Discussion in 'Literature' started by Havac, Jan 21, 2011.
Well then, I'll hace to get it from amazon. The wait will be a killer, though
What a fun book. And that's the operative word, fun. There's just such an incredible sense of freshness to it; even with Jedi and Sith and lightsabers and rogues, everything about it feels like a whole new experience. A lot of it is the setting; we've never really had anything like this, with the scene dominated by multiple competing villains. Usually SW works tend to go for one main villain; the closest thing I can think of, and I hate myself for making this comparison, is the warlord conflict in Darksaber. But Darksaber was terrible and Knight Errant is great, so I won't say anything more on that front. What this book really manages is to make a galaxy that feels different from what we're used to. The Republic is almost an afterthought, the galaxy may as well be the Sith's, and any reference point of familiarity just serve to highlight how unfamiliar the rest is. The universe feels new again.
And that really helps make this feel like a true adventure. It reminds me a lot of the Brian Daley Han Solo novels in that sense. Every world feels unique, every new setting has its own atmosphere defined not just by a bit of funny terrain or aliens, but by some really spectacular world-building. The Daimanate is nothing like the Dyarchy is nothing like the Arkadianate, and not merely in superficial details. The worlds and characters and story all work together, and the novel is constantly moving on to flesh out some other interesting thing, so that the book never feels lagging, and it always seems like something new is just over the horizon.
A lot of that is the villains. KE's got one of the best rogues' galleries I can think of in SW. They all have something great to bring to the table, and each feels like a different take on the central ideas of Sith villainy. In lesser hands that could just lead to a bunch of supervillains with a gimmick apiece, but like I mentioned above, the way that everything around them helps to develop their characters fleshes them out into something multidimensional. Daiman is one of my favorite new characters for this reason; he's not just an egotist with some odd ideas about galactic history, we also see his structuring of an entire society to boost his own delusion, his belief in his omniscience used against him, his frustration at his inability to decipher what he believes to be his own puzzle. He could easily be a one-note joke (hi Darksaber, I'm totally mentioning you again), but his belief in his own godhood is a full-fledged part of his character, with all the consequences to make it feel like a real thing. Even someone like Calician, whose plot role is just to menace Kerra briefly, then die offscreen, is a memorable presence. The only bad guy that doesn't get much in the novel is Odion, though I suspect the comics will account for him.
If I don't spend as much time talking about how much I liked the heroic characters of the novel, it's not because they were bad, but because I seriously loved the villains, and don't want to just keep talking endlessly. Kerra's a very refreshing take on Jedi, and I think this novel will really help how I view her in the comics, since I've been having a bit of trouble getting a hold on her there.
If I had one main criticism, it would be some prose issues. For the most part, I liked the writing. But there were a few tics that kept getting more irritating. For one thing, there's a lot of sentences with participial phrases (that's like "Running forward, Kerra leapt onto the ship."). If that sounds minor, it kinda is at first, until there's like two paragraphs in a row of them. Second, and I know this probably sounds even more minor, "suddenly" got used a lot. Again, not something that stands out until it starts getting repetitive. The third is actually a little bigger, and that was the odd dialogue structure. There were quite a few points where dialogue suddenly switched to descriptions of dialogue. By which I mean you'd start off with normal dialogue like "'Hi,' Kerra said. 'Hello,' Rusher said, 'I like guns.'" And then rather than continue
I finished it earlier today. It was pretty good. I haven't read the comics though - apart from the teaser in the novel - and I felt a bit at a loss. Maybe a Dramatis Personae list might have helped. It's not the worst SW novel I've read but it's also not the best. I might get the comic tpb when it comes out as I liked the bit that I saw of that.
As I read I thought maybe a Dramatis Personae list might have been good, but the more I read the more I realized that part of the fun was seeing all these characters for the first time as they appeared, not knowing who they were or what role they might play. Many times a Dramatis Personae list gives away key points (such as a certain character's role or occupation).
Gonna wait to read your posts -- and just make mine blindly as I only have 30 or so pages left.
BUT - even though I found myself plodding through the first 80-90 pages not really sure if I even like it at all -- the next 200+ [minus the end of course that I will real today] honestly I think are the greatest of any SW novel I have ever read.
I am so sad that the novel will end! I am so thoroughly enthralled by JJM's story as far as plot, cast of characters, pacing, scheming, and everything else!
It is so god damn refreshing to have mysteries laid out for you -- and then actually see the answers!
This novel single handedly makes Mace Windu's line "The Oppression of the Sith yada yada" fully realized and have so much serious weight in the mythos that it should be required reading.
Seeing all these Sith societies and what it is like to live under them shows exactly why the Jedi should oppose them.
