The JC Lit Reviews Special: SHATTERPOINT (SHATTERPOINT spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Mastadge, Jun 3, 2003.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
  2. lightsaber_wielder Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    //hands Mastadge an award for beating Caine to creating this thread. 8-}

    Oh well, I'm out of this thread and all other Shatterpoint ones until I get the book! :) Which, knowing living in Australia, won't be for another two months...

    //hurries off to avoid spoilers.
  3. masterskywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2001
    star 5
  4. Kreuzader Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 23, 2002
    star 4
    Yeah, it's out, I just picked it up an hour ago at the local Borders bookstore.
  5. Gandalf the Grey Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 14, 2000
    star 6
    6.5/10.

    It definitely had its moments, but it was no Traitor (or Heroes Die, for that matter). Some good foreshadowing, some good supporting characters; Nick feels like an Aaron Allston character trapped in a Matthew Stover novel, and was probably my favorite character in the book. Depa was interesting, but I felt that to some degree the point of view used limited the exploration of her character that was possible. Palpy was his usual fun self; I hope other Clone Wars novels make similarly good use of him.

    The excerpts from Mace?s journal were hit-and-miss. Matt might not appreciate the comparison, but I thought that they worked best at philosophical explorations like those of Drizzt in R.A. Salvatore?s novels. The use of them to pull the story along didn?t work quite as well in my opinion. On a note that has nothing to do with whether I liked them or not, they reminded me very much of Caine?s monologues in Heroes Die and Blade of Tyshalle (go figure ;)).

    The two things that I didn?t like about the book were Mace himself and the battle at the end of the book. Jacen, I liked, and I liked him in Traitor. Mace I didn?t like, and this book didn?t do much to endear him to me. His general attitude was more Shaft-like than Jedi Master-like in my opinion. I seem to recall at one point Mace even using the ?Any questions?? signature line. And finally, I felt kind of cheated in that it followed what feels to me like a conventional path and wrapped up with a big battle at the end (which the good guys win). With the general tone of the book, I was hoping for a quieter, darker ending. On the other hand, I thought that the action towards the end of the book was better written than that in the middle of the book.
  6. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    It's out. Thanks for stepping up, Mast :p

    I'm still working on Refugee.

    [ sighs heavily ]

    I will get to this baby next :D
  7. tmihah Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 1
    I'm just cut/pasting my comments from the other Shatterpoint thread. Apologies in advance if anyone has read them twice:

    Just finished Shatterpoint today and let me say ... this book is not to be missed. I won't say I enjoyed it all the way throughout ... its not a "fun" Star Wars book (though there are moments of fun). It is more of an experience. In many ways, I found Shatterpoint to be even more exhausing than Traitor. Afterwards, I really felt as if I had been in a war myself, right along with the characters.

    I point this out because one of the few novels that had this effect on me was All Quiet on the Western Front, one of the supposed inspirations for this book. However, I found myself more weary of the Haruun Kal war than the hell that Paul faced on the German front lines. And that I guess is the point. Jedi feel death more acutely than regular people, and the code that makes them Jedi makes a concept of war especially damaging to them. In some cases, the mind can shatter. In others, the mind will be bruised but can recover (but will never be the same way again).

    The comments about Anakin Skywalker at the end of the book are especially appropriate and nicely placed to bring what feels like Haruun Kal's own universe directly into the GFFA. The conclusion Mace draws makes Anakin's journey seem all the more profound.

    That's a mark of an excellent Star Wars novel. It adds something new to the universe, an angle not previously seen or a written path not often taken. It makes the mythos that much more real to us, at the same time expanding the horizons of what could be. I'm glad not every Star Wars book is Shatterpoint-like. But the EU is much better for its creation.

    Thank you Mr. Stover for a great book. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a well deserved rest.

    10/10
  8. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I haven't finished yet, but I'll give it a 9/10. It's awesome from what I've read. Pretty deep in plot and dark.
  9. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Slightly mixed reviews... hmm, I'd better pick Shatterpoint up and offer my own opinion.

    -Evan
  10. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Please don't rate the book until you've finished it. Thank you.

    I'll have the book read by tomorrow afternoon, and won't be visiting this thread again until then, but so far:

    Counting 2 reviews: 16.5/20 = 8.25/10.
  11. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
  12. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I didn't mean to jump on you; there's no need to apologize. It's just that it can get confusing if people rate it before they're done, and then go back and change their ratings, and so forth.

    And now I've made a liar of myself. This time I really won't be back until tomorrow afternoon.
  13. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Thanks to real life, I'm only about 100 pages in. So my thoughts won't be up until tomorrow.
  14. Caine Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 3, 2002
    star 4

    Looking forward to your review, Mast (whenever it comes).

