Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Aug 17, 2013.
What are ho-hum villains?
Do we get an explanation to why Kyp seams to hate smugglers? Also the way you describe it "hunting and killing" make me more think of a bounty hunter than a jedi
I was under the impression that it was being a prisoner & spice miner for years, under Doole, spice smuggling kingpin, that soured him on spice smugglers in particular, and smugglers in general.
Never mind his being rescued from that by a former spice smuggler.
Been there, seen that, nothing new, lacks originality and weren't the Yuuzhan Vong already taken down by Tim Allen and company in Galaxy Quest anyway?
I dunno, if that is a legit criticism, the EU has bigger problems than the Yuuzhan Vong.
Oh WEG already had the Charon eons before the NJO as well with a lot of similar gear and ideas (I still to this way want there to be at least one Charon/Vong cross over) , the Vong difference is a way more complex society and characters then your typical run of mill villains.
Ah the movie that was a better Star Trek movie then the last few Star Trek movies? Well later release day then Vector Prime! So they clearly stole the design!
I don't think Kyp's activities were portrayed as an obsession with smugglers in particular (he was, after all, buddies with Han) -- it was just that his interest was in going out and enforcing the law; Jedi as active peacekeepers. And he was kind of caught by the allure of doing it in a flashy, public way. So he put together a squadron and went out to patrol the Rim for lawbreakers, and cracked down on smuggling networks.
If we're going to expand on that, I would prefer the idea that the smuggling networks he was targeting were human traffickers -- that ties into his own background as a slave laborer and make it more logical and righteous for him to be focusing on smuggling in particular.
So, if VP was released now, Kyp'd be doing a holo-vid reality law enforcement show, wouldn't he?
Jedi Interceptors anyone?
So is Fyor Rodan's brother like an evil Billy Carter or what.
Kyp Durron: Lawman
So, I'm some bit into Onslaught, and I have to say, I'm thoroughly enjoying this book to a degree more than I did Vector Prime. Vector Prime was a more intellectual enjoyment, I like reading through Luke and Jacen's debates and discussing what parts of the book mean here in the thread. But Onslaught... I don't know. I just enjoy it more.
It's hard to explain. I know that Stackpole is far from a perfect author, but there's something about reading a book of his that I've never read before that makes me want to keep reading, that draws me into the book. Maybe it's because my first real delving into the EU, after I read books like the Tales From... series, was through Rouge Squadron. It was the first full-length non-anthology EU book I ever read, even before the Thrawn trilogy. There's something about the trademarked Stackpole style that says Star Wars to me.
As for the book itself, thus far it seems pretty good. Stackpole's clearly a lot more comfortable in this universe than Salvatore was. I'm up to chapter seven, and so far as I've read, the scenes all work, the starfighter centrality makes sense, I haven't come across someone who's out of character or awkwardly written... Everything seems more... I don't know, effortless?
I'll probably wind up posting more thoughts later tonight. Right now, I'm too wrapped up in reading...
Onslaught was the first Stackpole I had ever read and one thing that stood out to me is how well he writes the starfighter scenes. I think this is the book in which I really came to like Jaina; I appreciated the description of her piloting a lot.
Stackpole is great at describing starfighter scenes. It's really arguable whether he or Allston does it better; I think Stackpole pulls ahead, with Allston getting the award for plot over description.
I've never read Allston. I haven't looked it up recently but I have in mind that he writes a later NJO book?
Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream and Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand.
Both of which really ought to be subtitled "featuring cameos by members of Rogue and Wraith Squadrons!"
I've tried the NJO, honestly I have, and I just can not get into it. I find myself on my third stab at the series, and I am about 250 pages deep into Star by Star and it is just like pulling teeth to read this stuff!! I thought SBS was supposed to be one of the better NJO books based on all the stuff I've read in other threads, but man I can't stand it so far. The dialogue between all the new jedi is cringe worthy at best, and (the NJO as a whole, not just SBS) the big three are really just draining all the like I once had for them outta me! So here's cynical for ya, I guess...or maybe it's just plain hatin! The best NJO book is the first one, and it is all down hill from there. Honestly the only reason I am even continuing to read SBS is just to buy some time until Kenobi comes out then I'm sure I'll forget about the NJO entirely for another few years, and then maybe I'll try and pick it up again....say in 2015 or so, no wait...no, no I won't....!
I was going to say that Onslaught was the novel in which we get the best strike team since Chewbacca gathered an all Wookiee strike team, i.e. Ganner Rhysode, Jacen Solo, Corran Horn, and six Noghri, but it's in Ruin.
The next two books after the one you're on now.
If you're open to it, maybe now's the time for me to revisit NJO, or rather the pieces of it I retain, divorced from so much of what greatly influenced my outlook of it over a decade ago. Who knows? Your take may end up actually being the more cynical!
Before that though, one thing that'll surprise the hell out of people: I liked how Jacen summarises the threat the Jedi and the NR face in the form of the Vong at the meeting Luke calls. An invading army, numbering billions, who due to being Force voids and the weaponry they possess, can duel a Jedi one-on-one. That, to me, was always, more than sufficient as an adversary - I didn't see any need to add more to it.
Okay, so, I actually finished Onslaught last night. Late, late last night. I was too tired to post here, so I'm doing it today. Also Jedi Ben, go for it. I'm welcome to other people's perspectives on this book, since I have a rose-colored tint to it since I'm a big fan of Stackpole's Star Wars work, as I said in my last post.
Anyway, here's my summary of Onslaught.
