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Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: CROSSCURRENT (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Crosscurrent is out now; all hail the return of the side story!

    Some rules: rate Crosscurrent 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:

    [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, by Drew Karpyshyn[/link]
  2. iolo_the_bard

    iolo_the_bard Jedi Master star 1

    Jun 18, 2005
    I really enjoyed Crosscurrent. I had a great time reading it, so even though I had a few quibbles with the book, I was able to look past them due to the energetic and fun read this book provided.

    One of my big issues was with the way the character of Khedryn was written, specifically his dialog. He's supposed to be a junk salvager and scoundrel, but his dialog all sounds so formal. Maybe this is a result of him growing up with the Empire of the Hand...but that reference is only in one sentence in the book, so I'm not sure if the author just had trouble writing a more "scruffy" voice, or what, but it was kinda jarring.

    Another quibble I had with the book was the Lignan ore. Has this stuff EVER been mentioned before? I'm all for innovation in Star Wars, new characters, weapons, worlds, etc, but Lignan was just weird. I could understand this ore enhancing Force connection in general, but why would a naturally occurring substance be attuned to the Dark Side? I thought that could only happen if a Sith or other Dark Side user were to deliberatly attune something (like a Sith artifact or something). Oh well, the author used it well, so I'm not too upset with it.

    On a more positive note, I loved seeing so much species diversity in this book. The Askajian padawan was a nice treat (although I had to check the Wook to remind myself what an Askajian was), and having an Anzat assassin and a Kahleesh Sith Lord was wonderful. Speaking of wonderful, Darth Wyyrlok I's appearance was great, and the tease of possibly seeing Darth Krayt had me on the edge of my seat. :)

    Overall, despite the small flaws, I really enjoyed this book and I give it a good solid 8 out of 10.

    As a footnote, the smallest quibble EVER, I was really hoping the Kam clone would be named Kaam, or Master Soluusar or some other Zahn throwback.
  3. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    In the good category, Kemp has pretty good chops as a writer. His prose is great, his dialogue is good, he effectively builds a creepy atmosphere in the ruined clone facility. He also brings some really cool things into the story -- in any other story, Khedryn would be a generic Corellian, but here he's an Outbound Flight child, raised there and in the Empire of the Hand; it's just a cool bit of backstory that makes him stand out and be a distinct and creative character.

    The relationship between Khedryn and Marr is great, and the characters in general are fairly interesting. Uniformly, they've got something interesting to them, and they work as more than filler. The dullest character is Relin, who's just not that compelling, but he makes up for it in the excellence of his fall to the dark side. It's so wonderfully portrayed, with him knowing he's falling and not caring, but still self-loathingly spouting Jedi wisdom that helps everyone else. It's not like any other fall we've seen, and it's tremendous and totally unconventional in his lack of regret.

    For his tiny role, Wyyrlok is utterly awesome -- he feels almost exactly like Legacy's Wyyrlok, but just a little different. A little more rugged, a little more verbose. The assassin, Kell, is kind of extraneous, but makes up for it with his interesting perspective on the Force and bringing Wyyrlok into the story briefly.

    Fhost is a great bit of world-building; it has a wonderfully unique pit-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, edge-of-the-UR feeling. It feels like it could come out of Nomad, which is about the highest compliment you can give that category of planet.

    Loved the appearance of the power gem. Yes, that's right. Goodwin/Williamson power gem. There are a couple neat little bits of continuity in here. Speaking of continuity, the handling of the people from the past meeting the people of the future is good; little things like difference in the way they speak (apparently people from the past do sound as if they speak a different dialect of Basic) make a difference in selling the concept.

    The whole clone thing is kind of weird, and I'll need the sequel to really decide how I feel about it. However, it's got a lot of potential as a wild, creepy threat.

    Other things were kind of problematic. Jaden's angst is a little constructed; he spaced a bunch of people because he followed orders literalistically, and couldn't think to do something like weld the door shut with his lightsaber. Sounds like it's all your fault, dumbass. I'd think Kemp could have come up with something a little more subtle and effective for that.

