Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 6
    True, but some of us has not been here for ten years and is trying to understand what all the fortune cocky quotes people is throwing around actually mean[face_peace]

    [face_thinking] Maybe if I asked the question in different way I could get a bit more understanding. In the below quote what do Vergere mean with the dark side in the bold part?

    Vergere: "Light and dark are no more than nomenclature: words that describe how little we understand. What you call the dark side is the raw, unrestrained Force itself: you call the dark side what you find when you give yourself over wholly to the Force. To be a Jedi is to control your passion…but Jedi control limits your power. Greatness—true greatness of any kind—requires the surrender of control. Passion that is guided, not walled away. Leave your limits behind."
    Jacen: "But—but the dark side—"
    Vergere: "If your surrender leads to slaughter, that is not because the Force has darkness in it. It is because you do."
    Jacen: "Me? No—no, you don't understand—the dark side is, it's, it's, don't you see it? It's the dark side. The dark side…"
    Vergere: "The only dark side you need fear, Jacen Solo, is the one in your own heart."
  2. Iron_lord Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 8
    I've gone through the archives a bit, and Stover tends to point out that Vergere can't really be pinned down as promoting a particular philosophy, at all.

    However- he's surprisingly complimentary of the LoTF authors, at the start of the series at least:

  3. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Mia Mesharad likes this.
  4. FTeik Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2000
    star 5
    Well, what have they written at the start of LoTF? Even Aaron Allston's weaker novels stand out of all the drivel of the recent decade like a sore thumb, Star by Star and Tatooine Ghost are IMHO some of the better novels and Karen Traviss's Hard Contact gave hope for more. Unfortunately it wasn't to last.
  5. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    Why would Stover be unprofessional and criticize his fellow authors publically regardless of what he thought?
  6. Zeta1127 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    Stover and Zahn are such stand up guys, that they cannot and will not publicly complain about what others do to things they have created, Zahn's reaction to Mara was probably the only time either one of them have shown displeasure over much of anything. Zahn was even proud that the Marg Sabl closure maneuver appeared in TCW.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  7. instantdeath Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Yep, thankfully most authors aren't like Harlan Ellison.
  8. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    Ugh, as soon as an artist starts claiming I should be grateful to them for creating whatever it is, they sacrifice a great deal of credibility in my eyes. The only gratitude that should be flowing is to me for buying their work and then spending time, the most precious thing we have, on it!
  9. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Well, why wouldn't he be? They even executed it the same way he wrote it, didn't they?
    Jedi Ben likes this.
  10. Zeta1127 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    That was just me being disgusted with TCW, a better one would have been one of the annotations from HttE: 20thAE mentioning that Leia and her children's time in the Imperial Palace may have contributed to Jacen becoming Darth Vader II, my wording of a paraphrase, talk about a stand up guy.
    Last edited by Zeta1127, Nov 12, 2013
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  11. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    Wow. If he won't even complain about that, then he must be really mellow. I can understand why he'd be peeved about Mara's death–same reason Traviss was peeved when Denning maybe-killed off all her characters.
    Zeta1127 likes this.
  12. Zeta1127 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    The annotation I am referring to was actually his editor, Betsy Mitchell, but the point stands thus.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  13. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
    TCW can't do anything right! Even using continuity correctly is worthy of disgust!
    darth fluffy and instantdeath like this.
  14. Zeta1127 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 5
    Um, sorry but when LFL misused a lot of previously established stuff, yet they randomly use one thing right, of course I am going to be disgusted by it.
    Last edited by Zeta1127, Nov 12, 2013
  15. _Catherine_ Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    No that was Veergere, a clone grown by Lumiya using the ancient Jedi cloning facility Darth Vader found on Dantooine and never told Palpatine about, as part of her long con to turn Jacen Solo to the dark side as revenge against the Skywalker family. After recruiting a Yuuzhan Vong advance scout, Lumiya turned Fake Vergere over to her while gathering baffor pollen on Ithor. The clone was then secretly introduced into the YV fleet, where she subsequently went on to cause all sorts of clone-y havoc like telling Tsavong Lah about the Mandalorians, telling A'Sharad Hett she was a Sith, and working with Mezhan Kwaad to turn Tahiri into a Yuuzhan Vong. Of course once the real Vergere returned to the Vong, the imposter had to be eliminated, but by then she had already caused enough chaos to lend verisimilitude to Lumiya's fiction fifteen years down the line. Then like maybe while Jacen is off on his Force journey he can find a holocron or something by the fake Vergere to explain why all the Jedi were using Force lightning and choking people in DNT.

