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

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Mar 24, 2009.

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  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The big kickoff to the next epic post-ROTJ series, Outcast sends Luke and Ben into exile as anti-Jedi hostility grows and madness begins to sweep through the Jedi ranks! Will Luke find out the secret of Jacen's fall? Will Jaina become a Jedi leader? Will Wedge show up? Will Han find something to do? Will someone finally smash Daala's face into a car windshield, then take her mother, Dorothy Daala, out for a nice seafood dinner and never call her again? Keep reading to find out!

    Some rules: rate Outcast 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
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Message.aspx?to
  2. Chimpo_the_Sith Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2003
    star 5
    Havac, you of all people [face_plain]

    It FATE OF THE JEDI not Legacy of the Force.
  3. Ackbar_Van_Gungan Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2004
    star 4
    Havac, you bojo! Those boards don't work on water! Unless you've got power! ...

    [image=http://dealbreaker.com/images/thumbs/Hoverboard.png]

    [face_laugh] ;) [face_peace]

    -The Rebel Gungan
  4. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    Outcast is the first Post-Legacy of the Force books. I was extremely disappointed with Legacy of the Force due to the treatment of Jacen Solo and the plot's final resolution. Bluntly, I was underwhelmed by his transformation into a Sith Lord and didn't think that his brief conquest of the universe amounted to much. For a man who was supposed to be more powerful than Darth Vader, we didn't even get to see him get a cool new uniform or illustrations of what the GAG were. Instead, Colonel Solo/Darth Caedus ended up being something of a bad joke.

    Outcast opens with the rather haunting scene of Valin Horn, the son of B-list Jedi Knight Corran Horn, going insane in a first perspective perspective. It's surprisingly effective to watch him flick off like a light switch from rationality to irrationality. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that Jacen Solo is going to be similarly retconned. Jacen Solo, who was a former fan favorite, is going to be given he Parallax treatment (a reference to Green Lantern hero Hal Jordan's redemption through retcon). Apparently, something is driving Jedi Knights insane and it's up to our heroes to find out what it is.

    The basic plot of the book is summarized as the mysterious force, that I term "The Virus" after the television trope ( http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TheVirus ) is infecting Jedi Knights one by one. Valin Horn, a new Jedi Knight named Seff Hellin, and in the preview for the next book Jysella Horn are all infected by the Virus. It causes tremendous paranoia and individuals only seem to trust other people infected by the Virus. It seems like an interesting plotline villain and works much better than Darth Caedus himself.

    Aaron Allston makes a nod towards the recent Imperialization of the Expanded Universe. Luke Skywalker notes Jag Fel, Turr Phenirr, and Chief of State Daala are all former or current Imperials yet they lead the three largest factions in the galaxy. Leia comments that she noticed this a long time ago and is decidedly less than happy about it. What was surprising to me was the fact that the ill-defined Confederation is still in existence. I had expected it would rejoin the Galactic Alliance after the defeat of Darth Caedus. Apparently, it remains an ill-defined but very real political entity.

    The one major issue that Aaron Allston doesn't rectify is the fact that Natasi Daala is treated as a caring and intelligent politician. Given her creator, Kevin J. Anderson, explictly wrote her as a female Grand Moff Tarkin; this is insane. Admiral Daala's crimes include torture, the senseless massacre of Dantooine's colonists, the attempted destruction of Coruscant, the butcher of a civilian city on Mon Calamari, and helping construct both the Death Star/Sun Crusher/World Devastators. Admiral Daala is a lunatic and the last person in the galaxy that should be trusted with any form of power.

    Unfortunately, the book repeatedly tries to pretend that Admiral Daala isn't a war criminal by just ignoring the issue. Aaron even has Luke call her a "person of honor." Given her role in the story is antagonistic, one might forgive the Baran Do Sages for their suggestion to Luke Skywalker that she's about to begin another Jedi Purge. Frankly, it's obvious she would do it if she could and Luke comes off as naively trusting a woman that attempted to massacre his school for no other reason than to destroy the flame of the Jedi forever in Darksaber.

