The JC Lit Reviews Special: THE CESTUS DECEPTION (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Mastadge, May 22, 2004.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    I know it?s a bit early, but we know at least some people have advance copies, so here's the review thread. I'm trying something new with this sticky thing; if it doesn't work out, in the future I'll resort to non-stickiness.

    As usual, please rate THE CESTUS DECEPTION on a scale from 1 to 10. Please don't rate the book until after you've finished it. Thank you.

    Also, please supplement your rating of THE CESTUS DECEPTION with a few words (or a lot, as you see fit).

    Links to previous review threads, in case you missed 'em:

    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=11891489]Shatterpoint[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Literature/b10003/14438851/]Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=10759477]Tatooine Ghost[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Literature/b10003/14741176/]Survivor's Quest[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=6213214]Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=7012853]Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=7667586]Traitor[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=8946420]Destiny's Way[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=10343473]Force Heretic I: Remnant[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=11499850]Force Heretic II: Refugee[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=12177893]Force Heretic III: Reunion[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/message.asp?topic=13334532]The Final Prophecy[/link]
    [link=http://boards.theforce.net/Literature/b10003/13820980/]The Unifying Force[/link]
  2. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    I have yet to type of a formal review for this, but the book simply blew me away. Steven Barnes did a wonderful job with this book, with the characters, the politics, the action and the plot. All well done. The only thing that's wrong is a small continuality error that's not a big problem.
    9.7 / 10
  3. DarthMane2 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 20, 2003
    star 5
    Does the book go into the war on a larger scale,or is the book about a secluded event?

    Any fleet battles
  4. JediMasterGuff Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 18, 2002
    star 5
  5. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    There's not much in the way of fleet battles, although there is some ship stuff here and there. I think that we're probably going to want to restrict questions like this to the official thread, not here.
  6. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    JT has the right of it, as usual. This thread is mainly for review purposes; more in-depth discussion is better suited to the other thread.
  7. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Okay, my review for Cestus Deception. The summery is not complete, for I'm working on a more detailed one for my own site. I may get that up here when it's online there.


    Summery: The Droid manufacturing Factories on the planet Ord Cestus have developed a new type of droid, JK, one that is completely new, partially organic and can use the force to some degree, giving it a new edge against opponents. Given the deadliness of the droid, the Republic moves to shut down the factories, diplomatically, if possible. However, the droids are being sought after by the Confederation of Independent Systems, under the cover of security droids. Senator Palpatine sent in Jedi Masters Obi-Wan Kenobi and Kit Fisto and a contingent of ARC and Commando Troopers in case things go horribly wrong during the negotiations. They do, and while everything falls apart, the Jedi realize that there's more than one deception that they're part of.


    What Worked: I was anticipating this book for a very long time, and with that came some worrying. What if the book wasn't as good as we'd hoped? What if I'd have to write out a negative review for this? Well, my worries were very unfounded. From the minute I started this book, to the moment I finished, I have held onto every word and have loved it. For a debut novel, Steven Barnes has done a wonderful job, capturing the feel of the Star Wars universe and the Clone Wars wonderfully.
    There are many things that I have really enjoyed about this book. First, the references to the timeline and previous events is something that is not often seen, but for those who know the Clone Wars well, this is a wonderful thing to see so much interconnected references, that really makes this book a good one to read. While previous ones do not overly affect the plot, there are several references to the comics and movie. Secondly, for those ARC and Trooper fans out there, you're in for a treat. We're introduced to a new ARC Trooper, A-98, nicknamed Nate, who is tasked to assisting with the mission. Through Nate, we are really introduced to the lives of the Troopers, and there are several fundamental questions that are asked of him, especially when he meets Sheeka Tull, one of Jango's former girlfriends, who had lost him. Between the two of them, we see the way that the Troopers see things, and when Tull sees something else. The difference is pointed out, and it's interesting to see their reactions. In addition to Nate, we learn a little about Jango as well, which is very interesting, to say the least.
    Characterization in this novel was excellently done. From known characters like Obi-Wan, Anakin and Palpatine, Barnes has done a masterful job at bringing these characters to life, as viewers would remember them in the movies, and has even gone above and beyond to do the characters right. For other characters such as Asajj Ventress, Nate the ARC, the Clone Troopers, Sheeka Tull, and any of the numerous other characters, Barnes had brought them to life wonderfully, picking up where they were in the comics or cartoon series or out of the Star Wars universe, there are many reasons to like, love, hate, despise or otherwise care about the characters being used in some way.
    The plot is excellent. Barnes has not only successfully created an outstanding political situation, but makes it interesting as well, throwing in some weird things and coming out with something even better. The JK droids, also known as Jedi Killers, are slightly force sensitive, and are a blend of organic and inorganic parts, which certainly makes for a new threat. Throw in a planet that is poised to make trillions of credits for these droids, selling them through a political loophole, and then having the Republic try and stop them from doing so. Mixed with various characters and factions who all want something different, the situation is explosive and is clearly going beyond diplomacy.
    The title, Cestus Deception is revealing. Deception is one of the main themes of this novel, from the false kidnapping staged by Obi-Wan to the various others that app
  8. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 1 review: 9.7/1 = 9.7
  9. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Looks like this came off the sticky side. :p Just a couple more days!
  10. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Yeah. Should be out, so I'm bringing this up.
  11. JediTrilobite Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Tomorrow! Who has it now?
  12. Club_333 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 4, 2001
    star 4
    have it- i have read it, i'd say a 9 out of 10
    his lightsaber battle at the end was a bit stunted, for my taste, at least. his characterization of nate/jangotat was decent. the whole "everyone lying to everyone" take was well done. i did not think that obi wan would engage in a deception of his own and thought it a bit out of character. kit fisto was a bit stoic... not the type of guy you'd see smiling in battle as on geonosis. it seems he worried too much- not an overwhelming amount, but a bit of a question. still, i'm not certain how i feel about ventress' abrupt end to obi wan's duel. i know it was supposed to harken back to the earlier death duel, but i still am left wondering if that was in her character.
  13. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 2 reviews: 18.7/2 = 9.35
  14. jedimasterED Moderator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 10, 1999
    star 4
    I'd give it a 9 out of 10 as well.

