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The JC Lit Reviews Special: CORUSCANT NIGHTS II: STREET OF SHADOWS (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Sep 6, 2008.

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  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    It's the second novel in the Coruscant Nights series, coming quick on the heels of Jedi Twilight! Will I5 be hilarious? Will Darth Vader kill people? Ohh, the mystery!

    Some rules: rate Street of Shadows 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
    [link=http://boards.theforce
  2. AdmirableAckbar Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2008
    star 2
    I'll give it a 6.5.

    Overall, it was very good, though more than a little behind Jedi Twilight.

    It was nice to see Typho and Sing introduced, and I particularly enjoyed the opening Typho scene and the Sing/Vader interactions. Jax and his crowd were entertaining as before, and I thought the strange creature beginning with C was intriguing. Frequent mentions of the Inquisitorius are always welcome. I can't really pin down why, because for much of the book very little happened, but I found it very easy to read, and finished it very quickly. I think it's just Reaves' style.

    However, there were a few issues with it that were irksome and downright annoying in some cases. I understand it's probably because of Reaves' health problems, but when a book makes me stop to think if I've got my dates completely wrong, it's a bad thing. Mentions to the "waning years of the Clone Wars" over a decade prior were baffling, and should've been caught by the editors/continuity checkers/whoever. The references to things that shouldn't have been there, like Cheunh and Hapan and Geroons, were annoying but I can get over them easily. But the entire Sidious going to Mustafar thing made no sense and that alone drops the book down a whole point in my estimation. Typho's death seemed a bit anti-climatic too.

    I really liked the Amanin bartender.

    So yeah, overall, good book with some sizable flaws but not to such an extent to make it a bad book. I eagerly await the final installment.

  3. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Major dropped balls in editing here, especially with dates. However, the story itself was a fun adventure, continuing with the great characters of I-5 and Den. Laranth is slightly less of an utterly flat character than she was previously, and Jax actually becomes likeable. Sing and Typho were well-handled, though I don't think Sing should be that old yet. Vader was quite good, though excessively fond of talking about what's going on inside his head. He just shouldn't do that. His continual and utter badassery more than makes up for it, though. His pure pwnage of Sing and Typho read beautifully.

    Coruscant Nights has proved consistently disappointing, however, from the perspective of noir. The style never really gets noirish, and even the murder mystery angle is completely irrelevant. There's no actual investigation until two hundred pages in, and the investigation never actually leads anywhere; they just get their big clues handed to them on a platter by other characters in one page, and then solve it. As a mystery, it fails. However, as an adventure which happens to have a mystery in it, it pans out, and expectations shouldn't stand in the way of enjoying what was overall an entertaining read, even if it did feel like little happened of any consequence.

    7.9
  4. Corusca_One Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 24, 2005
    star 3
    8/10.

    While there are some niggling editorial issues with this second instalment of Coruscant Nights it dosn't detrack from the intrigue of the novel. More than anything these books are fun to read, they hark back to Star Wars' roots in a way I hadn't expected. However, perhaps because of the previous point, neither has fully delivered the full dose of noir promised by the PR, sure Jax Pavan finally becomes a P.I in this book, and even gets a mystery to solve; but overal they arn't quite upto the standards of that particular sub-genre.

    On a side-note the mystery in question is a fun interlude, however it definitely has peaks and troughs. At times it really does feel like a proper case you could imagine a P.I dealing with, though at other times the execution of events leaves a little to be desired - particularly towards the end. One good thing is that it did keep me guessing, maybe it was just me but I had ran off in the wrong direction not long before the reveal of the killer, for that it gets kudos.

    Characterisation here deserves mention. As with the last book most of the characters are interesting to read, or at least colourful, and when Reaves delves into pre-established character territory he (generally) shines. Vader is still well spoken yet utterly intimidating, often presented in terrifying fashion; and its good to see some moments where his character is briefly contrasted with the Vader that lost Padme. In fact this is where the Typo storyline comes into play, and while Typo's characterisation could get a little annoying (okay we get it, your doing it for padme!) he helped add an extra dimension to Vader in this book, showing just how far the man that was once Anakin Skywalker has come in just a year.

    Now, whether the length of time is realistic is questionable. Vader is steeped in the Dark Side, and 'hanging out' with some pretty dubious folks right now, so personally I don't find it hard to believe that he has already started looking like the villain from Episodes IV-VI. Other than that Aurra Sing was great fun to read, especially after her cameo in LotF recently. She remains a facinating, if utterly homicidal, villain and i'd like to see more from her if possible. In regards to the main cast, Jax becomes more likable, if naive, however this naivety really underpins how young he really is, having only just been knighted before O66. Added depth is added to Laranth's character, and it'll be interesting to see what she gets up to next, while Den and I-5 are still the standouts providing the human touch and much of the comedy. I-5 does seem to err on the side of always having the answer though, which can get a tad annoying (almost like Kryten from Red Dwarf hah).

