The JC Lit Reviews Special: YODA: DARK RENDEZVOUS (spoilers)

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Mastadge, Nov 19, 2004.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Here we go again! The book comes out in a few short days, and as usual some people are known to have received it early!

    Also as usual, please rate DARK RENDEZVOUS 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 DARK RENDEZVOUS with a few words (or a lot, as you see fit).

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

    Republic Commando: Hard Contact
    Shatterpoint
    The Cestus Deception
    MedStar I: Battle Surgeons
    MedStar II: Jedi Healer
    Jedi Trial
    Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine
    Tatooine Ghost
    Survivor's Quest
    Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream
    Enemy Lines II: Rebel Stand
    Traitor
    Destiny's Way
    Force Heretic I: Remnant
    Force Heretic II: Refugee
    Force Heretic III: Reunion
    The Final Prophecy
    The Unifying Force
  2. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    DarthTerrious, this Grossly Typical? review is for you.

    I?m an unabashed Stover groupie. And while I recognize that he?s not the best writer out there, he?s certainly my favorite ? there?s just something about the way he writes that I find incredibly appealing. He writes what I want to read. But as I said, favorite is not necessarily best, and while Stover?s Star Wars novels are among the best out there, Sean Stewart?s novel is easily the best Clone Wars novel yet and one of the best Star Wars novels ever written.

    Anyone who?s been reading my reviews will know that one of my complaints about some recent Star Wars novels is that the prose itself is boring, regardless of the actions and characters it is describing. Not so here. Unlike a good number of Star Wars writers, Sean Stewart has style. His language is often nearly poetic (sometimes a little too self-consciously so, but thankfully not often) ? as one Amazon reviewer put it, ?at once fluid and precise, impressionistic and razor-fine.? Which makes it a pleasure to read this book even during the more sedate moments.

    Aside from the language itself, Stewart has many other assets. He?s got a wonderful grasp of character, showing for the first time in the novels the character dynamics between Ventress and Dooku, between Dooku and Sidious, between Yoda and Dooku, between Yoda and the rest of the Jedi, etc. He gets into Dooku?s and Yoda?s heads in a powerful way ? Dooku becomes a more sympathetic character while remaining true to the bad guy we know he is, and Yoda in particular is handled fantastically. I was truly worried despite my faith in Stewart that he wouldn?t be able to do Yoda justice, but my fears were unfounded. Stewart drew as much from the impish, wise Yoda of ESB as from the more somber, obnoxious Yoda of the prequels, to wonderful effect and more than a few laughs (all of them appropriate ? no potty humor here (well . . . kinda ;) )). I particularly enjoyed an exchange about how the Jedi Temple should relocate off of Coruscant, to a more living planet. Finally too we get a little more explanation of the concept between lingering ?Force spirits,? and the exchange between Qui-Gon and Yoda, especially when it comes to Qui-Gon?s estimation of Dooku, is awesome. Oh, and Padmé finally also gets an appearance in a novel, however brief. There are a couple problems, though. Every once in a while, for example, Stewart seems to have a little trouble with Yoda?s syntax.

    Continuity gurus should mostly be pleased (I think; I don?t really count myself among their number anymore, so there could?ve been mistakes I missed), as Stewart refers appropriately to other Clone Wars events without being heavy-handed, and his GFFA name-dropping rarely seems inappropriate or out of place. Plus Peterson?s Guide to Droids of the Republic, Vol. VII: The Great Corporate Expansion Era. [face_laugh] (Although the Guide?s description of a particular type of droid is pretty farfetched.) Stewart also manages to convey the pathos in the Jedi Temple very well, as it is so emptied in the months since Geonosis, with so many Padawans without masters, masters having lost friends, and so forth. There are a couple problems though. For example, I found it hard to swallow that the Ithorians would have such a heavily fortified moon ? which is particularly annoying considering that the fact that it?s the Ithorian system is not relevant to the story, and it could as easily have been any other system.

    Also in this book you will find some of the best lightsaber fights ever committed to the page. Including one involving my own personal favorite fencing cheat ? which works, against all expectations, because that particular fight is between Padawans using lightsabers dialed down to training-settings. Plus some good heroics, a pretty good dogfight, some wonderful musings on loyalty and the light and dark sides of the Force which should please the classical Force people as well as the ?There is no Dark Side? c
  3. lightsaber_wielder Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 24, 2002
    star 4
    Cool, excellent review Mastadge! :D
  4. JEDI-SOLO Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 12, 2002
    star 5
    I got the book yesterday and am now on page 93. Yoda is so great in this one!