    Also a major problem is the pacing; we spend about half the book getting into the situation, a little bit screwing around and letting the plotlines cross, and then the last third is the real action, making the whole thing feel off. The beginning is stretched way out while the end is compressed. Part of the problem here is that, essentially, the plotting as a whole is just bad. It feels like Kemp got told by LFL, "Write a book that ties into FOTJ with time-jumping Sith," and then he had some other idea about leftover clones, and so he stuck the two in the same book. And what we get is two plotlines that don't so much come together as they brush past each other in the hallway trying not to look at each other.

    Saes has his ship, and he jumps forward, and Relin is pulled along for the ride, and then he meets Jaden. Then he boards the ship effectively on his own and kills Saes. Okay. Jaden has no contact with these Sith whatsoever. Saes never has any plan or mounts any threat to the galaxy; he thinks about having a plan, but then decides, hell, that can wait until after he kills his Master. Neither he nor Relin ultimately makes much of the jump forward; they never meet galactic civilization. The whole thing is utterly pointless; you could just as well have staged the story entirely in 5000 BBY and had no impact on the story whatsoever.

    Jaden's plotline, meanwhile, has its time whittled down by the Sith one, and the Anzati assassin who's kind of cool but never has his
  4. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 16/2 = 8.00
  5. Ackbar_Van_Gungan

    Ackbar_Van_Gungan Jedi Padawan star 4

    Oct 14, 2004
    30 Words or Less: In one of the better Star Wars novels in recent memory, Kemp portrays a more intimate adventure focusing on two Jedi and their dance with the dark side.

    Rating: 4.5/5 stars

    The Good: Feels like Star Wars (and Dark Forces Star Wars no less); Tight plot focusing on a small cast of characters allows for character development and intrigue; Action sequences that are well written and exciting; Jedi characters are represented as intelligent, fallible beings.

    The Bad: Some plot elements might turn SW fans off; At points it feels like it might be channeling the OT just a little too much; I would have liked more integration with the Dark Forces backstory

    Just before Christmas I was given an early present; the opportunity to review Paul Kemp?s debut Star Wars novel, Crosscurrent, almost a month before it hit shelves. Star Wars has always a guilty pleasure for me and Kemp?s teases of a Jaden Korr adventure had me eagerly anticipating the novel. However, just because Star Wars is a guilty pleasure doesn?t mean I go any easier on it. I might expect a different kind of experience then I do reading pure science fiction or epic fantasy (Star Wars is a little of both) but I still expect strong characters, interesting storylines, and professional quality writing. Any honest fan will tell you that recent Star Wars books haven?t always delivered. Lazy plotting, character arcs mutated by exposure to plot-onium, and other subpar writing techniques have diminished the luster of the galaxy I grew up reading. Much to my surprise, Crosscurrent exceeded my expectations and delivered a Star Wars novel that reminded me what I love about the galaxy far, far away.

    The main strength of Crosscurrent is in its intimate scope and tight plotting. Rather than a galaxy spanning epic, Kemp focuses his storytelling on a cast of six and how their fates intertwine above an icy moon deep in the Unknown Regions of the galaxy. There are a few other surprise cameos here but the short dramatis personnae teased by Kemp is accurate. One half of the action follows Jaden Korr as he tries to re-evaluate his devotion to the Jedi order and interpret the will of the Force in light of recent events. The other portion takes place 5000 years in the past as a master and padawan attempt to stop a Sith ship whose cargo could have dire implications for the Jedi Order and the Old Republic. Anyone who has read the Amazon summary knows that the two plots do eventually ?cross currents? but there is more going on than the blurb will lead you to believe. As a warning, the methods used to get everyone in the same place may turn off a few readers with conservative conceptions of what you can and can?t do in a Star Wars novel but Kemp provides enough detail to make it work.

