Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: RIPTIDE (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Riptide is out, the sequel to Crosscurrent.

    Some rules: rate Riptide 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=25669
  2. Shepherd492 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2011
    star 1
  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Given I don't really read this period of the EU, whatever am I doing? Well, it's simple, this reads well, it's fun, there's some well-done horror, a thoughtful exploration of the lie between good and evil and a fairly good pace. Oh and it links to Legacy quite well too.

    I can't say I buy many SW books anymore but this one was well worth the money, now about that sequel...

    9/10.
  4. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    It was better than Crosscurrent. Better flow. Better and more complicated than Deceived. A lot was introduced and kind of just left there. Rakata tech??!! Who doesn't want some kind of explanation? What happened to The One? We have no idea why the assassins were sent to find Korr with the clone in the first place. It wouldn't have felt as incomplete if I knew this was a trilogy.

    Anyway. It was fun and fairly inventive and it cost me less than $10. I'm really enjoying these sideline MMPBs
    7.6
  5. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 24.4/3 = 8.13
  6. Obi-Wan_Ken-Obi Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 28, 2005
    star 2
    Great read. I loved the inclusion of the Rakatan Thematic and the great reverence the author has for their technological accomplishments. Additionally, the clones, in particular Soldier were compelling and engaging. The big even surrounding Jaden that occurs at the hands of the Iteration makes for some interesting possibilities in the next novel.

    8/10
  7. Malachi108 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 8, 2009
    star 3
    This is a copy of review I gave in discussion thread. Spoilers no longer blacked.

    Man, Riptide was all worth the wait! Such a fun and engaging ride it was - and with plentiful of twists and turns along the way. The book itself was short, yes, but I'd rather have a 6-hour long read that is one step short of pure awesomeness than a boring incomprehensible garbage spread over two books like "Clone Wars: Gambit". In regard to length, Riptide totally tops equally long Red Harvest and either beats any FOTJ book on the ground that it has well-defined ending alone.

    In regard to the plot, it it best described as Thirty Gambit Pileup trope and I loved it. We have the just defeated time-traveling Sith from Harbinger, who were transported through time after being caught in the same accident as Omen, which crashed on Kesh and started the Lost Tribe, who are by now finally exploring the galaxy again - and that's just the pre-established setting! Then we have Thrawn-era cloning project which after series of failures succeeded in both producing a perfect clone and placing a sleeper agent on Coruscant decades ago. The full extent of project is only uncovered by One Sith, who are busy scouting the galaxy for potentially useful stuff and find 30,000 years old Rakatan artifacts, including mind-transferring devices (which, considering there was a Rakatan Mind Prison in KOTOR, makes sense). The fleeing clones are affected by Lignan ore scattered in space and set out to find an Eldritch abomination, who is living on a Yuuzhan Vong-like station created by either Rakata or Celestials and who Force-calls to Lumiya clone in Abeloth-style fashion. And if that wasn't enough, there are some cloning blues as well: not only Jaden's Jedi Masters like Cam Solusar, Mara Jade and Kyle Katarn were cloned - Jaden himself was too and more than once! One clone is totally unaware of Jaden and is has a totally different personality - the most stable and sympathetic of all the community sans the kids; and the other is implanted with Jaden's outdated memories first and is brainwashed to obey to certain keywords afterwards. I mean, seriously, it's like TFU II meets KOTOR I meets FOTJ, which is awesome! All is based on either pre-existing canon information (both Celestial and Rakatan conflicts with Kwa are mentioned) or pre-existing canonical precedent.

    There are some info revealed about Jaden's past: besides mentioning some more of his Jedi Academy adventures (and yes, Rosh Penin IS mentioned), we learn that his parents died when he was very young and he was raised by an uncle who died when Yuuzhan Vong took over Coruscant. You also get a good idea why Thrawn eventually decided to use Ysalamiri to grow more stable clones - C'baoth wasn't even the worst example after all! I also can't help but wonder if the reason the Mother was able to fulfill her goal at that exact time period is tied to the Destruction of Centerpoint in the same way as Abeloth's was. And even though it obviously wasn't intentional, I liked how Kemp put some Umbarans in, just in time when they are about to get a LOT more publicity from their recent TCW appearance. There is also a big unanswered question about how One Sith knew of "Prime"'s existence, but not of that particular cloning facility and why they picked Jaden to be replaced in the first place - it all strongly points that the original Jaden was a clone as well.

