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The JC Lit Reviews Special: DEATH STAR (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Oct 16, 2007.

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  1. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Here it is! Tarkin ahoy! Plans all over the place! CANON CONAN!

    Some rules: rate Death Star 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. :)

    You may fire when ready.;)

    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[/li
  2. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    My posts on the Death Star thread are kind of unavoidable so much of what I feel about the novel is said there.

    Here is the nutshell: No real clear and tight plot until the last third. Far too much character set up for a one shot novel. I'd have understood this much character stuff if it were part of a series.

    It all came together in the last third. It's a fun, exiting and emotional ending actually but not worth being a hardcover. 5.4 out of 10. If it was a paperback I'd have given it 6.0 out of 10 for not being so hard on my wallet.
  3. Sniper_Wolf

    Sniper_Wolf Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Nov 26, 2002
    Sniper_Wolf here, and I did look at the size of that thing. Spent a day reading Death Star, an overall enjoyable novel with a few flaws by two good authors who should stand in the EU forefront instead of languishing in the Star Wars literary boondocks.

    The best aspect in the novel came when the big metal ball blasted the old rock balls into oblivion with the cast's response. The disillusionment among the characters who were content to marching around under Palpatine's banner and their reactions was great, especially Graneet's. He pushed the big red button two times, yet he decided to stay at his post admist the killing of billions. Great to see that not all evil in the GFFA is carried out by dead looking monks in black robes that eat babies.

    The cast wasn't the greatest cast of characters in the history of literature, but they were a nice change of pace from Darth [hl=black]Not-Very-Bright[/hl]. Wish another Corellian or Twi'lek wasn't invented though Plant Man made up for it. Seeing average people going through the motions on the monster killing machine while the massive events of A New Hope went on at the same time gave the Death Star a human element. Uli's return is not surprising given the writers' previous novels. Seeing him squeam under the Emprie's command is interesting to read, which shows the best stength Reaves and Perry have. The duo show how average people deal with fantastic situations happening around them. These are not the mystics that decide the galaxy's fate or their uber pilot-commando sidekicks. For people craving the nine to five grind in the EU turn here.

    Of the fantastic events happening around the characters you have movie characters such as Conan's namesake. The bickering between Admiral Conan, Tarkin, and Vader forshadows the warlordism in the post-ROTJ novels since the Imperialists obviously cannot stand each other. I enjoyed Tarkin's portrayal the most with his ambitious side contrasted with his "tender" moments with Daala. Nice to see tough Vader instead of the emo Vader that has been common lately. His pagetime was minimal, but he was handled reasonably well.

    The novel did have some faults though. Riten, the librarian, did not have enough scenes to warrant not remaining on the cutting board since the bouncer or Nova easily could have filled the "character that sacrifices himself" role. In relation to that considering this is a novel that takes place on a station's that blown up I was expecting a few more POV characters to die. One of if not the best part of Battle Surgeons was when Yant dies pointlessly during the Rimsoo's evacuation. Too bad that type of death was not repeated.

    Seeing the characters interact with A New Hope's events was fun, but the recapping of scenes felt tacked on considering the view could just watch the film for those parts. The novel did start off with too many Luceno-class lists though they were dropped once the novel started rolling. Chapters could easily have been longer since they were sometimes too brief, and the idea of a self-defense class for prisoners is laughable at best. However the positives outweight the negatives in this novel.

    Death Star is an interesting look at the mundane lives of regular people caught up in a galaxy spanning conflict. Despite its flaws the book is much better than recent EU novel outings. I give the novel an 8/10. Congrats to the Reaves/Perry team.
  4. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 13.4/2 = 6.7
  5. Thanos6

    Thanos6 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 20, 1999
    I give this novel an 8.5 out of 10, the best SW prose in literally years. All the characters were pretty likable, and it was interesting to watch their moral dilemmas (or lack thereof). The last few chapters were real page-turners, with twist after twist. Uli taking a verbal jab at Vader to his face (helmet?) was classic.
  6. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 21.9/3 = 7.3
  7. dark_jedi666

    dark_jedi666 Jedi Master star 4

    Feb 14, 2002
    7 out of 10.

