I’m not going to lie: I’ve been dreading reaching these books in my reread not because I dislike them as a whole but because of how controversial they are. Actually, I don’t hate everything about these books, just certain parts. In the mean time, observe as I use humor as a red cape to distract all of you from yelling at me for being wrong! Can you tell I’m nervous? I think I’m doing that thing where I write too much. Maybe we should just start with the actual post. (Editor’s Note: Real glad I’ve moved past the caring if other people like what I like stage of my fandom life.)
Kids, in the spring of 2006, I was ready to give up on the current timeline of Star Wars books. The Dark Nest trilogy had left me mentally scarred and the Prequel Trilogy books just seemed so much nicer and safer even though I knew everyone was going to die. And then Del Rey did something very smart: they Allston-ed me. What is ‘Allston-ed’, you ask?
Allston-ed (verb) 1 The act of bringing in Aaron Allston to write more books in the Star Wars Expanded Universe therefore enticing readers who might have otherwise quit to come back and continue reading.
2 Experiencing a heart-breaking character death that makes you want to sob uncontrollably and from which you shall never recover.
To top it off, we were told that the planet Adumar would be making an appearance and that Wedge would be in the book. You have no idea how disappointed I was that the Adumarians hadn’t put up a statue of Wedge somewhere and written a charming song called ‘Hero of Adumar’ to go with it. SO DISAPPOINTED. (Wedge! The Man They Call Wedge!) (Editor’s Note: Still disappointed tbh) Continue reading
I thought that the book I was dreading the most was The Crystal Star. I was wrong. It was actually the Dark Nest Trilogy. At least Waru is so awful and ridiculous that you can laugh at it once you finish that one book and get over the trauma. On the other hand, I had to deal with the Jedi Bug Sex for three books. THREE. I’d like to thank everyone who sympathized with my reading plight on Twitter. These are some of the only Star Wars books that I haven’t read more than once. I’m now recalling exactly why and exactly how bad they were that my 15-year-old self made that excellent call. I’m also going to apologize right now for what will be by far the most negative post I will make for this project. There was no livestream for these books (because I learned my lesson with Waru) but instead, you do get a lot of ridiculous facial expressions. Enjoy? (Editor’s Note: I chose to rip the bandaid off and read those over a day and a half. It didn’t help.)
The Joiner King
“Bugs!” Han groaned and shook his head. “Why did it have to be bugs?”
That basically sums up my feelings about this entire trilogy. I got all of 103 pages into the book and was already cringing and wanting to run away.
At long last, we’ve reached the end of our journey through the New Jedi Order and the Vong War. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking as I reread these 19 books and at the end of the day, I really do enjoy this series. Sure, it’s really long and sure, there are definitely some low points but there are also a lot of high points and overall? I just really like the story that it tells. A lot of people have used the Battlestar Galactica comparison in regards to this series and it’s often used in a negative way. I agree with that comparison but for me, it’s a positive. I like a story that’s willing to take characters to dark places and put them through hell. I like getting to sit back and watch and see who emerges stronger than before and who never does. I like a story that has lasting consequences for the universe but we’ll get to more of that later. So while it has its flaws, I think the story works and I like the series a fair bit.
On a note not related to the New Jedi Order specifically, I just wanted to mention that despite all of my snark and bemoaning about my loss of sanity, I really do love the Expanded Universe. Some bits of it might drive me up the wall or make me want to bash my head against a table but as a whole, I adore it. There are probably only a handful of things about it that I truly dislike and I wouldn’t be working my way through this challenge if I didn’t love it.
With that lengthy introduction out of the way, let’s cover the last five books of the series! Continue reading
The Yuuzhan Vong just keep on coming. Really, they must have an endless supply or something. The good news is that things are starting to get slightly better for the New Republic. The really good news is that I got to read more Allston and Stover books! (I have my priorities straight. Honestly.) The really really REALLY good news is that I have not only passed the halfway mark in the New Jedi Order but that I have now read more than 100 books on this crazy little venture of mine. Huzzah! With all of that said, onward!
GET IN LOSER, WE’RE GOING BACK TO HAPES.
