Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: FATE OF THE JEDI: APOCALYPSE (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The end is here: Troy Denning closes out the Fate of the Jedi series with Apocalypse. Sounds like something big might happen, no?

    Some rules: rate Apocalypse on a scale of 1 to 10, supplementing your rating with a review, if you want to (It's not necessary but is highly encouraged). However, please do not rate or review the book until after you've read the whole thing. Thanks. :)

    Go for it.;)


    Some previous review threads:

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

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    My full review is here, but I'll post my overall summary:


    The score I gave it was a 2.5 out of 5, which scales to a 5/10
  3. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    So with some rather skeptical expectations going in- I was decidedly impressed. Apocalypse was everything Invincible wasn't, in a concluding novel- long, complex, happy, sad, tense, funny... and overall, I enjoyed it.

    But I'll start with the not-so-good-

    Complex is good- but still, too much going on. I had this issue all through the series, once both Abeloth AND the Sith were incorporated into the plot. Except this time, we replace the GA political intrigue (Treen & co) with Imperial political intrigue. As much as I LOVED the Imperial scenes, they came across as a sort of useless aside to the rest of the action, and Abeloth's attempt at swaying the Empire under Daala's control seemed a bit silly, and a sort of afterthought solely for the purpose of making Jag and Daala relevant to this book.

    Loose ends, and a lot of them - no explanation of the Kessel caverns; no explanation of what Jag wanted with the Droch serum in Ascension; the carbonite slabs on Coruscant; and a sort of sketchy understanding of just what happened to the Lost Tribe Sith. It wasn't particularly clear (to me, anyway) whether they were mostly killed, captured, sent back to Kesh...
    This goes back to the issue of too many conflicts- after a certain point, the attention shifted to Abeloth and that was pretty much that for the Lost Tribe.
    Also- not enough explanation of Club Bwua'tu and its information and intelligence network.

    The overly literal use of things that should be mystical, mysterious, philosophical- ESPECIALLY the incorporation of Obi-wan and Anakin into the whole Celestials/Architects/Ones story. Just bizarre. And not having (read? seen?) the whole Mortis Monolith thing, that came across as a last-minute attempt to draw some relevance between Abeloth and the Skywalker bloodline. The use of the Thuruht Killiks and their knowledge of the Ones was interesting- but it went too far. I feel like the idea of the Father, Brother, and Sister became too literal- especially the idea that they can be (and were) killed. I would have preferred more of a generational rise of a NEW trio- which is something Abeloth tried to create.
    And symbolically, we do at least have a new Brother and Sister - the 'Dark Man' and Allana. But that parallel was oddly overlooked in favor of Ben and Vestara.

    Ben and Vestara- the idea that either is the ideal Jedi or the ideal Sith was absurd. Ben has brushed the dark side; he's killed in cold blood. Sure, he was only 14. But he isn't this perfect, pure embodiment of the light side- why are we suddenly pretending he is?
    And Vestara might have been the ideal Sith before the butchering of her character in Ascension, but props to Denning for bringing her back a bit into something more realistic.

    Allana suddenly being a trained fighter- HUH? Where has she found time for Taryn to train her to shoot (assuming that's who trained her, as Leia or Han figures). Is this what she's been doing in the 2 months between the end of Ascension and the onset of Apocalypse? Maybe, but it was just weird and awkward. But at least Denning also gave her a little bit of emotional turmoil with the killing, and she isn't suddenly some 9-yr-old assassin.

    The two month break between books- it makes the ending of Ascension seem REALLY pointless. What happened to the impending doom of fleeing into the undercity? And wasn't there a line about Jag and Daala both waiting to see if the help they had asked for would arrive? I was expecting more about either the Empire of the Hand, or even... maybe... of the Ascendancy there, but no.
    And the utter lack of explanation about the revival of the Empire of the Hand- very disappointing.

    The ability to pick off Sith with blasters- I mean, seriously? Do these people NOT have the Force to be able to tell them when someone in a dark corridor is about to fry them?


    The Good

    The range of PoVs. It kept things new and fresh, as opposed to prior books where we've spent way too much time focused on Luke or Ben. They both had their times to shine, of c
  4. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 13/2 = 6.50
  5. Skuldren Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 14, 2007
    Denning had a lot to cover in order to wrap up the series, and in my opinion, he delivered. This is a book that is loaded with action, yet it also takes the time to touch on Abeloth?s background, and to wrap up a few lingering character issues that some fans have been clamoring for for a long time.

