Waru Express: New Jedi Order Part 4

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

Waru Express: New Jedi Order Part 3

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!

Dark Journey
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

Waru Express: New Jedi Order Part 2

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.

Balance Point:
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

Waru Express: New Jedi Order Part 1

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.

Vector Prime
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