Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Quickie: Star Wars: New Jedi Order (series, various)

Rating: 1/5
Years: 1999-2003
Genre: Sci-Fi
Read again? HELL no.

Yeah, I know I just finished saying you shouldn't look for a "Star Wars" review anytime soon. Changed my mind--because this series is one of the reasons (aside from Luca$) I don't want to read "Star Wars" books. There may be spoilers without warning--this is a series I will not recommend to anyone.

It is a dark time for "Star Wars" fans. Although he's raking cash in at a phenomenal rate, the money-crazed Lord Luca$ isn't happy with destroying the franchise in film. He spreads his grasping tentacles outward into the book market.

Hiring hacks who vomited some of the worst "Star Wars"-affiliated crap to ever grace the page, he and his agents set forth to deliver the coup de grace to what was once a treasured childhood world.

I first encountered this "New Jedi Order" series with book #4, "Hero's Trial." Chewbacca is dead. Han Solo is utterly wrecked. On first reading, I thought it a reasonably good book, and it made me want to read the others to see how Chewie bought it.

I got that chance in January, 2007. For three full months, I slogged through the series from start to finish. Oh, man, did I slog. And there are only maybe 3 of the 19 books (plus short stories/novellas) where I wasn't groaning "Oh, for F*CK'S SAKE!" every other page. Few of the writers have any sort of grasp of the characters and "feel" of Star Wars. They could all have learned from Timothy Zahn, who wrote the best damn "Star Wars" novels, period, with his Thrawn trilogy. I can live with the inevitable continuity issues from one author to the next. But idiotic plots and crappy dialogue are unforgiveable.

In a nutshell, a race of beings with living technology invades the galaxy, killing and destroying anyone and everyone who oppose them. Droids are anathema. Any technology that comes from a non-living source is anathema. They are capable of growing anything they need--ships, weapons, communications, clothing. Even their human disguises are a living skin.

Basically, they waste everyone. Chewie dies. Han and Leia's boy Anakin (inexplicably named after his evil grandfather) dies. The freaking Hutts die. This all sounds cool, but I know damn well there are better writers out there who could have made this turd into something pretty.

This series runs entirely too long--and it brings us back into contact with characters and situations from the worst "Star Wars" novels ever written, such as Dave Wolverton's "The Courtship of Princess Leia" (which is some unholy melding of crappy Harlequin romance complete with hunky prince Fabio type trying to woo the Princess away from Han) and Roger MacBride Allen's Corellian trilogy (where we find that Han Solo has an evil twin cousin with access to a super weapon that will rule the...yeah. Crap.). Yeah, they bring Fabio and the Evil Twin back, and both are still the same after some 20 years.

The worst of it is, I went to Wookieepedia shortly after beginning the set. The write-up makes the series sound good. That's false advertising, isn't it?

Read this series at your own peril. I know of one person who actually liked it, so your mileage may vary.

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