The JC Lit Reviews Special: CLONE WARS GAMBIT: SIEGE (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Jul 7, 2010.

  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Time for the final The Clone Wars tie-in book, Karen Miller's Clone Wars Gambit: Siege!

    Some rules: rate Siege 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 for it.;)


    Some previous review threads:

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

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Wow. Ten days and I still get first review.

    So, this is not a good book.

    First off, every criticism of the previous books stands. It's a horribly overwrought hurt/comfort fanfic that seems to think that battering the characters is the only way to find enjoyment, characterization, or tension. Everyone spends the entire book in anguished angst over everyone else in the book and their terrible situation. Obi-Wan and Anakin start the book exhausted and battered, and just get more beaten and more spent as the book goes on in a great spiral of ridiculous power generator-maintenance exertion. And Taria or whatever, the Fanfic Mary Sue woman (I don't use "Mary Sue" unless the term is absolutely applicable. And it is. She's a "tawny"-eyed, blue-green-haired expert Jedi with whom Obi-Wan is/was in love and got to sex him up. She is wasting away from a ridiculous incurable and rare clam-borne disorder. She is Ahsoka's new bestest-friend mentor lady. She is witty and lovely and gracious and lithe and everyone loves her and she gets to come in and save the day) has an incurable clam-borne wasting disease that is going to kill her and makes her weak and exhausted (apparently there are no healthy Jedi available in the whole Temple to go on rescue missions) and pained and makes everyone around her sad and angstful. Even the universe is bent to create pain. Apparently Force healing isn't the peaceful, Force-powered process we've seen everywhere else. Apparently, it's incredibly painful for the healer (Obi-Wan! In pain! Shocking!) and can cripple the healer. Also, apparently crystals are usually used and needed. Because it needed to be made stupider somehow.

    Basically, on no level is the Force used appropriately in the entire book. Miller's entire grasp of it is deeply off and highly pain-oriented.

    The last two books, for all their awfulness, at least had a little something to offer. Miller occasionally did interesting bits with characterization. The problem: every single characterization beat in the book is something that was already hit in the previous book. And they're not even the characterization beats that were interesting or appropriate for the characters. So there's really nothing new. The whole book is pointless and has nothing new to say. Which is about the worst thing you can say for a book.

    Which is a part of the problem of the book's larger status as a waste of paper: it's one book, or really less than one book, stretched across two books. Gambit never should have been extended across two book, because it just doesn't have the content for it. The plot is a complete joke. Nothing happens in the entire book. Obi-Wan and Anakin are the main plot, except they're completely useless. They start the book by crashing (pain!) and walking to town. They spend the entire rest of the book in the town. Which is Boringtown, Nowhereland, Population: Irish Hillbillies. So you understand from the outset that this is a book dedicated to boringness, and pain, and the eating of eggs, and exhaustion, and making friends in a very boring town, and suffering, and unexciting refinery explosions, and the sheer stress and exhaustion of maintaining a shield against the danger of THETA STORMS, and people getting snippy at each other and making up, and the pain and suffering and exhaustion of healing injured people while you sit around doing nothing. That's the entire plot, folks. They come into town, eat bad eggs, talk with old ladies, wander around town, mine a bit, suffer from a storm, have people look at them funny because they're Jedi, and then sit and wait a long time while droids surround the shielded village, and then wait some more and have stress and exhaustion and food deprivation while they argue. That's the plot of the book. I am not making this up. I am not exaggerating. That is the plot. It makes The Approaching Storm look like Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter.

    Meanwhile, in the B-plots, Bail runs around being stressed and headachey over what bad trouble Obi-Wan is in and Oh My God A Bioweapon That Is Very Clearly A Chemi
  3. Zebra3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2004
    star 5
    I didn't like this book nearly as much as Stealth.