    The book is mostly divided into three stories. Luke and Ben Skywalker's journey to retract Jacen Solo's visit to all the Force Groups outside of the Jedi during his five year journey, Jaina and Tahiri's attempt to prevent Admiral Daala from crushing the Jedi, plus Han and Leia attempting to save the planet Kessel. Overall, the storyline is very sharply written and a significant improvement over the needlessly complicated story in Legacy of the Force.

    One thing I appreciate in this story is that Jaina Solo gets more character development in this book than she got in the entire EU after Dark Journey. Jaina and Jag's rela
  5. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I blame all the LOTF review threads I was staring at in the previous-threads link list.
  6. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7

    A well thought out, well worded review, Charlemagne19.
  7. cggunnersmate Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 1
    Yes, nicely done review. It gives me hope that LFL can turn around this train wreck of an EU they've created. We'll have to see how the other authors do. I like Allston from the X-wing books but Denning didn't impress me in the least in LoTF and this new writer is a complete unknown to me. I'll keep track of the reviews on FoTJ but I don't plan on shelling out my hard earned money on such an obvious money making ploy as an ALL HARDCOVER 9 NOVEL STORY ARC. That's just ridiculous.

    Though on Daala as Chief of State. Apparently there are some people in the SW universe that don't understand how she got appointed to an elected position. I don't know if it's in this book or one of the later ones but I read a quote that Han and Leia visit a world and the "Welcome Sign" reads something like "Natasi Daala is Chief of State. So why give a poodoo?"

    Pretty much sums it up for me.
  8. jedimaster203 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 19, 1999
    star 4
    I really liked this book.
    It wasn't as "heavy" as Betrayal, and that makes me happy.

    I found myself looking forward to the Luke/Ben Scenes, but wasn't as interested in the Leia/Han and Jaina/Jag scenes.

    8/10
  9. NelanisGhost Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jun 24, 2006
    star 4

    What's sad is shoes almost do look like that now.
  10. dark_jedi666 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    I must Aaron Allston has done it again. Another great start to a series. From beginning to end this book had all I ask for in a Star Wars novel. Action, Humor, Good Characterization. Allston gives you all of this and more. The "insane" Valin Horn scenes were handled well, as well as the capture of Seff Hellin. It was fun seeing Jaina play a important role early on, as well as her man Jag Fel.

    Luke being exiled was handled well, also. Seeing him and Ben off on their own adventure to try and find the reason for Jacen's fall was interesting. I also liked that his sentence is only a 10 year exile, which means he will most likely return to his role as Grand Master, by then if not sooner.

    Han, Leia, Allana, Lando, Tendra and Chance together was also a fun time. Seeing Han's change from being afraid of Kessel, to saving and understanding it was interesting.

    One thing I liked more about Outcast than Betrayal, was how Betrayal had way too much happen in the first novel of the series, which made it hard to top it. Outcast, seems more like a very good introduction to a story, which will hopefully lead to bigger impacting books from now on. With Betrayal having so much important things in it, it was hard for Bloodlines and Tempest to expand the story in my opinion. I think Omen can build up, and have a more important role in the series, than Bloodlines had in LOTF.

    Overall I rate Outcast a 9/10.


