*Spoilers* Not whining or anything, but is anyone else disappointed with SbS?

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Jonah, Oct 31, 2001.

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  1. Jonah Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    I have a lot to say about this, but I'll try not to be too long-winded about it.

    I just finished Star by Star about three hours ago, and have been thinking about it a lot since. When I finished it, I was very disappointed in both the story and the ending. Maybe I have an incorrect set of assumptions about Star Wars books, but I've read an awful lot of them (all the EU books that take place after ROTJ with maybe two or three exceptions). I don't think I'm alone in what I like about SW novels, namely space battles, interesting characters and character interactions, and of course all things Jedi. Star by Star seemed to let me down in a lot of these areas.

    Star Wars books in general seem to suffer from the "inescapable, desperate situation that leads to certain death" plot-device syndrome *way* too often anyway, and SbS was by far the worst offender. Just because in the movies the heroes were in dire straights all the time doesn't mean that authors need to look for increasingly desperate (and as time goes on, increasingly stupid) situations for our heroes to throw themselves into.

    The main criticism I have is that the plot is exceedingly thin. Seventeen Jedi walk into almost certain death with nothing to go on but the chance finding of some leaves in the stomach of an ysalamiri? Give me a break. And what precisely about their little mission made them think they could pull something like that off? What about the fact that the enemy could bring to bear an effectively infinite number of troops gave them any hope whatsoever? What if the voxyn "queen" (don't even get me started on that) was defended by more than say, a squad of semi-inept morons? Are we supposed to believe they were able to successfully clear a quarter of a worldship's population of warriors out on the way to finally getting that thing? Everything about that mission just REEKED of contrivance. I didn't believe for a second that the best way to take out that voxyn "queen" was to send in ground troops, even Jedi.

    In the last book (Rebirth) a couple of capital ships (not even big ones) and twenty or thirty fighters were able to take out a worldship, supposedly "one of the larger ones". Why not repeat that feat, and leave nothing to chance? Are we supposed to believe that it is *that* hard to get behind enemy lines, so to speak? Again, I'm disgusted by how contrived all the situations were. I'm not slighting the author (much), but honestly, that little commando mission was harebrained at best. I don't even want to hear about "desperate times calling for desperate measures." Desperate measures would have been taking a big fleet out there and blasting that (supposedly half-dead) worldship to smithereens. I would have thought Sernpidal would have been a lot better defended than Myrkr, seeing as there is nothing of use at Myrkr except the voxyn, and Sernpidal was basically the only hope for survival of thousands (millions?) of Vong.

    On another tack, I thought devoting what amounts to two books to Anakin (not to mention the JJK series), then promptly killing him off halfway through the next one was pretty stupid. Obviously, characters have to die occasionally, and there are lots of weak characters in the EU that can go, but they have gone way overboard in the last three or four books. It's like someone high up at LucasFilm sent out a memo that was routed to all prospective authors, saying, "people complain more and buy more books when major characters die, so uhh... yeah." I hate to burst their bubble, but NONE of my favorite SW novels are from the NJO line. Sorry George, but killing off major characters every four books doesn't make them more interesting.

    You'd think the Jedi would be rather depleted by this point, since basically half the galaxy has been hunting them for the better part of two years. If thirty kids is all they have riding around on the Errant Venture, I don't think the future of the Jedi Order is looking too hot.

    And one final complaint: can we please get rid of Nom Anor already? I mean jesus christ, he screws basically everything
  2. JediMasterAaron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2000
    star 5
    Jonah,

    Oddly enough, I agree with almost everything you have to say, except for one thing. I liked the book.

    Why you ask? Because it was entertaining.

    Again, oddly enough, I liked the book in spite of the Jedi mission, which as you so astutely pointed out, was retarded to say the least. I loved reading about the mission. A Jedi commando operation behind enemy lines, starring all of my favorite young Jedi who have been brought back from LFL Limbo to star in an NJO hardback. Finally. But why bring them back simply to throw them on a suicide mission? I just don't get it. These guys were supposed to be the core of the New Jedi Order, no matter what Kyp Durron says. Kyp, Corran, Luke, Mara...hell, all of the Academy's first class, they're not the NJO, not in the least. They're temps. Teachers. Navigators on the path of the Force. These kids, those that have spent the vast majority of their lives learning the ways of the Force, and the kids still aboard the Errant Venture. Those guys are the NJO. So essentially, Luke condoned a mission that threw away 17 of his greatest assets. All of them were skilled pilots, extremely talented in the Force, and would have aided Jedi missions for years to come. Why on EARTH would you throw them away on a mission that could have been accomplished just as easily with a Jedi-led military attack? Fey'lya ordered the NR military to work with the Jedi, and I'd say this mission was of a fairly high import to ensure Jedi survival. It just absolutely baffles me. I know there are supposed to be casualties in war, and I expected some to die, but not exactly like this, in such an irrational manner. It just makes absolutely no sense. Ah well. On to Dark Journey.