    I always enjoy works by Michael Reeves and Steve Perry, and Death Star was no exception. While the first 2/3 of the book did drag a bit, as it was totally involved in character development, it was still enjoyable as most of the characters were interesting. The last 1/3 of the book was very fast paced and it was fun to see some classic moments relived from a different view.

    I really enjoyed the characters in this novel, whether they were established characters, such as Vader and Tarkin, or new characters, such as Ratua, Nova, Uli, Memah, and the rest. It was enjoyable to see their reactions to what was going on around them. The interactions between Uli, Princess Leia and Vader were some of my favorite moments of the novel.

    While, not their best work, this is another good book from Reeves and Perry.

  8. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    I wonder if I'll be the one who gives the book the lowest rating?
  9. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 28.9/4 = 7.23
  10. blackmyron

    blackmyron Force Ghost star 6

    Oct 29, 2005
    I was a bit surprised as I seem to recall early rumors swirling that it would cover the entire Dark Times and try to explain why it took so long. Instead, they made an off-hand comment about it and the story concentrated on the lead-up to the Battle of Yavin. Frankly, that was the much better choice.
    The proliferation of comics from the RE overshadow that there really weren't that many novels covering the Rebellion Era. It's enjoyable to see the State of the Empire just prior to the OT, and to see what the regular people dealt with daily.
    Not really seeing any of the Heroes of Yavin except in their movie scenes was a nice touch. We needed some quality time with Vader and Tarkin anyways.
    Some of the canon established in this is strange, but not anywhere near a problem (like, say "Jedi Trial").
    I agree that it took a little too long to establish the background before getting to the meat of the plot.
    All in all though, a satisfying read.

  11. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 36.9/5 = 7.38
  12. Excellence

    Excellence Jedi Knight star 7

    Jul 28, 2002

    Good review, Sniper Wolf. Good coverage of areas. Luceno-class lists? I've infected the forum. [:D] I now call him The Lucenopedia.
  13. Worm5

    Worm5 Jedi Youngling star 1

    Dec 21, 2004

    A solid book; I enjoyed the prose, and the characters were well-written and likable. As some have mentioned, there was no clear plot for most of the first half or two-thirds of the book, but that didn't bother me much. Almost without exception, the individual stories were interesting enough that I wasn't overly concerned with the 'overall' plot. I mean, after all, it's a book titled 'Death Star'. I kind of had an inkling what the general plot was. In fact, I kind of liked the lack of a clearly-defined plot at first; it was the Death Star book, and it was simply telling the stories of some of the people who were onboard or involved. Simple and straightforward, and it didn't really need much else. It even read almost like a Tales book for the first half or so, I felt. It came together pretty well at the end, too, although some of the coincidences were a bit hard to buy.

    But, by far, my biggest complaint with the book was how many of the main characters got away to go join the rebellion and live happily ever after. It was the Death Star book, telling the stories of ordinary people who were on the Death Star. I wasn't expecting a happy ending, and the one we got seemed like it really stretched believability. Especially the part where DARTH VADER HIMSELF goes after the shuttle, but fails to bring it down because it took an evasive maneuver that was SO OBVIOUS that Vader failed to see it coming. Excuse me? No. Just no.

    However, Nova and the bouncer sacrificing themselves to fight fifteen armed stormtroopers to buy time was nice, as was the librarian having to stay back.

    So, overall, good book, great writing and characters, but an ending that seemed forced and hard to believe.
  14. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 44.4/6 = 7.4
  15. Carnage04

    Carnage04 Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 8, 2005

    I usually finish newly released Star Wars Novels in 2-3 days. This one I was pushing five days on. I even had plenty of free time but just didn't feel like picking it back up all that often. I just felt like it was easy to see where the entire thing was going with the side characters. By mid book I just felt that the two fighters and the archivist die while the others escape during the battle of Yavin. And of course, the "Main" part of the book had too much ANH verbatim. There were some nice points like Vader's reaction to Obi-Wan and some other Point of View parts added.

    I usually like Character driven stuff and I liked the Medstar books. This book does hold the distinction as being only the second Star Wars book to literally put me to sleep during it (Triple Zero is the other....and that one put me to sleep on multiple occasions.