    The rest of the cast all reads well, with the plot seemingly setting up Rhinann for something big. It was also good to see a Cathar turn up. Oh and thanks to Legacy whenever I read abotu Zeltron's now I can only think of one woman. :p

    Overall its a good continuation, that seems to be setting up a dramatic finally. Hopefully there will be some real consequences from this trilogy, that go on to effect the rest of the Dark Times era.
  5. DVader316 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2000
    star 7
    Like everyone else here the discrepancies with the timeline really irked me, but otherwise I really liked the book. The investigation angle didnt turn out to much, nor did I expect it to. All it was meant to do was further develop the characters and serve as a backdrop to the real story, which obviously is Vader's pursuit of Jax. In fact, I kind of liked how Vader, Sing and even Typho were sprinkled throughout the book rather than the focus of the main story; it makes me anticipate the final volume even more.

    Overall I really liked the book, a fun, fast read like we've come to expect from Reaves.


    7.5 / 10
  6. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    Given how few SW books I'm now reading (DHC comics, great though they may be, don't count) never mind enjoying I have to opt for:

    9/10.

    The rationale? Well, by some inexplicable skills, Reaves has a story with Aurra Sing in it and she isn't as irritating as usual! Given that I despise the character with a vengeance, considering her to be lacking depth to a degree that renders 1-d cardboard deep and meaningful, that Reaves' tale isn't mortally crippled by her inclusion is an amazing accomplishment. I particularly like how Jax finally defeats her too.

    The sublime villainy of Vader returns, here even further removed than before yet still hovering above it all like a baleful stormcloud. His confrontation with Typho was very well-done.

    For some Typho's quest is foolish, but to me it works as a plot thread. There has been some discussion over how he concludes Vader is the culprit but my response is that Vader is the known, public face of the Sith - Sidious likes it that way, everyone goes after Vader, not him.

    The central plot worked well as a story style that has rarely been deployed in the EU and the inclusion of the destruction of Caamas, which itself was very well handled, made for a different tale. Yet at the same time it had the action of the previous book. In a way, these books come closest to replicating the feel of the KOTOR comics as we follow a bunch of characters thrown togther by chance through numerous escapades of dubious nature.

    Finally and this cannot be stressed enough: It's fun, it may be a book of the Dark Times but it's a damn fine and very entertaining read and I don't find I can say that often about the SW EU these days.

    JB
  7. TIEPilot051999 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2002
    star 7
    I liked it. Not as much as I liked Jedi Twilight, but I liked it. Sure, there were (as per usual, it seems) canon issues and the Typho plot appeared to have been stuck to the main action with two pieces of tape and a staple, but I still liked it. The only thing I don't like is that we have to wait four months for Patters of Force. Why is that, exactly?

    8/10
  8. T-boy-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2006
    star 3
    9/10 it was a excellent read. Very entertaining, just the kind of story I need after the dire LOTF. The characters were all good and interesting once more. Didn't see the plot twist coming in the whodunnit. Vader was portrayed excellently. One point had to be knocked off however due to the amazing amount od continuity errors in the book. DR and LFL need to do better proof reading.

    However, this book has prompted me to start reading the Medstar Duology, which I am really enjoying.
  9. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 55.9/7 = 7.99
  10. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    It was decent. Not as good as the first, though the art world skulduggery was fun. I did like the references to various districts of Coruscant by name--we need more of that. More Vader, too, is always appreciated.

    7.5/10
  11. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 63.4/8 = 7.93
  12. tjace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 11, 2008
    star 4
    A fun book, from which the continuity errors didn't take too much. I especially liked the part where Typho accuses Vader of murdering Skywalker, and Vader says that he did kill him.

    8.0/10
  13. Ulicus Lit'ari

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2005
    star 6
    Another one out of the park. Absolutely wonderful. I was even only a *little* disheartened to see that we have another example of the Jedi kidnapping children. Maybe this is a "fact" being handed down from on high?

    Vader, if it's even possible, was even better in this book than the last... seeing him ruminate on the ties that should bind people together (order! unity!) as well as his role in Anakin Skywalker's "death" was fantastic. Oh, seeing him school Aurra Sing every time they met was great too. :D (take that Caedus) Yes, it is odd that he's so "uber" so shortly after the end of RotS but, you know what? I couldn't care less. This is a perfect Vader. The fact that he is willing, on occasion, to talk about what's going on inside his head (as Hav points out) is one of the things that helps remind me that he's still "young" as Vader.

    I found I enjoyed the interaction between Jax and his posse more than the last time around, and I'm curious to see where the Laranth/Jax/Dejah thing goes. (Though it might have already been and gone)

    The continuity flubs were a fair bit worse than in the first book, but they were clearly mistakes, and I'm going to blame the editors rather than Reaves. These mistakes mainly hit the Typho subplot, as far as I can remember, which made it seem a bit disjointed and confusing at times... but, ultimately, it didn't have an impact on my enjoyment of the book.

    I agree with Havac that the book disappoints if read as noir, I just... don't care.