I don't know where JJM got all these ideas - but I love them.
And Kerra Holt... she barely even uses the Force and yet is wreaking havoc throughout the Sith Empire!
And her cast mates of Narsk and Rusher - superb! Not to mention the fascinating Sith we have come to know.
Obviously haven't finished the novel - or read issue #5 yet -- but I can only pray this direction is what happens in DHC's second arc!
I do wonder how it will be that one can read the comics and not read the novel -- they seem to be so integral.
And I do hope DHC comes out with a Handbook so we can see what so many of these characters and Sith look like!
I obviously love this book -- and sincerely hope JJM gets my message!
I totally agree with how awesome this novel is. We haven't gotten villains this crazy- and by 'crazy', I mean the good way, not the 'I can't believe they actually did that ' way- since sometime in the Bantam era. Odion and Daiman are sibling rivalry gone totally nuts, Quillan and Dromika are just plain creepy with Quillan using Dromika to play pupeteer, and Arkadia, arguably the most benign of the Sith, is still someone you don't work with, because at the end of the day, even a relatively benign Sith is still an evil bastard who'll stab you in the back if you don't dance to their tune.
And Kerra- oh, my gosh, Kerra is even more awesome in novel form, now that you get more of a look inside her head. She plays wonderfully off Rusher- in fact, my personal favorite line in the novel is a back-and-forth between the two of them:
Rusher: And the first thing they do is set the place on fire? That doesn't make any sense at all!
Kerra: How should I know? People have been telling them to work, eat, and sleep for years. This is the first time they've had any options. *pause* Granted, it's an odd way to spend your first night off.
Rusher: Don't ask me. I blow stuff up for a living.
Narsk is also awesome- I believe I mentioned his realization that "He'd become a stage prop" earlier? I love it. The humor isn't overdone, there's just enough, and it's just perfectly spaced to keep the Republic's Dark Ages from being so dark someone like me who hates the recent trend towards grungy, grimdark storytelling is unable to comfortably just get immersed in the story and the characters. It's like my assertion that Farfalla and the Fairwind are an essential part of Jedi vs. Sith because they add that bit of whimsy that keeps it from being total 100% grimdark- because Star Wars, at the end of the day, is supposed to be fun, not as dreary and depressing as reading the obituaries.
Seriously, this book is easily in my top five favorite Star Wars novels of all time. If you want a book that makes Star Wars-style adventure fresh again, that recaptures that sense of wonder and excitement you felt the first time you cracked open Heir to the Empire back in the nineties, this is the book for you.
Kudos, JJM- you've written one of the greatest masterpieces in the entire EU.
I did like Narsk. He could probably stand in his own comic.
The decision to omit the Dramatis Personae was mine, partially for the reasons Monopoly suggests: it wouldn't do to provide ANY details about the mystery figure at the end of the book, for example, and I didn't want readers at the start to know any more about Quillan, Dromika, or Arkadia than Kerra did. The Jedi don't have a complete scorecard, either. And while a Dramatis Personae makes sense for a stage play (Shakespeare used 'em, of course!), my personal feeling was that providing characters you could remember and tell apart was part of the job.
The quote-paraphrase element Hydronium mentions is 100% an artifact of my beginnings as a journalist, I'm afraid; I slip back into it at times. Though there will always be situations where it's a good way to keep longer conversations from getting too far into the weeds, I've been working on doing that less; I fixed a lot of that as we went along and I expect that's where your orphan quotation marks came from.
Regarding the Dramatis Personae, I think that the blurb on the back of the book was more than enough.
I do have one question regarding the novel:
JJM, is the matter of whether Vilia or Arkadia killed Chagras something that's just going to be left ambiguous, or do you or anyone else have an opinion on which of them did it? I can certainly understand if it's meant to remain a mystery- it certainly is a really, really good one, since both Arkadia's and Vilia's stories have enough truth to possibly be right, with no way to tell which of them is telling the truth. Just like proper Sith a la Palpatine, they mix enough truth in their lies to reel you in.
My only question. Overall, I can't praise this book enough!
That one's classified. Need to know basis...
I can certainly appreciate that. Thanks for taking the time to reply!
Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
Everything's already been said, so I'll just sum up my thoughts. Amazing cast, hope to see more of them. Humor was done just right, especially verbal sparring between characters. Tons of continuity goodness, from seldom used species to IU history lessons. Did it's job by both fleshing out what we see in the comics, and making me want more of them. Great glimpse into the lives of those living in Sith space, beyond what the limited pages in a comic can show. Dig the new take on Sith: instead of more well-intentioned-but-misguided villains we see a squabbling family that actually has some familial love. Ok, not much, but it's there in it's own twisted way
And most importantly, it was FUN! I enjoyed reading it, above and beyond it just being another SW book. It was a real adventure, and understand all the comparisons to Mindor.