First, the read. It's a faster read than VP, I'm pretty sure that it's a good deal shorter even with the paperback to hardcover comparison. It's also a more action-oriented book, with less to deal with in growing the world and introducing us to the Vong in any form. Except for the Epilogue, there are no Vong POV scenes in this book at all, whereas half of VP was either following Yomin fullname Carr or Nom Anor. Also, there aren't nearly as many in-chapter POV switches, making it a bit easier to track. Stackpole also has a better grasp of how flying and fighting scenes should be done, what should be described in detail and what should be brushed over. His experience in the universe shines through.
Unlike VP though, there's not as much to distinguish this book from other Star Wars books Stackpole has written. Parts of it feel more like an X-wing book with a new antagonist than a follow-up to the alienness of VP. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I enjoy the X-wing books very, very much, but not everyone does. If you dislike Stackpole’s style, you probably won’t enjoy this book very much. On the other hand, if you do like Stackpole, this is a superior book to Vector Prime simply because it is Stackpole.
This is a far more military book than Vector Prime, with a focus on the actions of the Sky-Solo clan and a small group of NR soldiers and pilots apart from the actual governing body of the New Republic. The same antagonistic councilors and senators return, but for only two real scenes, bookending the action. And the Yuuzhan Vong are rendered mostly (again, disregarding the Epilogue), faceless mooks. We’re also introduced to the reptilian servants of the Vong, who serve as red shirt cannon fodder so that we aren’t slaughtering the Vong wholesale this early in the series.
This is a true ensemble book, as well, with Jacen, Luke, Mara, Jaina, Leia and Anakin all getting their own spotlights. The only member of the Sky-Solos who doesn’t is Han, who spends most of the book on a Coruscant bar crawl, still mourning Chewie and utterly unable to deal with his grief. Corran Horn is here, as well, since he’s in every Stackpole book. His plot is more-or-less tangential to the main story, but it still provides a great case study of the Vong, of how long they have been aware of and active in the GFFA as well as getting an idea for their cruelty. Which would be fine, except that Luke and Jacen’s return to Belkadan does the exact same thing. Sorry, Stackpole, I’m a fan, but Corran isn’t needed in this book. His presence in this book is solely to set up his rivalry plot in the next one.
As for the Sky-Solos and how they’re handled, no real complaints. Mara and Luke still nauseate me a bit to read together, but Stackpole makes the great decision of splitting them up in ways that we didn’t see in Vector Prime to better explore each character. Leia and Jaina have a great discussion or two about their places in history and the future, Jaina winds up joining Rogue Squadron (which is a great move, no better place for her from a character standpoint), Jacen and Luke undergo the aforementioned return to Belkadan, where Jacen gets a pretty big helping of humble pie and we get to see Luke really cut loose for the first time in the series. Though, I’m as confused as Jacen is, what was the point of giving him that vision/dream? Solely so he'd become even more doubtful and introspective?
And then we have the forum-infamous Mara and Anakin camping adventure on Dantooine. I liked it; it humbled Anakin without giving him a thrashing like Jacen, and taught him a lesson I’ve been wanting him to learn since the Corellian trilogy, that the Force shouldn’t be your only trick. Though, him interacting with the natives did read a bit like an episode of Star Trek: TNG. Mara’s contribution to this book was actually minimal, she spends most of it unconscious or crippled by her disease, and only serves to give Anakin some advice. The whole sequence on Dantooine is all about Anakin, about him growing into a Jedi and learning more about himself.
The main draw to this book, though, is the running battle between the Vong and the Sky-Solo and friends’ ragtag armada. They go from Dubrillion to Dantooine, showing large-scale space battles and the first large-scale ground battle of the series. The battle scenes are great, as I mentioned before, but the real thing of interest to me in the focus on the refugee problem. For once, the collateral damage of such a large-scale conflict isn’t ignored or brushed over. Thousands of beings were killed and many more displaced by the oncoming invasion, meaning that the entire battle becomes an escort mission. And I only see it getting worse from here as the conflict moves into the core.
One last note: the cover for this book is pretty good. A watercolor style picture of the Yuuzhan Vong cruiser analog descending through the atmosphere as X-wings make strafing runs and combat coralskippers. I prefer covers like this to the headshot-based covers like the Vector Prime one, though, if you photoshop ships on there, you’re doing it wrong. One thing, though; when does this happen in the book? Some of the X-wings are clearly still grounded, and the Vong cruiser is bombarding the ground, as well. I don’t recall that happening…
Anyway, next time, we’re on to the second of Stackpole’s final Star Wars works, the other half of the Dark Tide duology: Ruin!
Cheers, I consider this your thread, so want to be invited in... so to speak. Not that I'm an Anzati or anything!
Even as someone who hasn't read the X-Wing books, I thought this book read like an X-Wing book. And I'm now interested in reading the X-Wing series after I finish the NJO.
I liked Corran, needed or not, I had only heard about him being Stackpole's pet through this book. I loved Jaina flying with the Rogue Squadron.
I really like Anakin but he pissed me off on Dubrillion. The Marakin vibe was weirder in later books but it was certainly weird enough here. And I'm not easily weirded out.
And Anakin's musings...that's what set me off. His response to Han's struggles was "Why can't you be more like Aunt Mara?" Because...wait for it...Aunt Mara's best friend of 30 years didn't just die. Leave your father alone, kid, he's doing the best he can.
Han's brush with alcoholism was sad to read but understandable.
I agree with you. Then again, Ben does the same thing with Jacen in LOTF, pretty much snubbing his parents totally for a while (sadly, until his mom dies). But I think it's the age. 12-14 year olds tend to find all the flaws in their parents, even if they're not really flaws, and hero-worship other people's parents, or their aunts or uncles, or anyone but their parents.
And yes, I agree about how sad Han was in these books. I remember feeling so horrified when he walked into the living room and tried to cheer the kids up and then just kind of sunk into depression. And then got into an argument with Anakin.