I took a few days off for Thanksgiving (and so I won’t completely kill Brian with my fast reading speed) but we’re back with more Prequel Era books! This time, half of the books were obvious tie-ins to books from much further down the timeline and two of them were, well, Attack of the Clones based. This one’s a bit more of a mixed bag than before.
Okay so you know how some people hate Boba Fett and get annoyed by how fans adore him and he gets all these appearances etc etc? Yeah, that’s me except with Tarkin and the building of the Death Star. Honestly, what is this obsession that EU authors have with him and the Death Star? I mean, I know it was a cool looking space station that blew planets up but can we not credit everyone and their mother with its construction?
Overall, the book’s okay but it’s so obviously there for the New Jedi Order that it feels far too much like an extended short story sometimes. Character-wise, it’s good. I actually really enjoyed getting some insight into the early years of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s Master/Padawan relationship. I also rather enjoy Thracia Cho Leem because anyone who can out sass Mace Windu and have his respect deserves your respect. It’s too bad that she leaves the Jedi Order because wow is he going to need her in about a decade when Shatterpoint happens…. The only thing I’m really not fond of is getting beaten over the head with “Oooo Anakin’s going to fall to the Dark Side one day!”. I get what Greg Bear was doing but at times, it felt like a bit too much. Also, I will be forever sad that Anakin didn’t get to keep his ship. Poor baby.
Book Two of ‘GUYS THIS IS GOING TO BE REALLY IMPORTANT LATER ON IN THE EU SO YOU SHOULD REALLY TAKE NOTES.’ It’s also one of those books that make me wonder if every Master/Padawan team in the galaxy is named Kenobi/Skywalker.
Okay, okay. That was mean but sometimes, I just can’t contain the snark. In actuality, I really liked this book and I definitely liked it way more than I remembered liking it when I originally read it. It’s a very good read and kept me basically glued to the pages all day. Despite my eye rolling up there, Zahn actually does write a good Obi-Wan and Anakin and it’s nice seeing him deal with characters outside of his Star Wars norm. I just wish that we could see more of the thousands of Jedi in the galaxy but that’s a general note, not a Zahn specific one.
I also rather liked getting to see Thrawn before he’s the Grand Admiral and I enjoyed getting to learn more about the Chiss period because they are one intriguing society to say the least. And hey, Car’das is another welcome addition to the cast of characters. I appreciated him a lot more after reading this book.
But what we really need to talk about is Jorus C’Baoth.
Actually I think that pretty much sums it up. I don’t know how much cloning had to do with making Joruus crazy because WOW WAS HE ALREADY THERE. C-R-A-Z-Y. Poor Lorana. She was too nice to have him for a Master. Maybe Thracia Cho Leem can go back in time and adopt her.
Is it a little heavy on the ‘Let’s put together all the pieces for other stories that will be happening!’ factor? Sure but it does it in a good way, much akin to Darth Plageuis which makes it worth your time.
The Approaching Storm
Bless you, Alan Dean Foster, for writing this book. In particular, thank you for choosing to focus on not just Obi-Wan and Anakin but also on those two female Jedi who appear briefly in Attack of the Clones as essentially glorified extras. Honestly, how can you NOT love Luminara Undili and Barriss Offee? ESPECIALLY BARRISS. I’d love to do a version of that Mean Girl meme here, “Barriss Offee is flawless, I hear her hair insured for 1200 credits,” but that’s a part of what makes Barriss so great: she’s not flawless. She’s not nearly as sure of herself as Anakin is but she is a fair bit more self-righteous because EXCUSE YOU, ANAKIN SKYWALKER. Okay, maybe self righteous might not be the right word but she’s definitely a much more by the book Jedi than Anakin. Regardless, she’s just an awesome character. She’s a very capable Jedi who can handle herself in a tough situation but will still readily admit that she has more to learn from her Master. Plus, I love that she doesn’t immediately resort to violence to get herself out of a tough situation. The bit where she uses her talents with healing to free herself from the kidnapping is a brilliant move. My favorite self-rescuing Jedi lady. <3
I also love that she and Anakin become friends by the end of the book. That boy needs more friends and Barriss would definitely be a good influence on him. Or she would’ve been IF A WAR WASN’T GOING TO START REALLY SOON.
PS: If you think this review is a love letter to Barriss Offee… just wait until I get to the MedStar books.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about Luminara or Obi-Wan. I can’t get enough of Obi-Wan as the overly calm Jedi Master. Everyone’s in shock over how fast these animals move? Obi-Wan’s chilling out with his eyes closed and arms crossed. Time for a morning stretch but you don’t have time to stop? That’s okay. Obi-Wan’s just going do his on top of the galloping animal. And then there’s Luminara Unduli who also excels at being calm and in control and incredibly capable. How can you not love her from the very first scene where she adeptly handles those inappropriate men?
It may be a bit cheesy but I rather love the part of the book where the Jedi have to demonstrate their souls. It’s a different side to each of them and you can’t help but love it. I also laughed at the blatant foreshadowing of Yoda’s duel with Dooku. Master Yoda? Incapable of being a master duelist? Ohhhhh Anakin. Just you wait, child. Just you wait. The plot of the book itself is fine but honestly, this is far more of a character driven book than anything else. It works really well as a lead-in to Attack of the Clones because not only is that throw away line about Obi-Wan and Anakin explained but it also lets you get to know who both of them have become as people in the ten years since the last film.
Attack of the Clones
The first thing that I loved about this book were the first few chapters. I want to hug the Lars family. I love that RA Salvatore gives us a look at them as a happy family and also lets us get to know Cliegg, Owen, and Beru. Plus, it lets us see that Shmi did find true happiness even though she missed her son every day. I thought it was adorable that Owen calls her ‘Mom.’
I have to admit that the chapter where Padme and Anakin go to visit her family breaks my heart and I sincerely wish they’d kept it in the film. Not only do I think it gives a lot more insight into Padme and her half of the romance but her interactions were her family are incredibly sweet. That, of course, brings us to the heartache because I couldn’t help but wish that Anakin and Padme could have raised their two children in peace on Naboo. Sure, the twins might not have become heroes of the galaxy but oh man they could’ve been so happy. THEY COULD’VE BEEN HAPPY. 🙁
Overall, it’s really not a bad novelization and certainly lets you get much more into the characters’ heads than the film and also lets you see more of certain characters in general. It’s a very true novelization as far as dialogue goes but it’s a decent read. Like I mentioned before, its greatest strength is how it fleshes out the Anakin/Padme romance.
Next up… the Clone Wars starts! Waaaaaaaar! Won’t somebody think of the clones? Or the Jedi? As always, if you’d like to keep a real time eye on my progress, you can follow me on Twitter @chaosbria or the hashtag #WaruExpress.