    I thought the angstiness was overdone. We got plenty of that in the first book. Miller should have moved on. There also wasn't nearly enough action. Although, it was very cool how Anakin held that storm back with just the force. Anyway, I wish more had actually happened. I like character interactions as much as the next person but I thought there was too much of it in this book.

    But, all in all, I thought it was an entertaining read. Anakin and Obi-Wan interactions are good again. And I rather liked Yoda in this book.

    7.5/10
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 8.5/2 = 4.25
  5. Shadojoker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 15, 2000
    star 4
    when did this come out..i'm having issues finding this one!!

    EDIT: On second thought..

    if it took 10days instead of 10minutes/hours or so before a response..especially on THESE BOARDS..then it must not been a good read..that's why i love these threads..they save my mind & wallet the pain & frustration..but if its a must read..then its quite helpful !!


    Shado
  6. jedimasterED Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 4
    What Havac said.

    I actually got mad when Taria kissed Obi-Wan. It just rang completely wrong. In a book of wonky Force use, endless angst, and mind-numbing nothing-happening-ness... WRONG! You know, I had honestly made peace with this FOURTH love interest of Obi-Wan's. Cerasi? He was young and impetuous and left the Order. Satine? He was slightly older and thought he knew how to control himself. Siri? They spent so much time together. Taria? Um... after losing Siri... maybe... he... um... needed a hug... lying down... sans robes...?

    But then, after all of the angst and boringness and supposed detatching and Mary Sue-ing about, she comes in and freakin' kisses Obi-Wan! *sigh*

    Just. Wrong.

    It wasn't as bad as Jedi Trial IMO, but I was sick of this book less than 100 pages in. Like Havac said, "then Ahsoka and Mace Windu have to come with clones and shoot battle droids for about two pages, and thank god it's over."

    2 out of 10 (for being just slightly better than JT)
  7. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 10.5/3 = 3.50

    And for the record, that wasn't a correlation so. It was a "So, let's start this review," so.
  8. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    I wasn't reprimanded for what I saw was a rather harsh comment by myself about Siege in the discussion thread. As the author checks in from time to time I didn't want to be hard or cruel. It's one of the reasons I have never really respected critics. I mean, what do critics ever create? Then I heard that Ms. Miller is busy with a 5 book deal. I paused at that, shook my head and realized that I could throw hands with the best of them when it comes to Clone Wars Gambit: Siege. Than I read Havac's review and well, he covered everything. Everything that I disliked, hated, or was sickened by with Siege was covered with a rapier and a hatchet by Havac. So see his review if you want detail, honesty and despite art being subjective total accuracy.

    I can say Ms. Miller does know how to write. She can write and write and write. Her prose aren't terrible. They just never go anywhere and they say the same thing over and over and over. Her prose are fine but she couldn't find character growth through jeopardy if it bit her in the ass. Her characters despite their efforts never have insights that aren't repeated a few pages or paragraphs later. Quite frankly there is nothing Star Wars about these books. From Force use actually causing pain to the utter and total hopelessness of it all to the complete lack of levity or humor, this wasn't Star Wars.

    Havac said it all quite well so I won't go on. I've never panned a book in these threads but I finally can't help myself.

    There is nothing, nothing worth while in this book for anyone over 12. And I would never recommend this kind of literature for anyone under 12. But hell, it's getting great reviews on Amazon so... Not here though. Not from these tawny eyes.

    1 out of 10
  9. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 11.5/4 = 2.88
  10. pronker Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2007
    star 3
    I liked this book. It's difficult to keep the other two Miller books out of the review, but I shall try. I do see them as interrelated, more so than any other series books, such as NJO. But, onward.

