The JC Lit Reviews Special: CORUSCANT NIGHTS III: PATTERNS OF FORCE (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Jan 27, 2009.

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  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Here it is, the conclusion to the Coruscant Nights trilogy. Will Jax live? Will Vader kill people? Will Den want a drink? Will I-5 be hilarious? All these questions and more, answered!

    Some rules: rate Patterns of Force 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.net/Message.aspx?topic=2513
  2. drivering Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 11, 2008
    Overwhelming response...
  3. jmf4 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2008
    star 1
    Well it only came out two days ago so some people are likely still waiting to get their hands on it or haven't finished it yet. I'm still waiting on mine from amazon but I should be getting it either tomorrow or Saturday.
  4. TD33 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 10, 2008
    star 1
    8.0 I didn't think it was as good as the first book, but it was definitely a solid read. I thought it was a great ending to the series as a whole.
  5. S1thari Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2008
    star 3
    Although the results might have been just a bit cheesy, I thought this novel was an exceptional conclusion to the series that literally came out of nowhere. The level of depth behind every character -- from the introduction to the first semi-sentient droid, I-5YQ, who was first introduced in Shadow Hunter, to Jax Pavan, the young padawan son of Lorn Pavan, the man who gave his life in an attempt to help destroy the Sith -- this series immediately caught my attention with the release of Jedi Twilight. Although the novel didn't have as much action as, say, Invincible or Shadows of Mindor, what action and duel sequences it did have were truly gripping and remarkably creative.

    (Wasn't sure if it was too soon to un-block the spoilers, so I decided to play it safe....)

    The first duel between the young, untrained Force adept, Kajin Savaros and an up-and-coming Imperial Inquisitor, Probus Tesla, took place in the murky depths of Coruscant's underbelly amid a damaged repulsor field. Tesla, arrogant and overconfident, literally gets schooled by the younger Force-senstive as Kaj draws energy from the air and repulsor field, utilizing it to drive the much more experienced Inquisitor away. The battle concludes when an angered Tesla hurls a long string of Force-lightning at Kaj, which is immediately repelled and flung right back at him. Jax and Laranth, having sensed the disturbance caused by the battle in a nearby plaza, catch the tail end of the duel and become engrossed by the young man's latent Force abilities. Acting on I-Five's earlier declaration that Jax would best serve the galaxy by training the new generation of Jedi, rescues Kajin and takes him as his apprentice.

    The plot gets a jump-start when Pol Haus -- the sector Police Prefect introduced in Street of Shadows -- calls on Jax and his crew to help him find the young rogue Force-sensitive who murdered the Imperial Inquisitor. Having been tasked with the assignment by Darth Vader himself, Haus, who is assisting the rebellion and the Whiplash in his own way, strikes a deal with Jax -- if they'll help him catch the rogue Jedi, Haus will help them smuggle the boy offworld so that Vader and the Empire cannot turn him to the dark side. Reluctant and skeptical, Jax and team agree to help him; yet, unbeknownst to Haus, Jax has been hiding the young boy in secret, helping him to develop his Force abilities so that he cannot be used against them by Vader.

    Much earlier in the novel, Tuden Sal, the Sakiyan whom Lorn gave I-Five to at the end of Shadow Hunter, who in turn deleted his unique programing and wiped his memory, comes by to "apologize" to I-Five for what he's done, and also to offer the droid a special assignment -- to assassinate Emperor Palpatine. Since the droid's intentions cannot be sensed in the Force, Sal proffers that Vader, the Inquisitors and the Emperor himself will not be capable of sensing the hit until it's over. With Jax's crew divided on what to do, I-Five (who is seriously considering the mission) tells Sal that he'll need a few days to think about it. This divides the group in half -- putting Den Dhur, Rhinann and Dejah Duare (who are all against the suicidal mission) at odds with Jax and I-Five, who cannot help but at least consider it.

    Both plots come together rather neatly toward the end when, following an epic battle in the middle of a crowded street between 3 Inquisitors (Probus Tesla included), Laranth, Kaj and Jax ends with the capture of Kaj and Laranth. The mission to assassinate Palpatine then becomes a rescue mission, with Jax and I-Five leading it.

    There's also a very subtle but vibrant subplot through out the story that puts Rhinann at odds with the rest of the crew as he secretly attempts to divine the keeper of the bota extract. Obsessed with his need to taste the Force just once before he abandons Jax and crew for good, the Elomin manipulates the group and probes each member for the extract's location. After deciding to switch sides nearly 3-4 times, Rhinann reluctantl
  6. GrandMasterKatarn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    9.5/10

    Fantastic read. I enjoyed the end to a great trilogy. Liked that Laranth and Jax were flirting from the middle to the end. Hope Reaves does more Star Wars novels in the future.
  7. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    What it did right:

    Used the Inquisitorius to tremendous effect. Tesla was a great antagonist, and I loved the sense of menace and omnipresence the Inquisitors had in our favorite fugitives' minds.

