The JC Lit Reviews Special: LUKE SKYWALKER AND THE SHADOWS OF MINDOR (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Dec 30, 2008.

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  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    IT. IS. HERE.

    Some rules: rate Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor 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, by Drew Karpyshyn
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Message.aspx?topic=25669430&brd=100
  2. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    9. The first forty pages or so didn't quite click for me, and the last line of the book didn't do much either, but from chapter four up through the second-to-last line I was utterly enthralled and delighted. First SW novel I've read since Allegiance, I think, though I've attempted and failed to get into a couple. Anyway, lots of fun, fast-paced and exciting. I'll be forcing it onto a co-worker tomorrow.
  3. iolo_the_bard Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2005
    star 1
    9.5

    Best Star Wars novel I've ever read, hands down. The characterization was spot on, it was fun, it didn't ignore or invalidate anything that came before it, it had a plot full of suspense despite us knowing essentially exactly who lives and dies.

    My only complaint (and thus the -0.5), is that Stover seems to have fallen into the same trap that a handful of other authors have. Having Nick Rostu AND Kar Vastor AND Lorz Geptun show up was a little much. They all contributed to the story, and none of them felt shoehorned in, but it was just a little much, having all of the main original characters from Shatterpoint show up here too. It didn't detract from my enjoyment of the novel, only my reflection of it, thus still leaving this book firmly in my top 5 EU list.
  4. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    9.9

    It's not perfect. But dammit if it isn't as close as Star Wars work has come. I'm still processing it, but this is a damn good book. One of the best.

    Honestly, go to the discussion thread and ask me some questions if you want to know my opinions on anything specific. But . . . you can't put this into words.
  5. ATimson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2003
    star 4
    While I know that Mindor details events previously mentioned in prior non-fiction books, I'm not familiar with those references; I came into this book with my eyes wide open, expecting a healthy dose of Stover goodness. And I got it. Mindor is the combination of thought-provoking philosophy and kick-ass action I've come to expect from Stover. (Maybe a touch too much of Luceno's tech love in the latter, but I also might be seeing things.)

    I do have one complaint, in that Mindor is Shatterpoint Old Home Week. I didn't recognize Geptun until iolo_the_bard mentioned him, but he's also in what I thought was a fairly reasonable role. I can even understand Kar Vastor. But I wonder if Nick Rostu should have been a different (probably new) character.

    Then again, Stover's hardly the first author to reuse characters. And they were all there in service of the story. I just think that having characters from the Clone Wars active in the post-Yavin era stretches credulity. (Note that I also consider DN/LOTF/FOTJ offenses in this regard. ;))

    Even though it doesn't advance the story of the Star Wars saga, Mindor is well worth the read, both on its own, and in terms of the previously-missing hole in Luke's life that it fills in.

    9/10
  6. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 37.4/4 = 9.35
  7. GrandMasterKatarn Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    Okay, first I have to say that it's a very unusual novel. It's an investigative novel into what really happened at Mindor. I liked that. It reads almost like a journalist column in a newspaper.

    Loved the reference to the GoDV series and the indirect mention of MotS (Dromund Kaas). Nice to find out about Nick and Kar's fate after all these years since Shatterpoint.

    That's a very powerful conversational piece right there. And I'm actually glad it was written in.

    All in all

    10/10
  8. Nobody145 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2007
    star 4
    Hm, I'd give the book a... 10/10. Very nearly a perfect book, as far as I'm concerned, and probably will be my current favorite recent Star Wars book for a very, very long time, so might as well give it a perfect score.

    Hm, well, plenty of good points, Luke's still a very humble person, he feels horrible about the deaths, even going so far as to hire someone anti-Jedi to investigate him for war crimes... and the guy doesn't come up with anything, heck, he even sells it as a holothriller, since he honestly can't blame Luke for anything. Which is at once both awe-inspiring, that Luke is just that wonderful, and somewhat annoying that Luke can't understand that, but at least that humility is what keeps Luke grounded most of the time. And considering everything Luke does in this book, its good that he has a lot of humility so that his ego doesn't grow too big. Not only does he land a third of a ship, he then almost singlehandedly fights his way through Shadowspawn's fortress, with Nick's help though, and at the end, he shows just how powerful he is, completely taking Cronal by surprise, despite all the odds stacked against him. A lot of Republic troops die, but if not for Luke, it would've been a completely slaughter though. The only thing that makes me slightly sad is that this is still early in Luke's career, and I have a hard time thinking of any other battle that could top this, in terms of sheer awesome-ness on Luke's part.