    I had no issues with Obi-Wan's deception, Kit's stoicism (I tend to think most Jedi have begun to be troubled by the growing conflict and the changes in the Force), or Ventress' stunted role.

    This book was, in essence, Jangotat's story; a story of self-discovery.

    I felt that Barnes handled the established characters well and didn't presume too much with Obi-Wan, Kit, or Ventress. The author created a rich environment full of interesting characters in which the primaries (Obi-Wan, Kit, and Ventress) could be themselves and the secondaries (Jangotat, et al) could grow.

    Barnes' martial background showed through and added a nice validity to the fight scenes (both training and actual), as well. Barnes' familiarity with the Star Wars saga was made clear with apprpriate references to existing storylines and concepts sprinkled throughout. The twist of deception was a common theme and well appreciated.

    All in all, it was a good read and easily recommendable.
  15. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 3 reviews: 27.7/3 = 9.23
  16. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Anyone else finish it yet?
  17. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 7
    Every bit as good yet totally different from Shatterpoint, perfect contrast which was needed and shows what the range may well be about: showing all aspects of the Clone Wars, and so, in turn, war.

    JB
  18. NJOfan215 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 17, 2003
    star 5
    I'm impressed. This book was well plotted, and in general very well thought out. I liked all of the characters. I have a few small complaints, but not many.

    9.5
  19. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 4 reviews: 37.2/4 = 9.3
  20. farraday Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    I liked it, but I have a few problems with it.

    As such I'm giving it an 8.12~
  21. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    farraday, would you be willing to elaborate a bit on what your problems with it were?

    Counting 5 reviews: 45.32/5 = 9.06
  22. farraday Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 27, 2000
    star 7
    Well I was hoping it would not be similar to the Phantom Affair. That in and of itself probably lost it a point. Also, I'm not sure but after the ship was shot down it seemed... a little too quick.

    The raid a couple and have a bad raid, which takes two pages to turn into a sucess and then the invasion of the tunnels and Nate/Jangotet's revelations which are many many times longer then any of the action. I simply did not enjoy it as much. And of course the lightsaber duel was less then a page.

    But still a good book.

  23. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
  24. DarthTerrious Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 5
    Hmmm well I've read it, enjoyed it and here's my thoughts.

    Barnes, simply, has created a wonderfully weaving tale of deception and intrigue which makes you feel for the characters and strip away your preconceptions and leaves you surprised by the end result.
    LOL that sounds like one of those Amazon review or something, but thats seriously how this book did it for me.

    I have to confess being confused all the way through Cestus Deception, so many deceptions, so much intrigue, it really made my head spin. Thank goodness he included the very human story of A-98, or Nate.

    I have to admit the confusion on my part was seemingly intention from Barnes, Ventress foiling Obi-Wan at every turn, the Jedi doing their foiling, Trillot playing both sides, the five families essentially playing the Confederacy and the Republic. I think it worked well, he created such a web that at each turn the revelation of each unentangled part made you realise how in the end the whole situation was an elaborate trap beyond even the two warring factions. But then in the end the final result was still better than what the Jedi and the Clones had come into.

    The Clone plotline/storyline was also an excellent addition. Through Nate, I got to see exactly what I tried to deny, that clones are humans too. It was interesting to see how he became more aware of the world outside of the GAR and his clone "brothers". That he wasn't merely a mindless drone created to fight and die.
    In fact I think the reaction of Obi-Wan, Kit and Sheekla to him was very interesting and how he changed all their perceptions and made him more human to them not just an honourable soldier of the Republic.

    Character-wise, I have few complaints, Obi-Wan and Kit Fisto were about what I expected though Kit surprised me. Of the other likeable characters, Doobl Snoil, Nate and G'Mai Duris were very notable.
    Snoil was a extremely likeable character and it was very sad that he died in such a way, heroic yet tragic, and I was surprised to lose such a good character at that point.
    Nate well I've explained why really with the Clone plotline, he was very intriguing and I think his coming to understand his own humanity was touching yet necessary, it opened a hole in what the Kaminoans had done when they bred the Clones and how inevitably Palpatine will use the Clones.
    Duris because she was the only character to not resort to lies and deception. And it paid off for her. Even when it looked so hopeless.

    Of the bad guys (which there are too many to count it seems), I'm still struggling with Ventress, she's overrated and a bore (reminds me of a certain red gold haired female later in the SW timeline). You could easily replace her with someone of more substance if you asked me.
    The others really weren't that notable, I was glad Trillot and the Five Families got their comeuppance though.

    The only negatives are things I already disliked. I can't stand Ventress, the idea of ARC troopers and Palpatine's characterisation in the EU has been poor to me never really up to scratch with the movie one. So in a sense there was nothing really wrong with TCD beyond those already very well apparent problems (from my perspective).

    All in all, I think the book is amazuing and very entertaining something worth reading again, definitely recommendable and is better than Shatterpoint.
    Best Clone War Novel to date (considering we have many to go I think thats premature but hey).

    Rating: 9.5/10
  25. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 6 reviews: 45.32/6 = 9.14
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