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

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Aug 24, 2008.

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  1. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    The TFU novelization has been UNLEASHED! Now get to kicking ass with <s>the Force</s> your keyboard!

    Some rules: rate The Force Unleashed 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
    [l
  2. Charlii Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 3
    While the story has potential and is interesting in many places the writing is actually rather bad. Most of the time it just felt like Williams was just dictating what he saw on the screen while playing the game, which get rather boring after a while. In spite of this the "boss-battles" were given rather little page-time, especially Shaak-Ti was finished very quickly. It is also my personal opinion that the "unleashed" powers should have been downplayed a little in the book to let some things be explained as gameplay mechanics. I'll hopefully get the comic tomorrow, and I hope that will give a little more balanced view on this story.

    6/10 (giving it a few extra points for the fact that it is a novelization)
  3. sidious618 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
    I don't want to highjack this thread with discussion, but, briefly, what would you have rated it if it wasn't a novelization and why?

    I figure this question is okay since it is clarification on a review (not that I'm saying it was a bad review).
  4. Charlii Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2005
    star 3
    Well, knowing this was a direct novelization, I started reading it expecting this type of writing and storytelling to a degree. If there hadn't been a game, I would have been really confused and wondered what the author thought he was doing. In that case, it would just have been a badly written book. As it is, there is an explanation (though not entirely an excuse) for the writing and being prepared for this I enjoyed it more than I think I would have done otherwise.
  5. DavBacca Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 13, 2002
    star 2
    Has anyone else read it who cares to rate it? (while some of us wait eighth in line for our library copies)
  6. MistrX Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 20, 2006
    star 4
    An interesting if not outstanding or groundbreaking read. There are times, especially in the first 100 pages, that the book really feels like you are simply following the video game. With short cutscenes between Juno and Starkiller on the ship as she took him from place to place on his various missions, I practically felt like I was reading a Star Wars version of Halo. I think that this also takes away from some of the development early in the book and it gets to a point where it seems the story has kind of rushed to a major point without really unfolding all that much. This really hit home with me around p. 100 when Juno reflected that she thought that she, Starkiller, and PROXY made a great team when to me it felt that they had barely spent any time together and had yet to establish such a relationship.

    I think after that first section, probably the most identifiable from the promotional materials released, things get a bit better and much more like a smooth, coherent story. In essence, I guess I'm trying to say that it feels a bit more like a book then a written video game. Characters develop, situations change, the stakes are raised, and we get to see our motley band grow together as they face adversity.

    Speaking of our group of protagonists, they're a sometimes interesting if somewhat unremarkable collection. We're often getting Starkiller's perspective where we can see his internal struggle that I felt was less of a struggle than it should have been. To him, using the dark side or not seems to be a rather casual and less than difficult decision rather than the amazing test of will the movies seemed to indicate staying in the light or falling to the dark was. In this I guess he's kind of like Vader's Mara Jade, who in spite of all the evil things he's done, never truly falls to darkness (uh... sure).

    Juno, IMO, is the most interesting character of the bunch, even if she's the familiar disillusioned Imperial we've seen from Solo to Villian Dance. Our other POV character, we get to see her as she has to deal with all of the challenges working with a powerful dark side user with ever changing morality and allegiances. It's a hard and somewhat tragic life and I liked reading about it.

    I was really interested to see Kota developed, but he gets less than I would have liked. PROXY as well has the potential to be an entertaining and favorite droid character, but it's a potential the character never quite reaches.

    As for the rest of the story, it's shaky in some spots, such as my aforementioned issue of Starkiller jumping from light to dark like he's skiing down a Force mountain with the line in the middle of it. The Force is truly unleashed in this one, with feats rarely seen before (such as that well known Star Destroyer image which isn't quite what it seemed). We get a new glimpse into the birth of the Rebellion to the point where we actually get to see it and the origin of its emblem. Whether fans will welcome the involvement of never-before seen characters involved in it as key players is a question. I myself was a little wary and I guess am not completely happy with it, but it is nice to finally get to see the Rebels' founding members actually do the founding.

    And then there's the ending, which I think may spark some controversy with the fans. I myself was a bit shocked at how that turned out, even in a book called "The Force Unleashed" though I probably shouldn't be. It makes sense in the context of the video game, but it still came as hard to believe for me. It seems like a man with as much potential as the apprentice had would have made Palps and Vader look a little closer.