    Plenty of nice ships, lots of wonderful references to the normal high quality of Mon Calamari engineering, though too bad about the Justice. Also nice to see fleet tactics, and lots of innovative and clever tricks from both sides, though Lando as a fleet commander was great.

    Han and Leia were also great, as they're still somewhat early in their relationship, being a little bit past RotJ, so still years off from their marriage. But at the same time, its nice to see them together, without Leia being too busy set up the New Republic, and Han's not busy with the Zsinj hunt or anything like that. At times I wonder if Han's not a bit too obsessed with her... but considering how great Leia is, its understandable. She's not a damsel in distress most of the time, she's usually dragged kicking and screaming, not to mention bashing someone's head in when they insult her.

    It was also nice to see the droids get some screentime, since aside from Millenium Falcon and maybe a scene in Inferno, they've mostly been in the background. They even contribute to battles, with Artoo always doing great, as usual, and Threepio helping with that big computer coordination between the Remember Alderaan (at least I think that was the ship's name) and the various Corellian built interdictors.

    Also plenty of nice minor characters. Though Nick Rostu and Kar Vastor were Stover charactrers, I like how they fit in here, with both being sorta loose ends, in terms of Force users who possibly survived the Dark Times, only to end up entangled in this mess. The redhead Aeona was annoying, but she was probably meant to be. And even Geptun wasn't too bad, with how shameless he was, but at least he was mostly honest about that.

    There were only a few parts I didn't like about the book though. When the Rapid Response force fell for the trap, that Luke could tell there was a trap coming, but the rest of the officers were already celebrating. I just wish they had seemed more competent. Also, sad that Han lost the Falcon, even though by losing the Falcon that allowed it to crash near Luke so that Luke could then use the Falcon himself.

    Also, so wonderful to see Rogue Squadron again, at the height of its glory, with Wedge, Tycho, Wes, and Hobbie. Not to mention I love seeing so many TIE Defenders in one place, they're rarely deployed in this large numbers, especially this close to the Battle of Endor. Even the Mandalorians weren't too bad, with Fenn seeming almost heroic, and the Mandalorians making pretty good ground troops, without any of Fett's baggage slowing them down. Too bad Han's wish for Boba to stay in the sarlac
  9. Charlii Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 3
    9

    Why?

    Everything about this book was as close to perfect you could get from a sw-novel. Wonderful use of continuity, spot-on characterizations, intriguing conflicts... But it failed on one point: it didn't explain to me why Luke left the military. The few things he actually did when in command were all great decisions that saved the lives of many of his men and the civilian slaves. The things he seem to regret the most was what he did as a Jedi fighting a mental battle against a darksider. So the logical conclusion would be that he should quit the Jedi and be a general full time?
    There is something of a logical leap there, and since it affects the very reason why this book was ever written in the first place I'm taking one point off this otherwise perfect novel.
  10. Lord_Hydronium Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 11, 2002
    star 5
    You know, I totally forgot Geptun was from Shatterpoint. I was a little concerned from the spoilers that this would turn into the Shatterpoint Reunion Tour, but I was pleasantly surprised how well they were inserted into the story.

    I can't write a review yet. This close to finishing the book, I feel all I'd be able to say is something like "100/10 BEST STAR WARS BOOK EVAR". :p
  11. Alonna_Reese Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2008
    I thought the book was a huge disappointment. Geptun, Rostu, and Vastor felt horribly out of place. When Geptun and Rostu appeared, I was willingly to go along with it, but Vastor appearing at the end was simply too much. If the book had simply been advertised as the official sequel to Shatterpoint or the Shatterpoint characters were all simply replaced with new characters, I would probably rate it a lot higher.