I really like this book. I honestly do and it’s not just because we get to go back to Hapes. For starters, this is clearly a Jaina Solo book and I love when we get to see her take a leading role. Even though she goes to some less than ideal mental states in the book, she emerges much stronger. The title gives away that Jaina has a brush with the dark side and I honestly don’t blame her. She thinks that both of her brothers are dead and the war’s taken its most drastic downward turn yet. I’d be pretty ready to dabble in the dark side too at this point. I like how Elaine Cunningham uses Kyp Durron in the book first as someone who’s willing to help her use whatever means necessary to strike back at the Vong and then as someone who helps pull her back from that edge. Continue reading
Things might be going really downhill for the galaxy but boy are they going uphill for me as a reader! I actually find the middle chunk of New Jedi Order books to be incredibly solid reads and rather enjoy all of them despite the emotions they might provoke from me.
It’s a marvel I stuck with the New Jedi Order because Balance Point is the third book in a row that just doesn’t impress me. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad, it’s just meh and I find it to be boring.
Again, the bits with Mara and Anakin working together are definitely a highlight. Actually, everything with Mara in this book is a high point. And that’s about it.
The entire point of the book seems to be an excuse for the Solo family to continue to have its issues and to resolve most of them by the end. The other point seems to be for Jacen Solo to continue to have his philosophical issues with using the Force and I still don’t buy any of that reasoning. By this point, the war’s been going on for a year and the Vong are clearly an issue. I don’t believe for a minute that Jacen Solo would sit back and not give his all to defend the galaxy. It just doesn’t fit with this character. With Tsavong Lah declaring that he wants all the Jedi dead and singling out Jacen, this feels like it was almost tacked on editorial meddling when they realized that he wouldn’t be the Solo kid dying.
I’m sure there are other people out there who liked this book but not I. I’m going to stick with my resounding ‘meh’ for my review. Continue reading
Welcome back to the Waru Express, dear readers, after a bit of a break. (Editor’s Note: I took a week or so off for my own sanity.) We’re diving right into the New Jedi Order which requires an entire shelf all on its own. 19 books? Let’s go! Before we dive into the book reviews, I figured I’d let you all in on a secret: I don’t hate the NJO. In fact, I like a fair bit of it. There are certainly some books and occurrences that I strongly dislike and I think it could’ve been shorter but I enjoy the vast majority of it. Spoiler Alert: I love the Stackpole, Allston, and Stover books but does that surprise any of you? My point is that I’m not a hater when it comes to these books but neither do I blindly love them so while my thoughts are on these books are likely to be a fair bit more positive than most of the blogosphere, you’re still going to get a decent dose of snark. Starting with this post. (Editor’s Note: This was back in the day when I was more apologetic for the unpopular opinions I had about books. I’ve cut that crap out since then.)
With that out of the way, let’s dive into the first lengthy review post as I discuss the books from Vector Prime to Jedi Eclipse.
Ah yes. The infamous “Chewbacca is Dead!” book. I feel nothing but pity for R.A. Salvatore having to be the one to pull the trigger on this given how the fandom can be at times. Let’s get the giant wookiee in the corner out of the way. Yeah, Chewbacca dying sucks. Reading through the book knowing what was coming made all the scenes with Chewie that much more painful. He’s a big part of our group of heroes and it is sad that he dies. HOWEVER. His death certainly does signify to the readers that this oncoming threat isn’t going to be easily defeated and that no one will escape unscathed. Also? If you’re going to go out, this is certainly one of the more badass ways to do it. Chewbacca rejects your notion of death by blaster fire and goes down shaking his fist at a freaking moon. (Editor’s Note: CHEWIE LIVES!) Continue reading
The Young Jedi Knights books draw to a close with one final trilogy that takes Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, Lowbacca, and Zekk on a whole new adventure which, as we all know, means trouble.
Return to Ord Mantell
I’d forgotten that I dislike Anja Gallandro. It’s not that I hate her or have some vendetta against her. I just don’t like her and I’m okay with her not having appeared in the Expanded Universe otherwise. On the other hand, I suppose these books can serve as another chapter in the ‘Don’t do spice, kids,’ grand story.
It’s always fun getting to see the twins get some serious page time with Han. This book gets double fun points before it’s diving into Han’s smuggler past. Watching Jaina fly the Falcon with her father never fails to make me smile.
