"I, Jedi"- a complete dissection

Discussion in 'Victoria, BC' started by Vills-Kavic, Apr 18, 2003.

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  1. Vills-Kavic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2003
    star 1
    Hello all!

    Now, through Derisa kindly lending me the book, I have just completed Michael A. Stackpole's "I, Jedi". At the risk of offending some forum memebers (which is not my aim) I must write down my feelings about it and see if they are shared!

    I am sad to say that this has been the first experience I have ever had with a piece of Star Wars writing where I have literally prayed for the end, to make it all stop... I cannot see the reason why the author would devote not one, but MANY books around a character so one-dimensional and self-absorbed as Corran Horn. The foray into first person was an interesting change, granted. I guess I am more used to Timothy Zahn's, Barbara Hambly's, and Kevin J. Anderson's take on the universe, and the views that they take as well.

    Maybe I am suffering from a lack of humour here, but I can't seem to wrap my mind around such an irreverent view of this universe. It seems hard for me to watch a character waltz through the action of a book, determined to prove everyone in the book completely wrong. One glaring instance of this particularly got my attention. Horn spends 10 weeks in Master Skywalker's newly established Jedi Academy in the old Rebel Base on Yavin 4, and after many exploits (of which he of course is indispensable in) he discovers that he's been wasting his time. This is undebatable, as anyone can think of a better way to spend that time trying to save your wife, but his reasoning is what gets me. He says that although he has the power to protect the galaxy, he instead just wants to save just one person, his wife.

    True, that may be a very nice sentiment, but that is not exactly a sterling example of the Jedi honour. I am left to wonder how the galaxy managed not to explode in a burst of atoms when Corran Horn wasn't around to save the day!!!! But that's enough from me, I would really like to hear what other people have to say about this book.

    Is Stackpole's writing style a preffered one? Or is the style of Anderson or Zahn better? I know my opinion, but would love to hear anyone else's.

    -Vills
  2. Gesh_Bomil Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 24, 2002
    star 1
    I've read only a few as well but i have many more waiting in the wings from garage sales and the like. So far i have read these:

    SW trilogy and ep 1 novels: Good series, bit more take on the behind the scenes stuff and what the characters are thinking.

    SW tales of...(Mos Esley cantina, jabba's palace) Series of short stories form characters in the cantina and Jabba's pad giving more background and why they were there. Very inventive and great cudos to the imagination of the writers when working with 10 seconds of footage or less. Highly reccomended and available at Dark Horse books downtown (last i checked 8 months ago).

    SW tales of the Empire (fan fiction and proffesional writers who wrote for SW Journal. All reprinted and good basic writing)

    SW Episode 2 prequal book (i forget the name but it was interesting with 4 jedi running around trying to save a treaty at Bakurra. I think thats the name of the book.)

    Han Solo classic trilogy (Revenge, star's end and Lost Legacy): Not great writing but the comments between solo and Chewbacca were hilarious. Lester Del Ray, not my favorite author, did a great job highlighting the SW universe in the first attempt at writing non-canon books... after the Splinter of Minds Eye by Alan Foster of course. I've heard its bad but haven't passed Judgement on it myself.

    I used to have the book on tape to Heir to the Empire and it didn't impress me but i want to read it sometime. I read the first of the New Order books where one of the main characters gets cacked...well i won't give anything away. It didn't grab me. As far as the new series goes, the Yusser Vong (whatever they call themselves) being a force immune millitant race with organic devices...cool idea for a series of books but just not SW to me. With the empire dead they could have come up with more ideas i think. I'd read other books before this new one. You'd spend less too.

    Hope this helps Vills-Kavic!

    Gesh
  3. Darth_Haggis Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 2002
    star 4
    Personally, I prefer Michael A. Stackpole's writing style. The first person viewpoint lets you actually feel like you are there. Instead of getting a tale of the actions, Stackpole allows you to exerience the thoughts and feelings of the main character, who you end up living the adventure through.
    I do not particularly like Kevin J. Anderson's Jedi Academy trilogy (his other books are alright), but it was interesting to see how Stackpole was able to tie his book into the preestablished trilogy...
    Personally, I find the Corran Horn is one of my favourite EU characters, and think that "I, Jedi" was well written. The book at least protrays him as human, with problems that he has to work through personally before he can go off and "save the world"...

