugs, killer droids, and Imperial agents alike—and pull off the heist of the century—it’s Solo’s scoundrels. But will their crime really pay, or will it cost them the ultimate price?

A story about Han Solo leading a team of scoundrels to steal a lot of money is a cool idea.  The problem is we kind of already know how it’s going to end.  Ok… maybe not exactly… but we know Han can’t end up rich at the end.  So throughout the book we are left wondering what exactly is going to go wrong.  This actually isn’t so bad though.  Zahn is a masterful storyteller and he does a great job of not tipping his hand until he has to.  You literally do not get the full payoff of the story until the very last line of the book and I loved that

And the story wasn’t bad.  It was actual a great story.  The problem for me was how much of the story was unnecessary.  The meat of the book comes in the last 7 chapters.  Everything before that is set up.  Long, repetitive setup.  I kept thinking to myself, please just rob the place already!  I know a story like this needs to establish the characters and the gameplan, but I felt it just took way too long.  By the time the story started ramping up I had all but lost interest.  I really think Scoundrels would have worked better as a short story rather than a full length novel.

The characters were also lacking for me.  There were so many of them, but very few of them I found interesting.  Han, Chewie, and Lando were pretty much themselves although there were a couple of moments where I felt Han was out of character.  He seemed a little too calm and collected and not the same Han that runs headfirst into a squad of stormtroopers in A New Hope.  I wish Chewbacca was used more.  He was basically there because he had to be.  Fans of other EU stories will be happy to see Winter and Kell Tainer on the team, but neither of those characters were my favorites in the book.  The standout characters in my opinion were brand new to this book.  The imperial agent Dayja and the “ghost thief” Bink Kitik were both very interesting and I hope to see them both again in future Expanded Universe stories.

I think some people will love this book, but it just wasn’t for me.  Like I said earlier the overall story is great, and if you are a more patient reader than I am, you may actually enjoy all the set up.  I just found myself bored through most of it.  Once the book did pick up speed it got really good… but then it was over.

That’s three Star Wars novels in a row about undercover missions and daring heists which do not focus on Jedi characters.  Can I have my Jedi and lightsabers back now?

 

Random Thoughts and Observations

It’s still weird seeing Clone Wars references in a novel set in the Original Trilogy era. (page 16)

There was also a seemingly forced reference to the Old Republic era characters Revan and Malak. (page 183)

Loved the use of the Z-95 Headhunter.

Jaxxon’s species makes an appearance. (page 243)

Zahn uses the phrase “carry the football” which I thought was an odd real-world reference.  Apparently it’s not the first time the word football has been used in Star Wars though. (page 341)

Now we know Lando has a “number-three-type mustache”. (page 376)

Oooh, I know some people who will just LOVE the very last line of this book and others who will HATE it.  Should lead to some fun discussions.

Scoundrels will be released on January 1st and will be available at Amazon.com and bookstores everywhere.

- Aaron Goins