    The worldbuilding came across well, as did the Jedi vow to protect the weak despite Anakin and Obi-Wan's overall mission. Dreary Torbel was meant to be dreary with ordinary people living strenuous lives, adapting to the Sep threat as best they could to wreak a living out of disaster. Sufi and Rikkard, Jaklin and Greti and all the rest fit together nicely into their world, and I could picture them as individuals. The heroics of Anakin and Obi-Wan in the sick house and shield arenas were what I'd expect in a book called 'Siege,' which meant there wasn't much moving about, but more emphasis on people crammed together as they faced extinction; this claustrophobic atmosphere pervaded the book, as expected. The drivok was neat; Ahsoka's description of Mace as 'like standing next to a gale,' so powerful in the Force was he, fits good ol' SLJ's presence.

    "Qui-Gon survived one, his first year as a Jedi Knight," he said as they moved on. "He was lucky. Three others with him didn't get to shelter in time. They took days to die, in excruciating agony."

    Anakin looked at him. "You know, sooner or later you're going to tell me a happy story, I just know you are."
    Character interactions like this proved that Miller fit the story to the avowed theme of the two books, that of exploring the relationship between ex-Padawan and Master. They're different people, though both Jedi, well duh; they have a past that feeds their present, sure, and I enjoyed their groping into a fulfilling partnership, Obi-Wan bowing, with a few pushes from Anakin, to the passage of time as Anakin proves that he is an adult and a more-than-competent warrior. Obi-Wan had the grace to be regretful over calling Anakin 'dangerous' so long ago, good for him. Anakin realistically and soberly wondering if he had damaged his and Obi-Wan's friendship, good for him.

    Taria's presence was what I expected, a counterpoint to Anakin's own love story, and when Obi-Wan 'kissed her lightly on the lips' on page 339, it was a tribute to what they'd had together and her continued presence in his life. Now when we break up with someone, we don't hate them forever if it ended badly, do we? So these two, drifting apart after a while without drama, have even more reason to be close than if it had ended in a screaming match. But not too close, as Anakin observes, and this bothers him no end, because he is Anakin.

    I'd liked to have seen Anakin push for Obi-Wan's version of the Zigoola mission's effect, as he'd wanted to in Wild Space; I was satisfied with Bail's progression through the three books to realize that Padme's interest lay in Anakin, not in Obi-Wan, and also his progression to a belief in the Force; and the side-plot point about Ahsoka and Taria's teaching the younger Padawans how to street-fight was outstanding. And the final sentence was fine. The weapon was a chemical weapon, not a bioweapon, and I'd sure have liked it better in one book, not waiting for months to read the end of the story, all criticisms duly thought about, yet still ...

    8/10
  11. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 19.5/5 = 3.90
  12. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit: Siege is really the ending half of a two book story. You really need to read both to appreciate the book. It's a great story overall, that puts face to a lot of the little people in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. What I like most about this book is that it's a great rebuttal to the idea that the Jedi Knights are emotionally removed and detached from the people of the galaxy. Are they? Maybe a little bit, but when push comes to shove they pretty much walk through the streets performing miracles to help as many people as possible. This is the anti-Karen Traviss treatment of the Jedi (and I LIKE Karen Traviss a great deal).

    It is a treatment of the Jedi almost as Christ figures. Obi Wan Kenobi can HEAL PEOPLE by LAYING HIS HANDS ON THEM! He can do this and he SUFFERS for it by doing it over and over again until he's well past the point of exhaustion! This is not exactly subtle stuff here and it works wonderfully. Obi Wan is Christ-Frodo! We also get Anakin's character flaw of "refusing to let people die" turned into a huge advantage as he tirelessly tries to help as many people as possible. He's never been portrayed as a being more trying to find his own way to redemption for the Sand People Massacre than he's found to be here.

    The people are initially suspicious and hateful of the Jedi due to their reputation for using the Jedi Mind Trick. A simple and appropriate reason for a lot of people to hate and fear them. However, they are one over by the compassion and heroism of the Jedi Knights to the point they're willing to fight and die for them. You really can't get much more Pro-Jedi than Jedi Knights are Christ-figures come to save us from the forces of darkness and war, which this book is pretty much it in spades.

