Star Wars Novels Part 11

Posted: February 4, 2014 in Book Reviews

It’s right around this time during my (now 11-month) quest to read all the Star Wars novels in order of their place in SW history that I realize that I’m not going to be privy to some really big storylines:
1. Ahsoka leaving the Jedi Order?
2. The origin of General Grievous?
3. The origin of Asajj Ventress?
4. The death/banishment/fate of Ventress?

So I decided to get all of the Clone Wars TV episodes and watch them with my young daughter.

Now back to the books.

Yoda: Dark Rendezvous
This was a great book by Sean Stewart, his first Star Wars novel. Yoda is secretly summoned by Count Dooku to meet, and Yoda decides to risk the fact that it is likely a trap, just in the very chance that Dooku could turn back to the side of light. Along with two Jedi Knights and two Padawans, Yoda makes the trip and meets with Dooku. The Padawans and Jedis meet Asajj Ventress, and all in all the fights are well written. I also loved how Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi made cameo appearances… and then a beautiful entry into battle later on. Well done. It’s not often that a scene can generate excitement like that.

But it was this book that made me decided that I needed to dig up how Ahsoka left the Jedi Order. She wasn’t even mentioned in the book. So even though I’m reading every book, I didn’t read about her departure. Strange…

Boba Fett 5 and 6 – “A New Threat” and “Pursuit”
Another “young adult” book, but another one I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s nice, when you’re undergoing a big project like this, to shut your brain off and just bang out a book in a couple of hours. Boba Fett is now an established bounty hunter rapidly gaining recognition around the galaxy while he works for Jabba the Hutt. The problem is, the book talks him up as if he’s some tall 17 year old. But the fact is, according to the Wookiepedia Star Wars novels timeline, he’s 14. Anyway, a fun read, and some great background drama too. He meets Anakin and the two have a grudging respect for each other. And he meets Palpatine, to inform the Chancellor that he knows that Count Dooku and Darth Tyranus are one and the same. Oooooooh…

Labyrinth of Evil
Looks like, perhaps, I spoke to soon. General Grievous has a flashback on who he was before becoming a cyborg, and the accident that happened that nearly killed him. And Count Dooku also has a flashback of his version of events as to how Grievous was nearly killed (hint – he had a hand in it). Is that the only Grievous origin? I’ll have to research.

The Labyrinth of Evil novel is actually Part 1 of a trilogy, with the second book actually being Revenge of the Sith, which was the movie. I had no idea that there was an entire novel leading into the movie…and then another novel leading us out of that movie. In this first novel, Anakin and Obi-Wan kick things off by coming oh-so-close to capturing Nute Gunray. But they do acquire a mechno-chair that Gunray left behind. The chair is equipped with a transceiver that communicates with Darth Sidious, as well as with Dooku and Grievous. As the two Jedi use the chair (i.e. the manufacturer, the deliverer, etc) to close in on who purchased it (presumably Darth Sidious), I gain further admiration for Palpatine and the mechanics that are in place for the wiping out of the Jedi. Just going by the movie, you are struck by a few questions that end in you writing the movie off as silly. How could the Jedi have no clue that Palpatine is Sidious? How is every single Jedi wiped out? How are the clones so quick to betray the Jedi?

With the added background of these novels, the questions are answered and the so-called ridiculous plot is not only more believable, but actually quite good. It’s a shame that 99% of Star Wars fans are simply fans of the movie and will never know how good the first three episodes actually are.

Over the course of a few dozen books, the Jedi were spread thin throughout the galaxy, with most in the Outer Rim. It was all very gradual and the Jedi Masters were not clueless to this and were starting to make moves to bring the Jedi back. But there are so many politics involved, that it wasn’t as simple as a quick phone call saying “come back”. And through the plot of this book we are able to see that the Jedi almost had Sidious figured out. They narrowed it down to “someone in Palpatine’s inner circle”. But just when they were about to narrow it down further – Grievous attacks Coruscant. Palpatine is kidnapped (very convenient) before the Jedi could complete their investigation.

And as noted in the Republic Commandos book, Order 66 was put in place as a method of reigning in the Jedi if they were seen as doing anything that could be construed as anti-Republic. That order being that the Supreme Chancellor would seize control of the army and place the Jedi under arrest by any means necessary. Order 66 was passed by frightened Senators who were manipulated over the course of months by Palpatine’s cronies, and it was only an “emergency” law that would probably never be used.

At this point, my anticipation of Revenge of the Sith is sky-high. For the first time since starting this quest to read the books in chronological order, I will be reading a book based on the movie – before seeing the movie. Yes, I’ve seen the movie three times, but not for several years and so it is far from fresh. And after reading Revenge of the Sith, I wanted to give it its own post.

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