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The JC Lit Reviews Special: THE CLONE WARS: NO PRISONERS (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac , May 19, 2009.

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  1. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    The third TCW novel, Karen Traviss's second and final entry, No Prisoners features the zany adventures of Gilad Pellaeon, Ahsoka Tano, Gilad Pellaeon's secret love, dissident Jedi, and a couple of those clone fellows.

    Some rules: rate No Prisoners 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:

    [link=]Republic Commando: Hard Contact, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Shatterpoint, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]The Cestus Deception, by Steven Barnes[/link]
    [link=]Medstar I: Battle Surgeons, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry[/link]
    [link=]Medstar II: Jedi Healer, by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry[/link]
    [link=]Jedi Trial, by David Sherman and Dan Cragg[/link]
    [link=]Yoda: Dark Rendezvous, by Sean Stewart[/link]
    [link=]Labyrinth of Evil, by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Revenge of the Sith, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine, by Veronica Whitney-Robinson[/link]
    [link=]Tatooine Ghost, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Survivor's Quest, by Timothy Zahn[/link]
    [link=]Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Traitor, by Matthew Stover[/link]
    [link=]Destiny's Way, by Walter Jon Williams[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic I: Remnant, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic II: Refugee, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]Force Heretic III: Reunion, by Sean Williams and Shane Dix[/link]
    [link=]The Final Prophecy, by Greg Keyes[/link]
    [link=]The Unifying Force, by James Luceno[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest I: The Joiner King, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Dark Nest III: The Swarm War, by Troy Denning[/link]
    [link=]Outbound Flight, by Timothy Zahn[/link]
    [link=]Republic Commando: Triple Zero, by Karen Traviss[/link]
    [link=]Legacy of the Force: Betrayal, by Aaron Allston[/link]
    [link=]Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines, by Karen Traviss[/link]
  2. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    For starters, this is the crappiest, shoddiest, goofiest-looking little TPB format I've ever seen. Between that and the (lack of) width, it looks like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, or a YJK novella or something.

    Good news, however, is that the book is fairly good. To be honest, I think it's the best Traviss has done in a long time, possibly since Hard Contact. And I think the key there, or part of the key, is that she doesn't waste time having the characters pontificate. It's a weakness she's had, increasingly, to have the characters sit around and talk about their moral issues and think and agonize and angst and go over the same damn thing over and over again and make a little progress and never have the story move forward. This, however, actually has action. It has things happening, and a mission, and bang-bang-bang, it keeps up a good pace. The plot stays out of park through all 250 pages, and it's a big step forward.

    Generally, the novel is an enjoyable ride, a simple and direct chronicle of a mission that keeps the pace quick and throws in some good plot twists. The heavy-handedness is toned down; clones-are-people-too is basically taken as a given by all the characters, so it's not harped on. In fact, the novel (or at least the characters in it) ultimately seems to sell the idea that the clones want to fight, so let them; it's more important to fight the war and keep good people alive and let the clones do what they do than to worry about where the army came from, or to argue clones' rights when most don't even want them. Instead, however, Traviss has found a new issue to hammer on: attachment. Between the clones grilling Ahsoka about how that nonattachment nonsense works, and Altis's sect proclaiming how Yoda is a blind, dogmatic fool to forbid love and attachment, and every single character proving skeptical of or at least conflicted over attachment, it's not exactly subtle. But maybe it's just because I have fewer issues with criticizing attachment, but I found that it did, at least, come off fairly well despite the heavy-handedness. Rather than have "good" Coruscant Jedi lambasting the order, we have Altis's heretics preaching a view we already knew they had, causing some fairly legitimate doubts over attachment, and creating a thought-provoking encounter with Anakin that's everything Nejaa Halcyon should have been in Jedi Trial and wasn't.

