Saturday, October 24, 2015

David: Rancor Spottings 41, 42, 43, & 44

Dark Nest I: The Joiner King by Troy Denning
All page references are for iPad.

#41 - Page 34
Han to Leia as they discuss a potential landing: 
"It looks about as safe as a rancor's throat down there."

#42 - Page 43
A classic reference for rancors. Mara and Luke as they explore a new planet:
    They came to a cockeyed intersection, and Luke stopped to listen to a strange pulsing sound that was rumbling out of a crooked side tunnel. It was muted, eerie, and rasping, but there was a definite melody and rhythm.
     "Music," he said.
     "If you're from Tatooine, maybe," Mara said. "The rest of us would call that a rancor belch."

#43 - Page 72
Luke and Han in the middle of negotiations with Juun and Tarfang:
    Tarfang lowered his furry brow and glared back for a moment, then finally said something that C-3PO translated as "Captain Juun will be taking a big risk. It'll cost you."
    "Fine," Luke said. He stepped close to Juun and Tarfang, and suddenly he seemed as large as a rancor. "But you know who we are. You understand what it will mean if you try to double-cross us?"
    Tarfang shrank back, but Juun seemed untroubled.
    "Double-cross Han Solo?" the Sullustan asked. "Who'd be crazy enough to do that?"

#44 - Page 372
The Millennium Falcon on the edge of a major battle:
    A single Chiss cruiser was sliding quietly around the moon's bulk, playing a game of moot-and-rancor with a pair of Hapan Novas.

Friday, October 23, 2015

David's Review of Dark Nest I - The Joiner King

2/5 Rancors - Well, I thought when I finished the 19th and final book in the New Jedi Order I would be able to move on to Troy Denning’s Dark Nest Trilogy and get a fresh start. I relished the idea of not having so many unknowns, so many things that the average reader would never understand (Yuuzhan Vong), and endless discussions of Jedi philosophy. I was wrong. Some things just never seem to change. When we first met the Jedi they were saving the galaxy and improving the lives of the inhabitants. If they needed to kick some butt while they were busy helping people, then that was fine. Somehow as the years have gone by, the Jedi are increasingly worried about finding the true nature of the Force and doing the right thing. The result is having readers wade through endless discussions of Jedi philosophy. I am so tired of it. Just get on with the story.

The Joiner King is the first book in the Dark Nest Trilogy. A faint call for help has gone out through the Force, and select Jedi are responding even though they have no idea what is needed. In particular, Jaina and Jacen Solo have disappeared in search of the call for assistance. Han, Leia, Luke, and Mara go after them. Jacen has just finished a five-year quest for the true meaning of the force while Jaina has become a highly-skilled, well-respected military pilot.

For some reason, Troy Denning has them all end up in a world populated entirely by large insects (the Killicks) living in nests and functioning through brain melds. In his usual style, Han just refers to them as bugs. The insect world is also on the verge of war with the Chiss, and you know that can’t end well for them. Jaina has become a follower of the Killicks. Jacen seems to be brilliant and mostly stays above the fray. Luke seems to be completely hung up in determining what the Force would have him do. Leia does what she does best, i.e., finds political solutions to knotty problems.

The book has a fair number of good action scenes, but far more discussion groups trying to decide what the right thing to do is. The story gets bogged down a lot. I will read the next two books in the Dark Nest Trilogy, but I am not particularly enthusiastic.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

David: Rancor Spotting #40

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

Page 275 - Asajj Ventress is trying to pilot her ship Banshee into a dreadnought while under attack by Jedi.

"Frantically, Ventress tried to keep the Banshee heading toward the open hangar, but like a rancor set on charging, the ship would no longer obey her."

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

David's Review of Dark Disciple

4/5 Rancors - Reviewing Star Wars books is not as straightforward as it used to be. Since the sale to Disney, the Expanded Universe is now considered to consist of legends. For purposes of plot and character we need to follow the new books published by LucasBooks. There will be conflicts between the different sets of books. Now this is fine with me as long as the books are well-written and fun to read. However, it does mean that I will review Dark Disciple as a standalone book without worrying about where in fits in the universe of Star Wars books.

