Lit The JC Lit Reviews Special: THE FORCE UNLEASHED II (Spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The novelization of the next big Star Wars video game is out -- The Force Unleashed II!

    Some rules: rate The Force Unleashed II 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]
    [link=]Darth Bane: Path of Destruction, by Drew Karpyshyn[/link]
  2. Liliedhe Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 22, 2009
    star 3
    This came basically just in time as my interest was perked again. I liked the first book (and the first game) a lot. Now, the second one surpasses the first. It feels far less like a game, and spends more time on the characterization than one fights. I was sceptical when I heard of the TFU getting a sequel - after all, the first game ended with the main character dying.

    Well, it turns out he isn't that dead. Although the question what he is isn't answered and remains mysterious through the entire book, with hints in both direction (clone or no clone). Thankfully, the book doesn't waste time on identity crises or on "is he going to be evil this time"? Starkiller pretty much continues where he stopped at the end of the last book. The supporting cast is also back in form, Juno Eclipse, General Kota, but also Bail and Leia Organa *cheers*. Bail especially gets to demonstrate his badass credits^^. The end is a finely crafted cliffhanger that answers nothing. Several of the big questions - Clone or no clone, what is Vader's plan, what is Starkiller's purpose - do not get answered. One might say that the big development at the end is too much. Well, I was certainly surprised, but it didn't feel too... contrived. Considering everything is still up in the air there is really no saying if this is overdone or not - it all depends on where the story will go eventually.

    Which we hopefully will find out in the end. Till then, another 8/10 like book one.
  3. Darth_SHOT Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2004
    star 3
    just finished it and loved it. it was a much better book than the first one. the characters were great and i loved seeing the early Rebellion in action. Ackbar and Tarkin were nice cameos and kudos for the description of the hyperspace routes Juno takes for Malastare (Atlas ftw!). Yoda's presence wasn't needed but the entire sequence in the cave on Dagobah was great. And, unlike the majority of people in these boards that is raging about Vader being captured, i loved the ending and i see no problem with whatsoever. it's clear that Vader could have killed them all while being "arrested", and his capture is just another step in his plan to kill the rebel leadership himself. it's a great cliffhanger and makes me anxious for TFU3.

    a couple of intersting points:
    - i liked the fact the Starkiller could be the original (the one that Vader impales on the Executor) or a clone; there's even hints the one that awoke on the Empirical was a clone himself.

    - kota has serious anger issues for a Jedi Master. i found it a little wierd that he was so eager to execute Tarko as well as Vader, after his "debrief".

    all in all 9/10.
  4. cggunnersmate Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 24, 2007
    star 1
    Cliffhanger ending w/ Vader captured... Well then I hope the rumors about Lucas Arts cancelling TFU III aren't true. I know they laid off 30% of the LA employees not long after Blackman resigned. Could this be the death nell for TFU mid trilogy? It would suck, they might continue with the TFU III novel if the game is cancelled but they've been so tied together for the first two I just don't know.
  5. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 17/2 = 8.50
  6. Manisphere Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    I have little to say about this book except I'm glad I didn't but it. Only that 2010 has seen my two least favorite SW novels in...ever. TFU II being one of those books.

    This novel is relentless gameplay. Don't let it fool you. But it's peppered with an odd and constantly repetitive shallow philosiphal rhetoric. Starkiller spends the whole of the novel hunting for Juno. That's fine and well. He kills relentlessly to get to her. That's fine too I guess. What was really painful was his inner dialogue. It went on and on and on with the same questions. "Am I the real Starkiller?" "Am I a clone?" "Was the real Starkiller a clone?" "Am I real? " "Is my obsession with Juno real or a memory of the old Starkiller?" It goes on and on between battles with these same questions asked over and over. Occasionally there will be flashbacks to the first TFU. In fact TFU II does such a thorough job of retelling the first book that you have no need to pick it up. It's all here in flashbacks. Dialogue and everything.

    The book actually starts with some promise. Williams attempts to explain the forming of the early Rebellin and how each major player got involved. Mon Mothma, Ackbar, Bail Organa, Princess Leia, and Garm Bel-Iblis all play a large part in the first few chapters of the book. Then Williams drops this subplot in favor of the relentless self questioning of both Starkiller and Eclipse as they pine for each other.

    The book was short on dialogue and very long on the description of the characters feelings and thoughts. There was just so much of the same shallow philosophical musings. It was worse than TFU because this book aspired to be more and it failed. Horribly.

    Forget the ending. We all know it. And it's wrong. I'll admit that Vader being slashed by Juno seems more plausible in the novel but it's still silly.