    I'm going to give it a 5/10...easily the lowest rating I've given in a review column yet. Maybe others found it to be worth their while, but I certainly did not.
  16. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 49.4/7 = 7.06
  17. AdmiralNick22

    AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature star 6 Staff Member Manager

    May 28, 2003
    While this may suprise most, I actually genuinely enjoy Imperial stories and characters. I may be Rebel to the core, but that doesn't mean I cannot enjoy a good fleet of Star Destroyers, a Grand Moff, a Sith Lord, swarms of TIE fighters, legions of stormtroopers, or any other of the symbols of the Empire.

    Death Star, unfortunately, was a underwhelming novel that missed the chance to tell a much needed story on the orgins of the Empire's ultimate battle station.

    Lieutenant Commander Vil Dance was so obviously going to defect to the Rebellion that his character brought little suspense or excitement. Tarkin and Daala's scences had some little bits of interesting info, but nothing note worthy. Whole scences ripped from ANH were useful to give us the time, but not exactly imaginative.

    I think the biggest disappointment I had was how little of the stations back history was actually told. Bare mention is made of the Raith Sienar's battle moon, the Geonosian involvement, Umak Leth, Bevel Lemesik, Qwi, Tol Siviron, etc. Instead we are forced to jump right into the ANH timeframe. I understand that 2007 is the 30th anniversary, but that doesn't mean a novel has to be so tied to the events int he movie that it cannot branch out a bit.

    There were some bright spots. Great Star Destroyer names, a Rebel carrier vaped, Darth Vader is his TIE Advanced x1. However, these moments are few and far in between.

    Overall, I give the book a 5 out of 10. Which, coming from me, is pretty damned low.

    --Adm. Nick
  18. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 54.4/8 = 6.8
  19. seeker_two

    seeker_two Jedi Master star 3

    Jan 3, 2003
    Lieutenant Commander Vil Dance?.....


    Let me guess.....he commands the Imperial Star Destroyer Evinrude.... [face_cowboy]
  20. NJOfan215

    NJOfan215 Jedi Master star 5

    May 17, 2003
    This one just didn't do it for me. I kept waiting for something to happen, but nothing did. The characters were likable, but like i said nothing really happened. It was nice to see the events of ANH from the imperial pov, but that wasn't worth a whole novel.

  21. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 60.3/9 = 6.7
  22. Coonsan

    Coonsan Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 3, 2003
    I'm not done yet, so I'm not going to review, but I just wanted to comment on how disappointing these scores are. For the past eternity, half the people on this board have been begging for "average joe stories", "stories about people other then the main characters" etc. They finally get one that is good (thus far) and it's simply mediocre. [face_not_talking]
  23. sidious618

    sidious618 Jedi Master star 6

    Apr 20, 2003
    I'm not finished yet but for those of you still on the fence my suggestion is to wait until paperback. The book is good, don't get me wrong but it really should have been a paperback.
  24. Coonsan

    Coonsan Jedi Youngling star 2

    Dec 3, 2003

    I thought this book was wonderful. Read it in 3 days, that's faster then I read Inferno. This book had everything Star Wars in it. As I said earlier, I've been hearing people whine about not having enough average person stories, and we finally get one and it is done well. All the characters were unique in their own ways and the way they meet, interact, and band together is something interesting. Death Star shows things we've been curious about for a while, at least I have. Seeing scenes from an Imperial/Civilian perspective was good, and something that should be done more often. I personally was emotionally attached to every character and their struggles. The story writing itself was very well done, minus the one or two typos/continuity eras. Seeing the Death Star slowly come together with Tarkin at the helm was also good. Seeing things from Motti, Tarkin, and Vader's perspective changed the dynamic I feel. I have a feeling some people are going to say that this somehow cheapened A New Hope, with having Vader fly off in the middle, the gunner waiting just a little to fire, etc. I just think it fills in blanks that we didn't see or know about to make for a more complete story. I'm going to miss those characters because we most likely won't see or hear from them again, unless Reaves and Perry write some sort of Rebellion era story, which doesn't seem to be in the plans anytime soon, but they served their purpose and it was fun along the way. More stories like this are needed, along with the "big" stories.

    Also, Nova and Rodo=Coolness.
  25. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 70.1/10 = 7.01
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