Review: Red Harvest
by Joe Schreiber.
In many respects, Schreiber (whose name, deliciously, means writer in German!) redeemed 21st century Star Wars books for me. He writes gory scifi horror, so it’s kind of sad/frustrating that a lot of Star Wars fans, those who don’t like horror or can’t stand gore, will never get to experience him. But with as haphazard as post-2000 Star Wars books are, the Schreiber stuff is always gold.
Essentially contemporary with Star Wars: The Old Republic, Red Harvest
focuses on the Sith Academy at Korriban, where a Sith lord is seeking the ultimate prize of immortality.
It also touches on the Jedi, the famous Agricultural Corps where Force-sensitives who don’t make the grade are often sent. Hestizo Trace is a young Jedi who did make the grade but whose gifted skill with plants has left her assigned to a rare orchid — which just so happens to be the key to the immortality ritual. When Hestizo is kidnapped for the rare orchid, her Jedi brother chases across the galaxy looking for her.
To the mix of kidnapped Jedi horticulturist, semi-sentient orchid, and Liam Neeson as Jedi Knight in Star Wars: Episode Taken, throw in a healthy dose of undead plant zombies with lightsabers.
Yes, what I’m telling you is that this book is a lot of fun. Yes, it’s got quite a bit of cheese, but it’s done right — and cheese done right can be like macaroni and cheese or cheesecake, too good to pass up!
I see what you did there ;) No, I wasn’t kidding about the main character being Liam Neeson.
All that being said, I don’t think I would have enjoyed this book as much if I hadn’t started playing SWTOR. It’s a typically great Schreiber horror ramble, wonderfully atmospheric with gore, jump scares, and tropes turned Star Warsy — so I’m not saying it’s not worth it if you haven’t played TOR. I’m just saying that if you do play TOR, you’ve got an extra special journey in front of you.
I’m really convinced Schreiber must’ve played some before writing this. So much of the book feels like it’s straight from the game, with mad lords, scheming acolytes, morally nebulous bounty hunters, stubborn Jedi, and plant zombie “mobs.” The description, atmosphere, plot all seemed to come out of my favorite planet arc, “The Thing that Czerka Found,” so it made me enjoy the whole book that much more. A great bit of Old Republic realcanon!