The Bounty Hunter Wars 1-3
I didn’t like this trilogy. I thought that K.W. Jeter extended the story with needless background and side-stories that extended this from a long novel to three books. I also didn’t like some of the characters, such as Kuat of Kuat and Mub’at. Don’t get me wrong, the idea behind them was okay. But the flaws were too much to get behind.
First, Kuat. I just couldn’t get past calling him Kuat of Kuat. So I guess my reason here is petty. Don’t call this key character a name that my four-year-old would make up, and maybe I can focus more on the book. The character itself was actually a good one. I really liked the politics of Kuat, and the way the families were juggling for control of the Kuat empire. Such a shame that I had to fight to focus on that.
And now Mub’at, one of the more ludicrous characters. A spider-like alien who seemed to be kind of a robot who assembled parts of space debris to create and expand his home which seemed to be a giant spaceship-spiderweb. And he was a go-between for bounty hunters and their clients. While the idea of a go between is a good one, space is a pretty big area. The galaxy is huge. Maybe it’s my marketing instinct, but it’s all about location. How did he build his business? Why is there only one go-between? Both the Empire and Prince Xixor use him, as well as the Bounty Hunter’s Guild and Boba Fett. So how did he get all the business? And to the extent that they would travel light years to the middle of nowhere to deal with him? And the escrow money is secure there in his little web-station with zero security? I just hated everything about this.
And then there is Neelah, this woman who was tagging along (and who actually discovered Boba Fett barely alive having escaped the Sarlocc pit). She had not really need to be in the story. She was trying to find her identity and seemed to be capable handling herself, so a tiny part of me was hoping that she was actually Mara Jade with amnesia. But nope. Just some schmo from the Kuat empire.
Anyway, the holes in the story, the weak characters, and the over-writing/over-explaining made this trilogy tough to get through. Which is a shame because I like Boba Fett and absolutely believe he can anchor a really good multi-part series of stories. I like Dengar too, even as Fett’s temporary partner. There was potential here, and it really let me down. In fact, it was so hard to get through these books it nearly frustrated me right out of this project.
But I plodded on…
The Truce at Bakura
Redemption! I loved this novel by Kathy Tyers that took place starting the day after the second Death Star was destroyed. The main group of characters went to Bakura to help the planet (and the empire that controlled it) fend off an alien race called Ssi-ruuk. This alien race would capture the citizens and suck out their soul with a machine, and push their essence into ships and computers to further grow and build their army.
Now, I’m a Star Wars guy. I like the science fiction part. And I have accepted the Force as a form of ‘magic’ that ties in with the science. But I hate any other magic I read in these books. So I hated the Lando books because of the new forms of magic introduced. And so I really hate the idea of this machine that sucks the essence out of humans (and more essence from Force-sensitive ones – so of course they went after Luke). But despite this huge flaw, this nagging annoyance…I loved this book. I loved how it further built on Luke’s training and power, and how he’s growing as a Jedi. I loved how the Alliance and the Empire relationship continued to evolve after the Empire’s death. This is a worthwhile read with very little in the way of ‘slow’ sections. It gives me hope that the New Republic novels won’t be quite so bad…
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor
On one hand I enjoyed this book. But on the other hand, this breaks one of my personal annoyances in the SWU. I like the fantasy aspect and storyline of the characters in SWU as it pertains to the Force. This particular story introduced “the Dark”. But that may or may not have been related to the Force, so I can accept that. But I didn’t like the idea of controlling a body and a planet with living rock. That aside, what I did enjoy was Luke’s growth as a Jedi. His power is actually illustrated to me as being stronger than Anakin’s. I also enjoyed seeing Nick Rostu back. I had forgotten that he didn’t actually die in the Jax Pavan books but was found and stabilized by I5. I look forward to seeing more from him. I think if you’re reading through the key stories of the SWU then this one is worth your while.
Jedi Prince 1: The Glove of Darth Vader and Jedi Prince 2: The Lost City of the Jedi
While I’m fine with the young adult books – I actually enjoyed the Jude Watson books about Obi Wan as an apprentice, and again with Anakin as an apprentice. But the first book here was horrible. The writing was so low brow that I couldn’t even bear the hour or two that it took me to skim through it. And the story also involved hokey coincidences and bad characters. It was ruining the SWU experience for me. I got a quarter of the way through the second book before I decided to move on from this entire series. Pass.
Dark Forces: Rebel Agent
Kyle Katarn is back and according to the new ‘Legends’ timeline, several years have passed. But according to the flow of the book and reading between the lines of conversation, it indicates that only several months have passed since Soldier for the Empire. Again, so leeway in your imagination must be given. Katarn is a likable character and budding Jedi. The trilogy was written in the mid- to late 90s and so there is some confusion regarding all the “Dark Jedi”. But that’s likely because the Sith hadn’t really be introduced into the SWU just yet. So Katarn set off to find the Valley of the Jedi, the existence of which was found via a disk left to him by his father. The race is on between Katarn and his pilot-slash-love-interest Jan Ors versus the Dark Jedi Jerec and his Dark Jedi followers. More on this in the next section…
Dark Forces: Jedi Knight
Kyle and Jan of course make their way to the Valley of the Jedi and this is where there is an interesting tie-in – via a “dream sequence” – with the Darth Bane “Thought Bomb” that wiped out hundreds of Jedi and all of the Sith except him. The story was much different then what actually happened, as we found out in the Darth Bane books. In this story, obviously written before the Bane books told it ‘right’, Bane wasn’t mentioned at all and there were some minor changes. But you get the general idea of what this was supposed to describe and your imagination can easily tie it in with the overall storyline. This trilogy is an easy read and moderately interesting. I would recommend to SW fans for that reason, as well as the cameo appearances by Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker (who actually plays a bigger role in the final book).
So the pressure is on! Star Wars 7 is out in eight weeks and I have several dozen (!) books to get through. Not gonna happen. My quest will fail. Couldn’t read the entire series in 34 months. But I hope to at least get through the Thrawn trilogy and maybe even a little further before the movie comes out.