    And then when the story is over and there is no more to say, the book goes on for another hundred pages. It flashes back to the first novel again. It was nuts. Prattling along once again retelling the first book. I got lost cause I've never seen this before. It's like Blackman's story was a two hundred page story tops but Williams had to stretch it to 300 pages. It's agony in those last pages. I'm still unclear as to how Juno lived through Vader's fatal force push. Proxy can't revive her and after a prolonged flashback she's alive again. it's like the power of the flashback saved her or something.

    I really liked Fatal Alliance this summer. It was good fun. TFU II was a mess. A horrible mistake which read like a mess and utterly negates the importance of Luke Skywalker who is to appear in like 6 months.

    .5 out of 10 I'd give it 0 if that were possible.
  7. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 18/3 = 6.00
  8. GrandMasterKatarn Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2008
    star 4
    The Force Unleashed II by Sean Williams and Haden Blackman... Another flop, just like the first one (game and novel and comic).

    Characters: cardboard cutouts that fail to capture attention, seem like characters out of a bad sci-fi novel, which is essentially what TFUII is. were this any other novel, I might find it slightly hilarious. Here, the entire thing, plot, characters, "cameos", and the lark fail, making it just crap!

    The Plotline: What? There's supposed to be one? Someone must have forgotten to tell that to Haden and Sean. If there was one, it must have been extremely and excruciatingly boring. The pacing hardly exists and is as horrible and screwed up at the first game/novel/comic.

    Movie Characters: Horribly written, Out Of Character for the entire "novel" if we can seriously call it that. They are badly portrayed and overused. I don't care about any of them anymore than I care about football or any sport. They all feel forced and shoehorned in cos it's a Star Wars novel so it must have Leia, Artoo, Bail, Mon Mothma, Yoda, Wedge, Fett, Ackbar, Tarkin, Garm Bel Iblis. Apparently, movie characters "rock" and are "cool". Here, they are a waste of space and a complete failure.

    Over use of movie worlds: I know... Kevin J. Anderson used to be the title holder for that role. But now, it's passed onto Williams and Blackman. At least when Kevin used them, they actually contributed to the story. Here, they are either going against established canon or just BLEEPING there for a name drop or "setting". I don't care about the Clone Wars any more, not since Lucas and Filoni have wrecked it with that horrible excuse for a show. I don't care about pre-ANH material anymore. The less said, the better. The Death Star...shouldn't the Rebel Alliance all ready know and have the location? it hasn't moved from Despayre.

    Horrible all the way, making Bantam, NJO, LOTF, FOTJ and the rest look like the best thing since the Regean Years. TFUI and TFUII are the Nixon/Bush(I&II) Years of Star Wars canon.

    Prediction for the third: Kyle Katarn never stole a part of the Death Star Plans, no one did. It was all done in a self-sacrifice by Starkiller to help the Rebel Alliance out. Kota was on Alderaan, and Proxy was delivering a message to Yoda. Seriously, I can see it happening.

    0.05 out of 10
  9. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 19/4 = 4.75
  10. neo-dragon Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 15, 2004
    star 3
    I'm going to keep this brief:

    Turning back the clock a bit, my biggest problem with TFUI was how it was almost painfully obvious that it was a novelization of a video game. While I found it to be an okay read with a somewhat compelling story (with issues), it felt as though Sean Williams just didn't take the opportunity to flesh it out.

    TFUII goes a long way towards correcting this problem. I felt that it was much more a novel in it's own right, getting into the heads of the characters, and introducing subplots that are not part of the linear layout of the game. So this time, the problem isn't the game having a decent plot and the novel failing to turn it into an actual story, but rather, the game has something of a weak plot and the novel is weakened by it despite doing a much better job of not feeling like a text summary of game play.

    Not a lot happens in TFUII. It's just escape Kamino, find Juno (after stopping at Dagobah for no other reason than fanservice), return to Kamino to rescue Juno. And Starkiller and Juno's intense love/obsession for each other is a bit hard to swallow considering how little time they had to develop such attachment before they were separated, but I suppose it's no less believably than Anakin and Padme. At least Starkiller's obsession can perhaps be explained by the fact that he may be a slightly insane clone. Speaking of which, it would have been nice if that had been resolved in this story...

    To summarize, the game's story is weak, but the novel actually adds depth to it.

  11. Dougie_Five Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Aug 6, 2003
    star 1
    It was a step up from the first novel, thanks no doubt to the lack of a story in the actual game that Williams had to stick to. Still, the B-plot with Ackbar and the Mon Calamari seemed a little daft. Williams can write - Fatal Alliance shows this - but he's still shackled by the need to tie into a game that does not translate well into the written medium.