    Kemp weaves the storylines together wonderfully, hopping between PoVs to build suspense and balance the duality of predator and prey, two roles that are not always assigned as expected in the latest Star Wars paperback. There aren?t any scenes that jump out as superfluous, something that has been increasing problematic in SW novels as of late. Every PoV features a unique, enjoyable voice which their own concepts of fate and the Force and how the two should interact. Despite the scope of the novel being very tight and a page count of only 318, Crosscurrent still manages to do a lot between the covers. As Jaden begins to realize why the Force has called him to this backwater system in the Unknown Regions, the suspense ratchets up a notch, drawing you into the plot in a way few Star Wars novels manage to do. I honestly didn't know what to expect and can't wait for Kemp's follow up effort.

    As I briefly mentioned, Kemp?s Force users aren?t your typical cookie cutter Jedi and Sith but fully realized three-dimensional characters who don?t see the universe purely in black and white. As the twin plotlines begin to intersect, they form a crossroads for the six main characters. The characters face decisions that could mean the difference between life and death, li
  6. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 25/3 = 8.33
  7. GrandMasterKatarn

    GrandMasterKatarn Jedi Knight star 4

    Feb 8, 2008
    For Paul S. Kemp's first entry in Star Wars, I have to say Crosscurrent is fantastic. The characters were all three-dimensional, unlike some authors portrayal of recent characters *coughLOFT/FOTJwritingstaffcough* :p

    The GOOD

    Jaden Korr and his moral dilemma. It was such a great hook to the story. Yes, he did some horrible things on Centerpoint, but then again, seeing as how the order came from Kyp Durron in the first place, I understand that dilemma he faced. That'll teach you not to listen to a killer again, Jaden. Loved how he was thinking of Kyle during his most desparate hours, when he really needed to focus and calm down.. it added depth to his character that he'd recalled all the influential people in his life: Kyle, Mara, Kam, Lassin, etcetera.

    The Junker's crew. I loved that they were seemingly just a bunch of spacer/artifact finders until they stumble across Jaden and even offer him their services at the end.

    Saes and Relin. Those two were the best polar opposites I've read in Sci-Fi/Fantasy in the last decade. They were better portrayed that LOTF/FOTJ's Luke Skywalker. They were well rounded characters whose intentions I could believe in, not that I would embrace the Dark Side or anything like that, but that they were more appealing to me.

    The plot was superb, the hook/cliffhanger at the end was enough to make me want Kemp's sequel out NOW :p

    The BAD

    Other than the Lignan ore being wholly Dark Sided, nothing else fits in this category.

    All in all

  8. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 35/4 = 8.75
  9. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    It was good. Not great but quite good in enough places that I can give this book a solid thumbs up. It was missing something that I haven't put my finger on yet. Perhaps that light hearted Star Wars feel that I find even in Denning's visceral thrill-a-minute blood gushing battle novels.

    I have to agree almost word for word with Havac's criticism of the book's weak points. The pacing is quite screwy overall. I found the first third of the book rather dry. I found I wasn't getting a feel for Jaden. I was finding the book so contrived because I wasn't really enthralled with the characters. Khedryn and Marr grew on me rather quickly. Khedryn was small flare of humor in an otherwise dark tale. It was at least as dark and close to the horror genre as Deathtroopers. Lots of vomiting, crushed bones, the smell of rotting flesh. Heck, it seemed the more Jaden delved, the more the place stank.

    The Force users in this novel felt as Kell would put it, like ghosts. Kell was a strictly B movie minor bad guy, and Saes made Greivous look like mr. personality. So, okay. From this I gathered that this wasn't a typical good vs evil tale (although that's what it boiled down to). This was really about Jedi of different eras submitting to doubt, losing faith and then gaining it back in a screwy way. Not overly drenched in Skywalkeresque glowing Light Side energy. Though why it had to be about two star crossed eras I don't know. Three star crossed eras if you include the Sith-Jedi-Clones. Why Relin and Saes had to be from the Hyperspace War, I don't know. Why Jaden and Relin didn't alert the Jedi Order about the situation was also a bit of a plot hole I suppose. Like Jaden and Relin had to see the trees for the forest and go it alone so they could snuff out the crystals before it was too late while taking insanely dangerous risks with Dark Side. Heck, Jaden's utter lack of knowledge of the Lignan crystals should have been a warning. Relin's state of mind should have rung a bell in Jaden's head but whatever. It all came out in the wash.