    Apocalypse does a great job of continuing to flesh out the new crop of Jedi. Throughout the book, readers got more about Bazel, Seff, Vaala, Yaqueel, Yantahar, the Horn siblings, Seha, Doran, Lowie, Tekli, Raynar, Tesar, Wilyem, Dordi, Zal, Arelis, and Saar. There were also four new Jedi introduced: Jayk (a female Ryn), Rivai, Ramud (male Duros), and Huli (Arcona). There was also a lot of great fan moments in the book, especially for Jaina fans. I loved the Jaina moments in the Jedi Temple. She had some nice fight scenes against the Sith and I liked how Denning pushed the characters to their limits. Luke, Jaina, Corran, even Vestara, all find themselves hitting the wall of what their Force capabilities can do. It wasn't something we a lot of.

    Another nice touch was the intellectual threads Apocalypse gave readers. There's a lot to ponder on. The TCW and Legacy tie-ins expanded the scope of the series. The ending also left a lot of loose threads that could serve as cool adventures for future novels. Overall, it left me feeling eager for the future.

    It?s hard not to read a book like this without high expectations. Apocalypse was the end of yet another nine book series, and there was a lot of anticipation on how Abeloth and the final battle would be handled. Luckily even with my high expectations, this book met and surpassed them. Denning wrote a book that not only felt satisfactory as a conclusion to the series, but also reinvigorated my interest in Star Wars. For the first time in a long while, I?m really looking forward to the future of Star Wars publishing. Apocalypse gave them a lot of options to play with.

    I give it a 10/10.
  6. SithGirl132 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 6, 2005
    star 4
    9/10. Wow.

    I was so nervous coming into this book. I was scared of major character death, or worse still, poor storytelling and a disappointing ending. I was pleased beyond my best hopes.

    Finally, some plot for Tenel Ka. I'm glad to see her make a reappearance; she's awesome and really could do with more screen time. Allana is also completely awesome, and I'm not surprised that the secret of her identity has come out. Having Vestara reveal her to the Sith was something I'd expected, and I really would love to see Allana grow up to be the Jedi queen that all the Force visions think she is. It was also nice to see Tahiri do something exciting, and I'm hoping she's one of the first Imperial Knights. Seeing her briefly as a Hand was really cool.

    Oh, Imperial politics. I was laughing quite a bit during the Empire's attempt to have elections, what with their candidates. I still think Jag would do a reasonable job of running the Empire, as well as being a good voice for sanity and reason. I'm not thrilled about Jaina and Jag's marriage, but then again I haven't really liked them as a couple all that much. Jaina being the Sword of the Jedi was wonderful, and I wish she'd do that more often. She needs to do more cool things rather than just hanging around in the background.

    The Temple battle was incredible. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole thing, terrified that Han, Luke, or Leia would die in the process. It was very well-done and nerve-wracking, and I was wondering throughout most of it if Abeloth would actually be temporarily destroyed, or if it would just end badly for everyone. All of the battle scenes were very well-done, and the basic Jedi and Sith conflict was refreshing after lots of politics.

    In general, this book felt more like classic Star Wars rather than the sometimes awkward politics and intrigue of recent novels. Very well-done, exciting, and kept my interest throughout the whole thing. This was a really great ending to an often shaky series.
  7. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    Well I have finished the book, and I can say it was well constructed and action packed.
    It was Denning?s stab at a ?Unifying Force? type book, but it was not as good. After all Denning simply couldn?t hide his hand. Too many attitudes and behaviors are executed in a manner that reeks of ?This is how things have to be because this is how I wrote them?.

    The weakest part of the novel are the characters of Allana, Ben, and Jaina.

    The Character of destiny/ Allana, and why did I slash Allana?s name with a concept? Because she is robot of destiny, will-less and completely lock stepped mentally with the role everyone around her tells her she must full fill, because of some immutable vision. I mean, I read a lot. I can identify with well written characters, but not with robots, and that?s what she was in this book. The only thing new we find out about her character is that Jacen ret-cons his vision so that in the Unaltered future she was Krayts ally, and that?s the reasoning behind him becoming a crappy antagonist.

    She literally has no emotions that are not in step with her destiny. Case in point her desire to save the barbell nest. At no point in the past has she ever shown any special concern, emotional attachment, or anything beyond the most cursory relationship with any barbell. But all of a sudden she is driven to save their nest?because of a vision. And because she made a promise not to reveal its location, this isn?t to stop a genocide, she is not responsible for the nests destruction because of her actions, or to save close friends, or that these barbell babies will have some important role in the future?but because the vision has told her they will die and she must personally stop it.
    Uhhh ok.

