The JC Lit Reviews Special: Rebel Dream (RD Spoilers imminent)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Caine, Mar 28, 2002.

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  1. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    Rate RD on a scale from 1 to 10.

    If possible, note your ratings of previous NJO books (also on a 1 to 10 scale) for comparison. If you'd like, supplement your rating of RD with a few (or alot, as you see fit :)) words.


  2. chissdude10 Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Jul 26, 2001
    star 5
  3. flying_fishi Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2002
    star 6
    RD: 9.5. This is my favourite NJO so far. Comparison? um... DJ: 6
  4. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    9 - Allston's best SW work to date. I do think it is even better than Starfighters of Adumar. It showcases what a good EU novel is all about, IMO.
  5. Fire_Light Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 24, 2002
    star 5
    I need to get this book!

    Anyone have 6.99 plus tax laying about :D
  6. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    9/10.

    I don't like it as much as Starfighters of Adumar, and there's a bit that sticks in my craw. But his writing is excellent, the charactization great, and he's funny as anything.
  7. Face Loran Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 21, 1999
    star 4
    9- I wholeheartedly agree with Genghis. It's what a Star Wars novel is supposed to be like. It's simply fun to read. For comparison, I'd give SBS and DJ 8.5's...
  8. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    One specific item that I think Allston generally did better than most SW authors on for RD is striking IMO a near-perfect balance on summarizing things for new readers while still making it interesting for experienced ones. I mean, to be honest about this - there was a rather extremely large cast including all of the extended characters. Yet, I wasn't bored at his introductions of established characters nor overewhelmed by his introductions of new ones.

    Another specific item was Lando. I don't have to say anymore. One of the best portrayals of the character outside of Billy D.

    However, reasons why it didn't get a 10 - more my own personal likes. I think Arhul Hexotrophan should've been used as the historian, and I think Voren Na'al could have helped foil the spy. Their absence, especially given that the whole plot point existed on NR Historians and Journalists virtually screamed out for Arhul and Voren. IMO, it would be the same as including a plot point about Jedi Masters in the NJO and not ever discussing Luke or Kyp. Or discussing Luke's family and leaving out Mara and Ben. [face_plain] It was a major letdown for me on that plot device.
  9. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6

    I agree 100% about Lando. If Lando could be like that in every book, I'd rather read about him than virtually any other Star Wars character. He was Mr. Cool himself, and his interactions with 1-1A were bleeping hilarious.
  10. Charlemagne19 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 30, 2000
    star 8
    True but it is a big galaxy.

    Furthermore I suspect Voren Naal has long since retired from historian field work to sit back with the beautiful Rivoche Tarkin every morning

    Not that I blame him...

    9.5

    I remove a -5 because i wanted to see the worldship go boom this book dangit! Also I feel uncomfortable getting to know the Lah family

    Tsavong has a father as well as a son? Sheesh
  11. JediMasterAaron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2000
    star 5
    9.6/10 for me.

    Allston's writing style was a breath of fresh air into the overly serious, overly dark world of the NJO. Loved seeing the Wraith's again, and having the Lusankya in action again was beyond description. Fantastic stuff.

    JMA
  12. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    Tsavong has a father as well as a son?

    Actually, many beings have fathers. It's true, not everyone in the Star Wars galaxy has a father (Anakin Skywalker didn't, and Waru might not have), but I honestly think that most do.

    :D
  13. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    Wow, JC Lit regulars really enjoy AA's writing. It appears Allston benefits from a convenient position within the NJO story arc (can't get much worse, right?). The question arises: could AA deliver for fans in the same way if DR chose him to continue the NJO story arc immediately following RAS' Vector Prime with expectedly "darker" overtones?


    My Rebel Dream Review

    Rating: 7/10

    { For comparison:
    Vector Prime 8
    DT I: Onslaught 3
    DT II: Ruin 7
    AoC I: Hero's Trial 10
    AoC II: Jedi Eclipse 7
    Balance Point 9
    EoV I: Conquest 8
    EoV II: Rebirth 5
    Star by Star 9
    Dark Journey 4 }

    Honestly, this book amounts to pure and clean fun. I must admit AA's reputation is well-deserved: I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. But RD contained more than humor. I loved the battle where Lusankya and the Falcon arrive in the middle of a YV fleet. Chaotic, thrilling and forces Wedge to win a battle he hoped to lose.

    Two distinctive parts actually shape this book: a first half and a second half. I loved the first half and I felt it relieved some of the dark and stressful tension of previous NJO novels. With Jaina's arrival at the beginning of the second half, however, the novel turns more grim in nature. Although RD continues Jaina's Goddess storyline from DJ, it seemed forced here after a first half which saw primarily Luke, Wedge, Lando, Han and Leia. Nevertheless, my favorite scene in the book deals with a mother and daughter conversation between Leia and Jaina.