    The book went like a juggernaut the last third and overall it was a fine book. Had the book been funnier, (not professing the value of humor as in Relin's Padawan) but really making us laugh along with the horror, the book would have garnered a higher grade from me. As it is I had fun and look forward to further SW books from Kemp. Fix the pacing a bit and Kemp will be an excellent addition to the EU.
  10. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 42.3/5 = 8.46
  11. Nobody145

    Nobody145 Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Feb 9, 2007
    Hm, I read through the book at the bookstore, and it wasn't bad. Not great either, but not bad, and while it wasn't great, at least no parts of it offended me unlike FotJ or LotF regularly do.

    Let's see, Jaden is ok, its nice to have a book that doesn't involve a Skywalker Jedi, even if all his angst over his issues got boring very, very fast. Not to mention I'm not sure I like how his disillusionment reflects on the NJO. And I wonder about him spacing that cargo bay- did he really have to, or couldn't he have just left them alone? Too bad he couldn't bother to go to his Master Katarn's for advice, but then, its partially Katarn's teachings that are driving him crazy. On the other hand, at least he's keeping himself mostly sane for the rest of the book.

    Relin... he's just as bad as Jaden is with the angst. At least he had more background and reason for the angst, as he came from the Great Hyperspace War (I think) and his second Padawan had just died (from his frame of reference) and the first Padawan was the evil Sith captain. I give them points for referencing the Omen and Harbinger, not to mention the whole TotJ war, but don't really care too much either way as the other ship ties into FotJ and don't care too much about that.

    The former Padawan wasn't that interesting, moderately competent, but nothing stood out. What's more annoying is that their time jump just seemed so... pointless. Relin escapes, gets a breather on the Junker, finds out he's five thousand years in the future... and then goes back to fighitng Saes. He gets some help in the form of Marr, but it seemed more like a brief interruption to the grudge match more than anything else. Not to mention that to complete his mission, he just berserk- he killed his student and was able to destroy the Harbinger, but still, that's not exactly a good

    The book did reference a lot of things and used that continuity well, which was nice, like referencing Outbound Flight and Jaden's game and all that. Not to mention that power crystal used to break through shields, that was awesome.

    Back when the book's summary first came out, I expected Jaden and Relin's story to intercept, and Jaden and the Junker just happening to be in system when the Harbinger re-entered normal space would seem like a normal fateful meeting, instead, Jaden just goes "no, I'm here for the planet", and that's it.

    The Anzati sub-plot also seemed pointless, aside from providing a second ship for the clones to escape on, and for a One Sith cameo. It was cool to see the first Wyrrlok, but aside from that, not much interest in his plot, which just summarily ended with his head blown up.

    Not sure I care about the clone plot yet. It might be interesting seeing clones of Mara and Shira running around, but it would be nice to see more Jedi in the sequel rather than just Jaden. Although I thought it was pretty idiotic of him to keep going deeper after seeing the log entry about the clones going crazy and probably killing everyone there. But the plot, er, Force directs him to step into danger, so so be it.

    Khedryn was perhaps my favorite character of the book. A simple person trying to make his way in the universe, and even better that he's grateful to Luke and Mara Skywalker. Its nice to see some gratitude for the Jedi, even if its only on a personal basis. He was a nice sane, mostly stable person, compared to the war-weary Jedi. Marr was pretty good too, and its nice to have a random Force-sensitive, that used to pop up here and there back in stories not revolving around the fate of the galaxy.

    So, in conclusion, not a bad book, just... well, the plots intersected, but didn't really seem to ever matter to each other. I hope the sequel will be more focused though.

  12. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 49.3/6 = 8.22
  13. Darth_Culator

    Darth_Culator Jedi Master star 2

    Dec 10, 2005
    In a nutshell: Pretty good stuff, with a side of what the --.