    An interesting beginning to this reviews thread. I wish I could finish Refugee.

  15. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I got about 10 pages into Refugee. Then I gave up. I'll probably read it and Reunion when TFP comes out. Or force myself to read it after Shatterpoint just to get it out of the way.

    I must admit I'm very surprised that Gandolf gave Shatterpoint a lower rating than he gave Remnant.

    But I'll withhold any further commentary until after I'm done the book.
  16. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I'm done the book, and I've changed my mind. I'm not going to even attempt to write a review. Whenever I try to review one of Matt's books, it ends up sounded like a press release or something. So I'll just offer some thoughts.

    I'll start off with my biggest problem with the book - the writing. It seems to be lacking polish. For the most part it's very well written, with the distinctive voice and compelling language that I've come to expect from Stover, but there's also a bit of clunkiness scattered throughout the book. Just to pick an example from the beginning, "It had been ten since anyone had last seen him smile" doesn't really work. "It had been ten since anyone had seen him smile" works. "It had been ten since he had last smiled" works. And such awkward phraseology occurs several times. Also: there were a huge amount of colons in this book. Some of them were necessary; some would have been better off as commas or dashes. Whatever the case, there were far too many: by my count, there were seventy-three bazillion of them.

    In round numbers.

    Despite these small textual issues, I hasten to point out that the book was still very well written. The reason the things that stood out did so was mostly because the rest of the prose was such smooth reading.

    As to the book itself: superb. An excellent Star Wars novel, and an excellent start to the Clone Wars novel campaign. Although the book is significantly longer than Traitor, it's all from the POV of one character: in this instance, Mace. I wasn't sure how that would go when I started the book, because Mace, as far as I was concerned, didn't really have a character. He had a couple of lines in the films, but for most of the comics he was just kind of there, without a whole lot of personality. So I didn't really have a clear mental image of the guy. But it turned out well. He turned out to be a compelling character.

    I guess the Star Wars novel that this most reminds me of in terms of content is a much darker Courtship of Princess Leia. Just a thought.

    It was good seeing a Jedi actually using the Force. Too often, but not always, the Force is used in pretty unimaginative ways, when it's used at all -- it seems that some authors forget that it's there until they come up with a scene specifically designed to use it in some neat way. But it's used frequently and often quite imaginatively here.

    I also really enjoyed the action. Nothing as powerful as the Ganner sequence, but it wasn't as abstract, either. There were lightsaber fights, Force-fights without sabers, ground battles, dogfights, everything, all done very well. Some of my favorite Star Wars fights are contained in this novel. Pretty action packed. All done very well. Those of you who liked seeing Luke in action with two sabers . . . just wait till you see Mace. Damn.

    Also, this book has a great deal of the humor that didn't make it into Traitor. A few of the jokes were groaners, but there were quite a few good chuckles in there as well. Some of the characters seemed pretty stock, but most were well-done, and I'd like to see more of Geptun down the line.

    So as a Star Wars novel it's a good, thoughtful, action-packed adventure. But it's also a Clone Wars novel. And it also works on that level.

    Though the events of this book probably don't have a huge impact on the Clone War itself, this book was a good introduction. It really defines the role of the Jedi in the war, which is essential because, for better or worse, it seems that all of the upcoming CW novels are about the Jedi participants, and it also really serves to underscore the difference between the Jedi and the fundaments of the Jedi Order in the time of the Republic, as opposed to the Jedi we're used to seeing in the NR/NJO days. This has been a topic of some discussion on these boards: the differences between how the two orders operated and trained and thought and functioned, and this book really helps to underscore both the differences and similarities.

    Of course, take this out of the GFFA, and i
  17. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 3 reviews: 26.2/30 = 8.73/10
  18. dark_jedi666 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Well I just finished reading Matthew Stover's Shatterpoint, his second Star Wars novel, and first in the prequel era.

    Before I give you my rating I am going to tell you my likes and dislikes of the book.

    Likes

    - Stover's look into Mace's pysche. This is Stover's strong point in writing, he really gets you into a characters mind, and there is no exception in this book with Mace.

    - Foreshadowing, I love how Mace's dreams foreshadow the future of the Jedi, and the Republic. It just seemed to fit really well into the book, and was not just thrown in, like in some other novels, or movies.

    - Nick Rostu. While he did feel a little like an Allston character thrown into a Stover book, his comic relief was well felt, as it gave a little bit of a lighter air to a rather dark novel. I would like to see Rostu show up in a future book, even in a cameo.