    Ben Skywalker, the most uninteresting character in the story. Ben Skywalker has no opinions or beliefs in anything of his own. His beliefs are his father?s beliefs, only every differing from the lock step values of his father?on the subject of his girlfriend. And in the end he changes that.

    In the X-men comics Chris Claremont stated this about pre Phoenix Jean Grey, that she was as exciting as a Texas republican. IE what you see is what you get, a character with no problems besides fighting bad guys.
    As bad as LOTF was, at least Ben some sort of emotional journey, with successes, failures, regrets, all badly done but still there. How has been changed from the beginning of this series to the end? From the beginning of this book to the end? He has fallen in and out of love?like a romantic comedy character.

    Jaina Solo, can you say disconnect? Jaina Solo acts like a Jedi Master especially at the end. Really different from the self-entitled brat who felt she should be privy to council meetings, and demanding her fiancée order military strikes on her say-so of just 3-4 books ago. So when did this happen?

    Wow Jaina proves she truly is Jacen?s twin when she goes all personality switch off screen, except in a positive direction. To paraphrase Little Jon?yeah?ok?what?

    I am glad she is acting like a Jedi Master?but she attitude and behavior is contrary to what we have been getting since the Bug Trilogy.

    As for the O3, they are the same formulaic characters they have always been. Han is Han, Leia is Leia, adventurers and bad parents. Luke is Luke, growth, development, change? Nope! Fine.

    This Book for me was like Star Trek 2009! Fun?but empty and creatively stagnant, the best part of this book?no this series has been Vestra. Who has actually had an arch, development, and it seems a decent story.

    a 5/10 full of sound and fury but signifying othing....but what sound and fury.
  8. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    star 7
    Average score: 37/5 = 7.40
  9. kataja Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2007
    star 4
    9/10
    I can't give it more that some other books in the series, because I give characters for my reading experience. But as a final book is always harder to write, the 9 is all the more well earned!


    minuses

    ? it was part of a nine book series. The format just doesn't work out, neither did LOTF (though FOTJ clearly shows progress), neither did NJO. Still, I've been enjoying a huge number of single books in each of these series and Apocalypse gets cudos both as single book and as finale. Also, the nine book format enabled a non-rushed tempo that was particularly becoming when it came to Luke and Ben's father-son relationship

    ? all the ends weren't tied. I suppose they should be, at the end of a nine book series. The nice part about that, is of course, all the interesting plotlines what we start to imagine the outlines of.

    ? there should have been more Luke. Not because there was little. Just because I can never get enough, neither quality nor quantity. :D He could have kicked butt more gloriously too. On the other hand, his character was very well executed and we've got so much Luke in the rest of FOTJ that I can just about accept that those fan's who can get enough Luke should have a chance too.;)

    ? For good measure, the Mortiss should have been hinted at earlier

    ? no mentioning of Kenth Hamner. His arch was the big failure of this series and I was sad he was just left to rot. If Luke had just exchanged a look with him in Lake of Apparitions it would have helped a lot.


    plusses

    ? The Mortiss-plot, the explanation of the Killicks and their role, The way Abeloth is explained (including why she's been eating Luke's old flames for breakfast ), the acceptable closure to Jacen's fall to darkness, the way this era is laced in with Legacy...In all previous books the very mentioning of Celestials have made me skip a page or two but here it wasn't just made edible but actually made sense.


    ? I almost started to get a feeling of who and what Abeloth was - quite an accomplishment! :p

    ? the wedding. That it was about time didn't diminish it! ;) And after all, we couldn't have gotten it earlier either.

    ? Luke so firmly in the light, so firmly the wise leader. And as ever when Denning writes him - to see him so unstoppable! Luke powerful doesn't hurt but I can live with less - Luke unstoppable, however - that's my Luke!

    ? the Jedi so firmly resourceful and united! The ensemble cast was definitely the great accomplishment of this book. We saw so many Jedi (& allies) - and so them do so well. Not least how they wiped the Coruscanti pavement with the Sith was plain awesome!

    ? Luke & Jaina. Both their interaction which I loved already in Conviction - they really work well together - and Jaina's promotion, which was just right!

    ? Han. He was awesome in this book. Far too often he's been little more than a damper on Leia. Here he was shining.

    ? Jaina. She's been one of the most bad handled characters in the EU - and now she's suddenly one of the most clearly shining lights in the Jedi Order! To explain how that happened, I should need to re-read a lot of books - but in Apocpylse her new course is cemented! May it stay that way!

    ? Luke, Corran and Jaina - what a team!