    Let's hope that Omen is good as well. Also, that it doesnt fall into the LOTF trap, where each author has their own stories and characters. I hope the 3 authors just build on what story is already being formed.
  11. chiss_man Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2002
    star 6
    I loved it. It is a far cry from the overly dark NJO/LOTF type stories of the past, and is all the better for it. There were so many great character moments throughout that it is impossible to even begin, but I must say I was glad to see Jaina get actual character depth for once instead of "I'm the Sword of the Jedi, and I'm ANGRY!!!" Plus, Jag's presence was very well appreciated, especially his constant correcting of "Imperial Remnant" to "Galactic Empire." Luke's exile was handled very well, with his goodbye becoming a truly touching moment when Kenth Hamner remarked that all the Jedi before Luke was his doing, and his subsequent journey to Dorin acting as a very interesting tool to examine a different Force tradition. The Kessel stuff did seem a bit side-"questy," but Allana's interaction with the presence and the mere fact of what was truly underneath Kessel indicates that there's much more to that story than is shown at first. Plus, Valin's sudden snap was presented in a truly haunting manner, that really sucked me into the story right away.

    There was really only a few minor things I disliked here. The reintroduction of the Anakin lookalike seemed forced, I only hope they don't take him the direction I think they will. The ease in which Jag snuck away from his duties was also a bit far fetched. I know they had a quick line about him using doppelgangers, but I would have liked a bit more tension from that process. Plus, Daala as a "honorable" leader is still a laughable concept. But besides a couple spelling errors and what not, that's about it, really. Outcast is a fantastic effort with great humor and compelling story lines, that I devoured in about a day's time. Highly recommended, a 9/10
  12. BennyM Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 20, 2007
    star 1
    I really enjoyed Outcast, from start to finish it was a great book. It had me laughing and had me glued to the pages. It flowed well, weren't any slow parts to the book. All 3 of the stories (Luke/Ben, Han/Leia, Jaina/Jag/Tahiri) were all interesting. I found myself enjoying all 3, though the Han / Leia story doesn't really tie into anything else going on, it was as if they just needed to "do" something. I haven't read Millenium Falcon, so I was a little confused on the Seff parts, but caught up quickly. I was kinda hoping Luke was going to learn a little more from the Barons. Jag and Jaina have great chemistry, as someone who disliked Jaina very much in LotF, I found myself enjoying her in this book, she was funny, witty, but I swear if she keeps talking about herself as the Sword of the Jedi, I'm gonna mentally punch her in the head.

    Over all, 9/10. Very great start to the series.
  13. GrandMasterKatarn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    Finished this book in 10 hours flat. Not kidding. By the time this is posted, it will have been ten hours.

    PROS: Luke is exiled [face_dancing]:D=D= , Jaina/Jag scenes, Jaina and Kyle in the speeder chase scene, Luke's arrest

    CONS: everything involving Kessel. It was a waste of time and it did nothing to advance the plot. Kenth Hamner as the new Jedi Grand Master :mad:[face_frustrated][face_shame_on_you][face_talk_hand]:rolleyes::oops:[face_not_talking] . Everything with Luke (except his exile and arrest; I cheered when he was arrested and exiled). Luke, Han, and Leia just read like prancing fools in a plot in which they're obviously no longer wanted and no longer welcome and needed.

    PRICELESS: "I'm driving here, and that's get this thing off me, please, Master Katarn."



    As usual, Allston's writing makes me feel bored and wishing that those dumb jokes to go away, as much as I did Jacen's dumb jokes in the YJK.

    All in all
    2.5 out of 10, anything more would be wishful thinking
  14. magelord2200 Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2006
    I don't really post here too much (tons of lurking, mainly) but I enjoyed this book enough that I just had to write a review for it, so here goes.

    The Good

    Setting/Circumstances- I really enjoyed the fact that there wasn't an overarching galactic conflict in this book, far more than I actually thought that I would. Since the NJO was the first EU that I really got into, much of my expectations have been shaped by the darker stories that include galaxy-spanning conflicts, which tend to be my favorites. Nevertheless, the limited scale of the conflict/action in the book suited it perfectly, IMO. There were only three planets, but all of them were well-chosen and displayed in accordance with their portrayals in past works. I also loved the additional hints of the Celestials shown on Kessel--something that made that plotline far more enjoyable for me than it otherwise might have been.