    That's why his lightsaber is purple because visual symbolism/the language of cinema oh my godddddd.
    Last edited by _Catherine_, Nov 12, 2013
  16. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 6
  17. Arawn_Fenn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
  18. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    So, Remnant. Let me recap where we are in the story thus far: the Yuuzhan Vong have Coruscant, but thanks to Jacen and his friend duryham (Ted) are having a hard time doing much more than keeping their houses warm. The New Republic flipped the license plates over and are now the Galactic Alliance with Cal Omas at the helm but little else actually changed, and drawing on the morale boost the name change brought on, blew up a chunk of the enemy fleet at Ebaq Nine. Jaina gave Tsavong Lah a new trachea, Vergere proved to be a bad tactician and Jacen found his way back home, armed with a beard and a fresh set of nuts.

    As we pick up in Remnant, Cal Omas is consolidating his power by sending his closest allies off of Mon Calamari and out to the corners of the galaxy where they’ll be least likely to be able to help if the Yuuzhan Vong decide to come calling. Han and Leia go on a mission to investigate whatever’s left of the remote regions of the former-NR, and Luke decides this is as good a time as any to ask if he can take some of their most valuable resources on a wild goose- sorry wild bantha chase into the Unknown Regions by way of the titular Imperial Remnant. After they form their teams, there isn’t a single main character left on the capital who isn’t a politician, leaving it basically defenseless. I’m sure it’s fine; if the government were important they would have left someone there to guard it.

    Han and Leia, after arguing which they apparently do a lot according to this book, wind up having Black Fleet Crisis flashbacks and take their mini task force to Galantos, a planet so unmemorable that I had to look it up to be able to spell it just now. It’s a planet of accountants, basically, and makes for highly annoying and frustrating reading. The most interesting part is the ticking time bomb that is Tahiri’s mental state, as she’s apparently been having nightmares, flashbacks and hearing voices for a while now, meaning she’s either a Jedi or she’s going insane; apparently it’s both because the authors are playing the long game with this one; we don’t get any solid answers as to her condition, even though it’s obviously her Yuuzahn Vong mind trying to rise back to the surface.

    Jaina and Jag, as I noted before, play lip tag while commanding their fighter squadron to… do stuff. Basically they sit around for a while, Jag plays junior detective trying to figure out what’s wrong with Tahiri, but since he’s not a Jedi we know that he’ll not be able to solve it until the third book. They find out that the Yeventhia were wiped out by the Vong, thus reducing the number of interesting original EU species by one. This, apparently, is what the Yuuzhan Vong have been doing with all of their reserves that they didn’t have, tracking down species that are even more genocidal than they are and wiping them out.

    Meanwhile, in the plot that actually matters , Luke and Mara are basically serving as Jacen’s escorts as he tries to flex his newfound diplomacy muscles with the Imperial Remnant, Saba has become oddly empathetic after killing basically her entire race in the prologue (gee, I hope this dampening of her savage side is followed up on in later books), and Danni is suddenly a love interest again. Jacen even makes a mental note that his feelings about her amount to a teenage crush and nothing more. This can only end badly (by which I mean written).

    The Remnant, coincidentally with their arrival, at last comes under attack by a Yuuzhan Vong task force, losing Bastion and taking heavy losses. (Grand Admiral) Pellaeon proves that old British Imperial officers do not die, they only get better as they age, even after being bottled up like vintage wine. He also proves that, despite whatever he might have said to the contrary, the centralized military structure, massed troops and “shoot a lot of lasers at everything” tactics would have made the Empire a superior foe compared to the NR. Except, as he also brings up, if they lost to the Rebellion, Nom Anor and others like him would have found a way to bring the whole thing down from inside. We get a little fleet action, a fee thousand people die but it’s okay because they’re not important since Pelly is actually alive, and of course the Empire strikes back and tosses the Vong out on their collective ear. He then basically threatens the Moffs until they let him take the fleet to support the new Galactic Alliance, thus making the name a little less ridiculous.

    While all of this is going on, Nom Anor befriends a group of Shamed Ones, learns about the Jeedai heresy, watches almost all of them get killed, and then decides to change his name and his mission to either regain his old place or take down his race from the inside because he doesn’t have anything better to do and Shimmera kinda ticked him off.

    There, I just summed up almost three hundred pages worth of novel in less than a thousand words. And really, that’s this book’s main problem: it’s stretched out way too much, padded more than a Serta mattress and most of the prose is as bland as wallpaper paste. It does have strong characterizations and action, I’ll give it that much.