    6 out of 10
  12. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 32/6 = 5.33
  13. AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature

    Member Since:
    May 28, 2003
    star 6
    The book is a mixed bag. The Galen Marek/Juno Eclipse stuff was simply atrocious. In general, books based on video games are massive failures. However, Sean Williams actually does a better than average job in the first few chapters. As others have mentioned, his "Rebel Alliance" chapters are actually done very well. It is apparent that he did his research regarding this period and the actual size/state of the Alliance. The Rodian Commodore, the small size of the Rebel Navy, the foreshadowing of Ackbar's rise to become Supreme Commander- all of this works well. Heck, there was even some foreshadowing of the Mon Mothma/ Bel Iblis split. The inclusion of MC80 cruisers initially caused me some worry, but this to was well researched and explained. The scences on Dac were a bit over the top and predictable, but it didn't ruin any prior continuity.

    The battle of Kamino in the book actually helps explain how the Rebel's won, as opposed to the game. In the game, a pair of ISD's and a smaller cruiser are faced by a Nebulon-B, a Assault Frigate, and a half dozen corvettes and gunships. The game's final cut scence shows the Imperial fleet completed destroyed, with the Rebel's having only lost the escort frigate and a few gunships. HOWEVER, the book expands the battle, showing that the Rebel's had one MC80 at the battle, as well as an additional MC80 that Ackbar and the Dac Resistance dispatched to help the Rebellion. Just adding a pair of MC80's makes the battle more believable.

    So, to sum things up:

    Galen/Juno/Vader: 2/10
    Rebel Alliance: 6/10

    Average Score: 4/10

    --Adm. Nick
    Gorefiend likes this.
  14. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 36/7 = 5.14
  15. vong333 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 18, 2003
    star 4
    Of course the naysayers had to bash this book to the ground much like they do with the clone war animated series. They forget that the comic book of TFU II sold out, the video game though short is very cinematic and the story is very good. The novel had its points, but this mutli-story was meant for the video game world. The novel could explain a few things more like the ships that attacked the rebel fleet that also appeared to be cloaked. But the book was pretty and a fine addtion to the first one.

    I give this book a 9.75 out of 10 becuase the story at the end is from a video game stand point. Not much deviation can Sean Williams make from Haden's story without his consent. For better or worse, GL and compant had the right mind in doing the epic video game along with the clone wars. It attracts the masses and sales and will bode well in the near future as they get set to relese the prequels in 3-D. I hope that they do still plan on doing a part 3. It would be a big mistake if they don't.

  16. Kuag Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 11, 2009
    star 2
    I think suggestions that because TFU II is marketable therefore it is high-quality is bogus. Consumerism does not equal quality and this book is just horrendous, much like the entirety of the TFU franchise.

    Galen Marek makes the need for Luke Skywalker irrelevant. Luke Skywalker being the centrifugal force of the entire Star Wars franchise therefore means that Galen Marek is an assault on Star Wars in its totality.

    For that fact alone (in conjunction with the non-existent character development), I rate this book 0.01 out of 10.

    Best used for tinder.
  17. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 46.75/9 = 5.19
  18. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    If the above image is canon, the book gets 5/10... if it isn't canon, it gets 1/10.
    So for right now, 3/10 sounds good.
  19. Zebra3 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 28, 2004
    star 5
  20. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
  21. fistofan1 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Dec 8, 2009
    star 4
    Wow, what a terrible mossed opportunity. The plot had so much going for it, but it just fizzled out and had no real impact on anything.

    First of all, the love story is unbelievable. Juno and Galen knew each other for what, a month or two? And most of that time it was just a working relationship. I had a hard time believing that they would care for each other that much.

    Then there's Galen himself. The whole maeketing point of TFUII was finding out who he is, right? So why did we never find that out? And why did we get such a terrible ending? Darth Vader captured?! :rolleyes: The plot itself gets a 5/10 for me.

    But I would also like to take into account that Blackman didn't write this. Sean Williams managed to take a lukewarm videogame story and make it as good as it could be. Taking that into account, I give the novel a 7/10.
  22. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 63.75/11 = 5.80
  23. PadmeA_Panties Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 2003
    star 4
    I love people's reviews on here. "missed opportunities" and "horrible books" still manage 7/10's. What kind of scoring system are people using?
  24. SithStarSlayer Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2003
    star 6
    The Official Star Wars Points System....

    If you hate 100% of it = 3 (Just because StarWars is on the cover)
    If you hate 75% = 5
    If you hate 50% = 6.5
    If you hate 75% = 7 (or better)
    If you were born to gush = 10
  25. Valin__Kenobi Author: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Praji

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2004
    star 4
    So using that metric, I'll give it 6.5/10. ;)

    I found it to be a great airplane read. Interpret that as you will. [face_whistling]

    It added some surprisingly nice bits to continuity, and avoided trampling overly much over other continuity--beyond what the game was already doing. And the writing was as good as could be expected given what Williams had to work with. Many complaints sound more like issues with LucasArts' game storyline, which Williams can't be blamed for. 0.5? 0.05? Get real.