    9/10

    Edit:
    Well said, Ben. Well said. =D=
  14. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 80.4/10 = 8.04
  15. King_of_Red_Lions Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2003
    star 3
    I'll give it a 6/10.

    I would have enjoyed some Raymond Chandler-style sleuthing but the mystery was satisfying for SW. I guessed wrong about the identity of the killer. Fun read. Pick it up if you haven't.
  16. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 86.4/11 = 7.85
  17. whiskers Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 19, 2005
    star 4
    8/10

    Despite a few editorial flubs that made me scratch my head, I really liked this book. Sadly, I was spoiled by the mystery though I'm sure I wouldn't have figured it out. The Aurra Sing and Vader interaction was just awesome in my view.
  18. ImpKnight Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2008
    star 3
    Good book. The only thing I didn't get was Typho. I thought he might interact a little more with Jax and company. Then he died. Oh well, at least that third wheel Twi'lek is gone. Anxiously awaiting #3.

    8.0
  19. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 102.4/13 = 7.88
  20. chiss_man Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2002
    star 6
    Overall, this was a great read. I love the interplay between our main cast members a lot, much more here than I did in CNI. I also really like to see various areas of Coruscant be explored and mapped out, as I find that very fascinating. This book also featured some great Vader moments, including his confrontations with Sing and Typho; both of which were just awesome. I liked the mystery aspect of the whole book as well, and I was actually surprised to find out "whodunnit?".

    However, this book is not without flaws. The editorial issues were a bit distracting, I realize that that happens, but it did take me out of the story a bit. Also, I thought Sing was not used particularly well. She appears only a few times and is pretty easily dealt with in the end, in what to me appeared to be an exercise in just quickly wrapping up a loose thread. There also seemed to be a bit of convenience in the way the story progressed, like how Typho found Jax (and Jax just suddenly deciding that, hey, it's ok to tell my name!) or how the Cathar bodyguard gave Jax the information at the exact right time. It is nit-picky, I admit, but it did bother me slightly.

    As I said, overall, this was a great read. It's not as good as CNI, but it's a fine follow up, and it leaves me feeling very optimistic about Patterns of Force 8/10
  21. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 110.4/14 = 7.89
  22. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I found this book to be the least entertaining Star Wars read I've ever had. Made me keep hoping Waru was about to appear.

    Vader is still chasing a trinkit, no further clues why.

    I can see why people would enjoy this book. CSI Anytown is a hugely popular TV show, so CSI Coruscant could go over big as well, just not with me.

    I really felt like Reaves spent more time describing the walls than flushing out his characters. Two novels about Jax Pavan and I still feel like I don't know the guy, don't know what he's really doing with his life, so on. And I had no clue that Laranth loved Jax till Den told us.

    Sing gets sucked into a big construction devise, buried in sand and obviously lives.

    Typho was forced, wedged in for some payoff with Vader at the end.

    I'd love to see a good book about droid sentience, but forcing the Droid in as the murder did nothing for me. I-5 barely has a role in this book and he was all I liked from book 1.

    2/10


  23. Master-Chief-Kenobi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2007
    star 3
    I really enjoyed this book. There were a few hickups with dates but I can overlook that. The story itself was fantastic I Love the characters, the plot. I dont care for Aurra Sing at all tho. She alwyas comes off as such a boring cookie cutter character. Oh wow here's a sexy female assasin thats cold as ice and cares for noone but herself. Havn't seen that before. Anyway loved Jax & the palidan girl. I Really want to read more about Jedi Palidans I'm absolutly in love with the whole concept. Now bring on jedi bards!! I jest I Jest. I love the dark times. It's the classic star wars era just without the rebellion & luke. Always makes for a facinating read. This whole series plays like a novelization of the darktimes comic (RIP) of which I was a huge huge huge fan so i'm in fanboy heaven with the series. No galactic wars no collapsing goverments no sky-solos. Its everything I want out of a star wars novel. Anyway, i'm giving it 9/10
  24. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    We already got 'em.
  25. RossN Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2002
    star 2
    Overall I enjoyed it a lot. Most of the main characters are more fully realised, especially Jax. I was dissapointed that Kaird, one of my favourite characters from the first book had gone even if his absence makes sense. The atmosphere felt more properly noirish in this entry, with an actual murder mystery to solve. I was completely wrong footed by the real culprit; all along I had suspected the real killer to be Dejah.

    I have mixed feelings about Dejah Duare. I find her willingness to use her manipulative abilities so often to be a bit shady (and think Jax really should have had some concerns there), and her casual suggestion of pinning the blame for the murder on someone else a bit uncomfortable too. Maybe I am entirely on the wrong track but I think she is far from the innocent she appears and Jax might have made a mistake taking her on.

    I like I-Five but I think he maybe should be toned down a little; he is a bit too good at the moment and I really would like to see him wrongfooted at least once. Surely there are things he can't do other than dance (even if that comment made me laugh).

    I never really warmed to Typho, but his storyline was fairly interesting.

    Darth Vader was simply magnificent. Enough said. :)

    7.5/10
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