    When is the release date for this one? I thought I got it way early......

    The only thing I am dissapointed about is that it is apaperback.
  5. wilco Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2000
    star 1
    I got mine yesterday and this is the first Clone Wars novel that has grabbed my attention so powerfully in just a few short pages that I don't want to put it down.
  6. sido-diuus Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 13, 2003
    star 1
    9.5 out of 10. Great book with some awesome fight scenes. Really, really funny too.
  7. JEDI-SOLO Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 12, 2002
    star 5
    Yoda is very humorous in this one
  8. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 2 ratings: 19.3/2 = 9.65
  9. royalguard96 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 13, 2001
    star 5
    I shoulda been a Lit. mod. That way I could get my mitts on these novels early, like dp and Mas seem to :p
  10. Excellence Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 28, 2002
    star 7
    The only thing I am dissapointed about is that it is apaperback.

    What the hell did you say?

    Uruk-kai: attack!

    Mas, you can't be serious . . . 9.8? Are you saying it's that perfect? I'll find out myself when it ships in, of course, but still . . . as killer finale as Cloak of Dception was it too had some faults. I'll look forward to reading this . . .
  11. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    It's not perfect. The Ithor thing, etc. Plus, if I heard "joint locks" mentioned one more time I was ready to throw the book across the room. :p But as far as SW novels go, it was darned close.
  12. DarthTerrious Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 16, 2001
    star 5
    DarthTerrious, this Grossly Typical? review is for you.

    [face_laugh]
    Sorry about that Mastadge, after reading Jedi Trial, I did understand your point of view....and you've been right about most of the CW novels so far anyway in some respects.

    Anyway sounds like a good book from what you're saying...though after the CW stuff we've had I'm going to be cautious ever still.
  13. ATimson Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 19, 2003
    star 4
    If you'll excuse me, I need to go off and cry since my copy hasn't arrived yet. :(
  14. Senator_Cilghal Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 2003
    star 5
    I rate is a definite 20 out of 10, b/c it is twice as good as Cloak of Deception, which I would rate 10 out of 10.

    This book is superperfect.

    Plot: Real good plot. Plenty of action.

    Dialogue: Brilliant! Memorable. Often funny, sometimes sad. Character-defining. The kind of dialogue AOTC needed to have SO bad.

    Emotional Impact: Sorta sad, feeling sorry for Dooku [which AOTC and LOTJ did not make me really do]. Deeply impressed by Yoda's compassion. Infuriated with Palps for preventing Dooku's redemption. Annoyed with Anakin for being the twerp he is, and being the Sam Gamgee to Dooku's Gollum [with Yoda as Frodo]. But overall, feeling very,very HAPPY, because the book was an upbeat, fun adventure the captured the same flavor as ANH.

    Humor: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I laughed out loud more times than I can count. This book even tops Aaron Allston's funniest moments, which I did not think possible. Yoda now rivals Wes Janson in my mind as most comical SW character, and Evil R2 is even funnier than Lt. Kettch. Despite the humor, the book did not come across as ridiculous and goofy; Yoda, while amusing , maintained his dignity. A fine line, and Sean walked it like a tightrope artist!

    Characters: I liked them. I cared about them. When Maks Leem was murdered, I felt the call of the Dark Side myself, wanting revenge on Asajj and her droid goons! Leem was such a gentle, maternal soul, a true SW archmother-figure that rivalled Shmi Skywalker. Scout was a bit annoying at first (as I think she was meant to be), but grew on me. Whie was so easy to empathize with, and his line to Anakin at the end was hilarious, although when I thought about it, his sadly and morbidly ironic, since he unwittingly had foreseen the Jedi Purge and Anakin (as Darth Vader) murdering him in the future. Jai was not my favorite, but he was OK, and functioned well as a straightman counterpart to Scout and Yoda, and I liked his trial before his death, and how he handled it. Dooku...well, I just wanted to hug him and give him a big bandaid, the poor, broken old man of shattered dreams; he reminded me of myself at my most depressed and bitterest moments, which is kinda scary. The actor was an amusing character, especially with his Star Trek humor. Oh, and then there's Yoda. I have waited all my fanlife for a Yoda novel, and this book fulfilled my wildest dreams, and excelled them. I always suspected the crazy Yoda oLuke first meets was not JUST an act, and am glad to see that really is a facet of his personality. The scope of his wisdom, inner strength, humor, and capacity to love shown in this book is inspiring; he is truly my role model:) I was already a Yoda fan, but this book has revigorated my admiration and love of Yoda to new heights! He so totally ROCKS! Woohoo! This is Yoda at his best...a cranky, grumpy old codger with a will of iron, a digestive system of duranium, taste buds of unfeeling lead, a heart of gold, the cunning of a serpent, and the gentleness of a trantor pigeon.