    That leads me on into characterization. Traviss does fairly well with Anakin, showing us a fairly likable and well-intentioned but conflicted young man who doesn't want to face his own weaknesses. I think she does a pretty darn good Anakin. Ahsoka manages not to be annoying; she's somewhat marginalized, but comes off well enough as an earnest kid. Rex I liked; he's a competent, focused, sympathetic officer not given to clone self-pity. Altis was a good Jedi Master, wise and powerful but also a bit strident as befits a heretic, yet willing to engage in self-doubt. Geith, the dead guy from COTJ, is fleshed out into a personable young man, more likeable than his brief bit in COTJ, yet as self-assuredly self-righteously anti-authority hippie-obnoxious as a college socialist. Callista is competent, nice enough, interesting, and has a wonderful bit where she merges with a gunnery computer (all Altis's people are Force-good with electronics, and Callista's the best) and likes it. And comes out with her Force abilities dampened. Genuine good continuity there. Devis is interesting enough as a spy who doesn't like what she sees of the Republic. It's a theme that the Clone Wars material has hit again and again, but it's effectively hit here once more. Pellaeon is a bit of a problem. And the problem is, he's not Pellaeon. Not all the time. The book talks about how much he dislikes protocol. The scene in which Pellaeon was brought into existence was him chewing out a subordinate for failure to adhere to proper protocol. Generally, the portrait of Pellaeon is good, and shows us a competent officer who hates navy politics and has no desire to rise above captain,
  3. BandofClones

    BandofClones Jedi Youngling star 3

    Mar 3, 2009
    I have read the whole book. I was disappointed. I can't even give a rating, quite frankly.

    I'll write a more detailed review later, but for now, all I'll say is this: I am a fierce fan of Captain Rex, and as I read this book, I kept thinking, "Who the heck is this guy?" Why does Traviss have such a hard time with straight-laced, non-conflicted characters? Why can she not portray him as he is in the TV series? I've never seen so much existential angst injected into a character who has absolutely hint of it on the screen.

    Second, the mere idea that clones would be disrespectful and fire off sexually-oriented questions to Ahsoka (without ever mentioning the word "sex") and that Rex would allow it to go on for so long is so out-of-character for the clones and for Rex that the whole scene made me wonder if Traviss even watches the series as she's writing these characters. Regardless of how any of us feel about Ahsoka, the clones (including Rex) always show her the utmost respect and obedience.

    LAJ_FETT Tech Admin and Collecting/Lucasfilm Ltd Mod star 9 Staff Member Administrator

    May 25, 2002
    For starters, this is the crappiest, shoddiest, goofiest-looking little TPB format I've ever seen. Between that and the (lack of) width, it looks like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, or a YJK novella or something.

    I agree. When I saw the book in Forbidden Planet I thought it was a YA book due to the presentation. However I picked it up anyway (at £10.99 UK!). If the publishers are going to use this format for adult books the least they could do is wait until after the recession. A normal pb here is around £6.99 - £7.99 if it isn't discounted. For the presentation I give the book around 2/10. (I'll give a couple of points for cover art).

    The story was pretty good though. I enjoyed it, but I thought it was too short. I know over in the other No Prisoners thread there was a discussion on page count. However for the price this was just not long enough. I know we've had short books before (Rogue Planet, Darth Maul Shadow Hunter - for example) but at least they were presented nicely. £10.99 for a short hardcover - fine.

    For the story - 7/10. I'm subtracting a point for the length.
  5. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 15/2 = 7.50
  6. Elori

    Elori Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 18, 2002
    Hmm out of 10, I would give it an 8. I've put up my review here:

    It's about 1200 words and I forget the limit for these boards. :eek:
  7. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 23/3 = 7.67
  8. colojedi7

    colojedi7 Jedi Knight star 1

    Mar 13, 2007
    I really liked the alternate jedi order of Djinn Altis. I also liked the portrayal of angsty Anakin. I really didn't recognize Callista as the Callista from the Bantam books, however many years have passed so that is okay. I am not sure if I can follow the technique of how she merged with the computer, but since this was already in canon, I'll go with it. What I didn't like was the constant (at least it felt that way to me [face_peace] ) glorifying of Altis' order and the very unflattering depiction of the Jedi Order. I think a little more subtlety would have helped the novel a lot. Overall I give it 7/10.
  9. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 30/4 = 7.50
  10. Robimus

