Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber is out today, and fans of the Dark Side should rejoice. Lockdown delivers a can’t-put-this-down tale of scum and villainy.
Set before The Phantom Menace, Lockdown has Darth Maul sent undercover to infiltrate a space station prison to find an elusive arms dealer operating out of inescapable penitentiary. Maul quickly becomes a contender in the warden’s profitable prison fight circuit, but there’s more to finding someone who doesn’t want to be found in a prison than just cracking heads all the way to the top. Plus, more than just prisoners and guards lurk in the dark confines of this station. And throw in Jabba the Hutt, dangerous cultists, and Darth Sidious scheming under his own master’s nose.
Darth Maul has gone through a renaissance in the past few years – he has gone from being the weapon of rage back in 1999 in The Phantom Menace and the related EU (Michael Reaves’ Shadow Hunter & Ron Marz’ comic), to his resurrection on The Clone Wars (along with Tom Taylor’s Darth Maul: Death Sentence and James Luceno’s Darth Plagueis) as some one able to scheme his way into power as he seeks vengeance on both Obi-wan Kenobi and his old master, while taking on his brother Savage as his own apprentice. And now this year, we get more of Darth Maul, with Lockdown and the upcoming Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir comic. Maul: Lockdown adds to this modern character and builds some of Maul’s roots as a plotter as this mission tests his abilities to not only survive but achieve his objective before time runs out.
Street date shuffle. Can we still call it ‘street’ date for an eBook? The enhanced eBooks for Making of Return of the Jedi, The Empire Strikes Back and Star Wars have been pushed back to October 22, Star Wars Books has announced. The hardcover Making of Return of the Jedi will still be out on October 1.
Upcoming. Has the new Essential Characters been pushed back to 2016? It looks like it, from what Knights’ Archive has discovered. Making room for Episode VII characters? They also spotted the first Rebels tie-ins, which are coming in August 2014 from Disney Press.
Last week, Konami introduced Star Wars: Force Collection, a card battling game for mobile platforms (Android/iPhone/iPad). I think I’m addicted to it, but I can’t say that I’m actually having any fun. It has plenty of Star Wars graphics and sounds, but has very repetitive and incredibly simple gameplay, though it may appeal to those who like to accumulate rewards and level up. Here’s my review and a simple gameplay guide and tips for Force Collection:
Razor’s Edge is the first book of the Empire and Rebellion series but it is, as promised, very much a standalone story.
I found the book to be a bit of a throwback – in a good way. Like Kenobi, it’s a straightforward, streamlined Star Wars story, though this one wouldn’t have been out of place back in the Bantam era… If you look back at it with a warm fuzzy glow that erases most of the silly parts.
Short stories. Star Wars Books announced last night that Lucasfilm editor Jennifer Heddle has written a young Leia Organa novel for Star Wars Insider #145. “Constant Spirit” features Leia before A New Hope, and Heddle thinks it’s “one of the earliest-set stories about Leia there’s been, if not the earliest.” The issue will be on newsstands October 22, and in subscriber mailboxes a week or so before that.
Star Wars: Kenobi came out in hardcover this past Tuesday, and you’ve already seen Dunc’s review on John Jackson Miller’s novel set under the Tusken suns. Hint: she gave it an B+. And we know know critical she can be.
But what are other folks saying about the Western-style tale on Tatooine? Here’s a big stack of reviews (both spoiler-free and other wise) with your name on them! Most everyone seems to give strong approval to Kenobi!
Kenobi is John Jackson Miller’s second Star Wars novel and his first featuring a movie character, and quite possibly the best one of the year thus far.
This is a Star Wars novel fitting firmly in the current trend of books that require one to know very little beyond the films themselves. In fact, it’s exactly the kind of novel whose lack we’ve been mourning for quite some time: An character-centric adventure that doesn’t have galaxy-shaking consequences and is none the less exciting or interesting for it.
There’s no doubt that last week’s release, Crucible, has been a very polarizing Star Wars book. To call the reviews ‘mixed’ would be an understatement – this seems to be very much a love-it-or-hate book. You know what side I fall on, but here’s the rest of the Star Wars blogosphere. Accordingly, we’ll start with the negative and work our way up.
Please note almost all of these reviews contain big spoilers, to the point where I’ve only labeled the ones that don’t give away the ending.
Bryan at Big Shiny Robot calls it “nothing short of a boring, weird descent into things I just didn’t care to see in a Star Wars novel.”
The crew at Tosche Station were equally unimpressed. Brian’s review may be the most lengthy. He says it may be “the most disappointing EU book I’ve read.” Bria says “to call [the ending] ridiculous would be kind” and compare it to The Crystal Star. (She also did a hilarious Tumblr slideshow review.)
Kay at Fangirl Blog found the book “a painful read” and was disappointed by the book’s increasing galactic threat. Still, she felt it had some moments. Meanwhile, Tricia ponders who Crucible is for, exactly.
Aaron Goins at the Star Wars Report felt the book had a lot of wasted potential, saying “the story wasn’t that interesting and the strange factor was just way too high.” (Minor spoilers.)
The folks at Knights’ Archive were split. Megan thought the book “seemed to be trying too hard to check all the Star Wars boxes. Do all cantinas really remind Han of Chalmun’s?” Bryan Dean, on the other hand, was “hooked right from the first chapter” and says the book has “a lot of great moments and surprises.” (Minor spoilers.)
Nerdvana’s Jayson Peters liked the book, but thinks “it tries too hard to be an epic capstone for the major characters’ careers while relegating them to the sidelines for too much of the action.”
Lightsaber Rattling felt “Denning really nailed the characterization of both Han and Luke,” and says the conclusion is “both satisfying and logical,” but wishes the book had been “a little more grounded.” (Minor spoilers.)
William at EUCantina was “was pleasantly surprised” by the book and had a hard time putting it down. (Minor spoilers.)
NJOE’s Commander Cody liked the book, saying the characters “felt more human, as if their age had caught up to them.” (Spoiler-free.)
Roqoo Depot has been one of the most vocal supporters of the book. In their double review, Skuldren calls it “a wild and crazy ride, and possibly my new favorite Star Wars story,” while Geralyn says “there’s nothing about this story I didn’t like.”
So there you have it. It’s been out for almost a week now, so what did you think of Crucible?
I’m so glad there’s going to be a sequel trilogy, because I can only imagine how much more disappointed I’d be in Crucible if that wasn’t a factor.
It’s not that I was expected a masterpiece, mind you. I freely admit that Denning’s books have never been favorites of mine. But I was hoping for something a little bit different this time. Something at least a little fresher than what we’ve been getting in the ‘modern’ era of the Expanded Universe. Something that lets the Big 3 go off into retirement with one last fun adventure.
Crucible is not that book. It’s just more of same uninspired EU we’ve been getting far too much of in this era – very much a followup to Fate of the Jedi – trying too hard to be profound and failing.