    Made Jax likeable. I'll be honest, I found Jax to just not be that sympathetic previously. I just wasn't connecting with the character, and felt like I was being told rather than shown that I should like him. I don't know what it was, but here Jax finally came to be more than just a rote, angsty, unconvincing protagonist and became a hero I could get behind from page one.

    Made Laranth a character, instead of a block of wood that shoots. Again, I finally felt like I was dealing with Laranth as a rounded character here, rather than "The block of stone shaped like a Twi'lek that follows them around and occasionally helps them fight."

    Kaj. The kid with no training, uncontrolled power, and pent-up anger seems like it would be a simple trope, but Reaves manages to use the kid to great effect, giving us something we really haven't seen before -- the closest thing is a Dark Times Kyp Durron, without the crappy writing. Putting Jax to work as his Master was also a big part in making him more sympathetic and rounded, I think. All in all, Kaj's problems and characterization were very well done.

    Managing a solid plot. The first book was all follow-the-MacGuffin, the second was nominally a mystery, but really just a bunch of people standing around until the end, when someone else handed them the resolution on a platter, but here, we finally have the pursuit by the Inquisitorius, Kaj's situation, the Whiplash, the assassination plot, the bota, the excellent and expanded Pol Haus, and various other things coming together. One thing I really found noticeable was that I really enjoyed it, despite a nearly complete lack of I-5 smartassery or Den humor. The first two books used that humor as a crutch a lot, and because it was so enjoyable, were largely able to skate by on it. Here, it doesn't need that crutch, and you hardly even miss it when it's gone. Big improvement in plotting.

    What it didn't do right (I hesitate to say wrong, as there wasn't much that struck me as actively off, but there were several points where I thought it was somewhat off the mark):

    The final confrontation. I'm not just talking about Jax surviving, though in a cast that big, you think some one of the heroes would manage to die going up against Vader. Ultimately, Reaves was able to come up with a climax that let them get away without being a big blow to Vader or coming off cheesy or weak. However, it was just anticlimactic. Three books of buildup for a Vader-Jax fight. Three books of relentless chasing. And all we get is "Oh, hi," Vader dominating him, Jax just going, "Eh, nothing I can do," and Vader freaking out on bota and just kind of flopping out the window with the right push. There just wasn't any tension, or any real dramatic payoff. It wasn't bad, but it was a huge missed opportunity to do better.

    The light-art shielding stuff. The last thing we need is more Force-canceling nonsense, and the whole "warping energy" thing really didn't do it for me. Especially since the Force shouldn't be linear. It wasn't a deal-breaker, but it definitely hit the wrong note for me.

    What it did mind-blowingly wrong:

    The editing. Godawful. Just godawful. Every single timeline reference was to twenty decades; it wasn't even one or two isolated references getting through. Every single one. Which is odd enough, considering that they'd refer to events themselves a decade apart (Shadow Hunter and MedStar) both as twenty years ago. Absolutely inexcusable performance.

    Ultimately, a good, very enjoyable book. However, I found myself merely entertained, not enraptured. It really didn't reach up to greatness, which is a pity, because it had the potential. 8.5/10. Not bad, but it didn't wow me and didn't really grab me; it didn't make the most of its potential.
  8. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 35/4 = 8.75
  9. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    A very good book. Not as good as the first one, but better than the second. I really enjoyed the interaction between Jax and Laranth. Wasn't all that crazy about a plot to kill Palpatine, so I was relieved when it became a rescue mission instead. Probably one of the best endings I've read in a while; Den returning at the last second, I-5 getting a bunch of new weapons, Jax and Laranth's relationship left up in the air. I especially enjoyed Rhinann's Gollum-like death and the way Dejah died as well, she was finnaly able to be reunited with Ves. Besides the obvious timeline issues the only thing I didn't like was that there was no real lightsaber duel between Jax and Vader. Curse misleading covers!