    Robimus Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jul 6, 2007
    Since the advent of the Prequel Trilogy I?ve disliked Jedi philosophy. I don?t like talking about, I don?t like reading about it. Maybe it?s just because I?ve never been the Jedi Knighthood?s largest supporter but I often find my own feelings at odds with aspects of what the Pre-Battle of Yavin Jedi teach. At the very least I?m always very critical of the Yoda headed Jedi Order attached to the Republic. I think they dropped the ball when it came to Anakin Skywalker, failed miserably??.but I never hated them.

    I hate Djinn Altis?s Jedi sect. At the very least I can say definitively that I hate the way they were presented in this novel. It?s to Karen Traviss?s credit that she can invoke such strong responses from her readers but I suspect in this case her intention was not to make me hate this Jedi group, but I can?t get around that in my mind.

    I suspect Karen would actually have us look at this group with puppy dog eyes and think this is how Jedi should be????? Yet for all of Yoda?s Jedi Order?s rigid rules and harsh philosophies they come across to me as much warmer, much more genuine characters than the Altisian Jedi sect does.

    Emotion is a difficult human dilemma; this is the premise of the Prequel Trilogy and something I find myself able to understand on some basic level. Putting aside emotion???joy, love, compassion, anger, hurt, betrayal, rage and more is a very difficult thing.

    The Jedi of the Old Republic found that separating themselves as much as possible from these emotions was the best way they could function and I can see the wisdom in that decision. I think Yoda?s Order took their teachings too far with Anakin Skywalker, that they were too unwilling to try and see that Anakin was not cut from their own cloth, and that was their failing.

    Altis?s Jedi would have me believe that the exact opposite of Yoda?s philosophy is actually the way to go. That Jedi need to be attached, to know intense love and caring for individuals; that emotion is needed, that passion is needed, above all else.

    Fiddlesticks I say, I don?t find the teachings of Djinn Altis at all believable, anymore than the notion that he has trained thousands of Jedi, anymore than the idea that his Jedi sect are so emotionally devoid that the base instincts of people are always overridden by their ability to get over human emotions.

    We have the point reiterated over and over again that Altis?s Jedi don?t fall to the darkside.....yeah right. If none of Altis?s thousands of followers (even if not all Force Users) care and love their partners then letting go in the face of devastating loss then they are the most un-believable characters I?ve ever read.

    What would happen to this noble Geith if Callista was cut down before him by Asajj Ventress or Count Dooku? Would he not seek revenge? Would he not teeter close to the darkside, if not descend into the darkside itself in an effort to bring the murderer to justice? Does anyone truly believe that he would let Callista?s killer go free because he is so easily able to control his emotions? I don?t think so, thus I find the idea of the mere thought of Altis?s attached-detachment silly. To truly love is to be obsessed; one has already taken that plunge in the act of falling in love.

    I can?t believe I?m siding with Yoda on anything, believe me; I don?t like the little green troll. But I do understand why he teaches what he does and why he believes that it is for the best. I think his approach is far superior to Altis?s just because I find this Altisian approach completely unbelievable, especially for warriors and peace mongers capable of jumping on the next ship and jetting off to seek revenge.

    As for the rest of the story, you know the one presented on the back of the book, there is far too little of that and far too much of Altis and his flunkies for my tastes.

    It is nice to see within the life of Gilad Pellaeon a little bit more, to meet Hallena Devis (presumably the mother of his child) and see some of his early time serving on the Leveler during the Clone Wars. Much
  11. Elori

    Elori Jedi Padawan star 4

    Mar 18, 2002
    Of course it's not, this is the Gil from about 30 years before what you see in The Thrawn Trilogy. He's younger, less seasoned and given the moral dilemma he goes through in No Prisoners (he questions his duty being influenced by personal feelings) I can see why he turned into the officer we later know him as.

