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The JC Lit Reviews Special: ALLEGIANCE (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac , Jan 27, 2007.

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  1. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    The latest from Tim Zahn, and the first hardcover set in the OT era for quite some time.

    Some rules: rate Allegiance on a scale of 1 to 10, supplementing your rating with a review, if you want to (It's not necessary but is highly encouraged). However, please do not rate or review the book until after you've read the whole thing. Thanks. :)

    Go ahead and review.;)

    Some previous review threads:

    [link=]Republic Commando: Hard Contact, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]The Cestus Deception, by Steven Barnes[/link]
    [link=]Medstar I: Battle Surgeons, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry[/link]
    [link=]Medstar II: Jedi Healer, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry[/link]
    [link=]Jedi Trial, by David Sherman and Dan Cragg[/link]
    [link=]Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, by Sean Stewart[/link]
    [link=]Labyrinth of Evil, by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine, by Veronica Whitney-Robinson[/link]
    [link=]Tatooine Ghost, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Survivor's Quest, by Timothy Zahn[/link]
    [link=]Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Traitor, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]Destiny's Way, by Walter Jon Williams[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic I: Remnant, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic II: Refugee, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic III: Reunion, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]The Final Prophecy, by Greg Keyes[/link]
    [link=]The Unifying Force, by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest III: The Swarm War, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Outbound Flight, by Timothy Zahn[/link]
    [link=]Republic Commando: Triple Zero, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Legacy of the Force: Betrayal, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Darth Bane: Path of Destruction,
  2. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    I know some people have read this.
  3. dp4m

    dp4m Chosen One star 10

    Nov 8, 2001

    Nothing will compare to the original Thrawn Trilogy for sheer good fun by Zahn, but this is pretty close.

    If you want the non-dark, non-bug, non-NJO Star Wars that you're used to, this is back to basics. If you want members of the Empire to be upstanding, competant soldiers wanting to "do good" (Jello, I point at you), this is your book. If you want the answers to some nagging questions about the time-period, this MAY be the book for you. :)

    And if you want good Han/Leia stuff. This book is for you.

    A solid outing; not stellar compared to the 1991 material but very quality stuff.
  4. Mariu

    Mariu Jedi Youngling star 2

    Sep 2, 2006
    Well, what happened to the remaining 1.25? What's left to be desired?
  5. 000

    000 Jedi Master star 4

    Oct 18, 2005
    Hey, don't argue. Score inflation = bad. :)
  6. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    I'll be buying this book, along with paperback Outbound Flight when it comes out. I will wtach this thread with interest.
  7. Mariu

    Mariu Jedi Youngling star 2

    Sep 2, 2006
    Oh, no, that's not what I meant: I was asking what is the downside to that book.

    If you want to talk of score inflation, I notice that fan ratings rarely fall below 7 and the itself rarely gives out anything under 3.5.

    Besides: I haven't read it.
  8. starlit_goddess

    starlit_goddess Jedi Youngling star 1

    Jan 6, 2007
    I'm a little new to the Bantam Era EU--I started reading during the NJO (miracle I'm still with it, eh?) and I've read Survivor's Quest and the Hand of Thrawn Duology. Basically, since this is a hardcover, it's gonna cost some money, so I'd like to know, is there a lot of Luke, Leia, Han, Mara, and Vader and all of them actually interacting? I understand this is mostly to fill in the blanks, but I'm not the type of fan who likes reading about random characters that aren't in the movies for most of the time or directly related to those characters; what I'm trying to get at is there a lot of narrative from an officer, rebel, or stormtrooper, etc?
  9. dp4m

    dp4m Chosen One star 10

    Nov 8, 2001
    Couple of points...

    1) The book is about 70% Han, Luke, Leia, Mara with the other 30% being stormtroopers. Vader is a bit-player (though an important one).