    JMA
  3. MaceWinducannotdie Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2001
    star 4
    "The main criticism I have is that the plot is exceedingly thin. Seventeen Jedi walk into almost certain death with nothing to go on but the chance finding of some leaves in the stomach of an ysalamiri? Give me a break. And what precisely about their little mission made them think they could pull something like that off? What about the fact that the enemy could bring to bear an effectively infinite number of troops gave them any hope whatsoever? What if the voxyn "queen" (don't even get me started on that) was defended by more than say, a squad of semi-inept morons? Are we supposed to believe they were able to successfully clear a quarter of a worldship's population of warriors out on the way to finally getting that thing? Everything about that mission just REEKED of contrivance. I didn't believe for a second that the best way to take out that voxyn "queen" was to send in ground troops, even Jedi."
    I haven't read the book so I can't really comment on the plot, but as for the Jedi going on a mission you'd call suicide, it sounds a lot like Luke, Han, and Leia running around the Death Star or the subsequent attack on the station by thirty snubfighters.

    "On another tack, I thought devoting what amounts to two books to Anakin (not to mention the JJK series), then promptly killing him off halfway through the next one was pretty stupid."
    It is, IMO, better than not developing him at all and writing "You know, that Solo kid who we don't write about at all? Well he died. Yeah, we didn't care either."

    "Obviously, characters have to die occasionally, and there are lots of weak characters in the EU that can go, but they have gone way overboard in the last three or four books. It's like someone high up at LucasFilm sent out a memo that was routed to all prospective authors, saying, "people complain more and buy more books when major characters die, so uhh... yeah." I hate to burst their bubble, but NONE of my favorite SW novels are from the NJO line. Sorry George, but killing off major characters every four books doesn't make them more interesting.""
    Major characters certainly die in the movies. Consider the recent character deaths to be making up for the years in which the only good guy to die was General Madine.

    "And one final complaint: can we please get rid of Nom Anor already? I mean jesus christ, he screws basically everything up, yet still draws all the important assignments. His character is weak, poorly developed, and uninteresting. As a reader, I almost never care what he's doing or why, and it is all I can do it keep from just skimming any chapter which he appears in. If I was running a military operation and one of my subbordinates f---ed up as much as he does, I'd fire his ass in a second."
    Presumably, Nom Anor has a large number of successes under his belt, but he's recently hit a losing streak. Although I agree that Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain Syndrome should not be encouraged in the NJO.

    As for the $25, I'd suggest you try to sell the book to offset your losses.
  4. Disco_Dark_Jeedai Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 19, 2001
    star 4
    Looks like we are all disappointed with the "surprise" Jedi mission.....:(
  5. Jonah Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    I didn't mean to say that I hated the book. There were parts I enjoyed, and the combat on the Myrkr worldship was entertaining, I agree. I just couldn't get past how pointless it seemed, to spend days trying to infiltrate an enemy base when it would have been a LOT easier (no matter how hard it would be to get there), to just level the place and be done with it. If I have the choice between sending in a B52 or a team of Special Forces to destroy something that I just wanted dead, I bomb the hell out of it, every time. Maybe afterwards I send in the ground troops to see if it's dead. Maybe.

    Why else did they invent the (admittedly very cool) Jedi Shadow Bombs? Seems like they could have cracked that worldship like an egg with very little trouble.