    All in all, a great conclusion to a great series. 9/10
  10. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 44/5 = 8.80
  11. jmf4 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 20, 2008
    star 1
    I found Patterns of the Force to be better than a lot of Star Wars books we've gotten lately but it didn't live up to the expectations I had for it. Since most people have primarily talked about the good I'll point out some things I didn't like:
    -I felt that the first half of the book didn't have a whole lot of action and it seemed like different characters kept covering the same ground (filler) that wasn't very interesting in the first place.
    - The second half of the book was better but felt rushed, especially at the end. I would've liked a little longer anticlimax/epilogue.
    - With the exception of about four characters, I found the rest to be rather dull and didn't give a care about them.
    - The adept seemed way too powerful.
    - Vader came off as an idiot.
    - After all of the talk about the bota throughout the series, how it was used felt like a cop-out. I don't agree with any of the 3 explanations given for the results of it. (The only one I would've agreed with I have to throw out due to the time line shift. A couple of years is a lot different than 20.)
    Anyway, sorry if I come of as overly negative but I had high expectations for this book and it just didn't hold up. It kind of reminded me of the second MedStar book in that I liked a few things, but felt like there was just way too much filler. I'm still looking forward to hearing from Jax in the future, but hopefully in a more compelling story.
    7.5/10 (I may be being a little too nice.)

  12. Arawn_Fenn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 2, 2004
    star 7
    Don't forget this guy:
    [image=http://www.richardblackwell.co.uk/images/r2.jpg]
  13. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 51.5/6 = 8.58
  14. PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2003
    star 4
    Just finished it. Sadly I was greatly dissapointed. The plot to kill/assassinate Emperor - never happens, even though 75% of the book is them talking about it. They find Kaj; who then becomes basically nothing ordinary due to losing his force abilities. The bota becomes a wash. Jax and Co stay alive. Jax and co keep the pyronium and the holocron. The Inquisitors crop up over night (even having ones PER village on some backwater bucktooth farming planet). Vader doesn't seem to act like Vader; a first for Reaves.

    I don't know, just a whole lot of nothing happens with a whole lot of talk of something BIG to happen - but then never does.

    I also found the fight scenes and such greatly disjointed and had trouble following it in my head; a first for Reaves and a first for SW really. I loved the first two CN novels; but this one left me greatly dissapointed and not even due to the obvious continuity issues.


    4/10
  15. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 55.5/7 = 7.93
  16. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    8 out 10.

    A fine end to a great trilogy.

    One thing that stood out was skilful use of the Inquisition, creepy bunch of bastards.

    Meanwhile all of the characters were well depicted - Rhinann in particular really shows why Elomin can't handle chaos.

    As to the central plot - I liked that they all did contemplate the enormity of what they were considering and the consequences if they failed, quite often stories have a plot set up and it's: NOW LET'S KILL THE EMPEROR! YES, LET'S GO! And you're reading thinking: Say what? No one's that heroic!

    In the end that notion becomes something entirely unexpected, a device to examine the ties that really link this group of characters and what will break them. All manner of intrigues begin, decisions are both made and unmade and the whole time the shadow of the Empire, personified by Vader, looms over it all.

    One negative is the chronology and editing - if this series was to be set before ANH then was changed to post-ROTS, then Reaves should have had far better support from editorial than he received, given the final printed version.

    That notwithstanding though, Corusant Nights has been an excellent series and established a high standard for future Dark Times books to meet.
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 63.5/8 = 7.94
  18. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I finished this book this morning and thought it was easily the best of the series. Jax and Laranth's relaionship blossomed, lots of intrigue and a solid story at its heart. I quite enjoyed how Pols Haus ended up much more cunning than anyone thought he was.

    And a nice use of vocabulary in this one, much appreciated.

    Now as to my issues with the book. Kaj and Tesla are simply way over powered, period. This is comic book power, not novel power that these two have. Kaj is obviuosly stronger than Luke was before he was a Jedi and it bugged me a fair amount. It's not that the super powers don't fit within overall Star Wars canon somewhere, it just that they don't jive with my view of what Force powers should be. The kid came across as having Palaptine level power, but had never trained a day in his life. A bit much for me.

    I was wondering how an Inquisitor could be on equal level with a fully trained Jedi Knight. Tesla certainly dwarfs Malorum and Hydra from Last of the Jedi in terms of overall power. Especially considering that if he didn't have prior training the Inquistorship couldn't have been very old at that point, just a couple years after Palpatine takes power. thought it didn't fit that well without some more explanation.

    So minus the two wild Force battles in the book I really liked it. The Inquisitors were presented as very creepy. Loved how they wore the Imperial Emblem on the shoulder of their robes. They would make a great action figure with that description. I like how Reaves doesn't get too attached to all of his pet characters and we actually have a couple prominate character deaths in the book. It made me really fear for the other characters knowing that no one was off limits in the eyes of the reader.

    Vader was good in a more limited role in this book than the previous two, though the Bota was a bit over the top

    Overall a fun story, wrapping up the back story between Jax, Lorn and I-5. Lots of emotion, even some romance. Excellent work overall. I loved how Jax came to the conclusion that the Old Jedi Order was wrong about relationships. The plot to assassinate Palptine also worked very well.

