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.
Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void is not really my kind of Star Wars book. It’s very much not my era and while I’ve bought some of the Dawn of the Jedi comics, I haven’t actually read any of them yet. But you know? I tried it, and despite my long tendency to not get more than a chapter or two into most Star Wars books set before Return of the Jedi, I kept reading. And I actually enjoyed it.
The Dawn of the Jedi period – introduced in a a comic from John Ostrander and Jan Duursema – is set about 36,000 years before A New Hope, in the earliest days of the Jedi (here called Je’daii) before the Old Republic. Into the Void is actually my first encounter with it, and while some questions are certainly raised, I think it’s safe to say that one doesn’t to know anything about the comics to enjoy the book.
We’re heading into the final stretch of the season for Star Wars: The Clone Wars, with the last two episodes of the Ahsoka arc coming this way in the next two Saturdays. ‘Sabotage’ put a terrorist attack on the Jedi Temple, with Ahsoka catching the culprit, but ‘The Jedi Who Knew Too Much’ now has Ahsoka on the run, framed for killing that suspect, and some clonetroopers I do a little reviewing and catch up on other reviews and news for The Clone Wars:
Adjustments. The Han on the Crucible cover got a slight tweak. (Why yes, it is a slow week for EU news!) The important thing is, the release date remains the same: July 9.
Street dates. Speaking of upcoming releases, pencil in Joe Schreiber’s Maul: Lockdown for a January 21, 2014 release. Not because we don’t believe it’s coming, but because this far out, dates are subject to change. And on that note, 2014 is now an actual thing on our release schedule. Meanwhile, if you don’t want to wait most of a year to read about Maul, Aaron Goins has a list of 7 tales you can check out right now.
It’s been only a little more than a week since the first issue of Brian Wood’s Star Wars series came and flew off the shelves. With the second printing of issue #1 expected in stores on February 6, and issue #2 (introducing Boba Fett) coming out on February 13, let’s see what people are thinking about the start of the series promoted as “This is Star Wars as you remember it . . . and as you have never seen it before” – are they fussing or are they loving it?
I guess someone threw the Scoundrels switch yesterday, because there’s been a minor flood of coverage for Timothy Zahn’s book.
MTV Geek has a book trailer which I can’t bring myself to watch. (Sorry, I Have Issues with the entire concept. Blame Vector Prime.)
Perhaps paying homage to one of our fandom’s oldest traditions, Suvudu has a “holiday card insert” so you can gift the book ahead of the official release date. And it looks like they’re ‘introducing’ the individual scoundrels one-by-one, starting with Lando.
I’ve been struggling with how to approach this arc, and I guess I wasn’t the only one. When these four episodes premiered at Celebration VI, it looked as if Lucasfilm wasn’t sure what to do with them. Maybe the Powers That Be™ thought the story skewed a bit too young, maybe they were considering it for a possible spin-off series, maybe they just didn’t know if it was any good. Those are all guesses, I honestly have no idea. All I know for sure is this: I won’t review this arc. I can’t.
Here’s why. If you haven’t seen this arc, it’d be a crime to ruin any of it for you. This is the flat-out best work this show has ever done. The characterizations are smart and layered, the action is breathtaking, the emotions are earned, the gags are funny, the pacing is superb, the casting is brilliant and the voicework in general is a joy to hear. In short, each and every creative decision is terrific. Even characters who should be tired by now feel fresh and surprising. So instead of a review, consider this a challenge: if you don’t watch The Clone Wars, take my word for it and check out these four episodes. I’ll burn you a DVD if you can’t find them on your own! This show keeps managing to top its own high-standards, and this storyline really illustrates just how far the series has come.
One of the weird realizations about The Big Announcement is that if they’re going to make Episodes VII through IX, there’s no reason they won’t make Episodes X through XII as well. And if you find the idea of endless Star Wars movies a bit jarring, well, you’re not alone. But the truth is, we’ve already seen new Star Wars movies, because that’s what The Clone Wars has become: a series of longer-form stories, told over several installments. Yes, there are some standalone episodes throw in (and they’re almost always terrific), but it seems like these mini-movies are now the dominant mode. And that can be good. And that can be bad.
Editor’s note: This review covers the whole Onderon arc, episodes 5.02 – 5.05: ‘A War on Two Fronts,’ ‘Front Runners,’ ‘The Soft War,’ and ‘Tipping Points.’