    Jonah

    Edit: Just be careful with wording please. :)
  6. MysteryWhiteBoy8 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2001
    star 2
    I'm at school so i haven't been able to go SbS yet. . . but this Jedi Mission to mykry is sounding weaker and weaker and weaker with every thread. . . .
  7. Jonah Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    It's not that it is written badly... it isn't. It's just that the whole idea is ridiculous, and from the very beginning, you start dreading our favorite heroes (who really ought to know better by now) making the decision to go on the mission.
  8. Master_Shier Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2001
    Why didn't the Jedi directly attack Mykyr? There are many reasons but suffice it to say that they just couldn't get to the planet. Why do you think they had to let themselves be captured by the Vong? Because the Vong have mined their space pretty heavily, making any journey into their space with a large fleet very foolish. The Jedi's attack, while not the easiest option, was the only one that could work.

    Overall, I thought this was one of the best SW books ever. It ranks right up there with Zahn's stuff and I, Jedi. Lots of action, Jedi fight scenes, and a major turning point in the series.

    To be able to judge the story of SW books you must first understand the entire story. A few posts in this thread have shown evidence of this understanding, some have not. Don't jump to conclusions about the motives or futures of characters that haven't been written yet. It only makes you look stupid.

    Overall, Star by Star was a very engrossing and well written book, marking one of the best stories in the EU. I look foreward to Dark Journey and the rest of the NJO series.
  9. ReaperFett Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 1999
    star 6
    100 pages left, and Im loving every moment of the new X-Wings whupping Vong :)
  10. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    Let me see...

    Anakin dies.
    Once again, it's Jacen that is the hero who saves the day.
    Jaina falls to the Dark Side.
    Both H+L and L+M act like married couples.
    A lot of hopeless last stands (I love hopeless gestures of defiance! Go Borsk!)
    A lot of uncertainness (What side is Vergere on, anyhow?)

    A little humor, a lot of action, a little romance, a lot of character developement, and major earth-shaking events make this book great. I've reread the last two hundred pages three or five times now already :p
  11. ShinagamiWing Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 2001
    star 4
    Anakin's death soured it for me in a lot of ways. I haven't been reading it rabidly, and am only on Chapter 26 but I heard the audiobook in full... anyway, I agree that the book was verily entertaining, and I'd give it an eight out of ten - more, really, but I was just a big Anakin fan. The book was great, yeah - though the whole "mission" plot seemed kind of dinky to me. The Voxyn were just a plot device to kill of Anakin, weren't they? I know the story had other cool things going on - but that's all I can think about!!!
  12. aleja Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 23, 1999
    star 3
    I dislike nothing more than what I like to call "festivals of stupidity" - i.e. badly plotted, contrived stories in which all logic is thrown out the window just to get the hero to a certain point. It sounds like SbS is more than able to take its place next to Vector Prime in this area.

    Thanks, Jonah, for sharing your opinion. It's obvious from your writing style that you are making a rational, intelligent criticism of the book, one that I will more than take into consideration.
  13. ReaperFett Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 1999
    star 6
    Aleja, one of the reasons they send youngsters was believability. Noone would believe that Luke or Kyp would be tricked. Ganner is sent as the one to appear to be the leader also, so it does look more than some random Jedi thrown together. Id say thats quite clever actually. I see that as quite logical, with only the number involved being a gripe.

  14. Jonah Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2001
    Well said Aleja... Festival of stupidity indeed. The contrived plot (at least with regards to the Myrkr mission) is one of the things I dislike most about SbS, and what I liked most about the five Zahn books. Tim Zahn never led me anywhere by the nose the way I felt Denning do while reading SbS.

    Reaper,
    Where exactly did this disbelief factor into the conduct of any of the Vong the YJKs encountered before seizing the ship? I caught Luke's explanation when he made it, but I was never convinced his reason was a good one. Who is to say the commander of the Exquisite Death would know Luke from a Wookie, or that he'd care one way or the other? I mean, I can accept the explanation, it's not out of the realm of believability, but the author has to convince us he's not talking crazy talk when he makes claims like that. He never even tried to convince me. There were an uncomfortable number of these kinds of assumptions throughout the book.

    Another place where Denning and the NJO story stumble, where Zahn never seemed to.

    One of the marks of good science fiction, IMHO, is realistic villains presenting realistic (at least within the context) situations that the protagonists respond logically to. That is part of what made the original Zahn trilogy and I, Jedi so good. Nearly everything Corran does in I, Jedi is what I'd have done in his place. I just can't relate to most of the characters in SbS in the same way, and it bugged me.