    Regarding errors: Dramatis Personae lists Runner in place of who obviously was supposed to be Soldier and ommits the Umbarans, who actually have several POV moments, while Grace has none. Also it is made clear that only 10 clones were aboard the ship that escaped the Moon and the reader is eventually able to track the names and fate of each of them, yet the One Sith determine there were 11 life forms aboard the ship at first, 9 remained after 2 of the clones died in transit and by the time the Umbarans observe five bodies they determine that 6 clones are still at large. Because of that I kept looking for a missing clone all the way until after the medical
  8. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 41.9/5 = 8.38
  9. The_Forgotten_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 12, 2010
    star 4
    While I was saddened about how short it seemed, Riptide was still a great read and a good follow up to Crosscurrent. I eagerly await the inevitable continuation of the story.

    9/10
  10. Jedi_Matt Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2002
    star 4
    This was a good, fun read. It wasn't a pro-Jedi book by any stretch and Khedryn's characterisation was good, the conflicting emotions regarding Marr becoming Jaden's apprentice especially.

    I like that the One Sith sent non-Sith out to tag Jaden and / or Soldier, they're not being big-headed and are preparing for failure which makes their prolonged existence more believable.

    I look forward to a sequel, there has to be one, please! 8.5/10
  11. Kuag Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2
    Kemp is a great author who clearly understands what kind of story he's trying to tell and isn't interested in making it something that it isn't. I've yet to read his TOR novel, but I thoroughly enjoyed Crosscurrent and Riptide was no exception. Given my own recent medical maladies, I really appreciated the characterization and the many instances of the characters facing their own mortality. Khedryn's death march aboard the medical supply ship was really powerful writing. Riptide was dark, gritty, but woven with enough moments of levity to make it all both bearable and enjoyable.

    I fully anticipate a third novel (Undertow? :p ) will bring Jaden, Marr, and Khedryn's story to a conclusion. And if it's anything like the first two novels, it'll well be worth reading.

    8.5/10.

    Solid book.
  12. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 67.9/8 = 8.49
  13. Kalphite Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 4, 2009
    star 2
    I'm not sure whether Riptide should be called a 'Novel' or a 'Short-story'. It was a very, very quick read -- though honestly part of the reason it was so quick, is because it was so damn good, I didn't want to put it down.

    Really though -- this is the first book that had excerpts from stories of each Star Wars era -- and I can't help but feel like the only reason they did that was to fatten the book up and make it look normal [face_shame_on_you]

    But, like I said, it is a great read. The characters are well written. The Umbaran, Nyss, is one of the best villains we've been introduced to in a while. On par with Darth Malgus in Deceived. Say what you want about Kemp, but he knows how to write antagonists better than any Star Wars author we've had in a long time.

    My only big complaint, is that the background of Mother/Rakatan technology wasn't further expanded upon. There is definitely a corrolation there between Mother and Abeloth that begs further explanation.

    8.9/10
  14. Likewater Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 31, 2009
    star 4
    I personaly found it a tight well done and focused novel.

    The main weakness of Riptide was the clones, their personalities were practicly non existant, even Seer, she had nothing besides her fervent belief in "mother". Soilder and Grace were intresting, but I was expecting more from the clones.

    Everything else was spot on, Jaden was a great character to see the galaxy through. The inner conflict moved away from Jaden to Marr ( felt the transition was a bit fast)But that came together in the twist ending.

    And what can you say to that ending...damn...just damn.

    I just don't think I am as fond of Marr as I am of Jaden.


    As for mother, I think that was the right way to do an "Eldric Abomination", "she is to poweful run!", You can nock her down but she will get back up just as powerful and more pissed off every time.

    I give it an 8 out of 10.
  15. Robimus Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 6, 2007
    star 5
    I found Riptide to be a very enjoyable read. Not perfect but probably the best new Star Wars novel I've read this year. It's everything the rest of the Del Rey Universe currently isn't, its fresh, it was exciting, it was frightening, its was mysterious, and overall it was just a lot of fun.

