Archive for Sith

Review: Dynasty of Evil

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on 19 November 2017 by Megan

by Drew Karpyshyn

If the fact that it’s taken two months for me to drag myself back to this trilogy isn’t enough of an indication, the only positive thing I can say about this book is that I enjoy the cover art.

This trilogy went from 4 stars to 2 stars in an out-of-control fireball of suck.

Right, say something nice about it, Librarian. Something nice. I can do this. I can think of something nice to say. Um . . . I like the cover. I really like the cover. The colors are nice, the tattoos are cool, it just looks good.

Nothing inside the cover makes me that happy, I can promise you that. For a brief time this summer, I really thought I had misjudged Karpyshyn, that Revan was a bad anomaly, that this writer deserved his reputation. But then I was so bored by Rule of Two, it took everything in me to force myself to finish the trilogy. Remember how I said I took 50 minutes for my half hour lunch breaks during Path of Destruction because it was so interesting? And how Rule of Two had me wrapping up in 15 minutes instead? Well, I kid you not, but Dynasty of Evil actually had me skip lunch several days because I did not want to read and preferred to stay at my desk working.

Karpyshyn started off with a bizarre premise, that human beings are nearing death when they reach mid-40s. Bane broods on his impending mortality with more illogical intensity than Raymond on that episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. And it’s not because of what happened with his orbalisk armor, because Karpyshyn never mentions the armor in connection with Bane’s sense of coming old age. A weird hang up for a guy obsessed with achieving immortality.

The Sith obsession with immortality could have been developed in several very interesting ways, especially connecting it with Palpatine and the inherent fragility of the Rule of Two, but Karpyshyn was too busy describing the minutiae of everyone’s wardrobe to bother with inner monologue. Perhaps he exhausted his entire supply of “complex character juice” on the first novel. This book was 90% padding–like most Del Rey novels, we could’ve had a much higher quality duology, but how could they charge $23.97 for that? Eh?

Anyway, it stitches up the plot more or less, but does so in the least engaging way possible. The final duel between Zannah and Bane is the only interesting moment of the book and actually lasts 3 or 4 pages longer than it should, so it doesn’t stay interesting long.

I hated it and it poisoned all my good memories of the first book. I will never read or reread any book by this guy again.

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Review: Rule of Two

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on 30 September 2017 by Megan

by Drew Karpyshyn

Well, that didn’t last.

I had very high hopes for this one on the basis of the last one. I’ve also been waiting to read this one for about 6 years. See, this was the one I bought at the Friends of the Library bookstore in Bloomington during my, “I really need to get back into Star Wars” phase. I went ahead and bought it because I knew all Old Republic materials would have to fit into my timeline, since it’s an open-beginning timeline.

Path of Destruction ended on a pulse-racing finale with the Valley of the Jedi, the thought bomb, the miner Des totally transformed into the dark heart of the Sith, Bane. Departing the scene of the explosion, he comes across a lost little girl who used the Force to explode Republic troops. He adopts her as his apprentice Zannah.

I was very much looking forward to exploring the master-apprentice dynamic between the two of them, with Bane such an Imperial scholar with a revolutionary idea. However, Karpyshyn discards most of this potential without a second thought by jerking the action forward ten years and then proceeding to sprinkle the rest of the book with liberal flashbacks–pages and pages of italics (not that easy to read) inspired by things as simple as, oh, Zannah opening a door. This completely disrupts the action, since by the time the flashback wraps up 5 pages later, you don’t remember why she was opening the door in the first place. And the flashbacks are so frequent and so close together that there was no reason not to simply continue telling the story chronologically without the ten year skip.

The orbalisk armor and quest for immortality are extremely interesting, as are the machinations of two Sith who know the other will attempt to kill them when they aren’t useful any longer, yet who must decide when that usefulness has actually expired so they can make their move. But the padding in this book was heavy, with a lot of preoccupation on what people are wearing in addition to the endless flashbacks.

I kept trying to be curious about what was coming next, but in a far cry from my stretched lunch breaks of Path of Destruction, this book had me wrapping up as soon as I was finished eating and heading back to my desk only 15 minutes later because I was too bored to read another chapter. Toward the end, I found myself muttering, “Blah blah blah get on with it” under my breath a lot. Very disappointing.

Review: Path of Destruction

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on 29 August 2017 by Megan

by Drew Karpyshyn

Had this book for awhile, and with The Alliance book group choosing it to read for August, I figured now was as good a time as any to finally pick it up.

I buckled in for this one because I did not enjoy Revan much and figured it’d be much of the same shallow and incomplete writing that bugged me in the other Karpyshyn I dragged myself through. Plus, the Old Republic era just doesn’t interest me much, so it two major handicaps right up front.

I was pleasantly surprised! Des is an interesting, compelling character with actual complexity, quite unlike Revan. He’s a simple miner on a hellish planet, getting through day after day and brooding on the death of his father. He plays sabacc, has few friends, and also has a secret–he’s aware of a dark power within himself that he knows nothing about.

I appreciated how the book highlighted Republic hypocrisy and indifference to the galaxy’s wellbeing as a whole. I liked the portrayal of the warmongering Jedi (there’s a reason Bib Fortuna says, “Bargain rather than fight? He’s no Jedi”). And my pulse kicked into overdrive when I saw “Ruusan” and realized that this was the prequel to Dark Forces 2 and the Valley of the Jedi adventure, long one of my favorite things in the entire EU.