    The character of Taria Damsin is something that I wonder a bit about, since essentially she comes off as Siri Tachi's Anime Haired Doppleganger. Given Obi Wan Kenobi has already been with one Jedi woman and now has a girl from Mandalore, he's starting to resemble Luke and Han Solo for ex-girlfriends. Like Obi Wan, Taria is a bit of a Christ-figure sacrificing herself for the people of the galaxy and her love in particular. I personally like her a great deal and appreciate that Karen Miller did the rather cruel but necessary thing of giving her creation a built-in expiration date. The Jedi have to end up dying and having them all survive Order 66 is a bit silly, especially since so many ended up doing so in the EU canon.

    How effecting was the romance? I was actually MAD that Obi Wan and Taria didn't make love one last time on the planet. Shame!

    The book has a nice "less is more" fascination with the horrors of war too. A regular Star Wars book would blow up a planet to show just how bad the villains are. Here, Karen Miller murders a city and shows just how horrific the consequences of such an action will be. We also get a nice rebuttal to the old saw "I did it under duress" as the scientists working for the Separatists are still called to task for the horrible things they are participants in.

    If the book has any real flaw, it is the flat out monstrous depiction of the Separatists. The stuff they do in the book would have been rejected by the fans of the Old Empire as too ridiculously evil for the Imperials to do. It's a disturbing trend (with the Yuuzhan Vong and Legacy Sith as well) that the SPACE NAZIS are one of the more consistently moral recurring Star Wars villains. Still, this is how Lucas is portraying them and it works.

    I want to say how much I *LOVE* these books, Karen Miller and hope you continue writing them forever.

    10/10
  13. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 29.5/6 = 4.92
  14. PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2003
    star 4
    This is not necessary or appropriate.
  15. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 7
    Removed.

    To expand on my review a bit.

    Simply put, I enjoy Karen Miller's writing because it is a bit more adult than the average Star Wars writer. Maybe my post was a bit purple in its prose but I was genuinely surprised by the quality of the writing and very much enjoyed the Kurasawa/war movie homage with the town under siege by the Jedi Knights. There's a LOT of "normal average, every day" citizens in this book. I appreciate that because too many of the people we see in the Star Wars galaxy are Jedi, clones, super-soldiers, Sith, or some combination of the above.

    Moreover, I like her actually getting into Darth Sidious' head and humanizing him for a little while. It's nice to see just how much the man actually loathes having to keep up the facade of the caring Senator Palpatine 24/7 and how much he's come to despise Count Dooku. The idea of Anakin genuinely being his son substitute is something that I like. It helps remove some of the mysterious "Sauron" figure that we've been seeing so much. Palpatine is just a bitter, hateful, and ambitious old man that isn't anything supernaturally malevolent.

    Much of the books enjoyment factor depends on whether or not you remotely take seriously the idea of Doctor Fhernan's plight. For me, the whole thing was very dramatic with the usual "do this or we'll kill your family" thoroughly deconstructed. Caleb from the Darth Bane series sort of started the ball rolling with this, showing that maybe just maybe it's not a good thing to bow to pressure even if it saves your family. Here, the consequences are absolutely vile for working under duress. It reminded me of Battlestar Galactica's Baltar on New Caprica.

    I know Karen Miller is friends with Karen Traviss and I absolutely respect the later as well as love her books, but I've been quite vocal that the treatment of the Jedi Knights in the Republic Commando novels hurt my enjoyment of them. So it's nice to see someone actually run with the idea that they're compassionate, loving, and thoroughly good people. I would like to see more episodes where the Jedi win the respect of local people. The Clone Wars episodes with the little lemure people was one of my favorites and this was very similar in some respects, lacking the pacifism theme.