    4/10
  12. AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 28, 2003
    star 6
    9.5/10

    Seriously, this has to be one of the best Star Wars books I have read in ages. Like Havac, I stuggle to write down everything that I liked, cause I feel that it would take forever. :p

    The opening with Hobbie was simply exquisite. His banter with Wedge and Tycho, the excellent continuity references to his previous losses of limb, the humor- all dead on. I never laugh out loud for a Star Wars book, but that whole scence produced several audible laughs. I used to say that only Stackpole or Allston could write Rogues.

    Now Stover joins that elite unit. ;)

    Fleet stuff was dead on. Between the Star Cruiser Justice, the CC-7700 interdictors, a Bulwark battleship, and Corellian frigates, it was a fleet junkies dream. While not specifically stated, I have a strong hunch that Lando's flagship Mon Cal cruiser, the Remember Alderaan, was one of the first MC80B cruisers. All references to it being a brand new battle cruiser (six months after Endor no less) make the odds of this connection damn near 90%, IMO.

    Speaking of Mon Cals, Stover treats them and their technology with great respect. Several references to Ackbar (as Supreme Commander no less, in the earliest use of the title), distinct references to their cultural and familial structure, praise for their technology and warships, etc. Admiral Kalback and Lieutenant Tubrimi both shine during their screen time.

    Hell, Stover even made the Mandalorians likable to me! They are total Marvel-class Mandos, which I loved.

    As for Luke, Han, Leia, and Lando, I scarely have the time to write how extremely well they were portrayed. I will say, however that Lando is the freaking man. This is as close to movie Lando as we have seen in a long time.

    As for the man of the hour, Luke Skywalker, I can honestly say that I connected with him more in this book than any of the past novels of the last several years. That first reference to him being a 24 year old general, stressed with the weight of the New Republic on his shoulders really spoke to me for some reason. Maybe because I am only 25 and I could never imagine having that kind of responibility at my age. Watching all of his captains and Admiral Kalback show such reverence to a 24 year old Luke was too cool. They literally had complete faith that he could and would be sucessful in anything he did.

    God, I want to go on, but I have to get ready for work. Suffice it to say, I still am excited less than 24 hours after reading it. :D

    --Adm. Nick
  13. DaggerSword Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Mar 22, 2008
    star 3
    A Bulwark-class battlecruiser? Wow, did it have a name? I assume the Annihilator (fjs will get that one) wasn't used as Shadowspawn's flagship? ;)
  14. Volderon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2007
    star 4
    8.5/10

    There was way too much hype for this book in my opinion (not that it didn't deserve it). If you put a film or book on a pedestal so high, you are bound to get dissapointed, as I was slightly dissapointed the first time I saw The Dark Knight. But after subsequent viewings I enjoyed it. Maybe I should read this one again too. I feel that you need to read it again, as there is so much substance to the way Matthew Stover writes. You can't possibly absorb all of it in one reading. I was a little dissapointed with the first few chapters, but then it got really good and I was entertained. At time it seemed like it could have been made into a video game, with all the creatures coming out of the rocks and such.

    Luke was characterized great for a change. Han was absolutely brilliant and Lando was fantastic to read. Heck, I even liked the Mando's in this book!
  15. Dunc T'racen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 11, 2000
    star 3
    Um, so. Just finished. Wow. That was awesome.

    The earliest spoilers didn't make much sense to me, so I was a little worried that I'd need to know Shatterpoint, but on actual reading, I'm pretty confident it was indeed the spoiler folks glomming onto their own foci.

    I can honesty say... I enjoyed it. Entirely. That's the first time I've been able to say that in ages. Granted, this is only my first read and I'll need a few more to pick up the nuances, but overall I am very pleased. I LOVE the parts about the holovids. And, given our recent overdosing, Han's take on Mandos made me literally laugh out loud.

    Luke was amazing. Perhaps a trifle overpowered when compared to Zahn's version, but a far cry from Courtship. (Which I decided ages ago was an in-universe Bollywood-style holodrama anyway.) Leia and Han, too. Can we get more post-ROTJ standalones from Stover? Please?

    My only real quibble is Luke knowing about Emperor's Hands at this point (loved the redhead remark too, BTW.) But that's totally minor-league, even assuming one can't brush it off with a careful reading of Zahn.

    Probably taking a risk rating it without the rereads, but whatever. Count it, Havac.

    10/10
  16. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Haha, that redhead remark was priceless! I was thinking "that's what you think, Skywalker."