    ? Ben & Ves. I've loved their romance to bits - yet feared it will be "solved" too easily. Well, after Apocalypse I think we can safely conclude it won't. Yet, I can still dimly see they might get a future together after many, many, many[/i] years. And after Vestara's changed radically. Might never happen - but this was, no matter what the future brings, a fab romance, certainly a Skywalker worthy!

    ? Ben and his vision in the end. Part of me hates the idea of Luke dying one day with a vengeance - but as it's inevitable, this was a tempered foreboding, pointing out it's something natural. And combined with the visions in Vortex, I get a feeling that he'll leave a legacy that will be ready to take over. Just don't let that happen in a logn time yet, please!

    ? Saba. I've always liked her
  10. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 46/6 = 7.67
  11. Nobody145 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2007
    star 4
    I wasn't expecting much, and... well, I'm not surprised that Apocalypse turned out as bad as it did. The writing was competent, didn't see any Interceptor Interdictors in here, characterization was... sometimes ok, but the plot... I really didn't like where the plot ended up. After two nine book series, I really hate how it has turned out, and hope we never see the format again. Multiple authors on a series can work, like it sort of did in NJO, but both LotF and FotJ seemed to have a lot of filler yet not much ever seemed to happen. Apocalypse was definitely no TUF and it did some things even worse than Invincible, I felt, although at least we got a better Chief of State out of the deal, but that's not saying much. I skimmed a few chapters, but don't think I missed anything, and sometimes I went back to see if I missed any details that could add closure, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

    The Good
    Jaina is finally promoted to Jedi Master and the Jedi Council. Nice to see her reach the rank of Master and a position of authority after everything she has done. Now if only she had a student or something, but after how she has had to take the lead a lot, ever since the Yuuzhan Vong War, nice to see at least one of the Solo children reach Jedi Master. Not to mention her getting married, they've dragged out her romance for a very long time. And after how Ben's romance ended, nice to see a happy couple.

    Glad to see Jag isn't stuck as the Imperial Head of State either, that was an interesting twist since it seemed like a foregone conclusion that he would soon end up as Emperor Fel I, although that still leaves the question of how he does end up being Emperor, but I prefer the novels not cover that. Considering how Jag became head of the Empire, as he didn't really want the job, nice to see him get away from it and ensure a decent successor.

    When Luke is exhausted near the end and just about ready to die, nice to see him get fired up again when he's reminded of the galaxy still being in danger, particularly from his "ally".

    I don't mind tying Abeloth to the Mortis plot, I'm familiar with it, but it has taken a really long time to get to it, and not sure if it really contributed much (not like they found a weakness, although trying to find that dagger that killed them is probably going to be a near impossible task as originally Obi-wan and Anakin barely knew what happened. And some of the more recent works have referenced the Mortis legend too.

    And the Tahiri and Boba Fett team-up wasn't too bad, neither of them backstabbed the other (much) and they both got something out of it.

    At least Bwua'tu seems to be working well with the Jedi now. After how little GA/Jedi cooperation we saw earlier in the series, nice to see them try and retake the Jedi Temple.

    The Bad
    Ugh, of all people Darth Krayt had to show up to help Luke fight Abeloth? Darth Krayt?! In this time period? Instead of, you know, a couple of Jedi Masters? What were the rest of the Jedi Council doing? Instead it comes down to Luke and a Sith against Abeloth, while Jaina fights an inconclusive battle with Ship... again. I thought Luke going to Korriban back in Ascension was bad, but this is much, much worse. Luke now knows there is a very powerful Sith out there, and very powerful Sith don't become that powerful by doing nothing, they're usually plotting to take over the galaxy, so Luke is aware that another Sith faction beside the Tribe exist with at least one very powerful member. But they still have to be around for Legacy so we know Luke never conclusively deals with them, despite now being aware of them somewhat. Which makes the One Sith's ability to hide until Legacy seem that much more stupid. The NJO being completely unaware of the One Sith is one thing, but while the book tried to end on a happy note with Jaina's wedding, it just seems so depressing with the Tribe still out there, that tattooed Sith somewhere else out there, and Abeloth still lingering, since tentacles appearing out of nowhere seem like it will be a recu
  12. Celeste_Morne Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 28, 2008
    star 1
    Ascension, honestly, got a bit sappy for me. The writing of Ben/Vestara was getting overbearing and pretty hamhanded, and although I was enjoying how the plot was ramping up, I was worried going into Apocalypse that it wouldn't deliver. But I was so surprised and pleased to see that it did! I love the inclusion of the Mortis trilogy, it gave FOTJ a stronger foothold in the EU and made that trilogy of episodes feel more relevant. Even better, the pacing of the novel was spot on: as the climax of a series that was a slow-burn, slow-reveal saga, it was nonstop action and suspense filled with juicy revelations. I was much more satisfied by this finale than Denning's conclusion to LOTF: Invincible was a lot of random space station shenanigans, Caedus acting insane and an abrupt ending. Boba Fett was used to awesome effect in this final entry, the galaxy's baddest bounty hunter at his very coolest. There were no slow scenes of useless drama or slapstick comedy (teenage romance, squibs, looking at you), instead Denning delivered chapter after chapter of engaging intrigue, managing to balance all the elements of the Temple assault and the "sidequest" arenas (Raynar's quest, Remnant antics, Tahiri's hunt) without getting confusing and mind-numbing like the space battle in LOTF's Tempest. Everybody had a purpose and they all came together in a well-executed three-stage climax - loved how Abeloth had to be defeated viscerally by Saba/Commandos, physically by Ben/Ves, and spiritually by Luke/Krayt. Well done Denning, way to redeem a wayward series by ending on a very strong note.