    Wildlife: I love SW wildlife, and this book had plenty of it, including the magnificent spire hawks of Coruscant, which I want to see illustrated VERY MUCH. The alpha predator of uppercrust Coruscant! And yes, Coruscant DOES have an infestation of pigeons! Specifically, Trantor pigeons. The Vjun fox is such an interesting animal: I want one! Lots of other critters throughout, including at least a few in Yoda's menu:) Many of the flora and fauna are very Earthlike...even potatoes.

    FINAL RATING: 20 out of 10
  15. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I'll break my review a day early... ;)

    Bascially, the gist of this is: I give it a 9.95/10.

    I do, on occasion, happen to read actual literature outside of sci-fi/fantasy and Star Wars/Star Trek genres. It doesn't happen often these days, but it does happen.

    And I happen to have one favorite "real" literature novel that, to me, stands head and shoulders above the rest. That novel is "Fathers and Sons," by Turgenev.

    Yoda: Dark Rendevous is about as close to that as I think we're going to find in Star Wars.

    Terrious was telling me in the other thread that "I didn't get it" when he was asking about why Dooku and Yoda are able to sit in a room and calmly have a discussion about the temptation of the Dark Side when last we saw them together they were clashing their lightsabers furiously against each others'. I do "get it" and it makes those scenes with Dooku and Yoda together that much more poignant.

    I honestly -- HONESTLY -- had no idea if Dooku was going to be redeemed at the end of the novel. THAT'S how effective Stewart was for the 270-ish pages before Obi-Wan and Anakin show up on Vjun. And that masterstroke alone made me realize just how genius Palpatine truly is.

    The book isn't an action piece, though there's certainly enough in the way of dueling and hand-to-hand to satisfy most people. The book is a quiet, character drama about what it means to go home and have a family who loves you and is willing to accept you back, no questions asked, despite the horrific things you (or they) have done. It's about fathers who love their sons and who would undertake any risk in order to save them, even if it means saving them from themselves and/or destroying them to do so.
  16. AdmiralNick22 Fleet Admiral of Literature

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 28, 2003
    star 6
    Finally, a Clone Wars book worth its weight in gold. The characterizations were supurb, with excellent plotlines and dialouge. I normally hate books without at least one big space battle, but this one was still awesome!

    10/10!

    --Adm. Nick
  17. JediTrilobite Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 17, 1999
    star 7
    Got mine today, excellent novel thus far.
  18. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 5 ratings: 49.25/5 = 9.85
  19. DVader316 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2000
    star 7
    Ill be picking it up tomorrow and should be getting to it later in the week. I can hardly wait, too, after seeing the raves in this thread.
  20. masterskywalker Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 2, 2001
    star 5
    9.5

    Wow was this a good book. Sean can come back and write Star Wars novels any damn time he wants because his writing is on par or better than that of Troy Denning and Matt Stover.

    The novel is practically perfect. No other Star Wars book so CLEARLY shows what is so incredibly absolutely RIGHT and WRONG about the prequel era Jedi Order. You have the arrogance of and untrustfulness of Jai (who redeems himself at the end of being a total and complete @$$ hole) and Mace, contrasted with the utter wisdom, purity and compassion of Yoda. Yoda really steals the show in the this book is once again made into the cackling, hilarious, wise and flat out DANGEROUS little gnome he was in ESB. Dooku is shown in a sypathetic light, and some of his early trama with his parent's abandoning him help to show why he might be suseptible to the dark side. Some great foreshadowing about common people turning against the Jedi as well. The Jedi simply have an inability to comprehend how their actions, just as "baby napping" for lack of a better word, make them look in the eyes of the public.