    I mean, Pellaeon has to have grown as a character. I think he'd be kind of boring and static if he appeared and left the EU as exactly the same person. ;)
  12. Jedi Ben

    Jedi Ben Chosen One star 7

    Jul 19, 1999

    In the UK, Wild Space came out as a hardback - so too is this:

  13. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 33/5 = 6.60
  14. Charlemagne19

    Charlemagne19 Chosen One star 8

    Jul 30, 2000
    Extremely good novel. 10/10.
  15. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 43/6 = 7.17
  16. MaceWinducannotdie

    MaceWinducannotdie Jedi Padawan star 4

    Aug 31, 2001
    So what you're saying is Ahsoka is even more out-of-character than Pellaeon?
  17. ATimson

    ATimson Jedi Master star 4

    Nov 19, 2003
    No Prisoners was competent, but short, and seemed to lack the Traviss "spark".

  18. Plaristes

    Plaristes Jedi Master star 3

    Jul 2, 2007
    I would have liked the book to be longer, but other than that, I thought it was great. I definitely want to see more of Altis's Order.

  19. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 59/8 = 7.38
  20. Manisphere

    Manisphere Jedi Master star 5

    Aug 25, 2007
    Couldn't have put it better myself. While I really enjoyed Traviss' style and the go go go of the book, it was just too short for the $20 I payed for it.
    7.2 It would have made 8 easily if the story had a little more meat to it. And with that I think I might be done with TCW novels.
  21. Liliedhe

    Liliedhe Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 22, 2009
    Finally, I got the book. I hated waiting for it with all the discussion going and unable to join in. Kriff you, Amazon, I thought you were quicker.^^

    Ok, now I'm finally done and it was surprisingly good. The beginning and the end were slow, the middle part was breakneck. I don't really have very much to say about the action - nothing that hasn't been said so far. I agree with Havac - I found myself mostly agreeing with the treatment of the attachment issue, it was discussed by the right people in mostly the right way... Although Ahsoka came off as very, very naive. She should have known more, known better.

    Of course, I disagree with a lot of points made in there, like Yoda seemingly ruling the Jedi Order with an Iron fist as was alluded to occasionally... But that made sense coming from the people who thought that way. I liked the ending, with the ongoing thread of "looking in the painful places" and the fine line between "looking would do only harm" and "looking just hurts". Of course Anakin makes the choice not to look at his issue with loss, and neither does Callista. In fact, the only person where it is really spelled out that he is making the right decision not to pursue a track of questioning leading into painful places, is Rex (and Ahsoka, although I think that is a question she should never have needed to ask herself). And maybe Pellaeon. All of the others are just closing their eyes to hurtful truths and walking away from them. The most interesting case is Altis, of course.

    He is the wise leader, who, despite trying so hard to not take away choice, is faced with the truth that he still does. By existing. His group follow him, depend on him. And they believe he knows better than they. In the end that leads to a rather striking breakdown - where I have the feeling that sometimes authorial bias comes through, the rant against Yoda and the Jedi seems quite out of character for so mellow a man. In the end Master Altis joins Anakin in denial, though it is a denial of a different sort. Yes, one man can change the galaxy. He is doing it right now. But in choosing to blame Yoda, to blame the Republic, to blame the Jedi, Altis just looks away, too.

    So, yes, I liked the book. There were some parts I did not like, especially the portrayal of Padmé. She was incredibly out of character, suffering from a Lady Di complex about her reputation, and then seeing Anakin off like a good Germanic wife in the Landser publications. At that point, the book almost hit the wall. Pelleaon making Ahosoka put on cloths was the second wallbanger. This is not our universe. For all its faults, the Republic is not overly sexist and certainly not moralist. That simply didn't fit. Pellaeon also was quite OOC at some points, but that wasn't so bad.