    Dislikes

    - Plot. To be honest I felt the plot of this novel was not very strong. This was supposed to be a Clone Wars novel, and 3/4 of the book had nothing to do with the Clone Wars. The war was a planetary one, and its only purpose was to show the psyche of the Jedi and how war was changing them. I felt this could have been done while showing a battle in the Clone Wars. The only part that showed the Clone Wars was the last battle, and I felt that was just thrown in so it could be called a Clone Wars novel.

    - Kar Vastor. He just seemed way to powerful. I mean Mace Windu is one of the, if not the most powerful Jedi in the Galaxy, and he is saying how much stronger Kar is. I understand that Kar is naturally strong like Anakin, but he has no training. I felt making him so strong and invincible was a discredit to the Jedi. To me, Kar seemed a little over the top, especially in his ability to control a Jedi Master such as Depa.

    While I did enjoy the novel, as I love Stover's style of writing, this book could have been much better in my opinion. While it is probably the best written of the prequel novels, and in my opinion the second best prequel novel overall, I still found a lot to be desired with it.

    My rating for Shatterpoint is a 7 out of 10
  19. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 4 reviews - 33.2/40 = 8.3/10
  20. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Hey, what's going on? Usually by the time a book's been out four days, we have at least seven or eight reviews. . .
  21. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    No idea, but I just finished it: 9/10
  22. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 5 reviews: 42.2/5 = 8.44/10
  23. tmihah Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Sep 26, 2001
    star 1
    Maybe some people are missing this thread. Anyway to make it a "stickie"?
  24. jedimasterED Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 4
    Finished it last night, and for the most part I am more that satified with the experience. Early on, I was a bit dismayed at how often situations got the better of Mace. I didn't expect him to be all-knowing and all-powerful, but there were times when Mace seemed less a Jedi Master and more an ignorant outsider. And, I think that was the point.

    I liked the implications drawn between calling the realities the "Galaxy of Peace" and the "Galaxy of War". It seems that other Jedi have also had to deal with the distiction between playing by the rules of peace as law enforcement and playing by the rules of war as generals (K'Kruhk from Jedi: Mace Windu, and, obviously, Depa Billaba).

    I also enjoyed the brief forays into Mace's philosophy on the Force. Differently than in Traitor yet with the same general questioning message, Stover presents the Force as something that "just is". Certainly, the battle with the jungle is equated to the battle with the dark, but pelekotan is clearly not the "Dark Side". It just is.

    Speaking of the battle with the dark; in another topic someone brought up the "I don't have to win, I just have to fight" comment. I had yet to read Shatterpoint, so I reserved my judgement. I can say now that this is equatable to "Do or do not; there is no 'try'." The prase's first use (the "jungle rules" fight with Kar Vastor) was quite literal: To keep things managable and moving in the direction Mace wanted, all he had to do was fight Vastor. Mace didn't have to defeat him, and so he didn't. He just fought. He didn't "try" to "fight" (with the implication that any attempt to fight is an attempt to win). The other times the phrase was used (I lost the direct situational references), it was used less literally. The Jedi, or either Mace or Depa in this instance, don't have to win the fight against the dark; they just have to fight. The act of fighting the dark is enough. One not need to worry if their efforts will be the deciding factor. Earnest opposition to the "real enemy" of the Jedi - "power mistaken for justice, the desperation that justifies atrocity, the strangling cloud of fear and despair and anguish" - is all with which a Jedi needs concern him/herself.

    This is so very far away from what most people would want to do. It is a natural instinct to want to defeat evil, injustice, and cruelty; moreso to be the one who is responsibe for the victory... at any cost, perhaps. But Stover, through Mace, makes it clear that the instincts of a Jedi are not to be the same as others'. The insticts of others, of Kar Vastor, of the jungle, will, in war, always lead to a compromise in ethics; a conflict of interests that can tear apart a Jedi.

    Mace's thoughts/visions about Anakin, about his own actions at Geonosis (after returning from Haruun Kal), and about the Jedi's battle with the dark are, admittedly influenced by knowing the end of the story. Yet they are still eerily valid. It appears, however, that Mace does not emerge from the jungle with a new approach to solving the conflict between the Galaxy of Peace and the Galaxy of War. He has only solidified his thinking that everything can be managed, by the rules of peace, so long as the Jedi (with a parallel to Anakin) hold fast, keep hope alive, and do not give up the fight against the dark.

    There are other, more tiny details I absolutely loved (the whole pelekotan, Akk Guards, vibroshields thing for one) and some I could do without (the detailed descriptions of the weaponry and some of the dialogue come to mind). On the whole, though, reading Shatterpoint was a valuable experience and Stover's efforts therein are a noteworthy addition to the Saga. I give it a 9 out of 10. Solid work.
  25. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 6 votes: 51.2/6 = 8.53/10
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