Zekk’s journey towards becoming a proper Jedi Knight gets its start here. The more I think about it, the more I appreciate that this plotline wasn’t rushed. I also appreciate that he decided to combine his piloting skills with his Force abilities to win the Derby.
Oh. And we get cameos from Kyp Durron and Streen which is always lovely. I can’t help how much I love that jerk of a Jedi. (Kyp not Streen.) Continue reading
The adventures of Jaina, Jacen, Tenel Ka, and Lowbacca continue! And by adventures, I mean they get into a lot of trouble because that’s how things work for them. This time, they’re going up against bounty hunters and the new Diversity Alliance. On the bright side, no one loses any limbs or goes to the dark side this time.
Shards of Alderaan
Just like with the first arc, KJA and Rebecca Moesta take the first book to set the stage for the new story. Raynar Thul, the annoying brat from the previous books, gets the chance to move towards the forefront. Unfortunately, it’s because his father has disappeared and Boba Fett is hunting him but nothing’s perfect, right?
It always amuses me that it feels like everyone gets a spaceship in this book. (Editor’s Note: And you get a spaceship and you get a spaceship and you get a spaceship! And none for Jaina Solo.) Granted, by everyone, I just mean Zekk and Tenel Ka but still. Poor Jaina still doesn’t have her own ship but she gets to be the Rock Dragon’s pilot so I guess it evens out. And then Zekk gets the Lightning Rod. I actually think it’s pretty cool that Zekk decides to become a bounty hunter and doesn’t immediately try to become a Jedi. The poor boy deserves some time to try and figure out who he is.
On top of that, it’s actually incredibly sweet that the twins decide to give their mother a piece of Alderaan for her birthday. Obviously things inevitably go wrong but it really is a nice gesture. Oh the Solo children. ❤ (Editor’s Note: I can’t decide if it’s also a little morbid.) Continue reading
Ohhhh the Young Jedi Knight series. These were the first Star Wars books I ever read
except for the Jedi Prince books and I still enjoy them over a decade later. While they are clearly written for a younger audience and get cheesy sometimes, they’re still fun reads. I try to thank Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta every time I see them at Dragon*Con for writing these books and these characters because I love them just that much. I am also 100% okay with admitting that I wanted to be best friends with Jaina Solo and Tenel Ka as a kid and I still do. You’ve been warned: these posts will be a fair bit gushing accompanied by some good natured teasing.
Heirs of the Force
First things first: Tenel Ka gets the best character entrance ever. “Oh don’t mind me. I’m just going to CLIMB UP THE BACK OF THIS TEMPLE AND POP INTO THE MORNING LESSON. LIKE A BAMF.” I love her so much.
Oh! And I also love that the authors turn a trope on its head at the start of the book because Han brings flowers for Jacen (or rather his pet) and a hyperdrive for Jaina. The Solos are going to be who they want to be. Even if it does mean that Jacen has pet snakes. Continue reading
The two books for today’s post probably could not have been more different if they’d tried. On the one hand, we have the Luke/Mara go on an adventure in Chiss space book and on the other hand, we have a book about a Jedi trying to take down a Hutt spice ring. The good news is that they were both fun reads. The bad news is that I don’t get to be snarky in this post. Alas.
I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much from Scourge mostly because I hadn’t heard any buzz about it. All I knew is that it involved Hutts. I was, however, very pleasantly surprised and that is always a good thing.
Overall, Scourge was a solid book. Personally, I always enjoy getting to see other aspects of the Star Wars universe besides the galaxy shaking problem of the week and the Solo/Skywalker clan regardless of how much I love them. It’s nice to see a new member of Luke’s Jedi Order especially one who doesn’t fall into the stereotypical Jedi mold. Mander Zuma is an archivist who is only a warrior when he absolutely has to be. He can also be a very surprising person who doesn’t fit neatly into the a box. Plus, he gets to go through a nice arc of character growth as the story progresses. Reen Irana and Eddey Be’ray are the other two people helping investigate the death of Toro Irana, a Jedi Knight, and they both prove to be interesting characters in their own rights as is Angela Krin. Heck, even the Hutts are all very distinctive characters who don’t all fall into the Jabba category. In all honesty, I wouldn’t mind reading more about these characters. I don’t love them yet but they are certainly intriguing. Continue reading