Sunday, May 15, 2016

David: Rancor Spottings 57-58 (Legends)

Exile by Aaron Allston
All page references are for iPad.

#57 - Page 40
Wedge after being relieved of duty on Corellia:
    By the time the lift doors opened, he was standing tall again. He walked past the ground-floor security station and flashed its guards a smile suggesting that he was a rancor and they were made of meat. 

#58 - Page 124
Wedge talking with Booster:
    Booster nodded. “When your retirement ceremony was broadcast, odds went to thirty-seven to one for total conquest of Corellia, unless the Bothans come in, at which point it goes to fourteen to one for a negotiated conclusion, with the Bothans selling the Corellians out and getting the rancor’s share of the deal.”

David's Review of Exile (Legends)

4/5 RancorsExile is the fourth entry in the nine-book Legacy of the Force series and the second one by Aaron Allston. The book builds on some unanswered questions from the end of Tempest. Jacen Solo continues to move towards becoming a Sith. In so doing he attacks his own parents with his turbolasers. The Corellians attempt to assassinate Hapan Queen Mother Tenel Ka. Things are pretty much in a mess.

The focus at this point in the series is Jacen’s movement towards the Sith. It’s going to happen. We all know it, but it is taking forever. It also is very difficult to understand, but it’s there. The Solo family has really fallen on hard times, and it’s kind of sad. They are about to lose a second child, and they are mistrusted by both sides in the war between the Corellians and the Confederation.

Lumiya is still around causing trouble without showing herself. Alema Rar is still determined to savage the Skywalker and Solo families. Jagged Fel and Jaina Solo are also along. However, the most interesting feature of the plot is where Ben Skywalker will end up. He is using Jacen as his role model and that does not sit well with his parents. Ben is sent off on a personal mission by Jacen to find an ancient amulet on the legendary world of Ziost. Things do not go smoothly. 

Time to move on to the next book, Sacrifice. Then we will be halfway through Legacy of the Force.

David: Rancor Spottings 53-56 (Legends)

Tempest by Troy Denning
All page references are for iPad.

#53 - Page 12
Alema Rar trying to track Jacen Solo in the depths of Coruscant:
    Alema wrinkled her nose and began to wonder just what kind of pleasure den this was. No spice she had ever used was so harsh; if the odor grew any stronger, it would be foul enough to quell a rancor in rut. 

#54 - Page 98
Han and Leia on a mission:
    The trick must have worked, because by the time the Solos reached the perimeter of the seating area, the courtiers were turning back to their sabacc games and private conversations. Han and Leia weaved through the crowd to a large, spitting-rancor fountain that dominated the center of the room.

#55 - Page 162
Han piloting the Falcon:
    Han seemed to wilt a little beneath her scrutiny. “Uh, yeah.” He unbuckled his crash webbing and started after Leia. “And count me in for the grub. I’m hungry enough to eat a rancor.”

#56 - Page 228
Mara in a conversation with Luke:
    Mara winced in empathic discomfort. “Now you’re just being cruel.” She flicked her gaze toward the reflection of the copilot’s chair. “Take a seat. You look like you’ve been wrestling rancors in your sleep.”

David's Review of Tempest (Legends)

4/5 Rancors - Legacy of the Force is a nine-book series written by a threesome of authors taking turns (Aaron Allston, Karen Traviss, and Troy Denning). Tempest is Mr. Denning's turn. I admit to not being a fan of the multi-book Star Wars series. The New Jedi Order was never-ending, and Dark Nest Trilogy was no fun to read. Legacy of the Force has been an improvement, and Tempest was acceptable.

The book continues the Jacen Solo story from Bloodlines. The characters are familiar with Alema Rar playing a major role. She is a former Twi'lek Jedi who has gone to the dark side. I actually thought she was dead in an earlier book, but obviously she survived. Alema is now the primary villain. Lumiya continues to serve as a mentor to Jacen, and he is clearly on his way to becoming a Sith. Tempest is not what you would consider to be an upbeat story. Although Aurra Sing does have a surprise role to play, and that made for some interesting scenes.

All in all Mr. Denning has written a good book, but I am ready for Jacen to go ahead and do whatever he is going to do.

Monday, February 8, 2016

David's Review of Bloodlines (Legends)

4/5 Rancors Bloodlines by Karen Traviss is the follow-up to Aaron Allston’s Betrayal, the book that began the nine-book series Legacy of the Force. Throughout this series, three authors will be taking turns writing the books. It should be interesting. Bloodlines was an entertaining read. It expanded on what we learned from Betrayal, and it introduced several new storylines.