    The good:
    #Jaden Korr. Instant bonus points for this. Now give me a Kyle Katarn novel. Or six.
    #Jaden's pre-Jedi lightsaber is given some attention. Now we're a few minor details from a 100% canonical Jedi Academy playthrough. :p
    #I've never heard of such a thing before, probably never will again, but I really liked Jaden's involuntary dark side reflex with the "leaking" lightning. Given how often I put away my saber and used two-handed Force Lightning, I totally buy it. [face_devil]
    #In terms of in-universe chronology, has any earlier source referred directly to Krayt? Even if so, it was a nice bit.
    #Askajian Jedi. Things that make you go "A-whaaa?:eek:" in a good way.
    #Granddaddy Wyyrlok. Nuff said.
    #Continuity porn abounds. A power gem? Who would have thought of that?
    #I can't quite put my finger on it, but with a few minor exceptions, I really like Kemp's writing style.

    The bad:
    #With all the brand spanking new characters, it was slightly difficult to keep track of who was doing what and where. Maybe it's just me.
    #Lignan annoys me. Everything about it seems more like game mechanics than any other Force-sensitive materials we've seen before. I know this isn't Kemp's fault, he's just playing the hand LFL dealt him, but it's still grating.
    #The word "snot" is a bit overused. Would it have killed him to use "mucus" once in a while?
    #There's one moment where Khedryn Faal goes all Malcolm Reynolds on us, and it feels as out of place as a reference to warp drive.
    #Once we got into the lower level of the Imperial base, everything went right off the rails. I kept thinking, "didn't Death Troopers just do this?" And I HATED Death Troopers. (I'd make that twice as big and blinking if I could.) Anything even slightly reminiscent of it makes me want to burn things.:mad:

    The uncertain:
    #I'm not sure how I feel about a Cloakshape that can hold ten people and a Z-95 with an astromech. Also, doesn't the stock YT-2400 have at least one laser? It felt like a deliberate plot device to make the Junker totally unarmed.
    #Wyyrlok (I) had a slightly eccentric speaking style. If it doesn't carry over to other media, it will seem totally disjointed.
    #There were a lot of things that just screamed "sequel" at you and drove the point home with a brick. If the expected sequel doesn't materialize right on time, I'm going to be very annoyed.

    Final score: 7/10 (including the bonus points for starring Jaden Korr and referencing and flashbacking Kyle Katarn:D).
  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 56.3/7 = 8.04
  15. Todd the Jedi

    Todd the Jedi Mod and Soliloquist of SWTV star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Oct 16, 2008
    Crosscurrent is a thrilling adventure with a new cast of interesting characters. I have not played Jedi Academy, so this is my first real encounter with Jaden's character. Kemp really did a good job at taking an underdeveloped character and giving him some depth. I also liked Khedryn and Marr; they have elements of Han and Chewie while having many unique qualities as well. Relin is an interesting character as well. Even though he was pretty much steeped in the dark side for the second half of the book I still sympathised with him. I thought Saes was okay as the typical deluded sith; although his character was stereotypical, he still filled in the necessary role of Relin's opposite. As for the lignan, I thought it was believable, it was after all mentioned in Precipice, as was Saes. This was another thing that Kemp pulled off well; he took the beginning of Precipice and expanded on it, giving it detail.

    The only real major problem with this novel was Kell Douro. While he was an interesting character, I feel he was completely out of place here. HJis storyline had almost no effect on the rest of the story, except that the clones stole his ship. He could have fit somewhere else, but not in this novel. Although he did let us see Darth Wyyrlok and learn that some people in the galaxy are aware of Krayt, he mostly just bogged down the novel. Another thing I disliked was how Jaden never corrected Relin that the Sith weren't around, as the Jedi are supposed to believe at this time, just a minor nitpick.

    Overall I give this novel a 7.9 out of 10, for a well crafted adventure story and some cool new characters and situations, although the pacing was almost too fast for my liking. Either that or I just couldn't put it down because it was so enjoyable.:p Paul Kemp really did well at making this seem like a Star Wars novel and he made some very appropriate references that didn't seem contrived. A special nod to Darth Wyyrlok's cameo as a way to show how the One Sith deal with their isolation.
  16. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 64.2/8 = 8.03
  17. leesweinberg

    leesweinberg Jedi Youngling star 1

    Sep 29, 2008
    Despite some flaws, I really enjoyed this book. I finished it over the weekend and after giving it a few days to stew, I think this deserves a solid 9/10.