    9/10
  13. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 57/8 = 7.13
  14. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Goodbye IGN! After this cut n' paste I can finally, at long last, rest.

    From the discussion thread:
    I gave Invincible a 7 because I was dissatisfied for a few different reasons. I'll give this nonstop explosion a...7.

  15. Malachi108 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2009
    star 3
    Apocalypse was OK. No horribly cringe-worth moments, proper resolution to most of the plotlines, good callbacks to Mortis and other larger mysteries. Loved connections with both TCW and Legacy, Krayt showing up to save the day was totally unexpected. Also glad that both Vestara and Ship made it out alive - Ship is one of my favorite characters actually. And it's interesting how many potential leads for future novels are planted: Hunt for Mortis, Hunt for Kesh and remainders of Lost Tribe, Hunt for Identity of tattooed man, Hunt for the cure from the nanovirus for Boba Fett - plenty of good developments.

    On the negative side: just too much of a book was dedicated to the fighting inside the Temple, it's easily way over the third of the novel. I was very intrigued by the Killik except at the end of Ascension - and was surprised when this chapter went out to be pretty far into the book - Chapter 15 in fact. I want to know more about Killiks, Celestials, The Ones, Mortis and Abeloth, not read how badly hurt are the few super-human inside the Temple, who still slay so-called "Sith" by dozens. So, everything until chapter 15 seemed like filler, the chapter itself brought no reveals, as I already read it, and only when the second Killik chapter came and Mortis reveal was dropped did it finally become really interesting. Seriously, Lost Tribe were never a danger on their own - but only because of Abeloth connection, so they are simply cannon fodder for heroes anyway.

    Which brings me to the second disappointment - Allana killing several Sith. With a gun. Come on, even a green padawan knows do deflect the blaster bolts and even for Han Solo killing a Force-user with a blaster is one in a lifetime achievement. Allana takes several of them - and the Lost Tribe "Sith" rarely even attempts to block the shots. Such a fail - it only makes them seem even more weaker threat in comparison, a 9-year old can kill several Sabers with one blaster pack!

    Decent read, but only epic in the last 15% of the novel which takes place back at Maw. Temple infiltration/siege/skirmishes/sabotage really got to seem like more of the same I already read (kill some Sith, run a little, kill a few more, get injured, kill a Sith, face Abeloth, WHOA, next chapter) while anxious for events, where actual progress was made. 7.2/10
  16. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 71.2/10 = 7.12
  17. instantdeath Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 22, 2010
    star 5
    Han Solo shot Palpatine [face_shame_on_you]

    I like to think that it's very possible for a skilled gunslinger to kill a Force user. Look at The Old Republic; the best smugglers, agents and bounty hunters of the day are more than a match for the average Jedi or Sith.

    For a 9 near old to do it... that's another matter.
  18. Malachi108 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2009
    star 3
    I am totally aware of that. Hence the "one in a lifetime achievement" remark. Ending discussion here [face_peace]
  19. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

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    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Wrote this probably a day after the Move began.

    Well, what to say. Another long series comes to a conclusion and wraps up the plots we've been following for all these books, while also opening up new opportunities for successor novels to pick up on and expand. Having written one less-than-well received series conclusion, Troy Denning knew he had to live up to our expectations while still telling the story he and the other authors want to tell, and he achieves this and more.