Somebody clone this guy so we can simultaneously have more books and more comics nonstop
Finished last night.
Nothing more to gush about - and cannot wait for more.
I imagine DHC KE #6 will start from the end of the novel?
If so... I could understand how that could confuse a non-novel reader -- but I have faith.
If I may point out one major fault -- the only major fault I found -- the "Deceived" teaser.
Really? A book from that time period and that is all you could find to use as a Teaser?
Without that -- I would have guaranteed I'd pick up that book -- now -- highly unlikely without major praising reviews.
That was terrible.
But back to the novel -- JJM -- again, I want to tell you as someone who doesn;t read every novel that comes out... in fact, far from it -- but I loved this book.
I just kept hoping more pages would appear as I reached the end!
I usually can't wait to finish a book I start just to know the ending -- but this one broke the mold for me.
Apparently the newest Insider confirms KE 6 will take place sometime after the events in the novel.
You mean the novel excerpt? It seemed like any typical excerpt to me, sparse on any major details yet giving us a taste of what the novel is like in general.
Yeah - the excerpt.
Couldn't have been more bland and generic and indistinct.
After just breathlessly finishing Knight Errant -- it was just so blah
I had to go to Barnes & Noble last weekend to get the book, Borders lost my business by being lax on stocking it. Finished up yesterday. I remember a time when it wouldn't take me this long to read a Star Wars book... too many distractions these days I guess. It is a dense read, which is a very good thing.
It had me toying with the idea of Arkadia, before we find out the real deal, perhaps being Sith in name only and actually aligned with the light side of the Force. Haha.
It sounds like you bought a US copy (yes, Amazon.co.uk does stock them) rather than a UK one; your mass market paperbacks are slightly taller than US ones.
Finished this last night!
I had no idea what to expect with this book, because apart from the KOTOR game I've never experienced any stories set this far back. So far apart from Death Troopers, I'd been concentrating on books set after ROTJ.
Colour me surprised when I found this book to be absolutley awesome! Kerra is an amazing character and JJM does a good job in making all the Sith dangerous, but totally different. It had incredible action, great supporting character and humour.
There is only one problem I had with this book..... it ended. I want more! Looks like I'll be reading the comic, but I hope JJM writes another novel.
Two more things I HAVE to comment on, now that I've had a few days to digest the book in its entirety:
First off, I LOVED the recurring imagery of that lone quadractyl floating in the waves. Brilliant work for emoting what needed to be gotten across.
Secondly, I can't stop grinning at how awesome an idea Vilia- AKA 'Darth Grandma'- is. Seriously, 'kindly old grandma' and 'Sith Lord' are NOT two things you think can mix, but Vilia manages to blend them so well you aren't sure what's going on with her.
Seriously, if the Big Bad Wolf invaded Villia's house, THIS granny would be having wolf steak for dinner.
Once again, I just want to see more novels from JJM. Because THIS is the kind of ingenuity and fun that Star Wars NEEDS at the moment.
I've just read the first few pages and already I am in love. Frankly, I think it is the little touches that really make the difference. The extra minor joke, the extra morsel of description, the way a certain scene comes together.
It really is a shame that the thread for this book is barely budging past 4 pages... yet the 10-volume sagas get so much play while introducing so much less in the way of fascinating and scintillating GFFA-ness
Where are all the readers?
How well is this book selling?
And how well is this book selling in comparison to the FotJ #'s?
And I don't just mean $'s -- as those hardcovers are such a rip off
Yeah, I wish this topic had more pages, but maybe its partially because its a oneshot, so there's less to speculate about, and because of the very high quality of the writing, there also isn't that much controversial stuff to argue or debate over, and there aren't any insane, contrived, boring plot developments to whine about. So most of it is just "this book is awesome!" and... after three pages, there's only so much left to be said. Aside from "this book is awesome!"
Although as another thread mentioned, I wish they had released an electronic copy of this book. I like having a physical copy of the book, but it'd be nice to have an e-copy for travel. Too bad this novel seems to be one of the more low-key novel releases this year (not being a hardcover, sequel, part of the current nine-book series, or related to a big upcoming video game), its easily one of the best Star Wars novels in a long while.
The thread might be extended if people were to point out how they disagree with Nathan Butler's review, which is fairly harsh.
I might be new so bare with me here, but everyone here has been in praise of the novel, so its hard to really form a discussion but......
Which of the three Sith Empires did everyone like the most?