The character who kind of came out of nowhere to play a major role in Bloodlines was our old friend Boba Fett, bounty hunter and Mandalorian. We learn more about Fett in this book than ever before. We learn he has serious health problems, and we now know more about his family than ever before. He also takes the unusual step for him of acquiring a sidekick, the bounty hunter Mirta Gev.

Then there is Jacen Solo. The Dark Side continues to beckon to him, and he is clearly headed in that direction. He is now in charge of a quasi-military organization on Coruscant that has official responsibility for stopping terrorism on the planet. His apprentice Ben Skywalker continues to work with him willingly. Jacen’s actions are completely over the top in several cases, and comparisons to his grandfather Darth Vader abound. That is not good. Jacen’s actions and the changes in him continue to be heavily influenced by Lumiya.

Karen Traviss is a good author, and Bloodlines is well worth reading.

Friday, February 5, 2016

David: Rancor Spottings 47-52 (Legends)

Betrayal by Aaron Allston
All page references are for iPad.

#47 - Page 57
Leia and Han discussing the possibility of war between the Galactic Alliance and Corellia:
    "Perhaps," she finally said, "the best thing to do would be to not interfere." The look she turned upon him suggested that she expected him to transform into a rancor and go on a rampage.

#48 - Page 87
Jacen Solo stowed away in a cargo container on a shuttle:
    The air wasn't cool enough.  The heavy enviro-suit he wore kept him too warm. He'd been sweating as he slept, and the crate smelled like a rancor nest.

#49 - Page 204
Wedge and Tycho discussing military plans and whether or not the room they're in is secure:
    Wedge nodded, unconcerned. "We can. This place has been screened so often and so well, by your side and my side, that I'd be more surprised to see a listening device than a rancor in a formal gown."

#50 & #51 - Page 264
Mara uses a Jedi heat-entrapment method so she won't be spotted by heat sensors as she sneaks over a wall and into a compound to meet fellow Jedi Tiu Zax:
    She released the heat entrapment and felt the built-up energy flow away from her. With her last bit of strength, she held her control over the surrounding air long enough to send much of that heat streaming out through the slit in the wall, even as the slit slid closed. And then she burst into a sweat, a sudden head-to-toe sheen that felt like heavy motor oil against her skin.
    In the darkness, a female voice said, "Goodness, You smell like a rancor after a footrace."
    Mara smiled weakly. "That's no way to greet a Master. And you've never smelled a rancor after a footrace."

#52 - Page 402
A concussion missile fired by Han Solo hits just below an Aleph and two bombers:
    The world exploded around her. The Aleph was kicked as if by a rancor the size of a skyscraper.

David's Review of Betrayal (Legends)

4/5 Rancors - I am so relieved to have finally finished the sluggish nineteen-book New Jedi Order and the creepy Dark Nest Trilogy that I have truly been looking forward to the Legacy of the Force series (nine books). The publisher has taken an interesting approach. The books have been divided among Aaron Allston, Karen Traviss, and Troy Denning, so we will have some different styles but probably with a fair amount of consistency.

The emphasis in Legacy of the Force will be Jedi vs Sith with the twist here being that Jacen Solo is rapidly heading to the Dark Side. This has been coming on for a while in previous books, and we have been able to follow Jacen’s path (kind of) as he changes his ways. This is not a move that most readers will welcome. Jacen sacrifices his family and most things that he has always held dear. We can only try to understand his thought process.

Betrayal focuses on a huge squabble heading towards war between the Galactic Alliance and Corellia, Han Solo’s home system. This portends all kinds of future problems as Han feels obligated to help Corellia if he can while Luke and most of the rest of our usual heroes are part of the Galactic Alliance.

Another interesting part of the book is the emergence of young Ben Skywalker, Luke and Mara’s teenage son. Ben becomes Jacen’s apprentice and begins to show signs of maturity. However, the Sith leanings of Jacen do not bode well for the future or for the comfort level in the Skywalker family. I suspect Ben will begin to come into his own but the path in front of him will almost certainly not sit well with his parents. It has to be tough growing up as Luke Skywalker’s kid.

Betrayal does a good job in kicking off the Legacy of the Force series. The story keeps your attention and moves along well. Plus, you can see lots of problems coming along. I look forward to the rest of this series.