I chewed through this book pretty fast. I remember stretching a few half-hour lunch breaks into 45 or 50 minutes just so I could get to a good stopping place. It made fun connections with SWTOR–first Des is a nobody, then he’s a trooper, then he gets picked up to go to the Sith Academy. It was fun tracing his journey against roles familiar to me from playing TOR.I also loved the character of the Sith instructors at the Academy, and how Bane moves forward and backward on his journey. Recoiling from the power of the Dark Side, he renders himself unable to use the Force at all. He educates himself in the Sith ways in the library, a plot point which is hard for me to resist. Some of the best lightsaber combat I’ve read in a novel, too.

While some parts felt needlessly swift and brittle, it is overall an engaging and fun read that I’m happy to finally have picked up. Looking forward to the next one. Has Karpyshyn redeemed himself??

Favorite Sith

Posted in Challenges with tags , , , on 20 February 2014 by Megan

Hard question, etc. etc. Not hard because there’s a lot to choose from, though: precisely the opposite. I have almost nothing to do with Sith. I’ll name them: Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, Darth Sidious, Darth Vader, and Steve. I mean Exar Kun. I also read a comic book with Naga Sadow in it. Or maybe it was Fredon Nadd. Anyway, the point is that I have had very little to do with Sith, and in general, I hate them and not the way you’re supposed to.

Darth Maul

Darth Maul

Darth Maul is a puppet. He’s a catchphrase. He has no genuine motivation, no personality, nothing. He is as two-dimensional a villain as you could possibly want. Insert Lightsaber A into Killingpeople B. His tattoos make no sense, and while nothing takes away how cool the fight in E1 looks, there is nothing behind the Insidious-demon face paint. He could be a droid for all anyone knows or cares.

aka Count Dooku

aka Count Dooku

Darth Tyranus makes no sense. First of all, if the Jedi are right about Sith only having one apprentice at a time (and the Jedi have no reason to be right about this) and George Lucas’ timeline is acceptable (it isn’t), why would Sidious take this old man as his apprentice within weeks of losing Maul, whom he poured energy on for about 20 years? Why would he take on this old guy as an apprentice anyway, and why would Dooku agree to such a thing? An apprentice, by definition, is someone you are transferring all your knowledge to, and an old guy who withdrew from the Jedi has nothing to bring to the table. Furthermore, that business about him training Qui-Gon was a pointless complication. I once calculated that if that was true,  he’d have to be about 117 in Episode II, and how could he know who Obi-Wan was (via QG bragging on him) without meeting him? It makes no sense. Nothing about him makes sense. I love Christopher Lee, a lot, but Dooku is dookie.

Once Anakin Skywalker

Once Anakin Skywalker

Darth Vader — the saga might be about his fall and his son’s rise, but he is disappointment incarnate. Unpredictable, fueled by rage without being tempered by sense, he longs for someone to give him orders and can’t work his way out of the tragedy encircling him. Finally, too dense to retreat when Obi-Wan is out of his reach, he renders himself a quadruple-amputee by making a cocky revenge dive at his more-adept master. He survives, barely, trapped in a walking iron lung for all of eternity because he couldn’t master his emotions. His redemption is solid but he’s no great Sith. Not even close.

So what’s it come down to? I almost want to say Exar Kun.

Lord Kun

Lord Kun

Exar Kun was a Sith lord from about 5,000 years before the Original Trilogy. His story appears in Kevin J. Anderson’s Jedi Academy Trilogy: having preserved his spirit in the stones of the temple Luke uses for his Jedi training ground, Kun alternately possesses and kills off students in an attempt to get a body back and resume his reign of terror. He also appears in a score of comics, which is why in the end I’m not picking him. The emotion I feel for him isn’t the him in those comics, and Anderson just . . . isn’t good enough for favorites.

So as always, it comes down to Papa Palpatine and me.

Cos Palpatine

Cos Palpatine

Well, as it turns out, Sidious really is my favorite. Read all about my love/hate for him here.

Review: Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter

Posted in Reviews, Spotlight with tags , , , , , on 29 May 2011 by Megan
Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter

Michael Reaves.

A funny thing happened when I was reading another of the books I’m going to be reviewing here in the next couple weeks. I recognized one of the characters–and that was only funny because I thought I’d never read this book before. Yes, that’s right . . . the Star Wars Librarian forgot she’d read a SW book. Don’t let that stunt your opinion of it, though, because Reaves is far from forgettable! As soon as I saw the characters’ names again, I instantly remembered being 16, sitting at the end of my bed, devouring the text with my youthful desperation, biting back tears every now and again . . .

Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter is a unique adventure. It doesn’t feature main characters heavily, relying on its own storytelling to keep your interest. It’s an interest well kept. Set 37 years before A New Hope (in the year 01101), Shadow Hunter tells the story not only of Darth Maul, but of Lorn Pavan and his partner, I-Five. They’re just a couple of simple fellows trying to stay alive on Coruscant. This is a proposition more and more difficult as time goes on. Lorn’s got a chip on his shoulder, and I-Five has a chip for a brain–he’s a sentient droid. The story is also about a Jedi Padawan and her master, and some Sith, and a plot to blockade the planet of Naboo.

We all know the blockade on Naboo isn’t prevented, but Michael Reaves puts together a fast-paced and compelling novel with richly interesting characters, some of whom pop up again later ;) Also worthwhile are the insights into Maul’s character. In short, like a lot of prequel material, it’s fast-paced, interesting, but not for people who must have a happy ending. Unlike a lot of prequel material, it’s well-written, too. Nothing tedious here!

Check it out on Amazon.