    2) The other 1.25 points went nowhere. For me, I'll rarely rate something below a 7 personally (Crystal Star and Dark Journey excepted, I believe) because even if mostly craptacular, I find that I enjoy some/most of it simply due to it being Star Wars. For this book, however, while it's very good it's not great at the level that, say, Dark Force Rising and Star by Star are.
  10. NJOfan215

    NJOfan215 Jedi Master star 5

    May 17, 2003
    Allegiance was a good read. It was well plotted and zahn had a good read on the established star wars characters. The storm troopers were entertaining, but their personalities could have used a bit more detail. Larone was developed fairly well, marcros to a lesser extent but after that the others seemed to be inter changeable. Mara?s characterization worked for me. It also lends support to what luke had said about her in the past, she was never really dark. Zahn also did a good job of subtly showing that her training was done by a dark sider. She didn?t know how to heal anyone, and her attitude was the force was her servant. I was also happy to see references to Shadows of the empire and to the hand of thrawn books.

    Unfortunately I don?t feel the book did anything to help bridge the gap between ANH and ESB. OK Han?s arc shows him leaning toward joining the rebellion, which he basically does except that at the beginning of ESB he is about ready to leave and go pay off jabba (iirc). I also believe that in ESB some one mentioned running into a bounty hunter someplace. Maybe this event is what sparked what made Han take a break from the rebellion to go pay jabba. None of the events in the book really seemed to link ANH to ESB. I also didn?t really care about what happened that much. The book didn?t really affect anything.

    I'll give it an 8.25 because the book was good. I think it was just not what i wanted.
  11. The_Beyonder

    The_Beyonder Jedi Youngling

    Aug 6, 2006
    I'll give this book a 9.

    I found it very fun to read about the Storm Trooper POV as well as what they thought about the Empire after Alderaan. Mara as the Emperor's Hand was also very interesting. I did like the references to the Hand of Thrawn books and unlike NJOfan I think that it did bridge the gap between ANH and ESB with the Ozzel and Vader parts and another reason why Han hadn't paid Jabba yet. Something that I did not see coming in this book but also liked were the scenes where Obi-wan would talk to Luke.

    The things that could have been better were all of Leia's diplomatic scenes. Also near the end of the book I got annoyed with all of the dramtic irony that was going on because it made a lot of the charcters look stupid because almost all of them jump to wrong conclusions that you all ready know the anwser to.

    Over all it was not as good as TTT or Outbound Flight but on par with The Hand of Thrawn books.
  12. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 26/3 = 8.67
  13. SuperWatto

    SuperWatto Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 19, 2000
    Uhhh... Did I miss anything? Is this bugger out already?
  14. Carnage04

    Carnage04 Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 8, 2005

    It was a pretty good but not fantastic read. Zahn of course, had the persona's of Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie dead on. The jump from ANH to ESB for Han and Chewie was always a little bit questionable, but the PT showing of Chewie does give them more incentive. LaRone and crew were something different. I did enjoy them. The atmosphere that Zahn introduced when Han, Luke, and Chewie first met up with them was good. My biggest problem with the book? An 18 year old Mara Jade's skills being on par with that of 50 year old Mara Jade. I know there is the suggestion that she drew power from her Master, but her abilities seemed too impressive. I would honestly have liked to see Mara struggling with a few things here and there to add evidence of her youth and inexperience. I'll give it an 8.25/10

  15. NJOfan215

    NJOfan215 Jedi Master star 5

    May 17, 2003
    Ozzel's presence was good. As was obi-wan's.

    I don't feel mara in this book is as skilled as she is in legacy. In this book we saw mara like james bond crossed with a padawan. She couldn't even figure out that their wasn't anyone in the ATST or that the storm troopers were lying to her.
  16. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 34.25/4 = 8.56
  17. Carnage04

    Carnage04 Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 8, 2005
    That is true, although she wasn't trying to sense if anyone is in the ATST, she just assumed. She also didn't much care about the Troopers at first. They were helping her. That was all that she needed.

    She did have her moments of Naiveness but they had to do with interactions and not the force. Everything she did with the force she did with relative ease. Skywalker at this point really really had to concentrate on anything he chose to do.