    The two assassin droids, Fedelis and Solis were great as well. Its so rare to have well written assassin droids like HK-47 its a real treat to see them in action. On that topic, the action scenes were extremely good in DR. The fight in the spaceport and on Vjun were tense and exciting with the hopelessly outgunned Padawans and Anakin and Obi coming in as the calvalry. The real star of the book action-wise was the tournament fight however. I felt like I was watching an episode of Jedi: Naruto unfold. :p That's how creative and exciting those fights were.

    The most brilliant characters those were the new Jedi ones. Whie and Scout are possible the BEST new Jedi EVER introduced in a Star Wars novel. They're THAT good. They are not just more Jedi fodder, I was seriously worried about them in places. I simply adore Scout, she's a talentless force user who's insecure about her strength, yet through her diehard determination and flat out willingness to CHEAT is able to prevail. :D This is EXACTLY the kind of character I was wishing for in the EU and my prayers have been answered. [face_dancing]

    I felt almost sick when I realised how cruel it is to take these children from their parents and MAKE them into Jedi. I found myself agreeing with Fedelis at times about how the public views the Jedi as baby snatchers and Palpatine's thugs. Ventress and Dooku brought up some damn good points about the flaws of the current Jedi Order, and whether Yoda sees it or not, those flaws are what trigger the order's death knell. Sucks to be him at this point.

    The book hits your core in so many areas, one minute you're laughing hysterically at the thought of Yoda in an R2 raising hell and the next getting creeped out by Whie's dreams, his temptation by the darkside and sexual tension with Scout (you'll know what I mean when you get to the castle scene). Whie's moment where he hugs Anakin at the end is so incredibly sad, as you just know that Anakin is going to end his life in a few months most likely. :( I hope Scout quits the Jedi and becomes a bounty hunter or a corperate scout or something. I don't want the best Jedi ever written (YES folks BETTER than Quinlan) to get wiped out that easily! :_| Some nice continuity nods in the book as well.

    The book loses a few points for inconsistency with characters. Mace first of all is inconsistent from the the Mace in Shatterpoint who realizes Anakin is the SHATTERPOINT of the entire Jedi. I expected his disaproving behavior in TPM, but not now. Also, I find it sort of a cheap trick that Dooku is so incredibly jealous of Anakin it drives him from almost turning back to the lightside. Yoda is also made to look like something of a hypocrite in this scene as well. Yoda tells Dooku he knows there is darkness in himself, and light in Dooku, yet after ROTS he completely writes off Anakin/Vader beyond all hope of redemption. That doesn't sound consistent with what Yoda was saying in this book. Perhaps after Dooku dies he again becomes somewh
  21. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 6 ratings: 58.75/6 = 9.79
  22. dark_jedi666 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Like most of you all said, a near perfect Star Wars novel.

    Yoda- I loved how he was portrayed. Humorous, wise and powerful. ESB Yoda at its best. THe scene with Dooku where he tells him to turn him to the darkside, might be the best scene in a SW novel ever.

    Dooku- Finally, a book that fleshes out the Count as a character. We get to see him and how he is afraid of Sidious, but also conflicted by his feelings for his former Master.

    Whie & Scout- I really felt for these two padawans throughout the book. Both of them have their weaknesses' and strengths, and worries. These two show the great characterization of this book, as they are two unknowns, who by the end of the book you truly feel for.

    Besides the great characters, the story had a good, fast moving plot. It was fun to read, and I read it very quickly, which for me means I liked the book.

    Best clone wars novel, yes even better than Shatterpoint. Another paperback that could have been a hardcover and worth the 25 dollars.

    9.75/10
  23. rogue_wookiee Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2004
    star 6
    Am I the only critic on this book?

    I enjoyed this book. Yoda and Dooku were finally made actual characters. The other characters were interesting. The fight scenes were good.

    But this book left the Clone Wars for too long to introduce Scout and Whie in the temple. For a Yoda novel it focused more on the Padawans than him.

    Great book. 8/10.
  24. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 1999
    star 7
    Counting 9 ratings: 86.5/9 = 9.61
  25. Gorkos Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2000
    star 1
    DARK RENDEZVOUS's subtitle (or hypertitle?) has got it all wrong. This novel is not about Yoda. It's about Dooku.
    It's Yoda's sometimes too over-the-top behaviour that stops the novel from shooting beyond SHATTERPOINT to garner the highest possible rating. It's Dooku's characterisation by Stewart's words, in persona and through all of the newly-introduced characters, places and situations, that enables me to shake off the feeling that DR is nothing but a blown-up Jedi Quest book.

    9.7 points.
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