    Denning leaps right into the action, with the Jedi taking the fight straight to the Sith. I liked most of the action on Coruscant, as well as the continuing battle between the Imperial factions. The coordinated attack against the Sith leaders was pretty badass, even though it didn't stop them the way the Jedi hoped it would.
    Then the assault on the Temple was cool, even if it dragged out over the course of about half the novel. Ben fought pretty well, and seemed pretty badass going up against Sith unarmed, he almost seemed like Luke in that regard. And Jaina's elevation to master? I had to go back and re-read the section since it almost flew over my head. It was great for Luke to acknowledge all she's done for the Jedi, and it was great to see her treated with respect by the rest of the masters. Corran also displayed some impressive feats against Abeloth and the Sith, and he even used the dual-phase attribute of his lightsaber. I liked the brief reprieve after the battle, since up until this point the whole book had been constant action, mostly. Tahiri's mission against Abeloth was pretty awesome, especially since she teams up with Boba Fett of all people. They were both very badass in that whole part, and I was glad to see that there may be hope for Fett concerning the plague on Mandalore.

    It was good to see Tenel Ka again, and actually spending time with Allana! It's gotta suck a little to be Allana, having to grow up so fast in a galaxy at war. She does handle it pretty well, and makes responsible decisions based on her vision, unlike her father. Hopefully she continues to act wisely when it comes to seeing the future. I'm not sure how to feel about Vestara's actions. In the last book she decided that she will do whatever she has to to protect those she loves, even if that means she can never be a Jedi. Here it seems she also applies that feeling to herself. It is curious that after she throws the thermal detonator at the Falcon she seems to disappear, letting the other Sith fight instead. It was sad to see Bazel go, but DAMN if he didn't go down without a fight. His dying moment of awesome nearly rivals Ganner's. And once more Allana has to act mature in the face of such sacrifice.

    I was a little wary when the Imperial leaders were preparing for a televised debate, mostly because I was wondering why there was this political maneuvering in the middle of the final book of this series. Luckily Jag pretty much owns Daala by stepping out of the election and throwing all of his support behind Reige. It will be interesting to see what this means for the Felpire, but there's still about 90 years until Legacy, so anything could happen. Tahiri's arc was pretty interesting for this book. It seemed like she was being set up to be the first Imperial Knight, but now it seems she might re-join the Jedi. I kind of hope she don't, since she's way more interesting as a free agent.

    I thought the story behind Abeloth's origin was very intriguing, and the tie-in with TCW was done pretty well. I liked that Denning made all of it intentionally vague, since the Killiks aren't exactly the most reliable historians; what they say probably has as much fact as it does fiction in it. Either way, the revelations here help the Jedi a little bit in the short term, and present a long term solution in the form of the Force-imbued sword. I liked that Yoda apparently told Luke about Anakin and Obi-Wan's mission from the Clone Wars, and Luke only truly realising the meaning and importance behind it at this crucial time. Is it a little contrived? Yeah, but it's cool, so I'll let it slide. Poor Raynar, though. He's suffered so much and seemed to overcome his turmoil for most of this series, and now he's taken a large step backwards.

    The final fight against Abeloth was pretty intense, being fought on three fronts and all. Naturally Saba tears her Abeloth to shreds, while Luke teams up with an unknown helper in the realm of the Mind Walkers to fight Abeloth on a quasi-spiritual level. And yes, I know the stranger is probably Darth Krayt, but who can be certain? I liked that Luke was kind of bolstered by the appearances of old friends long gone, as if they were strengthening him for the final fight. Ben and Vestara also fared pretty well against Abeloth. By the end I wasn't too surprised that Vestara left with Ship, since she clearly can't be with Ben anymore at this point. This was only Ben's first major love, and he's learned much from the experience and has grown that much more from it.

    As the finale of Fate of the Jedi, Apocalypse wraps up most of the major plots of the series, while also opening up new possibilities of the future. Jaina and Jag are finally married (by Kyp Durron of all people, lol). Allana's secret is out (as is the Barabel's, though I thought it was funny when everyone told Saba they figured out what was going on). Jacen's motivations and the road to his fall were made more clear, but still leave something to be desired, IMO. Han and Leia can probaly retire for good now, and give some space to the younger heroes. Luke has taken the Jedi in a new direction, and even though Abeloth is defeated, she may come back, so it's good to see he's preparing for such an eventuality. I'm also glad Wynn Dorvan survived, since he was the one character besides Vestara who I found really interesting from this series. It will be interesting if the devastation wrought to Coruscant in this book will be forgotten just like the devastation wrought by the end of the NJO.