    There's just one gripe I have with the book: Why is this a TCW novel? Anakin, Ahsoka and Rex only have better cameos, while the main characters are Altis, Hallena and Pellaeon. As long as they don't appear in the series, I'd call it misleading to put this book into the TCW series. Good book, yes. TCW book? NO.

  22. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 74.2/10 = 7.42
  23. PadmeA_Panties

    PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling star 4

    Oct 25, 2003
    Quick summarization time; I can do a better job later if asked; just pressed for time now.

    Rating: 2.5/10


    1) Why is this a TCW novel? This really should just be a regular Paperback. I'm not sure how this all works out marketing/publishing wise; but its stupid. Did DelRey make these novels? If so; why not just do it under their normal banner? 16$ American for this garbage was pathetic. Especially since I can't just wait for it in paperback.

    2) Palleon is out of character in general; as well as in this novel. He's pointed out to be anti-protocol but does numerous things in-protocol (the repeating the safety word 3 times before action, making Ahsoka wear more clothing, etc.).

    3) The entire Hellena Devis plot point was just kinda, 'meh'. She came off as a completely naieve spy; not a battled-grizzled veteran who just now decided it was time. She came off as someone who this was her first, second, (or at most) third mission and then realized it was time to get out. But Karen has you believe this is mission #30000.

    4) Loved the Altis sect; though numerizations and other things a-typical with Traviss are off. Thousands of Jedi trained? Really? Yoda/the Order/Mace doesn't have an issue basically with a seperate Jedi Order nearly the same size as their Order? If they would have kept it to a small like 15-20 group, with some non-force users; that'd be far more believable and interesting. Almost like a little mini-cult, same with the Paladins, all of this with Ki-Adi-Mundi being the Mormon of the Jedi Order would make the Order/Jedi of the PT seem more fleshed out and interesting.

    5) Karen is a good writer. She writes good-to-great original characters. That said; she's a BAD (read: HORRIBLE) in-universe writer. Good writer. Bad in-universe writer.

    Her characters are nothing more than plot-vehicles for whatever poignant thought she wants to get through (RC series = how clones are people, No Prisoners = attachment). Her characters for the most part are not realistic nor believable and there is numerous in-character/out-of-character faults as well as plot-faults that just seem completly uncharacteristic of real-life and take you completly out and make you question how/what/why this could happen; and not in a good way.
  24. Havac

    Havac Former Moderator star 7 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 29, 2005
    Average score: 76.7/11 = 6.97
  25. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 8, 2005

    I really liked the book, the biggest gripes I have are its length. i agree that it's way to short. the otehr is the Gil/Hal thing. Just not my cup of tea, like the 1st PoV of Pelly at the beginning. I just don't like it. As soon as he was back in 3rd PoV, I really liked him again, especially interacting with Rex and Co. I had to luhug out loud a few times right at the beginning. And there's nothing like clone humour. [face_laugh]

    Another point the nocel scroes is that it's a 'small' story in a big war. The world will not end if they loose. Still, their success means a lot more to me than many galaxy-threatening battles. I don't mind the lack of Big Names from the series, actually I approve. And any novel in the CW that actually has clones as protagonists is a good thing, IMO. When I started on Wild Space, what completly threw me was the complete lack of clones. I'm on pagee 100 now, still looking for them. [face_plain]

    Altis and his gang. I must admit that I'm all kinds of pejudiced there. I never like the OJO Jedi as depicted in the PT. Altis resembles the kind of Jedi I expected after the OT a lot more than anyhting I have seen so far. He's pretty much speaking my mind about the Order (and other things), so I can forgive him - oops, now I forgot the fault I wanted to mention. Jedi Mind Trick, I swear. :oops:

    I must admit that sometimes the 'clones are people, too!' did get on my nerves. Oh well, Traviss is preacheing to the choir here, maybe I should just skip those bits.[face_thinking]

    Since Altis trained non-Jedi, too, the number of actual Jedi he turned out might be a lot smaller. [face_thinking]

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