    Jonah
  15. Binary_Sunset Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 5
    Jonah, welcome to the boards. I haven't read Star by Star yet, so I don't know if I'll agree with you, but I do like you thoughtful style. Since I want you to stay around, please don't use anymore four-letter words. I don't mind them, but the admins and mods can get pretty tough with them.
  16. Destiny_Skywalker Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2000
    star 3
    I guess the main thing that upset me is that I feel like NJO is turning into "let's kick the Solo family while they're already hurting". I am definitely not happy about Anakin dying... I'm still having a hard time believing he won't be in anymore books. I don't know how to put it. Maybe I enjoy Star Wars because it's not reality. I just really wish they hadn't killed off a Solo kid. The whole idea just depressed me so much that I had to put the book down last night and go to sleep so I wouldn't be depressed today.
  17. GreyWolfActual Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Aug 5, 2001
    I liked the Anakin/Tahiri plot line. I am 15 myself and I was dissapointed with the lack of feelign or emotions in the young Jedi books. What are all the Jedi Vulcans in disguise? Now the Anakin/Tahiri thread there was a display of feelings. Their kiss at Yag'D'Hul I loved that emotional display. Emotions conflicting. Anakin was on his way to being another Luke.

    AND NOW THEY KILLED HIM!!!!! HOW CAN THEY DO THIS? ARE THEY TRYING TO DISSAPOINT THE TEENAGE FANS WHO LIKE TO SEE A LITTLE EMOTIONS OUT OF THEIR STAR WARS PEERS!
    Ohhh Jaina used the dark side. Good for her. Screw the whole universe now. I am really dissapointed. Anakin had a lot of potential.

    One last thing. Do the Yuuzhan Vong and New Republic think in 2D terms? Probe the border? Here's an idea. Fly OVER the border. Space is 3-Dimensonal right? Or is that some weird theory that writers can't use.

    2 thumbs down.
  18. Fire_Ice_Death Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2001
    star 7
    Aleja is part of the NJO Critics, I mean bashers. Of course he'd like your criticism, ohh well. I haven't read it yet, but surely something comes from it. Frestival of stupidity is what most of Star Wars books are about. Especially Zahn's, he does the same damn thing IMO.
  19. ReaperFett Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 1999
    star 6
    Thrawn books were awful for that. Logic thrown out of window- uber admiral who can know how people react from their art. Thats far more contrived

    And I think they would know who Luke is, due to his high profile, plus spies would be watching
  20. Asyr Handor Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 1999
    star 4
    I thought the book was EXCELLENT, with only a few things that still disapointed me. Troy Denning did an excellent job with the plotline he was given!!! :D
  21. Nighthawk_Andy Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2001
    star 1
    umm........no.

    I thought it was excellently written and the only bad point the stupid reasons given for the young jedi putting their life's on the line. Apart from that, excellent, gripping and very, very dark
  22. JediAlly Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2000
    star 4
    While I do like the book, I was disappointed about the mission. Disappointed in that I knew from the start that the mission was crazy to even consider in the first place. And it wasn't worth the cost - the torture, the deaths, the capture, the turning.

    I also think that ending was too open for my tastes. In all the other books from series - Thrawn Trilogy, Hand of Thrawn duology, Jedi Academy series, Dark Empire series, X-wing series, etc. - when a book ends, you get a sense of closure, but you know that the next book will be next chapter in the saga.
  23. ReaperFett Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 1999
    star 6
    ESB was open, dont hear people complaining about that :)
  24. LanceJade Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 4
    Uhm, no. I was actually very happy with this book. Star By Star has brought NJO to another new level in my mind.

    While the reasoning for the young Jedi going in this mission was, odd. It made sense. The fighting was well described and there really weren't any low points. This book actually reminded me alot of Zahn / Stackpole works. I have to give it 5 out of 5.

    I can only hope that the rest of the series lives up to this book.
  25. Jades Fire Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 1998
    star 4
    I've been looking for a nice, well written critique of the book, not the "it rocked" or "it sux" sort of review, so thanks Jonah. I was over at the Official Site when I noticed the full Chapter One excerpt and decided to copy it and read it just to see what Denning's writing style was like. I found parts of it confusing. I had to read the opening part twice to realize that the Rar twins weren't actually with Capt Pollux when the voxyn came aboard. I also found the chase around the ship rather confusing at times. Oh, well. SbS is not on my reading list right now anyway. Cheers.
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