    Luke and Mara come of better in this book than they have since pretty much the beginning of the series and play much more like they do in Survivor’s Quest, two beings with two personalities, individual strengths and weaknesses who aren’t constantly salivating at the thought of getting to kiss again in ten seconds.

    Jacen has grown a lot in a short time, and he’s a stronger character for it, while Jaina and Jag, for all of my teasing, are an effective couple, fighting to maintain a healthy relationship in a time of war.
    Saba actually gets a bit of depth beyond racial traits, and Danni isn’t annoying for the most part. Yes, her romance with Jacen is forced at best, but I at least give her credit for being willing to go into a war zone and risk her life to try and save the hostages from the slave ship, despite being an untrained scientist with only rudimentary Jedi abilities.

    Nom Anor is entertaining as always, despite his little plot being completely detached from the others, and seeing the Remnant is always good fun. Seeing Pelly kick some butt through use of what basically amounts to bristling his mustache at them and standard Imperial “throw as many ships at them as possible” tactics was amusing, simply because it highlighted just how bad the Yuuzhan Vong field leaders are at their jobs.

    The major problems with this book, beyond what outlined before, are the continuity issues. This book just does not make good use of the existing stories and plots from other books. Sure, we get some BFC callbacks, nods to Conquest and Rebirth and a bit of a nudge toward Jedi Eclipse at the end, but wouldn’t situations like the ones in this book, calling for espionage, information retrieval and smooth-talking diplomacy, have been the ideal situation to bring the Insiders back into the game? Talon Karrde might as well not exist, despite being one of the galaxy’s biggest information brokers, and Lando is nowhere to be seen. Only his droids are referenced. Wasted opportunity, for sure. And that’s just the one that stood out to me, there are a lot of other little problems here and there, nothing major, but I’m not looking forward to what the next couple of books hold in that regard based on what I’ve read here on the boards.

    Overall, a flawed but somewhat entertaining read. I’ll sum up Refugee early next week and give my overall ratings after Reunion.
    Revanfan1, Gorefiend and Iron_lord like this.
  19. Revanfan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 6
    My favorite part of the Force Heretic trilogy is the covers. They all make the trilogy look far more action packed than it actually is.

    Remnant (open)
    [IMG]

    Luke an Mara fight enemies on some alien world! Er...nope.


    Refugee (open)
    [IMG]

    Jaina fights dinosaurs! Er...barely.


    Reunion (open)
    [IMG]

    Jacen fights plants and saves the girl! Er...close, but definitely does not happen. :p


    Yeah, I actually love Nom Anor's bodyguard Kunra. For several reasons, amongst them being the fact that his name makes him sound like an Uruk-Hai. And the Beared Wonder, Jacen, actually comes off pretty good in most of these books. Still I have to say, the absolute real reason for reading this trilogy is the Tahiri plot and the Nom Anor plot. They're majorly important later on–well...the Nom Anor one is. The Tahiri one is ruined by the Rule of the Denning.
  20. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    Yeah, the covers are... really, really bad. The one for Remnant shows a scene that isn't even in the book, for one, and the Reunion one looks like a watercolor version of the cover to an anime of some kind. The only one I kinda like is Refugee, because it has one of the Ssi'ruuk on it and manages to make it look somewhat menacing. Jaina (if that's supposed to be Jaina, I'm assuming it is) looks extremely Japanese, though.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  21. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 6
    Åååh, nice covers
  22. Gorefiend Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5

    Which is kind of ironic because the Japanese NJO covers for those 3 look like this.

    [IMG][IMG][IMG]
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  23. Force Smuggler Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 7
    The Japanese covers rock. Wish we could see what the LOTF and FOTJ covers would be in Japanese.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  24. Gorefiend Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2004
    star 5
    LOTF and FOTJ were apparently not publish in Japan. ;)
  25. Cynical_Ben Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    - Beardless Jacen
    - sideboob Danni
    - Saba (She's only on one, she should be on all three, and can no one agree on how to draw a Barabel?)
    - Luke's expression on Refugee, he looks like he just dropped one
    - Tekli just... standing there
    - Ageless Mara
    + Hand painted but not abstract
    + Jaina (the SOTJ) has her lightsaber out in all three
    + Soontir Fel
    + Droma
    + Han and Leia actually looking their age
    + Pelly's mustache
    + Crazy plants look a little less... hentai
    + Dr Doom Nom Anor

    Yeah, those are definitely better than the ones we got.
    Revanfan1 likes this.