    The Construction of the Plotlines- Outcast is very simple in its construction, but I think this works to its strength. The first third, as has been noted, is dominated by Valin's plotline and Luke's arrest, and the latter two-thirds contain three subplots--Luke and Ben on Dorin, Jaina and Darkmeld on Coruscant, and Han and Leia on Kessel. Each of the plots had an adventurous feel to it, and none really dealt with any complex moral issues on the part of the heroes, at least not in any depth. Seeing as how this appears to be meant as a lighter adventure novel, the relatively basic plot structure is a tremendous advantage.

    It's the Star Wars Galaxy, and Feels Like It- This isn't meant in terms of the tone of the novel, since I think Star Wars stories can have whatever tone the plot requires. Rather, Allston makes a concerted effort to make the depth of the Star Wars galaxy feel real to the reader, on a level that would be expected of Luceno. The DP for Outcast is extremely deceptive; this novel has perhaps Allston's largest ensemble cast yet, and it really helps make the universe feel fleshed-out. Names are dropped repeatedly, but this is done so in a way that propels the scene forward, instead of merely being another namedrop. Locations are richly described, but Allston doesn't ever allow these descriptions to bog down a scene.

    98% of the Characters- Basically, I felt that the characterization in this book was incredibly accurate with regards to how I would expect characters would act. There were a couple of exceptions, but I'll talk about those later. Luke, Han, Leia, Jaina and Ben are all excellently portrayed--the trademark Allstonian humor is toned down (at least to my perceptions) in this book. The characters still deliver one-liners, but they're not as common and seem to flow better with what I would expect from the characters given the recent in-universe events. I also loved the range of characters that got screen-time: Cilghal, Octa Ramis, Kenth Hamner and Nawara Ven foremost among them, but the Horns, Tahiri and several new characters (bounty hunters and law-enforcement officials) get surprising amounts of screen time, and surprising amounts of personality considering their still-minor role in the overall plot. A few more in-depth discussions of portrayals that pleasantly surprised me (and I therefore really enjoyed) follow:

    Daala- One of the things that I was most worried about was that Daala would be once-again retconned from the older, wiser, and (slightly) more mellow individual that she was in Revelation back to her character of 30 in-universe years ago from Darksaber. Fortunately, she wasn't--Daala is portrayed as a woman who is still incredibly ruthless, but also shaped by her experiences during and after the Yuuzhan Vong War. Her arrest of Luke is coldly calculated to achieve maximum political effect, but at the same time she can also be seen as the woman who defended dozens of worlds deemed too insignificant by the New Republic during the Vong War, and who had her husband murdered by the same government she helped to establish. In addition, I thought it was
  15. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    This was an excellently done novel. It's a great kickoff that makes me extremely optimistic for the series: the lurking threat is genuinely scary and interesting, without being another Galaxy-Shaking War; there's tension but the plot is low-key, more Bantam-ish; Luke's journey is fascinating; the theme of anti-Jedi sentiment is handled fairly well and looks like it will be coming to a head that may see that particular plot-point retired.

    As for the plot of the book itself, it was great. It was low-key -- no big space battles, and pretty much just two chase scenes for real action. Yet it sells itself, with Luke and Ben's journey of discovery giving us characterization, mystery, and expansion of the universe; Han and Leia's plotline setting up some of the later revelations about the threat and lovingly showing off the cast of characters wonderfully in a storyline with a great sense of mystery and discovery and adventure while keeping the action restrained and heading off the expected big action-sequence ending with a bait and switch that makes us realize the real climax of the story is Han's moment of understanding, rejection of fear, and reconciliation with life, putting yet more of the many horrors of his life behind him; and the "main" plotline that puts Jaina center-stage and deploys a truly magnificently-handled supporting cast of Jedi, plus Jag, Winter, and Mirax, in a great political-thriller-type storyline.