    I think people are also being ridiculously unfair to this book series, bringing up bizarre accusations of everything from "Hoyay" to "Hurt Comfort Fic" to now "Mary Sue Fanfiction." I swear, it's getting a little tiresome to be honest. What is it about Karen Miller's writing that gets people to think of her less as a professional, legitimate, and proper author than others? It's ridiculous. Kevin J. Anderson, writer of some wonderful books, has some definite criticizable choices yet you never call his work "fanfic."

    Be that as it may, I will admit that the books aren't perfect. I enjoyed the character of Taria Damsin in that it nicely highlighted that, no the Jedi Knights aren't celibate. It was a welcome breath of fresh air and I wish we saw Obi Wan having sex more often. However, I will state that the character herself sort of felt a bit stock. She's mostly defined by her relationship to Obi Wan Kenobi and how much she's obviously in love with him, despite how clearly he's in denial about their past attraction. Just about the only thing we know about her opinions is the fact that she feels really put out because she's the first and only Jedi from her homeworld in history. That's a really odd thing for someone to worry about.

    So, honestly, maybe my review was a bit closer to a 9/10 or 9.5. But the books were thick, meaty, and filled with interaction that I enjoyed so I decided to give her a full 10 because it's nice to err on the side of genorosity when you really like a book. I fully admit that this book isn't Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire but it's an excellent antidote to a boring day. I recommend people buy Karen Miller's Gambit books and think they won't regret it.
  16. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    As I've touched upon in the discussion thread there are a lot of aspects about this book that I did really enjoy. The dialog and voicing is perhaps its greatest strength as almost every known character is spot on. Not just Obi-Wan and Anakin, but also Yoda, Dooku, Mace(whom Karen previously had some trouble with), Ahsoka and more.

    Seige is the second half of one larger story and picks up right where Stealth left off, just as it should. I found Torbel very interesting. Aside from Greti(who I loved) Karen Miller really went out of her way to show just how normal these people are while carefully reminding us that their lives, no matter how dull we might find them, are every bit as important as anyone elses lives.

    I loved how the book shows out heroes compassion. How Obi-Wan makes his primary goal helping to heal the sick and wounded. I thought it was a great look at his character in that way.

    Palpatine to me was hit and miss. Some of his scenes or portions of scenes are brilliant. At other times he just feels un-Palpatine like, ranting and scolding and the like. His fierce disdain for Dooku is a nice addition to his character though, something thats been briefly touched upon before but gets expanded upon in this book.

    I can't say that Bant'ena Fhernan's end was a surprise or even a good moment, but I think it worked well. She took her revenge for all the evil that not only Lok Durd had done to her but even kinda against herself. She was unable to live with the guilt of what she'd been a part of.

    There were light moments in the book despite the over all dark theme's, maybe not enough of them for some but its not like they didn't exist. Obi-Wan and Anakin's exchanges contained their usual playful spirit throughout the book. I also really enjoyed Yoda scolding Netzl, Durd yelling at his droid for going the speed limit and Mace Windu's dismissal of Greti toward the end.

    I really still didn't like Obi-Wan and Taria's romance in any way, shape or form. The relationship does make Obi-Wan more human, which is clearly what Karen miller was going for, but I don't think thats a good thing. There is suppost to be a line in the sand that the Jedi don't cross, something that seperates Anakin from the rest of the Jedi Order. If all of them are having these relationships then the ntire fabric of everything Anaking has ever been taught and chastised for falls apart.

    I think Karen Miller really wanted to make Obi-Wan more likeable, more real and in the end I think it may have damaged his character slightly in my eyes. Not to mention that Obi-Wan, raised at the Jedi Temple since birth, now has multiple women in his life that he's had serious relationships with(Not all the fault of Karen Miller), changes what his character is in the grand scheme of the universe.

    And for someone who's dieing Taria Damsin certainly seems to be very alive. Now I realize it would have been somewhat anti-climatic to have her getting killed in battle(or worse having her die after the battle) but I just don't see how having the terminally ill pet character survive the book does the story or characters any good.