    I give Apocalypse a 9.45 out of 10 for a fairly satisfying conclusion, and most importantly an enjoyable story.
  20. imiller Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 26, 2004
    star 3
    I was quite disappointed with Apocalypse, after I sorta/kinda liked Invincible. There were a couple moments I liked - Jaina quoting Rorschach with her "I'm not locked in here with the Sith, they're locked in here with me" type internal monologue; Tahiri kicking all kinds of sit-me-down-upon as Imperial Hand (and a nice nod to Mara).

    However, nearly everything else about the book either irritated or infuriated me.

    1) The constant recapping of things that happened, not in the last book, but three chapters ago. Seriously...I just read that! I don't need the narrator telling me again.

    2) The use of Allana - Denning apparently said that he wanted to have her involved, unlike the Bantam era, where they were kept safe. But, you know, kids should be kept safe. And when I read about a 9-year-old killing tens of Sith, I don't think "ooh, cool action heroine," I think "budding sociopath."

    3) The use of Jag - from a wily, brilliant, but world-weary unwilling politician, he becomes a spokesbeing for America-style democracy. Jag is a great guy, and a humane one, but he's Imperial to the core. Authoritarianism, as long as there are some checks, and it's clearly benevolent, is what he wants, not to become the GA in all but name. Plus, the debate was really bizzare - not quite as bad in the way Denning seems to expect galactic politics to work as Ascension's "pass the supreme ruler stick to brand new senators" thing, but nearly as oversimplified and implausible.

    4) The constant tics (I know I should get on Zahn about them too, but I like Zahn's character work and worldbuilding, and...don't for Denning). I swear, if I never hear "put a little durasteel into his or her voice" or "His or her heart was breaking" (seriously, that was a bad line from Revenge of the Sith - you should at least try to take the good ones), I will be a happy Star Wars reader.

    5) The off-the charts uneven pacing. From an incredibly boring slog of death, guts, death, guts, Jedi Temple and Hapans dying for the first half, to Killik Exposition Dump that takes up the next fourth, and then more blood and death for the last bit, it was incredibly uneven.

    6) Bringing back things that didn't need to be brought back. Namely: Killiks. Still haven't forgiven Denning for mind-screwing with Jaina for years. Not to mention all the other YJK he left like that.

    7) Jedi assassinations. Yes, Ben has a moment of discomfort - but the rest, supposedly ethical, altruistic Jedi just murder a bunch of Sith. And no, I don't think the fact that Sith are apparently all a bunch of sociopathic morons justifies assassination. And to open the book that way... that just leaves an incredibly nasty moral taste in my mouth.

    8) The ending: there's ambiguity, and then there's just messing with readers. And the laziness of not figuring out the logistics of the wedding (were there Fels? Antilles? Anyone besides the SkySolos? Does Denning even care about that kind of thing? No one knows!).

    9) Denning's claim that this "opens up the EU" - yes...but only if you're interested in telling the kind of stories Denning wants to tell. Zahn did something similar with Vision of the Future...but I liked that direction. Instead of peace (with plenty of spy-type stories and border dispute type things) that we got with VotF, we get...possibly returning Cthulhu, yet more Sith, also Sith, Killiks, and - oh, wait, more Sith.

    And next to no resolution on anything except Jaina and Jag getting married.

    Arg.

    So, that's two things I liked, and nine I hated. So I'll be somewhat generous and pop off a rating of 2 out of 10.
  21. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 82.65/12 = 6.89
  22. Sniper_Wolf Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 26, 2002
    star 4
    Not as good as Invincible, but Apocalypse is another strong entry by Denning which successfully wraps up the Dark Nest-Legacy of the Force-Fate of the Jedi arc.

    Apocalypse is closer to The Unifying Force than Invincible since I posited Invincible is closer to a season finale than a true series ending- LOTF and FOTJ are really an eighteen book series cut in half, but I'll save that for another post. Denning hits the main points stretching back to The Joiner King regarding Jacen's flow walking, the Killik, and so forth. I enjoyed how Denning is able to hit the ground running similar to Invincible. This is a structural advantage LOTF and FOTJ have over NJO, and I enjoyed the swift pace the four hundred and fifty pages novel had. Denning handles combat scenes well, and Denning does not disappoint this time.

    I have always clamored for seeing an election for years, and I enjoyed seeing the brief interludes to the Imperial election between Daala, Emperor Cardboard, and Pellaeon FitzRoy. This could have been a novel itself, but Jagged falling out early instead automatically going straight to emperor showed a nice little switch out by Denning. Pellaeon FitzRoy is an interesting character, same with his GA counterpart Dorvan. I'm interested in seeing the interplay between the GA and the Remnant coming after FOTJ.