    Now there are those who will say RD was good, but ultimately constrained by the elements of the NJO story arc. I tend to agree. I remember the shadow bombs technique employed by our heroes at least 3 times in this book. You'd figure the Yuuzhan Vong would at least try to develop some counter measures for this. There exists a fine line between properly continuing developments from previous books and introducing a logical evolution of those developments.

    Then there are those who will find events in RD too easy for our heroes. I tend to this agree with this also. But at the current juncture in the NJO, I find it acceptable. The YV drive towards Coruscant clearly spread them thin and weak. I think RD needed to mention this at least once.

    The OT characterizations are magnificent. General Wedge Antilles always seems one step ahead of the Yuuzhan Vong. Someone already mentioned Lando, but here we discover he ultimately enjoys the trick or the scam, not necessarily the profit (though he'll take the profits too). Luke attempts to shed his passive stereotype. The moments between Han & Leia, though strained by deaths and disappearances, maintain a sense hope and humor.

    I do have a minor gripe with AA's writing style. I feel it comes across as amateurish. Even in the third-person, he uses more forms of "to be" than any author I've ever read - consistently and repetitively. I just feel he could say more with less.

  14. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Caine...
    "Wow, JC Lit regulars really enjoy AA's writing. It appears Allston benefits from a convenient position within the NJO story arc (can't get much worse, right?). The question arises: could AA deliver for fans in the same way if DR chose him to continue the NJO story arc immediately following RAS' Vector Prime with expectedly "darker" overtones?"

    Most definitely, yes. DT suffered greatly (and failed) because of Mike Stackpole's style and philosophy regarding Star Wars. Violence - AA would not have had the graphic depictions of partial beheadings which Stakpole had. Non-Larry-Stuism - AA would not have had Corran Horn as "Larry Stu, Star Wars God." Zahnisms - MAS and TZ have a union going which isn't matched by other authors. AA would not have been mimicked the effects of such an "unholy alliance." AA would not have carried forth Zahn's incorrect concepts of the Force that Stackpole furthered (probably no Luke passing out, etc.). AA would not be more inclined to have Jade as a Jedi Master, etc. We would have gotten a much wider spread than just MAS/TZ favorite characters appearing. Mains as mains - Allston proves he can write stories where the Star Wars characters (Luke, Han, Leia, Lando, etc.) aren't overshadowed by pet favorites, something which Dark Tide greatly suffered for.

    In short, AA does not have all of the SW "baggage" (hate to use that term, but I do think it fits) that MAS had. And the series of books would have been so much better because of it. Allston is good at writing "Star Wars books," as opposed to writing "Mike Stackpole books with Star Wars stamped on the cover," which is what I think Dark Tide essentially was.
  15. IAmTheDarkSide Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 9, 2002
    star 4
  16. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    Zahnisms - MAS and TZ have a union going which isn't matched by other authors. AA would not have been mimicked the effects of such an "unholy alliance."

    :) So basically, you don't feel dark overtones could necessarily restrict AA's writing in any way or our appreciation of it. And that other factors ("Zahnism") plagued the DT duology, not necessarily their grim nature.

    Actually, I don't feel Corran really overshadowed Luke in the DT duology, but I know what you mean.

  17. Ghent99 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 9, 2001
    star 1
    I'd give a 9.5 because I loved the way he wrote Lando and Wedge, and also he was able to make me like Kyp a little more than before. Also, I had to LOL quite a few times like I did with all of the Xwing books he wrote.
    Comparisons:
    DJ-7
    SBS-10
    VP- 4
  18. Genghis12 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 18, 1999
    star 6
    Caine...
    "And that other factors ("Zahnism") plagued the DT duology, not necessarily their grim nature."

    One can be grim without being graphic. Dark Tide was both grim and graphic, with IMO the graphic portion being some of the key ammunition for critics of the NJO series. Scenes in that novel (cutting the top of someone's head with a saber above the eyebrow, etc. among the many examples from that series) were for the most part unprecedented. Even the movies didn't necessarily beat one over the head when it had to show such things like Dark Tide seemed to. Dark Tide has, IMO, been the most graphically violent series within the NJO. Everyone else - RAS, JL, KT, GK, EC and even TD all had lower levels of graphic violence yet still capturing just as grim circumstances.

    Dark Tide's violence was waaay over the top for Star Wars IMO, and I think that was mainly due to MAS' style for that particular NJO series. And it was probably my largest criticism of the series as a whole.

    If, for example, you merely swapped styles of AA and MAS, I think you'd find some of the more vocal critics would've been more satisfied overall on that aspect of the NJO. I think the shock of Dark Tide at the beginning has "traumatized" some people in reading things into the whole NJO which really only existed in DT. So, the 1st 10 books as a whole have gotten penalized for something the 2nd or 3rd one may have done.