    I'm not sure if I've ever given out a 10 before, but I know I've given out some 9s. This book is so much better that I'd want to give it the proverbial 11/10, but since I can't, I'll give it a 10/10.

    I went through my impressions of the book/characters in the other thread--and I guess I really should have posted that review in here. Maybe I'll append it to this post. But that aside, the reason I am giving it the perfect score is not because it's the best novel I've ever read, but because it's everything an EU novel should be.

    It just felt like a treat for the fans, but without being fanservice. It just felt like SW. Parts of it were weird, but the overall book was so familiar that it was like being home again after the long winter of NJO and beyond. Of course, I did value several NJO novels and the like, but this book was better.

    It was Star Wars.
  17. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
  18. Vengance1003 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 4, 2006
    star 5
    10/10
    The first time I heard about it, I believed it was going to be the best Star Wars book ever. After reading it, I can say that it is pretty much the best Star Wars book ever.
  19. _Catherine_ Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    This book was so much fun to read.

    If nothing else, it made me enjoy reading about the Big 3 and the Mandalorians again.

    Stover's always been good with continuity, but I never pegged him as an Abel-class completist. Then LSatSoM started dropping references to everything else in the universe. TTT, DE, Clone Wars, Marvel, Classic Star Wars, X-wing, TaB, CoPL, GoDV, and all in ways that actually made sense, not the usual I-just-pulled-this-name-out-of-a-hat-and-it-shows carelessness we usually get with name-dropping. At one point, there's even a retcon for a typo in a fifteen-year-old novel. It all feels so organic and so natural that there were some instances where I didn't know if I was reading about something that already existed or something Stover created (who the hell are the Sorcerers of Rhand, anyway?).

    The Dathka Graush reference was when I really lost it.

    There's a lot more I want to say, but I'm very tired, so I'll just point out how remarkable it is that none of the book's main characters are original to LSatSoM, and almost none of them are Stover creations?yet they're all awesome. I don't know if I'd put TSoM as the best of the EU (although it's certainly up there), but it nails the ideal of the EU more than any novel since TUF (which is, incidentally, one of the few other novels in recent memory to treat the droids as actual characters instead of obligatory ornaments; I was thrilled with everything they did here).

    The use of Fenn Shysa in particular was outstanding. I liked him well enough in Marvel, but the retcons in LotF and O6 had really begun to sour me on his character. In LSatSoM, however, he was written in a way that was not only respectful of his original characterization, but built on and improved it.

    That is pure class, and his appearance in this book more than redeemed the character for me.

    A heartfelt Thank you to Matthew Stover for writing this book, for several reasons, but mostly for reminding us what it looks like when this stuff is done right.

    9.75/10

    (.25 off for the consistent misspelling of C-3PO's name. :p)
  20. colojedi7 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 13, 2007
    star 1
    10/10!! Wow, absolutely loved this book! There were so many special goodies for all types of Star Wars fans. The military and ship lovers must be in heaven. The Mando lovers also. Even imperial fans will love this. The big 4 were great, it even seemed like they walked off the screen into the book. But most of all, this was an in-depth character study of Luke Skywalker, who at the age of 24 showed why Ben Kenobi and Yoda had so much faith in him. He embodies what a true Jedi should be. Every decision he made, he tried to do the right thing and the Force agreed. This character study of Luke was even more compelling than Mr. Stover did with Obi-Wan's character in ROTS. One thing I am curious about, however, was on page 275, where Cronal says Luke carries within him an inner darkness, while Leia is pure light. I don't know that I agree with this, however, the fact that even with this inner darkness Luke has, he overcomes it every time. That is real strength. Suffice it to say that SOM has the best characterization of Luke in any novel, including Zahn.

    I also loved Stover's use of dark and light: pure poetry.

    Finally, I didn't realize how much I missed R2-D2 and C-3PO in recent novels until they sprang into action in this one. Especially R2. Loved him in this!

    Thank you Mr. Stover for renewing my love for the EU. Please write more!
    P.S. Loved the little sly digs at uberfans when he said something to the effect that some people claimed to have been changed by watching the holodrama.=D=
  21. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    10/10 here. It was an amazing book which had well...everything. I was originally going to give it a 9.5 because it was kind of hard to follow, but that was more on me than on the book itself.