    Enjoyed the final showdowns against Abeloth and her horcrux copies. The Cthulhu aspects rang true, I enjoyed the Alien-esque deep throat scene with the Lieutenant, and Denning worked the Mortis aspects well enough given the FOTJ team was probably told by the Brain Trust to move the material into the novels. Really, there was a few bits of exposition instead of half the novel told by some reviewers.

    Darth Krayt's appearance is obvious to everyone. I am not sure if Mister Hett's appearance was needed, but I enjoyed the interlude.

    Jacen is not painted as a saint who did bad things. Good move. Denning has always been a writer who recognizes the inherent difference between prose and cinema. Put a little ambiguity into the writing and allows the reader to place themselves in the gaps. I enjoy being able to work out what did not needed to be said.

    Some of the descriptions are a little repetitious, mainly the star shaped eyes Abeloth possessed. Yes, I know those are how her yeuxs looked from the first time. Shake the words up a little.

    9/10 from me. I'm looking forward to Denning's new novel and the rest of the post-FOTJ line.
  23. Esg Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    I give it a 7.5

    I enjoyed the fight scenes and Abeloth's threat. The only thing that set me off was Kryat showing up
  24. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 99.15/14 = 7.08
  25. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    Once again, we reach the end of a drawn out, grand story collected over various Star Wars novels. When I reached this point in NJO and finished TUF, there was a sense of relief but also satisfaction. Those nineteen novels and their associated short stories and novellas had felt like something of an anthology, exploring various aspects of the war and leaving and returning to character threads throughout. Invincible in LOTF was more a relief, as I was happy that the story was finally over and at something of a loss that it had needed nine books to be told. Apocalypse is somewhere between the two, though as my Ascension review likely indicated, skewing more toward the frustrated relief of the end of LOTF than the satisfied finish from NJO. Honestly, my expectations weren’t all that high when I started the book and for once Denning surprised me. One of my problems with Denning in the past was that he would seem focus on plot so much that character had little arc or development, making his stories seem void of depth. Here we have all kinds of character development, particularly with Luke, Jaina, Ben, and Vestara to the point where it’s frustrating that much of the rest of FOTJ seemed to be marking time and fattening the story for little gain. It still seems like there was little reason that FOTJ needed to be nine books, but that’s a criticism of the series more than this book itself.

    After the intrigue and plotting I’d seen in Darth Plagueis, which I had read right before reading this, the beginning of this book was straightforward. Nothing to write home about, but probably along the lines of what someone might typically expect from a Star Wars book with the action and adventure. It’s the second half of the book where I think things really kick into gear, the story reaches an epic level fitting of the end of a nine-book series of hardcovers, and foundations for future stories which may or may not be followed up on are laid. Where Invincible seemed like it was narrow and focused on wrapping up one specific story while leaving many questions unanswered, Apocalypse actually covers many of the bases the previous eight books had established and I was happy to realize that I actually wanted to find out what would be happening next to the characters and how they would be resolving whatever current crisis in which they found themselves, even if those problems were repetitive from time to time. It doesn’t resolve everything of course (Kesh is still out there, it’s never clear how many Lost Tribe remain on Coruscant, Raynar gets mentioned and may have a plot thread resolved off page, etc) and it opens some new possibilities for future stories which I’m hoping get some follow up, but seeing as this is the Del Rey EU, I wouldn’t be surprised if much of it is squandered. We’ll see about that.

    Like I noted before, the characters get some good growth here. Jaina’s journey is spectacular and it really makes me wish they’d been able to keep something like that going with her through the entire series, where much of the focus seemed to be on Luke, Ben, and Vestara. Allana annoys me at times, but it’s good to see that her early life arrangement she’s had with the Solos is getting some movement forward and we get a better look at characters who have been on the sidelines for much of the story, like Tenel Ka, Tahiri, and even Jag. It still leaves plenty of questions about how the galaxy gets from where it is now to where it is 90 years down the line in Legacy and I appreciated that.

    Story-wise, the idea of tying Abeloth’s history in with the Mortis trio is intriguing, but I think maybe they took things a little too far with that. The show intentionally left what happened on Mortis ambiguous and here we have the EU seemingly pinning an explanation on the Father, Son, and Daughter less than a year later. It didn’t seem necessary to me. Luke’s ideas on Anakin’s effect on the “balance of the Force” seemed to contradict what was hinted at in Darth Plagueis which was a little weird, but then again, Luke could simply be mistaken. He’s making his conclusion based on very limited information, after all.

    In any case, the book ended up being more solid than I had expected. It’s an ending that outshines much of the series that came before it, but still contains many flaws of the story as a whole and the three author/nine book format in general.

    8.2/10