    Instead of having Obi-Wan deal with the emotion of losing her, we don't get that. Now we're never going to actually know when Taria Damsin dies - while we've spent a couple books being reminded over and over that she's doomed. I don't think that worked at all.

    All in all I think this is my least favorite of Karen Miller's three books but I still found it quite enjoyable. It's to bad that its her last Star Wars offering - I kinda feel like Star Wars is constantly replacing more character driven authors with action oriented ones. I just feel there is room for both.

    7/10
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 36.5/7 = 5.21
  18. fistofan1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    The Good:

    - As always, the characters. I loved Bant'ena's journey through these two books, and was satisfied in how it turned out. I was practically in tears when she agreed to set the charges. Ahsoka and Obi-Wan's relationship with Taria was written out nicely. And I loved the scene where Anakin discussed with Obi-Wan his feelings about the comment Obi made in TPM. Now that was a great highlight of the book!

    - The side-story in the Senate was the best part of the book for me. Seeing Bail and Padme go about their Senatorial duties against the backdrop of the conflict was interesting, and getting inside Palpatine's head is always fun. Also, I loved the part when he blew up at Yoda and Bail. [face_devil]

    - Having villains who serve a purpose that is more than fighting the "good guys". Lok Durd's ultimately pathetic attempts to please Count Dooku nicely mirrored Dooku's attempts to please Darth Sidious.

    -Tryn Netzl. For some reason, I just really like that character. Honestly, I can't quite place why, I just do.


    The Bad:

    - I'm all for books that reveal the true hardships of war, but the angst was blown way out of proportion in this book. We get it, Anakin is tired. We get it, Obi-Wan has a headache. And after reading about all the vomiting and greensickness, I was feeling a little ill myself. Also, Durd's beating of Bant'ena went way too far.

    - Torbel was quite boring. I found myself flipping forward in the book just to see when Anakin and Obi-wan would stop eating eggs and we could see what Ahsoka or Lok Durd were doing.

    - This may just be a minor thing that bugged me, but Palpatine told Dooku he wanted as many GAR ships destroyed as possible, but then refused to send more than three to Lanteeb. I know it had to be that way to move the story along, but I wish it was dealt with better so it made more sense.

    All in all it was a pretty good book, but not quite up to par with Miller's other SW books. 7/10
  19. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 43.5/8 = 5.44
  20. Liliedhe Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2009
    star 3
    Finally got round to reading this. And I have to credit it with singlehandedly reigniting my somewhat dormant Star Wars interest.

    No, it wasn't perfect. It wasn't even as good as Wild Space - which is one of my favourite Star Wars novels. But it was good enough to make me forget a lot of lackluster performances in the last year. The first part I just liked. It was good, but it wasn't brilliant. This was.

    At first it reminded me a lot of the Jedi Apprentice series, with a strange society taking shape in not too many pages, with their problems and characters and everything. And then, the politics in Coruscant kicked into high gear and I was utterly hooked. By the point where Taria went to Lanteeb I just couldn't stop reading. So much for my resolutions to savour this^^.

    Characterization was utterly top notch, especially of Palpatine/Sidious. These books have the great advantage of being able to bring the double role into play for real and they make a lot of it. I also really liked Padmé here, being a politician, showing her shrewdness and her competence - and possibly starting the first seeds of what might one day become the Rebellion. It was just a pity Ahsoka had so little to do - her riding to the rescue was a bit overshadowed by Mace Windu's awesomeness^^. Taria was a bit superfluous, but I still liked. I was overjoyed that she didn't die (even when this was expected). The grim fate Yoda saw was simply nature taking its eventual course, her borrowed time running out. It was bittersweet and a defiance of dramatic convention, instead of going out in a blaze of glory which seems to be fictional characters' stock in trade to simply let her finally die of her illness.