    And I can't help but wonder if Kota dies or simply cuts ties with the Rebellion in the next three years because he sure could've helped Luke with his training.

    Not quite a 7 in my book, so I'll give it a 6.75/10
  7. sidious618 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 20, 2003
    star 6
  8. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 12.75/2 = 6.38
  9. TIEPilot051999 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2002
    star 7
    The first few chapters very much had a "adapted-from-another-source" vibe to them, but I was quite engaged by what followed. The central theme of the whole story is still something of a shock to me, even though I've known about it for months, and if it can resonate that deeply, it's obviously great storytelling. I might have to invest in a PS3 and buy the game.

    8/10
  10. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 20.75/3 = 6.92
  11. jacenskylo Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 19, 2006
    star 1
    I agree with TIE pilot in terms of the first 3rd of the novel, but once the book picked up speed it was a decent read. Not quite up their with Shadows of the Empire, but definitely better than the Ruins of Dantooine.

    A solid 7.0
  12. Darth_SHOT Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 11, 2004
    star 3
    i just finished it. it was good. there were some great parts in it and i think the whole star destroyer scene was very well done. in fact after the apprentice goes to Kashyyyk the novel evolves from average to great. i don't have any problems with the rebellion retcons, but i hope that they explain what happens to bail, garm and mon mothma after this because i can't see going back to the senate. and also why leia is alowed to represent alderaan after her father is branded a traitor. perhaps in the upcoming sourcebook we will have those some of those answers...

    7.5/10
  13. DarthAnakin101 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2005
    star 2
    I finished it yesterday, and overall I was impressed. Yes, the first 100 pages did feel rushed and seemed like boss battles, but after that, it was great. I really identified with Juno, and the apprentice was interesting to read. And the way Williams described the duel between Vader and the apprentice made sense to me. All in all, I just really liked this book.

    8.5/10
  14. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Since Havoc is MIA for a bit...Average score: 43.75/6=7.29
  15. Volderon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2007
    star 4
    The apprentice's power is overly-exagerated and there was not alot of dialogue mostly action. Williams did a very good job of the action though and describing the fight scenes. It kept a good pace after the first 100 pages and then it was a delight to read and many surprises like Darth Vader barging through the door on Corellia to halt the meeting, my eyes were so wide, "Wow!" Not the best read but not the worst either.

    A solid 7/10
  16. Manisphere Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 25, 2007
    star 5
    Oddly, I found more optimism and resolution from TFU than Invincible. It was a more uplifting book. As a novel it's nature is dubious at best. Beyond the now well repeated first 100 pages of "gameplay", Starkiller, barely exists as a character for at least half the book and dialogue is sparse at best for the increasingly boring "missions" Starkiller must go on. In this is the problem. I just didn't start caring about him or what he thought until the last third. Coincidentally the last third of this book felt most like a real novel. Thank the Force Juno Eclipse was around to feel something and articulate events for us. And it was her and a general interest in in the outcome that kept me interested and accepting of the book's flaws.

    I could go on but frankly the book, as it is doesn't warrant a long review IMO. It was as fun as I thought it would be which was fine. It was competent storytelling considering the restrictions of TFU being a fairly shallow video game story. But what Star Wars book is all that deep anyway? It's worth the read so it deserves at least a seven.

    Now, for my big complaint...WHY IS THIS BOOK STILL NOT IN A SINGLE BOOKSTORE IN CANADA DESPITE BEING NUMBER 1 ON THE NYT BESTSELLER LIST???!!!:mad::p
    7.2



    57.95/8=7.24
  17. Volderon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2007
    star 4
    I hear you man, as a fellow Canadian I had to order it and it came in before they even shipped the darn thing Chapters and I still think it's not there.
  18. ElSoccomundo Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 1, 2008
    I dunno. Lots of unexplained motives. Like what WAS Vader's motive? To what? Look dumb?

    There was no reason to have the Rebellion come into the story. What about that Bria Tharen? Didn't the Rebellion start because of that Mary Sue? how many times are they gonna change this?

    2.0, and that's being nice. Why didn't Palpatine taken Marek as an apprentice? Why did Palaptine let the Rebels escape for the next two years when they all were right there? Does he get amnesia? Marek can pull Destroyers from the sky, but he's not good enough?