    I guess as an example - Rebel Dream had some very grim situations. If the humans were jettisoned in Dark Tide, I have a feeling that MAS would have granted us a graphic depiction of flesh burning off one or two humans flaming through the atmosphere smacking the planet's surface. In Rebel Dream, Allston left it up to the reader to ponder the ramifications of such failure and spared us the details.

    We knew it was grim, without being shown how gory it could've been.
  19. Errant_Venture Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 21, 2002
    star 6
    I too must give it a really high mark with a 9.5 with SbS being a 9.

    I really enjoyed RD a lot. I liked the way how he would combine humor and seriousness all in the same paragraph and still have everything come together in the end. I must say, he had me going with Lando at the end wondering if he was going to live or not. It was not until this book that I realized just how much I would miss Lando should he be the next victim in the war...
  20. Darth McClain Arena Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Feb 5, 2000
    star 6
    I'd say a 9.5, with SBS as a 8.9.
  21. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    I see what you're saying, G12, and, for the most part, I agree with you (about grim vs. graphic and the DT's apparent excessive violence).

    But at the same time, I feel Allston benefits from writing his duology after the worst is already past. He can sprinkle his humor coupled with levity during a time when circumstances could not deteriorate any moreso than they already have. And finally he can provide an important element now because the YV obtained their objective in SbS (Coruscant); that is, our heroes attacking the enemy, not the other way around. Although we see Luke leading a daring offensive to save the Talfogian (sp?) refugees in SbS, Lah basically plans for this to divert their attentions away from Coruscant.

    As "grim" as things may seem in RD (with Jaina resorting herself to dying and Lando doing likewise), I never believed for one second that our heroes would lose anymore.

    And I don't say this to knock RD or AA, because I truly enjoyed the book.
  22. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    I'm hoping for more feedback! :p

    So far, 12 people have voted.

    Average = 107.6/12 ~ 8.967/10 Average Rating for RD

  23. GeistDesFritz Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Mar 25, 2002
    star 3
    I guess I'll give this book an 8.5
    It was funny, had action, delt with certain issues (such as Luke seeming weak and Kyp liking Jaina) in a way that seemed natural. It also had really good characterization. I admit it, that's what I read books for and I liked his continued characterization of Wedge (IMO, he writes him consistently very well) and Jaina. I also was pleased to finally see AA get a crack at writing the main characters of Star Wars as main characters, not just in cameos. However, everyonce in a while, the humor didn't seem to fit a character very well, or they would make comments that I couldn't easliy picture them making, usually with Luke and Kyp. However, this may have been due to the scarcity of humor in most other NJO books.

    Comparison: Dark Journey--9.0 And that's pretty much because of the excellent characterizations of Jag, Jaina, and Kyp. Kyp actually grew in the story to the interesting character I always thought he could be. Yay!
  24. JediMasterAaron Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 14, 2000
    star 5
    Caine-

    I apologize if this is a bit off topic for the thread, but I really wanted to mention this since it appears at least slightly relevant.

    Why do so many people seem to have such a problem with MAS? I really don't understand it, and I'm honestly curious.

    Sure, MAS is a bit more graphic with his violence. And yeah, I guess I could see how that graphic description of violence would tend to get to some people. But I'm not just talking about the NJO. Why do so many people have a problem with his writing in general? And I really don't understand people's aggressive dislike of Corran. So maybe MAS is a little guilty of writing himself into a character, and making that character out to be rather...exceptional. So what? This is Star Wars we're talking about here. A universe where a little green midget can be one of the most powerful beings in the galaxy, and a snot-nosed teenager can destroy a top of the line military installation with one shot. Compared to that, I find some of Corran's exploits fairly easy to believe. In my opinion, that guy is what every Jedi Knight should be. He doesn't have the raw power of a Skywalker or Solo, or even a Durron, but what he lacks in sheer strength, and telekinetic ability, he more than makes up for in his wits. He is a Jedi who is literally forced to think his way through situations, since the power of telekenisis is not open to him, and that is a Jedi's biggest crutch, IMO. So to you Corran/MAS haters out there, explain it to me. What is up with the aggression? Feel the love brothers!

    :)

    JMA
  25. LanceJade Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 4
    9.5

    I can't offer it a ten. :( There has only been one book in my mind that deserves a ten and that was Cloak of Deception. The characterizations in CoD were awesome.

    Any ways, SW:NJO:EL:RD had great characters and an awesome plot line. I'd have to agree with Genghis about the holo-documentarians. That part of the plot was weak. [face_plain] But, ingoring that, everything else was great. It ranks right there with Starfighters if not beating Starfighters of Adumar. Just my .02 credits.
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