    There are also a few things that make me dock points from the final score, but they are rather minimal. First there's the end - nothing against it, but I missed the typical bittersweet Clone Wars/prequel feel. Well, I missed Siddy having the last word, explaining how this supposed failure was still a victory for him. Also, there was no closure on Greti. We can only assume she is going to Naboo with the rest of her people, but we do not really know.

    Therefore, only 9/10 points.^^
  21. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 52.5/9 = 5.83
  22. DarthStymi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 10, 2002
    star 3
    Miraculously underwhelming follow up to a promising fist installment (Stealth).

    5
  23. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 57.5/10 = 5.75
  24. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    Though it wasn't quite what I expected, I really ended up enjoying this book. Overlooking yet another love interest for Obi-Wan (though it seems like Miller tries to distinguish Taria as someone he loved rather than his One True Love like Siri. An idea closer to Satine) and the fact that in spite of apparently being a tie-in it deviates remarkably from the show's continuity, as a story itself I thought it was pretty solid. No, Anakin and Obi-Wan didn't really play a direct part in Durd's failure, but their story was more personal and contained. In some ways it was surprising since I was fully expecting the Jedi to go with Obi-Wan's idea and turn themselves over, escaping at some point and upending the Separatists. What we got instead was a look at their isolation and a more personal view of a war's impact on this small village under siege. I really enjoyed getting a closer look at these villagers and seeing the effect this attack had on each of them. It led to some both wonderful and horrible moments, notably when Anakin and Obi-Wan are revealed as Jedi and some of the villagers are clearly grateful to them. In this era, where the Jedi are so often torn down for arrogance and detachment, things we see even in this book, once again seeing the pure gratitude of those they help is a powerful thing. I was glad to see it.

    I also like the sprawling of the storyline, jumping from the perspectives of politicians like Bail on Coruscant, to Palpatine and Sidious, over to the cruelty of Lok Durd on Lanteeb and the scientist he continues to torture, to the Jedi and the villagers, to Yoda and Taria. Giving the many views here makes the story seems a little grander, particularly given the fact that in this case many of these views are diverse and opposing, making for a far richer story.

    It's also interesting to read a story like this knowing what we know will occur in Episode III, knowing that many of the Jedi's thoughts and hopes will soon be dashed, hoping that the desires of that little girl on Lanteeb, that she be able to go with Obi-Wan and Anakin when they leave, not come to pass since we know what will in the end happen to the Jedi. It certainly affects some feelings more than if we'd known otherwise.

    Some of the characterization works, especially when I don't always agree with the way the show has portrayed some of our well known characters. Mace is probably the best example, who at times in the show comes off even colder than one would expect. Here he's tough as usual, but there's some undercurrent of warmth and approval that one might expect from the wise master we see in the prequels. The moment where he goes off with Rikkard to discuss their relocation especially comes to mind.

    The disconnect between this and the show though kind of gets to me with Anakin's reaction to Obi-Wan and Taria. I mean, it does make sense to some extent. Anakin might be angry knowing he has to hide his love for Padmé when his master is kissing his old girlfriend. Then again, Obi-Wan has never really been one to slam the whole "don't attach yourself" idea in Anakin's head. If anything, we've seen indications he's suspected Anakin's feelings for Amidala but lets it go. To me, his lighter, teasing reaction to Obi-Wan's past with Satine makes more sense. Or maybe it just makes more sense for his show characterization vs. his movie characterization. Maybe it's just my own problems wrestling with the different interpretations of Anakin.

    I do wish authors would use a little more slang, though. How high was the "barve" count in this book. A bit jarring to hear a term so often that I don't think has ever been spoken on screen. And stang, does no one use kriff or kark anymore? Someone needs to add some variety to this mopak.

    After the skin of their teeth escape in the first book, the beginning of this story unfolds remarkably slowly. I get trying to establish some new things, but you shouldn't bore your continuing audience to tears, either.

    Also, after three books with Ms. Miller
  25. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 65.5/11 = 5.95