    It's was so ... unartfully done.
  19. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 59.95/9 = 6.66
  20. Kol_Skywalker Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 9, 2006
    star 4
    What are you all collectively saying? That this is an evil book? [face_devil]
  21. chiss_man Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 1, 2002
    star 6
    There is a lot wrong with this book. The Rebel Alliance stuff, especially in light of future events, does not make a whole lot of sense. Why exactly are Bail and company allowed to be running around after this tale, exactly? Ah well. I really dislike Shaak Ti being brought back just to die, essentially. I get why they used her, they wanted to impress upon us that the Apprentice is a real threat, but it just seemed a waste. Speaking of which, I didn't like how uber the Apprentice seemed throughout. I totally can get where the Gary Stu argument comes from. And I must echo the "gameplay" complaints as well, a lot of this book read as if Sean Williams played the game and then decided to tell us what happens. I'm sure there's more I am neglecting to mention, but...

    I actually, God help me, kind of liked the book. I breezed through it in one day and while I could make a complaint about its relative lack of depth in those terms, I kind of enjoyed that fact. It's not often I can start and finish a SW tale in a whole day. The story has some lame points (mostly involving the Apprentice's uberness), but there were parts I really liked. I really like the character of Juno, for some reason. She seemed to have no real point but to be a love interest, but I found myself really liking her POV sections throughout the novel (even if every time I saw the name Juno I thought of Ellen Page :p ). Characters like Kazdan Paratus were ones I really liked (although I wish he'd been expanded on), as well as Maris Brood (again, I wish more expansion was given for her).

    So, I'm very conflicted here. There's a lot of good ideas here, but the main storyline kind of dragged the whole thing down for me. I'm not one of those who will gleefully proclaim TFU's lameness, but I can see where they are coming from. I'm feeling rather charitable right now, so my score is a solid 7/10
  22. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 66.95/10 = 6.70
  23. King_of_Red_Lions Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 28, 2003
    star 3
    I have been anticipating this book since it was announced. And it does cover some big events as promised. The execution was lacking in places, though.

    The first part was simply terrible. Written like a walk-through description of the video game, a lot of interesting confrontations - including one with Shaak Ti - are rushed through and glossed over. Fortunately, the writing style improved and the second and third parts read like a true novel for the most part.

    I'm confused how Shaak Ti's death could have such a huge impact on the planet of Felucia - this is obviously game mechanics along with many other complaints that I have.

    I don't have as big a gripe with the formation of the rebellion as others. Nor with Vader's defeat at the Apprentice's hands in the climactic confrontation - which covered very few pages by the way.

    Ultimately, I was disappointed. After reading the first part, I was prepared to label this as the biggest bad egg the EU has laid since Glove of Darth Vader. Sean Williams manages to redeem himself somewhat in the final two-thirds but this one is still a stinker. I'd recommend everyone skip it if it didn't cover such crucial events - Darth Vader's Apprentice! - in the Star Wars universe. I believe this could have been a really great novel had Williams taken a more liberal approach with the adaptation. 2/10.

  24. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Average score: 68.95/11 = 6.27
  25. Boba Frett Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 21, 1999
    star 4
    Man, I had mixed feelings about TFU. First off, it really felt disjointed at times, with the "secret apprentice" feeling like a total throw-away character. The way chapters would leave out important information and potentially exciting events, the lack of internal dialogue and limited POV took lots of wind out of my sails.

    Some of it was interesting, but I was left wanting more *character* detail.

    Also, I read the book cover-to-cover, then read the graphic novel, so that my mind's eye would be able to judge things independently. The lack of the entire first Raxus Prime scene was waaaay disappointing, and the complete omission of Bail Organa's rescue in it was a major letdown. I know there are restraints, but honestly, I'd pay for the extra work.

    I'm definitely anticipating the game, and played the demo the day it was released on the PS3 (it was lame how the 360 was delayed for Silver Live members!!!), and that was so-so. Pretty chaotic, and I didn't feel as involved as I should have. I think Bungie should have made it.

    Overall... 6.75 out of 10. Here's to hoping the game delivers. And I want to see a follow-up. I did like the supporting cast- they should be in future EU works.
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