Discussion in 'Literature' started by Rogue_Follower, Dec 29, 2012.
I agree with the black sun facet, everything else imo was tripe.
I finished reading it, and while I'm a big fan of Zahn's work, this story just didn't click with me.
Which excerpt was better in your opinion Crucible or Dawn of the Jedi into the void
I just finished this -- within 2 days, even though I had lots of other stuff to do -- and loved it. Haven't had this much fun reading a Star Wars novel in years. Maybe even since the Lando Calrissian Trilogy. The story was enthralling, extremely well crafted, lovely lovely EU references (Lepi! Sise Fromm!) and a feel for the era and the precise "historical" moment in time that really made me feel at home there, in a way.
Also, handling a cast of 11 characters plus villains, competing factions and recurring extras (the guards, for example) this well, so that nobody gets forgotten or sidelined and everyone is recognizable as a distinct character is quite an achievement -- especially when most of these people are new original characters.
All in all, this book is awesome IMO... I particularly liked the audacity with which the heroes repeatedly confront the villains, making them nervous, going in with the weirdest cover stories. This is a book that really made me smile a lot and not want to put it down no matter how tired I was... and that's saying something.
I felt much the same until the terrible "twist" at the end - the one you could see coming for chapters and chapters. That ending left a bitter taste in my mouth. Though I really enjoyed the journey getting there. It was a much more "fun" read than many of the recent books in this universe.
I loved the "twist" at the end. It adds more to the feud than almost everything written about him to date.
I also really enjoy the fact that it was Force free, and the only Light Saber was a piece of barely work junk. I think the EU needs more stories that don't rock the galaxy and don't revolve around the Jedi.
It's just a good fun adventure story and I want more of them!
I agree with Ra Harmakis - small, "micro" stories are great. We don't always need to read about the impending end of the galaxy or a government-shattering war.
On the other hand - the one word that comes to mind when I think of this book is "flat." Very little character development - everyone is basically the exact same throughout the story. But that does lend it something of an "Ocean's 11" feel.
I liked the book because it has Han, Chewie and Lando doing what they do. That being said, it just feels as if Zahn is grasping at straws for stories. The Lando thing didn't sit well with me because of the obvious close call with the continuity. Yeah I know it didn't violate anything, but it just seemed forced. I wonder how Crispin feels now that the beef she created between Lando and Han has been overwritten in a way by this book.
That's the problem I have with Zahn's books, lately, there is no character development and you don't learn anything new or why the character thinks like the way they do. Instead they just do generic action scene after action scene, which Zahn is aware off as he copies and pastes them from his previous books.
That's why the reveal character was who that was, because Zahn was aware how boring and tensionless the story is and thought he could jazz it up with that reveal
The sad thing was that Winter is a really interesting and importantly UNEXPLORED character, he instead chooses to ignore her completely, He even ignored a fan who asked if he was going to write more about her, which suggests he is not interested in her anyway.
In retrospect and after second reading I voted this book far to high, again while the actual way it's written is not bad it's still a whole lot of nothing. 4 maybe 5/10 at best
Zahn likes to do forced near-misses and laughing about how he's saving continuity despite the fact that its pointless and aggravating to do it. Lando/Han in scoundrels, Mara/Luke in Allegiance and CoT.
He discovered the story was lacking tension... so he added a twist on the very last page? That makes no sense. It was just a "The Usual Suspects" twist; meant for no other purpose but to make the reader reflect back on the story. Eanjer's reveal had nothing to do with the tension of the story. I suppose you could argue that the reader wondering who Eanjer is could contribute to the tension, but I don't feel that was made a big enough plot point. At least, it certainly wasn't on my mind the entire time I was reading.
I have to wonder if we read the same book. I certainly didn't read a book with nothing lifeless action scenes (well, I did read Annihilation recently...). In fact, the overwhelming majority of the book was characters scheming and conning each other. Depending on how you feel about the genre in general, that might get tiresome, but Scoundrels is far from the wall to wall action fest that some recent SW novels have been.
I also have to disagree with the assessment that his action scenes are copied from his other books. The few genuine action scenes that were in the book did follow Zahn's usual formula of emphasizing the characters clever antics over other areas, almost always having to do with technology, but at the very least his action scenes are very distinct from one another. In terms of action scenes, the average Star Wars novel today seems to consist of lightsaber battles and lightsabers against battles. There's nothing particularly wrong with this, provided it's written in a way that's not repetitive, but it does get tiresome. The warehouse scene is probably the best in the book, and certainly doesn't feel like any other Zahn action scene. Even if it's not always a thrill to read about, I do appreciate how Zahn's action scenes tend to try and emphasize a character's cleverness over their mad skills.
Zahn's novels do tend to be light on character, can't argue there. It's been that way since the Thrawn trilogy, and it's one thing that I don't like about his writing. He doesn't seem to like getting into the minds of his characters, and instead lets them speak through their actions. In its own way, this is very true to the spirit of Star Wars... however, I also feel it's not taking advantage of novels as a medium. It means at times, Zahn's books feel like movies that were never filmed, which I think in part contributed to the success of TTT. Look at Stover's Revenge of the Sith; that's a perfect Star Wars example of how to make characters live and breathe beyond their actions. Zahn doesn't do this, as it's just not his style.