    On another note, I would recommend reading Michael A. Stackpole and Aaron Allston's X-Wing series. It is quite hilarious and enjoyable.
  4. Vills-Kavic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2003
    star 1
    It's good to hear other people's opinions on this. :) Darth Haggis, what didn't you like about Kevin J. Anderson's writing style?

    I forgot to write that I also read the "Tales of" the Cantina, Jabba's Palace, Bounty Hunters, but NOT the Empire. What did you think of those books?

    Look forward to more book discussion goodness.... :p

    -Vills
  5. _Derisa_Ollamhin_ Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Since my first intro to SW was the novelisations of the movies (and I was enough of a fan from those that at 12 years old I was writing fanfic based on them...) I think I can add something to this discussion. I've read quite a few of the novels, now, and have hung around the Lit forum long enough to know that different readers like different things in a SW novel.

    My favourite SW writer is Allston, with KJA coming a pretty close second. The late lamented Brian Daley probably wrote the best "Saga-ish" novels: his Han Solo trilogy is very good.

    I, Jedi is an interesting study. Very few readers I have spoken with care much for Corran's character. He comes across as far too much a "Mary Sue"-the author trying to vicariously live some unfulfillable dreams through a too-perfect creation. Corran has it all: great powers(Jedi), brilliant skills (Rogue pilot), a lovely, loving, and spunky wife who conveniently gets herself into scrapes after he comes along (when she was regularly saving the Rogue's collective butts in the comics); and later on a brilliant and talented child... Lord a'mighty, the only thing he doesn't do is play an instrument!

    The plot issues in I, Jedi you could drive the Falcon through, which is unfortunate, since Stackpole has written some very solidly plotted comics, and has developed some of the best loved chars in the EU in his Rogue Squadron pilots. We know he can do it, but he didn't with this novel.

    Pacing is a big problem, as well. The action sequences, while brilliantly written, are sporadic, and the space between is filled with much internal dialogue that overenlightens the reader. There is no break from Corran's persepective, so we go through the same boring bits as he does. Realistic (sort of) yes, a good read, not by any stretch.

    I think I, Jedi suffers from two major flaws: it is a character study as opposed to a story, and it completely lacks any unifying themes.

    The best stories are character-driven: but that means that we see the character grow and change through adversity. Corran is the same at the end as he was at the start, except now he's a Jedi. He's still an ego with feet, and an opinionated, paranoid Corellian. His "grandfather" is a far more interesting character, frankly.

    The lack of a theme of any sort prevents the novel from sticking in the reader's mind. I re-read portions of the book in the Centennial Falcon on the way back to my place on Saturday, and I was amazed how much stuff I had forgotten. There's a whole lot of movement in the book, Corran is here, then he's there, now he's a Jedi-in-training, now he's CorSec reborn... but it's all circular, not even spiral. There's no growth for the character.

    Funny thing is, it's kind of required reading for the novels. There's a lot of follow-up on events that took place in the X-Wing novels, and set-up for subsequent stories, likely because it was written after those books that take place later on the timeline, so he could reference events in I, Jedi That occured in other novels. The one book covers a lot of ground, it just doesn't goanywhere with it.

    Well, I hope that makes some kind of sense to someone, somewhere. :)

    *Derisa*
  6. Vills-Kavic Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2003
    star 1
    Thanks, Derisa! I appreciate everyone's opinions on this... I am glad this didn't degrade to a "Corran's cool!" "No he's not!" discussion.... :p I agree with you that Corran's character is thoroughly explored, but that doesn't mean that we have to find what we know very appealing! And frankly, I think that there just can't be a character that perfect. Even the main heros of the trilogy have their own flaws.

    One thing that your discussion reminded me of was how the book was set up, even though I agree with Darth Haggis in that the first person perspective is interesting, I just can't take the pacing that results from it. Yes, it IS good to be inside someone's head to see the action- but when most of it is "I woke up early this morning and went for another run around the Temple" you start to see the reason some author's would take another approach. With third person you can cut from one area to the next, while in "I, Jedi" the reader was tied to Corran throughout the entire book.

    And as you have pointed out, Derisa, Corran has no character development in the book. Sure, he has gone through some Jedi training but he largely turns his back on what he has learned. He seems determined to bring up his CorSec past again, and again, and again...

    I have yet to find any books to make any reference to this novel, though most of my reading was the earlier novels. When I look back at the book I really don't see much of an overall message to it, while other novels, or trilogies, gave different messages of hope or learning. Or sometimes they were just a really fun ride to take! Maybe I should give the X-Wing series a ride, as many people have suggested that I do...

    -Vills
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