    -I thought Kemp created an engaging story with interesting characters, essentially starting from scratch in the EU
    -For a new author, this certainly "felt" like Star Wars (for good and for bad in some cases)
    -Fleshed out, Jaden was an interesting lead, and the crew of the Junker was a great addition to the EU
    -Ive heard some complaints, but I thought Kemp jumped back and forth between time periods with ease
    -I thought the last third of the book was more intense and unsettling than anything in Death Troopers

    -Lignan? I know it was the mcguffin to get the plot going, but i just never felt like it was a credible threat
    -The Anzati subplot was a bit of a waste, dropped in just to add soem tension and to introduce Wyyrlock

    Still, i am excited for the sequel and for whatever else Kemp gets his hands on. A great debut.
  18. Zebra3

    Zebra3 Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 28, 2004
    Kemp is officially added to my list of SW authors I've read before they've showed up here. I've only read his Forgotten Realms stuff and I recall liking them quite a bit so I was kind of excited to see him here.

    Fortunately he doesn't disappoint and has given us a fine book.

    The Good:

    - Jaden! Yay :) Now we need a Kyle book.
    - Anzati eating brains? COOOOOOOLLL!! :D And for some reason that scene from the movie Clue kept running through my mind whenever Kell showed up:

    Wadsworth: "And monkey brains, though popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington, D.C."

    Mr. Green: "Is that what we ate?" *gags*

    - Jaden facing Kamclone was great! I absolutely loved that fight.
    - The whole romp through the abandoned station was eerie and set the mood perfectly.
    - I have to admit I find the idea of cloning plot intriguing. I can't wait to see where this goes.
    - All of the fights were well done in fact.
    - I have to admit I was surprised that Khedryn and Marr weren't killed. I was certain at various points that they were both going to kick the bucket.
    - Just a fun and exciting book.

    The Bad:

    - This is a pet peeve of mine but why is it that the cover isn't an accurate representation of what actually happens in the book? Jaden never even encountered Saes! We should have seen a picture of him fighting crazy Kamclone.
    - It's been said before but I'll say it again. The whole Kell subplot was sort of pointless. I liked it but I kept expecting it to go somewhere and it never did.
    - Was including the One Sith even necessary to the story? I guess we'll have to wait for the sequel to find out.

    All in all:

    I really liked this book and I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel :) 8.75/10
  19. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 81.95/10 = 8.20
  20. Xavior

    Xavior Jedi Youngling

    Feb 25, 2008
    Well, in general the book was ok...

    ....I felt the entire story could have done without the 5k year old sith traveling thru time. It took away from the interesting story of what Jaden was searching for. It really seemed barely touched on until the end of the book, one fight, one dead clone Kam thats it.

    ....where I loved Junkers crew, I kept thinking, man this writer is a Firefly fan.

    ....thought the use of Battlestar Galactica's "Frag" curse was cute.

    I give the book 5 out of 10 mostly due to the 5k year old sith crap, i mean really, lets beat this dead horse some more right.

    ....given that rating, I predict a much better part two, since the 5k year old sith are gone, i hope, and I look forward to Jaden and his new friends hunting down some clone jedi.
    The only bad thought I have about that is, its a cheap way to :"bring back" Mara for a story, its an insult to her character to have this deranged clone version of her running around.
  21. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    This was certainly an interesting book in a lot of ways. A lot of different topics are touched upon, the Sith vs Jedi war from the Old Republic, the Kaleesh, the Chiss, the Empire of the Hand, the Jedi Academy game(s), Thrawn, Legacy and more. A pretty grand endeavor actually.

    I'm not a real fan of the KotOR era, by that I mean I can take it or leave it. I enjoyed the games and some of what I've read about over the years has been fun(I really haven't read that much), so the inclusion of the Harbinger and Omen serve only as relatable to the FOTJ series.