    The expansion of the universe was constant and incredibly welcome. Allson not only used a broad swath of existing information -- the Jedi Council members, supporting Jedi like Seha and Tekli, Dab, Valin, the Remnant, the Jade Shadow, Kessel and the information surrounding it, the Baran Do -- to maintain the feeling of a genuinely large universe, but he also introduced a lot. Whether it be the wonders of Kessel, the vast expansion of the Baran Do, or the use of the GA justice system, he added more to the story for future authors to play with.

    Outcast made me realize how much I enjoy Allston's characterization. Allston does Luke better than almost anyone I've seen, blending his nature as idealistic farmboy, cocky pilot, wise Jedi Master, haunted veteran, sorrowful widower, and proud dad in an effortless, likable-yet-serious way that reminds me of Zahn. Luke's interaction with Ben, who I find absolutely wonderful as written by Allston, is fantastic and makes the best use of their new Mara-less dynamic to present them as friends as well as family. Han is almost impossible to do wrong, but Allston's still one of the better Han-writers out there, making use of his past on Kessel to drive him with genuine characterization rather than simply recycling TESB Han-flies-and-is-entertaining shtick, giving him all the right cocky one-liners, and throws in great little moments like Han's behavior throughout Luke's arrest scene, culminating in the scene inside the paddy wagon. Allston knows what to do with Leia, which is fairly rare, and turns in yet another great Lando performance. He manages the difficult and makes Jaina an interesting, rounded, rootable character, and shows Jag in his Imperial role very well. He's admirably restrained in his handling of favorite characters like Wedge, Hobbie, and the gang, and he takes a vast cast of Jedi and makes them actual characters in a way I can describe as nothing other than utterly pleasing. His Allana is fantastic, reminding me of the Bantam Solo kids in the best way without that era's excesses; she's also portrayed well as a kid without being cloying or overdone (Tempest lisp, I'm looking at you).

    The sole thing that brings me down on this book is Daala. This is largely a relic of Denning's absolutely inexplicable, absurd, and outrageous decision in Invincible, but Allston's characterization just doesn't quite hit the right notes. Luceno at least had the right idea in treating her like a joke; Allston instead takes her all too seriously. Her arguments are actually quite interesting, though Allston does sneak in some of the fundamental weaknesses that show her idiocy (Da
  16. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 72.7/8 = 9.09
  17. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
  18. Chimpo_the_Sith Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 15, 2003
    star 5
    Best.Review.Ever!
  19. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 82.7/9 = 9.19
  20. JediMasterNicolas Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2005
    star 3
    I really, really loved Outcast. It was a great book, and an excellent start to what I hope is an excellent series. After three major series' about large Galactic conflicts, it was certainly nice to see a more low-key story being told. Humor is abundant (as with most Star Wars novels, but especially here), and the events of the novel have a rather mellow feel (with the exception of Valin's illness and the reactions to it). All in all, I think I'll be re-reading this one soon.\

    10/10
  21. DarthKuriboh Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2007
    star 2
    Wedge Antilles hops on one transparisteel leg. [face_hypnotized]
  22. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 92.7/10 = 9.27
  23. chiss_man Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2002
    star 6
    I hate to be "that guy," but I'm getting a 8.37 (83.7/10) score when I added them up... :confused:
  24. Black-Dog Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 27, 2008
    star 4
    I found Outcast to be a very enjoyable read. My favorite parts were the scenes on Coruscant and the further look into the Baran Do Sages. Though the parts with Kessel never really had me interested, despite all the pilots who came to help Han, Lando, and company. I was hoping that there would be more to Maarek Stele?s appearance than the name drop.

    While I found the scenes with the observers to be short, I liked it a lot. As always, Aaron Allston provides great dialogue and personality to these characters. This series is off to a good start, I hope it stays that way.

    9/10
  25. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    It's possible I goofed; I had to add up an unusually high number of scores all at once.

    EDIT: Yeah, it looks like I doubled a nine in there somewhere.
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