    I think it had many strengths. The most obvious one being carried over from from Crosscurrent was Jaden Korr. I believe he is now the most developed non Skysolo Jedi in the post ROTJ timeline. At least as far as Del Rey goes. We get to really delve deeper into his character, his history and just delve further into who he is. It all worked for me, from his mother and uncle, to his memeories of training with Katarn and up to how he interasts with Marr and Khedryn. He feels like such a real character, someone with strengths and weaknesses.

    There is a real sense of peril in Riptide that I really enjoyed. Even though our main characters escape(with a cool twist), that was never a given. I spent the whole novel actually worried that they wouldn't all make it out.

    The clone storyline carried over from Crosscurrent was also excellent, if for nothing more than the possibilities created by who exactly these clones were cloned from. Is Hunter Mara? Is Maker Luke? Who was Two Blade, so on. Even though there are not a lot of 100% solid answers the novel is filled with little clues about who this clone or that clone might be, from heights, to hair and eye colors, to even personalities.

    I absolutly loved Soldier and Grace and would love to revisit them in the future. I really found myself caring about these two characters, which is a rare accomplishment for Star Wars novels and me.:p I mean I've gone through almost all of FOTJ, even enjoying various aspects of it, without feeling a single bit of emotion for any character appearing on the page. So when I do find this in a Star Wars novel I'm always pleased with it.

    My biggest complaint is the Umbaran. He was way to special for me, from his abilites to his too cool for school attitude. At least he and his sister were identified as unique. It would be pretty annoying if we had 3 billion Unbarans running around with the same abilites as these two, so I'm glad they were the exception to the rule.

    Also the way they shut down the lightsabers....lets just say the galaxy is better off with out that little plot device.

    8.5/10
  16. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 93.3/11 = 8.48
  17. Todd the Jedi Mod and Sitcom Dad of SWTV

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Oct 16, 2008
    star 5
    Paul Kemp continues the story of Jaden Korr in his follow-up to Crosscurrent, Riptide. Much like Crosscurrent there is much philosophizing present. The One Sith also return and send some new agents after Jaden and the crew of Junker. But that's not all! Jaden is also chasing after a group of escaped clones who exhibit some strange behaviors and aren't quite sane. All these elements come together in an explosive ending that leaves me begging for more.

    I liked how Jaden was portrayed here. He's grown from his experience in the previous book and has much more confidence in himself. Yet his view of the clones changes throughout the novel. First he sees them all as potential threats that need to be eliminated, but as he interacts with them he learns that they are just as human as he is and are more confused than dangerous. I also like how Marr gets much more time in the spotlight. His apprenticeship to Jaden brings a whole new dynamic to the table and makes him that more interesting. Khedryn was great as the pragmatic captain with snark to spare. Even up against unstable clones and agents of the Sith the guy just has to have his gum and caf. Speaking of which the Umbaran agents were pretty interesting, just like the Anzati was. At least this time they affected the story significantly. But I'm not sure they accomplished their mission successfully, since Marr took over during the Rakatan mind-switch thing. Either way it's a secret I don't think Marr will be able to keep from Jaden for long.

    The plot played out pretty well. The whole time I was enchanted by Seer's words regarding Mother, just like Soldier. When they finally reached Mother I wasn't surprised that she was a malevolent being not too dissimilar to Abeloth. I wonder if Mother is truly even gone. [face_thinking] Kemp once again introduced some slight horror elements during the parts on the medical freighter when the Umbaran was hunting everyone down, and again on the Rakatan station. He also did not shy away from grievously wounding many of the characters, with both Khedryn and I believe it was Soldier getting their noses shattered. Even though this was a bit shorter than Crosscurrent it had a better overall flow to it. The clones were a nice addition and the Umbarans added stuff too.

    Riptide raises many questions and only answers some, which is good and bad. It's good because it reminds me of the Bantam books where weird **** would happen without much background or explanation. (I'm looking at you, Crystal Star) Sure most of the stuff here gets slapped with a Rakatan label, but it's all still very mysterious. The unanswered questions that I felt negatively affected the story were those surrounding the One Sith. Their plan is never really made clear, nor are we told just how they got their hands on seemingly lost Rakatan technology. In a way it's good since it opens the door for many story-telling possibilities. Will these possibilities ever be picked up? Who knows? But they're there.