    I have really not enjoyed the FOTJ Sith to this point. I've only skimmed the short stories and have never felt the need to delve much deeper.

    That said I thought Paul Kemp really captured the Harbinger and its crew in a good way. Saes was an interesting character(his death kills great potential), a hard as nails Kaleesh Sith would have been a nice addition to FOTJ really. Good character but lost potential I think.

    Relin and Drev, I liked this dynamic a lot. I Was very impressed with the way Kemp built their relationship and was able to use it as emotional fuel for the entire novel. I really feel like Drev is one of the most fleshed out new Jedi we've seen in a long while despite his early exit. Kemp set up the character perfectly which gave an added emotional weight to the whole story.

    As for Relin, I liked his emotion, his turmoil and his dedication. What I didn't like was his power level. He carved through Sith opponents even before he embraced the lignan, virtually taking out the entire Sith Cruiser himself. I found the suspension of disbelief(in Star Wars terms) difficult to overcome.

    Overpowered Jedi are always an issue in my eyes and Relin was no exception.

    Khedryn and Marr, these guys were both good characters and good additions to the universe. They worked best of perhaps all the characters in the book, despite flying a YT(I kinda felt that was a little uninspired). Khedryn coming from Outbound Flight was an excellent idea which adds to his unique flavor while having Marr as a math wiz/Force adept was a nice inclusion as well.

    Kell Douro, Kemp captured the Aznat creepiness very well and he served as a nice way to tie in the One Sith as a whole.

    Meeting Wyyrlok's grandfather was perhaps the highlight of the book for me. Very cool stuff.

    As for Jaden Korr, being that I'm pretty unfamiliar with Jaden in general there is not much I can say. He doesn't seem to match up at all with the Mandalorian fighting lackey put on guard duty in FOTJ, past that I'm not sure about the Force lightning that seemed constantly bubbling at his finger tips. Kinda all meh to me.

    The Clone Jedith, well that was quite the twist that has a lot of future potential for the sequel. Very creepy stuff, almost too much so for me really, but it does set up the characters perfectly.

    Being that they stole Kell's ship and he was constantly rambling about sending info back to Wyyrlok, I wonder if they might have interactions with the One Sith in the future or if they could pull such information off of Kell's ship?

    Overall I liked this story, like that it uses characters beyond the Skysolo's, liked that its expanded the LOTF/FOTJ timeframe. There was a bit too much puking, Khedryn borrowed his jokes from Winston Churchill and the doctors in the research lab were a little too Resevoir Dogs......but aside from thatI think it was a good effort with nice potential for the future.

  22. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 94.45/12 = 7.87
  23. Liliedhe

    Liliedhe Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 22, 2009
    This is a difficult one. First of all, I intended not to get this book until the first excerpt was posted, which contained a lot of thoughts on light and dark and some of them very original. Then I decided to give it a try... Something I regretted aroung page 50, when I was almost about to drop it and not finish - because the Anzati, Wyrlokk and Jaden disgusted me so. But, normally I don't do that, so I finished. It got better.

    Storywise, I was quite underwhelmed. Both the Sith Dreadnought and the strange signal in the middle of nowhere had a lot of potential... But as it were, they were mashed together in an unsatisfying way, neither plot getting the attention it deserved, or going anywhere. Timetravel first bothered me a lot, but it made sense here, besides, nothing came from it. Why bring a shipload of Sith and a Jedi into the present, when they are just killed off? Why bother?

    The clone thing also left me less than enthusiastic... It seems like another "lets be mean to Luke Skywalker for giggles" plot, now he has to meet an evil, mad clone of his wife (unless, next book, she's killed, too, before she can actually meet Luke or anyone else) and a clone of the woman whom he murdered in retaliation. Nice. Messed up.