  18. zackzilla

    zackzilla Jedi Youngling

    Dec 10, 2006
    The Timeline legend on the inside of the back cover indicates that this is a Prequel Era novel. This is an error, right?
  19. Coonsan

    Coonsan Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 3, 2003
    Noticed that too.
  20. Kaje

    Kaje Jedi Master star 4

    May 29, 2005
    Yeah, it's an error. Should have the Rebellion-era symbol.
  21. King_of_Red_Lions

    King_of_Red_Lions Jedi Master star 3

    Mar 28, 2003
    This is the first novel by Zahn that contains no mention whatsoever of Thrawn.
    And the first in which Mara is wrong. A lot.
    Only two Points in this novel. The first on page 196. The second on page 320.

    Here's the screentime breakdown:
    Stormtroopers: 34%
    Mara: 31%
    Han/Luke/Leia 24%
    Vader: 3%
    Emperor: 1%
    Ozzel, Disra, et al: remaining 7%

    Han, Luke, Leia and Chewie scenes feel like they are right out of A New Hope. Good to see Mara as an Imperial agent. Good to see Ozzel and Disra again. Good to hear Obi-Wan. Would've liked to see more Vader and Palpatine.

    Good to see Chewie again. But he really didn't do much. People who are angry that he was killed should look at this book and ask themselves: what exactly do I miss? Nobody understands him but Han. He is just a mechanic and co-pilot here. He is good for nothing but a joke or two about arm sockets.

    Kudos to Zahn for not writing some lame subplot to include R2-D2 and C-3PO. They did not have a place in this story, so he left them out. I did not miss them.

    I don't undertand why Vader acts jealous and petty toward Mara. He could crush her. And why does he go crazy when he thinks she is after his quarry? He could pull rank.

    I don't buy a sweet, subservient Mara. Maybe she just grows into the cynic we see in TTT after finding out what the Empire was really all about. But why couldn't she see it earlier? She is either very naive or under some spell. Both Lumiya and Lyn are evil and use the Darkside, but Mara is good and decent and just working for the wrong guy?
    Does Zahn hate it that other authors retconned Lumiya and Arden Lyn as Hands? It seems like a thumb in their faces when Mara says to the stormtroopers to lose the Hand name because there is only one Hand and that is me. Zahn wants his Mara to remain special and unique and be third in command. Though she does speculate at one point that the Emperor might keep covert ops secret even from her so this could allow room for, cough, one Hand not knowing what the other is doing.

    The only part of the book that dragged was Mara infiltrating the pirate ship. Everything else moved swiftly. But I think Zahn could have come up with a more interesting plot than pirate gangs. We've seen this before.

    Each character is on a different mission but they all end up in the same place. Then they end up in the same place again. Then they end up in the same place again. I guess this is convenient since there wouldn't be much of a story otherwise, but some people say "Zahn is a master at bringing all the plots together in the end." I am skeptical when the Stormtroopers fall assbackwards into ideal situations: there happens to be a team of disgruntled ex-patrollers ready-made for an impromptu uprising. Things get sloppy because Zahn invokes more coincidences and connections between characters and plots than Seinfeld.

    A lot of the plots just folded. Some people call 'twists' what I call red herrings and missed chances. Tons of circumstantial evidence was built up to incriminate Choard. Then it turns out that he may not be a bad guy afterall. No wait, he is. Leia's mission turned out to be a bust. And the characters she colluded with just disappeared. And the story was never resolved. Did they join the Rebellion? Is this story finished in the Marvel Comics? Instead of the stormtroopers remaining in Mara's service as her own version of the 501st, they went off to god knows where? And why mention fifty AT-STs if you're only gonna use one. Nobody brought down the Bloodscars. A separatist movement fizzled before it began. Tannis died.

    5 out of 10. Pick it up for Mara, Zahn and Classic era fans.

  22. RebelGrrl

    RebelGrrl Jedi Master star 4

    Jan 13, 2006
    For me, this book was a three hour read. Seriously.

    Things I liked:

    Disra, Stacy, Luke crushing on Leia, Leia/Han interaction, Han's running internal monologue about 'to join or not to join'

    Things I disliked:

    The stormtrooper's names were not memorable. I much prefere the clone-style names. Short, few syllables, snappy. I fail to see how 'Brightwater' is any better than TK-####. Don't stormtroopers give themselves nicknames?