However, I'm a strong believer in the idea that a work should be judged on its own merits, on the basis of what it is attempting to be. In the case of Scoundrels, it's not going for much more than Ocean 11 in Star Wars. If we look at Scoundrels on the basis of "Han, Lando and Chewie get some friends together to pull a heist", I believe it succeeds. In that regard, it hits most of the right notes; the characters are as mysterious to the audience as they are to each other, a significant amount of time is spent building up the actual heist and with the planning, misdirections aplenty, and most important of all, it's fun. It never claims to be the next great chapter in the Star Wars saga. There's almost no emotional involvement in it, but that's also not the point, any more than it is in Ocean's 11.
Despite that, I do believe there are some good character insights in Scoundrels, if not an abundance of them. My favorite of them, one that's quite subtle, is that in this novel we begin to see Han's budding skill in leadership and management. He's still the smuggler we know from A New Hope, but one can easily see that he will grow into a skilled general.
Just to make it clear, I'm not in love with Scoundrels either. I'm not even particularly head over heels for Zahn as an author, though I do think he's very skilled in many areas, and overall one of the better Star Wars authors. I just don't think it's quite fair to judge it on the same standard as some of his other novels. It's not attempting to be about the big picture, or important, or even necessary to the timeline. It's like one of his short stories, just in novel form. Self contained, non-committal, and fun. Far from the best SW novel, but far from the worst.
TBH I disagree here and Han always had that budding skills and I don't think this tells us anything new about him or Lando for that matter, besides which his charachter retrograds back to ANH by Zahn in his books chronollogically further down the line anway.
I thought this was a solid heist novel. Nothing spectacular but nothing horrible either. I have to admit, the Boba Fett reveal wasn't very surprising for me. I stayed completely spoiler-free while reading the book and I still suspected the reveal from the time Eanjer was taking pictures of Qazadi's body.
Quick continuity Q that has probably been answered earlier already: have we nailed a timeline placement for this? I haven't read the book yet but I know Han lost his reward to Jack, which means it's after Marvel #7, but is this set during that issue, before he gets to Aduba-3 at issue's end? Or is this set after the Aduba-3 arc (which picks up from where #7 left off, IIRC)?
Characterizations that were explored in Scoundrels:
Why it took so long for Winter and Tycho to get together - she can't deal with thrill seekers.
More exploration of Kell and his fear of failure.
Han and his grudging connection to the Alliance.
Han and Lando debating whether to trust one another.
Dozer freaking out about the Falleen.
Winter reflecting on Alderaan, but knowing that she can't do so.
Tavia worrying about Bink, and Bink wanting to get enough money to take care of her sister, but loving her job so they're both caught in a vicious circle.
This book wasn't a character study by any means, but it still had some great characters and moments.
The Boba Fett thing would have been a lot cooler if there would have been a few clues as to his true identity throughout the book. As it stands now you only realize that he is not a gimp once he starts running during the finale firefight. So what I read basically the whole book until then was this little wimpy cowardly guy with a body cast type thing. That could have been done a little better I think. Once again it seemed as though TZ was grasping for something, trying too hard to make this book cool. It was OK, but in hind sight I could have waited until it was out in paperback.
He's a guy who shows up out of nowhere in identity-concealing bandages to hire the hero for a heist; it's obvious from the start that something is going to be up with him. The problem was having him turn out to be Boba Fett specifically -- the long-con acting job isn't really Fett's thing -- and the nature of Fett's plan, which was nonsensically overcomplicated when he could have just summoned Han, shot him, and then gotten himself into the mansion on his own or with a different flunky at minimum. It just needed a different twist.
I think that The Yavin Vassilika already did.
Just finished Scoundrels. Started out reading it, then finished the second half through audio book. This was my first SW audio book and really loved it. Felt like watching a movie.
I thought the book was OK, but I have a question: at one point, during the planning of the heist, Lando says to Han that they're at a disadvantage because neither one of them is a con artist (Lando's a gambler, Han's a smuggler). That confused me, since the Smith novels had established that Lando was quite experienced as a grifter, while the Daley books had hinted that Han was known to pull a few cons in the past. So, is this a continuity error on Timothy Zahn's part, or has there been something of a retcon that I've missed?
One other minor problem I had: it seems a bit out of character for Han to be a big-time planner, when he's always been previously known to just jump in with both feet and improvise. But, this wasn't big enough to really worry about.
Oh they have coned their way through things in the past, but neither of them are true professional con artists.
It's possible they're out of practice, too. Han helped pull a ton of cons from about age 10-20, and there's some room in his pre-Yavin smuggling career for cons as well, but by about 2 BBY he was far more smuggler than anything else. As for Lando, once he lost the Falcon he seemed to focus more on gambling and entrepreneurship.
So it's feasible that by about half a year before Yavin they were already rusty/focused on other ventures, with their con skills even less honed by the time of Scoundrels.
They're both experienced con men; Zahn either doesn't know or is trying to clean them up a bit. As for the planning, Han makes a big show of actin on impulse, but you don't get to be successful acting on impulse unless you're very good at planning on the fly, and it's. ot like Han refuses to plan if he has to. It's also a nice nod to Han's future as a general -- he's very capable of being a planner and a leader when he has to be.
I've seen this argument made several times- but I've never seen anything to support it. Which scenes are copies of what?
In Specter of the past Luke is stuck in a booby trapped room with a pirate guy speaking on loudspeaker while infiltrating a pirate gang, in Alliegance the exact same scene except with Mara instead.
In Dark Force rising "a skip-ray blast boat shot past firing and captain Brandi was no longer smiling"
In Last Command "a skip-ray blast boat shot past and Pelloan was no longer smiling"
In Vision of the Future "a skip-ray blast boat shot past firing and captain Nalgol was no longer smiling"