Dark Disciple by Christie Golden is basically a romance story tied in with efforts to stop Count Dooku at any cost. The book is based on unproduced episodes of the Clone Wars TV show, and it features Asajj Ventress, Jedi Quinlan Voss, and the aforementioned Count Dooku. Under Dooku’s merciless leadership the Separatist forces are accounting for a huge number of fatalities. The Jedi Council amazingly enough decides that the only solution is the assassination of Count Dooku. The job is assigned to Quinlan Voss, and he is instructed to attempt to procure the assistance of Asajj Ventress. Voss succeeds in getting her help and a romance develops. The search for Dooku commences. To say much else about the plot would introduce a number of spoilers.

I enjoyed reading the book. The action is good and the story moves right along for the most part. I will admit that I did find the romance to be a little difficult to accept. Also, I read the entire book thinking there was no way they could succeed in assassinating Count Dooku. I clearly remember seeing him executed by Anakin Skywalker at the urging of Emperor Palpatine. Oh well, the efforts of Voss and Ventress to deal with Dooku still made interesting reading.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

David's Review of Star Wars Omnibus - Tales of the Jedi, Volume 1

5/5 Rancors - The Dark Horse Omnibus books are graphic novels issued as very nice trade paperbacks. They look good, hold up very well, and are consistent in appearance from one book to the next. Each book gives the reader a collection of several stories, and the artwork is outstanding. The Star Wars series, consisting of approximately 34 books, is especially good.

Volume 1 of Tales of the Jedi is the first of the Star Wars books when taken in chronological order. The primary focus is on the very early Sith and some of the early Jedi. Here are the stories.

1.     The Golden Age of the Sith: Prologue - Approximately 5,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. We are introduced to several Sith Lords and get to see how they will stop at nothing to gain power. We also learn about Gav and Jori Daragon as well as various Jedi, both experienced and inexperienced.

2.     The Golden Age of the Sith - Approximately 5,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. A vicious  power struggle between two Sith Lords to see who will become the Dark Lord. An attack on Coruscant and the Republic by the Sith. The story gives us an excellent look at how the early Sith operated.

3.     The Fall of the Sith Empire - Approximately 4,990 years before the Battle of Yavin. The glory years of the Sith come to an end.

4.     Ulc Qel Droma and the Beast Wars of Onderon - Approximately 4,000 years before the Battle of Yavin. Three young Jedi face their first real test as Jedi Knights when they are sent to Onderon to resolve a dispute between warring factions.

5.     The Saga of Nomi Sunrider - Approximately 3,999 years before the Battle of Yavin. The beginning of Nomi Sunrider's rise to becoming a famous Jedi.

The Dark Horse Omnibus graphic novels are off to an excellent start with Tales of the Jedi. I look forward to reading the books that follow.

David: A Classic Star Wars Scene

The Unifying Force by James Luceno

A wonderful Star Wars moment starts around location 388 on my iPad. We get to enjoy reading about a board game between C-3PO and Han Solo that brings back memories of the classic Dejarik game between C-3PO and Chewie in A New Hope when the droid was advised to let the Wookie win. This section of The Unifying Force is a beautiful thing to read. Here are a few excerpts.

The Beginning
    "The game is effectively over," C-3PO told Han Solo. "I suggest that you surrender the rest of your players now, rather than risk further humiliation."
    "Surrender?" Han jerked his thumb at the golden protocol droid. "Who's he think he's talking to?"
    Leia Organa Solo raised her brown eyes from the game table to glance at her husband. "I have to admit, things do look pretty bad."
    C-3PO agreed. "I'm afraid you can't win, Captain Solo."
    Han scratched his head absently and continued to study the playing field. "That's not the first time someone's told me that."

Further Action Towards the End
    C-3PO stammered. "Bending the rules is one thing, but this...this is a flagrant violation not only of the rules, but also of proper game etiquette. At the very least, you have performed a suspect move and very likely a rogue one!"

I probably don't need to say who ended up winning the game. This is Star Wars at its best.

David: Rancor Spotting #39

The Unifying Force by James Luceno

Location 8254 on iPad - Luke Skywalker in the final battle is in a true struggle with the Yuuzhan Vong's Supreme Overlord Shimrra.

“When he came to an instant later, he saw that Luke had obviously intercepted Shimrra’s follow-up blow. But now, monstrous in aspect and power, Shimrra hovered over Luke like a rancor.”