    I give Riptide an 8.5 out of 10 for another fun side adventure from Paul Kemp that continues to expand upon his interesting characters and introduce new wonders.
  18. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 101.8/12 = 8.48
  19. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Just finished this. I thought Crosscurrent was basically Dark Forces IV; the elements were certainly all there-it felt like a mashup between JK: Jedi Academy, Dark Forces, and JO. Riptide, on the other hand, was quite expansive. Really enjoyed the story overall; it's just been so, so long since we had a novel with a primary cast of just a few characters. Jaden is an excellent main, and the non-Forced people in the book actually had useful roles, which was nice. Really liked Soldier and Grace, and was glad to see that both of them made it. Mother was appropriately creepy. I LOVE that horror is now an accepted part of Star Wars; it has the potential to really open up the EU into things that aren't OT-mimicking (Bantam) or PT-mimicking (everything after NJO).

    10 out of 10 for originality and well-thought-out characters.
  20. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 111.8/13 = 8.60
  21. BROWNHORNET Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 9, 2007
    star 1
    Just finished this one. I agree that it was a very enjoyable read. The mystery behind Jaden's origins was unexpected, and I wish we had gotten more answers, though I hope we get a third volume that wraps everything up.

    I wish we had gotten more identities confirmed for the clones. I thought one of the cool things about them being cloned from mostly familiar characters in Crosscurrent was that we would learn who they were cloned from, and we only got that for a handful of the clones. I liked the use of the One Sith here, and I wish the 'main line' novels (FOTJ) would not forget them. I also liked the use of the Rakatan technology; the space station was creepy. Kemp expands on the Junker's crew and does a good job building on their friendship and their camaraderie with Korr. Kemp also provides some more bad ass bounty hunters; he has a good knack for finding some of the cool EU aliens and incorporating them into his stories. I also liked how brutal the fights were.

    I thought Mother was pretty creepy, and put me in the mind of Abeloth. There was a Borg-queen feel to her, but also Medusa. And for the book itself I got a sense of Star Trek's Augments from Enterprise and Khan from TOS.

    I rate it 9/10.
  22. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    Thoroughly enjoyable read.

    The clones were great, well developed, and made me care for them in a way I haven't any characters in FOTJ, nor other clones like Starkiller. I particularly liked how they weren't all identikit warriors; this recent resurgence in more mystical characters like the Dyarchy in Knight Errant has been most enjoyable. Mother was also excellent, very creepy, and an example of how to do Eldritch the right way, drawing on the very same strengths of "less is more" that made the Rakata so intriguing in the first place in KOTOR. Likewise, the One Sith again showed that you don't need a Sith Empire in every story for it to be enjoyable; Vader didn't need a team of Sith with him, and Kemp is one of the few who get that.

    What I most enjoyed was the way I had no idea what to expect. Even Jaden, I felt concerned for, in a way I never felt for some of the characters in Deathtroopers, for example. And that twist with the mindspear? Wow. Just wow. I did not see that coming. Ever since Crosscurrent, I've been wondering if Jaden was also a clone; now, I'm wondering what being "Jaden" even means. This is the kind of adult storytelling that I enjoy. It doesn't spoon feed you the answers; it doesn't leave you discussing whether Revan or Palpatine were stronger; instead, Kemp leaves us with some deep philosophical questions, ones that I'm not even sure if ihe'll be able to answer in a sequel. I was glad to be treated like an adult, instead of the Wikipedia generation who these days are treated like they prefer easily summarisable answers, with their Vegere's all reducible to a sentence. What's a man? I don't know. But whatever the answer, it will be enjoyable seeing what happens next.

    On which note, while my only regret is that we didn't get to spend more time with Jaden, I'm of two minds whether I actually expect a sequel or not. Backflow? Upsurge? Like Vergere, there are some mysteries I sometimes feel are best left unanswered. Either way, I look forward to whatever Kemp's next novel is, and hope that he continues to be allowed the creative freedom to develop his own ideas.

    10/10
  23. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 130.8/15 = 8.72
  24. darthcaedus1138 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2007
    star 5
    THIS is what I want from a Star Wars novel. Great action, interesting characters, and a great twist that makes the in media res beginning completely awesome.

    9.5/10
  25. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 140.3/16 = 8.77