    Makes me hope that Stover is given more projects.
  22. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 158.15/17 = 9.30
  23. T-R- Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2003
    star 4
    10.

    Luke's portrayal and the characters reactions to Luke was perfect. Leia trying to con Rogue help and then asking what would Luke do - oh yeah, tell the truth - PRICELESS. Luke is a hero not because he wants to be, but because he doesn't want to be.
  24. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    [image=http://www.rebelscum.com/books/hc_LukeSkywalkerShadowsOfMindor.jpg]

    Luke Skywalker and the Shadows Of Mindor Review

    *SPOILERS*

    Author: Mathew Stover
    Page Count: 336 Pages
    Publisher: Del Rey
    Time Frame: 5.5 ABY

    I've been sitting on this review for a couple of days as I didn't want to post it immediately after my return from my absence from the forums. I thank the Moderators for the time to work on this extra long review of the work. It helped put together something for one of the few things I've genuinely been excited about in the Expanded Universe since the last of my Star Wars enthusiasm died out about the time of Invincible. I hope that the readers will appreciate my lengthy examination of the themes and concepts in the Shadows Of Mindor (which I'll be using as a shorthand reference to the book).

    Firstly, Mathew Stover has the time period of the novel working both against him and for him with this book.

    Against him is the fact that most die-hard EU fans already know the Battle of Mindor's results. Luke Skywalker defeats the forces of Lord Shadowspawn and then resigns his General's commission. Some fans also have a thing against prequels in general, not THE Prequels, which have their own flaws. They only want to see new things in the timeline, not fill in adventures of the past.

    For him, is the fact that the Shadows of Mindor is a book that stars the Big Three (Luke, Leia, Han). I have nothing against Jacen Solo, Jaina Solo, and all of their myriad descendants but the Expanded Universe became a very complicated place after the New Jedi Order. There's something to be said for the simplicity of a Farmboy, a Smuggler, and a Princess. The Expanded Universe also has lost something by losing the Empire and its clear cut Democracy vs. Fascism story. This is a story set in a time when people REALLY LIKED Star Wars. No Prequel or New Jedi Order/Legacy of the Force fan-rage.

    Rather than handle this review in traditional style, I'm going to attempt to do a comprehensive reveiw of the material found in the Shadows Of Mindor and examine the individual elements and how they relate to the greater whole of the Expanded Universe. I think fans will appreciate this as it'll hopefully provide plenty of fodder for discussion on the various forums that I'll be posting this work on.

    Luke Skywalker

    In any case, a great deal of this review is going to depend on examining how Mathew Stover managed to capture Luke Skywalker. I've personally always felt that Luke Skywalker is one of the most criminally maligned characters in the Expanded Universe. It's strange because Luke is really a character you'd think would be difficult to get wrong. He's the Big Damn Herotm. Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers (minus the racism), and King Arthur rolled all into one. He's the American archetype of what exactly is supposed to be aspired to. Plucky, Noble, and the only guy who can save the day.

    Does Mathew Stover get Luke Skywalker right? I'll say, honestly, no. No, he does not. Mathew Stover does, however, get Luke MOSTLY right. Just as Ian Fleming can't bottle James Bond and pass him along to Cubby Brocolli or Kingsley Amis, you can't really 100% capture the work of another author. Capturing the writing of a young George Lucas and his collaborators with the performance of Mark Hamill would be impossible. Mathew Stover's take on Luke Skywalker is only about 80% right. This is actually not bad by any stretch of the imagination. The Legacy of the Force Luke Skywalker is about 10% right in that he's a Jedi Knight, he's got a son named Ben, and he's ostensibly the good guy.

    Where does Mathew Stover trip up? Mathew Stover's trip ups are mostly minor in the fact that he misses some obvious key points of characterization. When Luke Skywalker executes the soldiers of Mindor, something that is a shocking act of euthanasia but necessary in the context of the story, it obviously burns Luke's consciousness. One thing that is never referenced is Luke's slaughter of the individuals in the Death St
  25. Darth_Monopoly Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 6, 2006
    star 2
    I'm not sure if this is a good place to bring this up, but is there a review thread for Order 66 yet? If there is, I can't find it. Thanks.
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