    Also, Jaden. I've never played the Jedi Knight games, so I didn't know him before... But he was annoyingly angsty after having been settled with an idiot ball the size of Coruscant. It's not like it's difficult to find convincing conflicts for Jedi to wangst over - this could have been done better. Relin on the other hand I liked. A lot. His fall was very well handled, with a certain train wreck quality to it - you see where it is going, but you can't look away. The interesting new ideas about light and dark did end up only average, though, and Jaden's revelation in the end was forced and more like a carte blanche to do whatever he likes. The best characters were the salvagers, though, especially Marr, who was about a million times more mature than anyone else. ^^

    So, the book was an ok debut, not stellar, but solid. The plot was disjointed, but characterisation was better, and the writing style was very good. Oh, and someone explain to me why the Anzati have not been exterminated a long time ago. Sentience isn't an excuse for being a plague and a blight on the galaxy.

  24. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 99.45/13 = 7.65
  25. MistrX

    MistrX Jedi Master star 4

    Jun 20, 2006
    Pretty good addition to the EU novels with an interesting story, well developed characters, a time travel element that didn't require a technobabbly explanation, and a few twists that not only made this entry a solid one but made me look forward to the next.

    First of all, it's nice just to get a story with another viewpoint in this era since the Legacy era set near 40 ABY has given us exclusively the Star Wars "mains" up to this point. Getting a look at the view of another Jedi and adding to that a Jedi we know to some extent but that has up to this point gone largely undeveloped is a wonderful idea and already grabbed my interest in wanting to get a video game character fleshed out in another medium. Jaden's crisis of faith seems to reflect a debate that many fans have had when reading the books lately, from the Jedi's questionable actions to the nature of the Force itself and how a "light side" character can possibly wield "dark side" powers. It's a good question, and having a character himself reflect and wonder about what is essentially a video game device is a different angle to explore. Jaden is a fascinating character in this, doubting, uncertain, flawed, but still resolved, still rather calm, still very Jedi. Here, with this group of characters and in this storyline it works well. Though the fact that his name is so close to "Jacen" had me misread that a few times.

    Khedryn makes for an interesting guy, our stock fringer character with some idiosyncrasies of his own, a former inhabitant of Outbound Flight though too young to truly hate the Jedi. Still, some of that influence is clearly there from his elders as that instilled distrust in the Jedi comes out when Jaden threatens his way of life and especially to take away his best friend. There were times, too, he seemed like Kemp had taken a Firefly character and deposited him into Star Wars, what with his many references to the Outer Rim/Unknown Regions fringe as "the black" and his life as a salvager on the galaxy's frontier. Then again, seeing the influence Star Wars, especially its more roguish elements, had on Firefly, that's not so much a surprise. But for some reason I had trouble imagining that lazy eye. Marr, too, was a great character, that sidekick and friend with his own unique aspects and arc that will apparently continue in the sequel. Making him Force-sensitive may not exactly be a big thing anymore, but the fact that he might get some training from Jaden opens up a few possibilities, though I'm not sure he necessarily needed it. Just being a math genius and the slightly more level-headed of the two-man crew was already bringing enough, but I still like the idea of Force training. Though what's up with Jaden stating he's too old? Since when was age a factor in Luke's Order? Streen and Kenth Hamnter weren't exactly spring chickens when they started. Maybe I missed the line during LOTF.

    Relin, with his trip and downfall we all saw coming, one which he fully embraces by the end but still manages to keep sight on the true goal he had in destroying the Lignan isn't the typical fall we see. He knows what's happening and doesn't really fight it and in spite of a brief moment of temptation, uses the destruction he unleashes to reach the end he wants. Had there been a way for him to survive, would he have taken it? Would he have so willingly embraced darkness? It's a question, but one not to dwell on since that's not what the character chose and he knew he was dead anyway before he even boarded the Junker. Saes also provides a good nemesis for Relin and the practical yet still ruthless Sith that we're starting to see from Naga Sadow's war. Having the book as a sort of prequel to the Lost Tribe of the Sith stories was fantastic, too. Heck, all of the references here were great. Thrawn, someone actually acknowledging the Vong War, all of the Hyperspace War era goodness, Darth Krayt and Wyyrlok I, and the mention of Palpatine and cloning made me think at first Jaden had stumbled on a cloning facility for him