    Magenta lightsaber blade. I couldn't tell if this was a nod to Pink Five's pink lightsaber or remember if Mara had a pink lightsaber all along. That's what magenta is, pink-purple.

    No R2, no 3-PIO! WAH!!!

    Thoughts as I read:

    So how is Zahn gonna keep Luke & Company from running into Mara this time?

    How many sequels are there going to be about the 'Hand of Judgement' quintet?

    6/10 - Enjoyable but not brilliant
  23. Merlyn_Gabriel

    Merlyn_Gabriel Jedi Master star 4

    May 28, 2005
    I give this book about 5/10

    It felt as though I were reading a script rather than a novel though. Mostly all dialogue and action without much substance. ( Is this an issue with the fact that SW authors seem to get contracted on a word count basis?)

    I was really, really hoping for charater developement here but instead it was a short, but fairly expensive HB in which not a lot happens. I found myself aware that I was reading as opposed to being in the story a lot.

    I enjoyed some of the story lines and other bits just left me staring at words on the page going wth? As usual I particularly dislike the way Zahn writes Vader, I have to agree with King of Red Lions, that the scene in which Vader 'loses it' left me cold. One minute I was reading 'in the groove so to speak' and the next minute I was aware I was holding a book having been bounced out of the story by author intrusion. The scene was just silly. We get that Vader doesn't like Mara, and that he's a bit obsessive about finding Luke but seriously, there must be better, more subtle ways to establish that?

    I dislike Mara Jade as a character even more now than I did previously. I was hoping for a lot more back ground on her, more about the deep connection she had with Palpatine, instead I got to watch an über 18 year super spy with amazing force powers do her thing. On the whole, that was a bit boring. I care even less for her now than I might have before. There are no new insights here about her life as palpatine's 'ward.' A missed oppertunity I think.

    I did enjoy the Storm troopers' tale the most and would really have liked to have seen their characters fleshed out a lot more. But that's just me I want a real book, not just dialogue and rushed actions to fill out a skinny plot.

    The rest was unremarkable.

  24. fett 4

    fett 4 Force Ghost star 5

    Jan 2, 2000
    3/10 Poor work argubly Zahns worst I gave most of my reason's in the other Alligence thread so will not repeat myself here but I will say you know an author knows the books not great when he even rip's off his previous Starwars books for filler in his latest. Hence you have Luke in Sceptor of the past infiltrating a pirate base getting discovered then fighting his way out. Here you have Mara infiltrating a pirate base gettig discovered and fighting her way out!!!!!
    A few pointless action scene's/stupid charachters/stupid plots/unsubtle attacks on Lucas (I am not a big fan of the prequels either but still) do not a good book make.
  25. Bringbacknom

    Bringbacknom Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 3, 2006
    I was pretty takenaback when this skinny little £12 hardcover dropped out of my Amazon parcel. though i got into it pretty fast, that was only because it moved so quickly, and not in the good sense. it could have been way longer and it suffered for it.

    Emperor/Jade connection?
    The Commodore?
    What happened to Choard, Glovstoak, Somoroil etc
    Leia's plot?

    all these left me irked and i found myself surprised that Car'das, the Mistryl, Karrde, the Katana fleet, or anyone/thing else were not even slyly referenced. i had come to the conclusion that Zahn had put this book in this exact slot because he needed to put in a clue, a reference to some Outbound flight style mystery, or to set things up for one of his later books. instead things just trotted along, and i was only grateful for his fleshing out of the general galaxy.

    i enjoyed the hand of judgement sections because it was a change, but i just feel Zahn comes up with these creations, like the Mistryl, and then drops them. So obviously there'll be a sequel novel, but other of his ideas may have been dropped in these guy's place.

    i completely agree with the Mara Jade standpoint - she seemed too powerful and the Vader fight with him "bellowing" was just ridiculous. Ozzel being promoted to Admiral as away to be watched felt forced and tacked on. Disra was welcome, but Caaldra was just another Zothip.

    though it was good not having the droids shoved in unnecessarily, and the ISB being fleshed out was interesting.

    score then - 6.9/10 - Zahn seemed to be so intent on not jamming in Thrawn and his other creations into this that i felt it suffered for it.

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