    8.5 out of 10, mostly becaue I thought this had a real solid story at its center, interesting characters and lots of good idea's. Even if the Force powers gave me headaches:)


  19. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 72/9 = 8.00
  20. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    A well done conclusion to a well done trilogy. It's flawed and for that reason it never really reaches greatness, so I guess my thoughts are basically a repeat of several other reviews.

    One thing I really liked about it was it gave Laranth some development. Interesting that the book she's involved in the least gives the most insights into her character and as another pointed out, gave her some personality.

    Perhaps it was the greater focus on the protagonists and the dynamic between many of them, whether it be tensions between several characters and Dejah, Rhinnan's always in flux and unknown motives, Jax's realizations of his closeness to several of his companions, and the introductions of outside factors, such as young for adept Kaj or the occasional inquiries by Pol Haus (who himself has a few terrific developments in little page time). It's the characters that drove Reaves' Medstar books and it's similar here, though there is a bit more focus on plot and moving toward the inevitable confrontation with darkness, even as its agents are always about.

    Which brings me to some of the book's faults. While it's good to see the Inquisitorius used in a novel, I think it suffers a bit from that exposure, taking away some of the mystery and power that surrounded the organization before I was given the closer look here.

    The large cast of characters necessitates one or two are set aside in focus and that seems to be the case with Den Dhur here, though given the growth he's had in four previous books he may have been due for that. In any case, though his small story should have felt more emotional, it was kind of detached from the rest of the plot, proving to be something as a distraction as I was moving through the story.

    Maybe a good representation of the way I feel about this book could be shown in the form of Kaj, the young Force adept with out of control powers who Jax attempts to teach the ways of the Force. His story starts out well enough and he shows quite a few flashes of amazing power. His capture, however, kills his story, providing little resolution, though possibly setting something up for future storylines. Similar to the book which to me showed flashes of really high quality storytelling, but was missing that certain something to put it over the top.

    Looks like once again I'm scoring it very closely to the average score. 8/10
  21. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 80/10 = 8.00
  22. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    This book wasn't the pot boiler that Jedi Twilight or DM: Shadow Hunter was. It was markably better than Street of Shadows so that is something. The timeline and canon flubs didn't bother me as much as pages and pages of 'Bota Bota Who's got the Bota??' Or Jax wondering which girl he likes more. Or which girl is bewitching him the most.
    The book was set up to be riveting. It could have been but it wasn't. It was kinda boring actually. I did like the Death Eaters-I mean Ring Wraths-I mean Inquisitors.:p But they just never felt like any real threat. And the book was sadly, mostly Vader free. I will say I liked that Jax and company weren't slain by Vader. That one is getting old. So points for the ending.

    It wasn't bad but it just didn't make the most of the fairly good premise Reaves set up here.
    6.8
  23. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 86.8/11 = 7.89
  24. ezekiel22x Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 9, 2002
    star 5
    On the plus side, I like how the Force was treated in this one. Amidst the Jedi-centric bent the EU has taken since the NJO hit, oftentimes the Force is portrayed not so much as a mystical, transcendent energy field as it is an amplified, extended parlor trick. Here, though, the metaphorical symbolism as it pertained to the specific manner in which various characters either used or yearned for the Force really helped in delivering an appreciated sense of vastness to the whole ordeal. I liked the quiet/loud duality Reaves played upon as characters alternated from significant Force battles in public to having to lay low both in a physical and metaphysical sense. Again, the Force was significant in this book for good and for ill, and I much prefer this approach than reducing it to a generic super power.

    On the negative side, I still can't get the idea of noir Star Wars out of my head, largely in part to this book and the trilogy it belongs to not quite living up to its original PR billing. Shades of this style were evident at times ? Dejah's obvious femme fatale qualities, for instance, as well as Den willingly foregoing a cozy married life in favor of his dedication to the uncertain vibrancy of city life ? and yet the climax this book spent each chapter building up to ultimately revolved around a showdown with Vader and the Emperor. True, the Emperor never actually appeared, but with Vader being "taught a lesson" of sorts, I can't help but feel a false sense of magnitude when I think the story might've been better served had our heroes been working toward a goal that wasn't quite as glamorous as a face-off with the galaxy's penultimate tyrant. As it stands, I think we got Coruscant Knights instead of Coruscant Nights.

    7/10
  25. Darth_Monopoly Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2006
    star 2
    9/10

    In short, I really liked this book, and I really liked the series. I could have done without the little slip-ups though.

    Oh, and feeling I-5 in the Force? Awesome. Have we ever had anything like this with 3P0 or R2? I don't think so.
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