Sunday, June 26, 2016

David: Rancor Spotting 59 (Legends)

Inferno by Troy Denning
Page reference is for iPad.

#59 - Page 132
Tahiri is reporting to Darth Caedus that Luke has learned of the assassination of Chief of State Omas, and he is not happy:
    "Fine," Tahiri said. "HNE just reported Omas's assassination, and Master Skywalker's as mad as a yanskac on ice. You'd better be ready."
    Caedus's insides went cold with dread. Apparently, the HoloNet had decided to ignore the security hold he had placed on the story, and Ben's involvement alone would be enough to bring Luke to the bridge ready to fight a rancor. 

David's Review of Inferno (Legends)

4/5 Rancors - Finally the Legacy of the Force series begins to move along. Inferno by Troy Denning is the sixth book in the series with three more to go. Up until this point the books have been marked by way too much concern about Jedi philosophy and how to do things the right way. In the meantime Jacen Solo, now Darth Caedus, has run wild, taken complete control of the Galactic Alliance, made the required sacrifice, and become a Sith. Everyone knows they have to stop him, but they seem unwilling to take the next step beyond the rules of Jedi doctrine to get the job done.

The murder of a major character by Jacen was an important loss to the saga of Star Wars and to the remaining non-Sith characters but really not much of a personal sacrifice for Jacen. I won’t mention the name of the person killed. Suffice it to say that it was a major character. Mr. Denning has included an excellent funeral scene and does a good job of describing the agony felt by some of the main characters who remain.

Through most of the book Jacen seems unstoppable and increasingly evil. He goes so far as to have his soldiers take over the Jedi Academy at Ossus, taking the Jedi children hostage, and showing no remorse at any action he deems necessary. He ultimately does have some people stand up against him, and the book ends with a huge fight involving Jacen against Luke and son Ben. All of the action scenes are well-written. Alema Rar continues to pop up and cause trouble. The plot definitely continues to thicken. I hope that will continue in the last three books of Legacy of the Force.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

David's Review of Sacrifice (Legends)

3/5 Rancors - The Legacy of the Force series (9 books) is becoming way to similar to The New Jedi Order series (19 books). In both series there is too much time devoted to the thought making processes of the various characters. All decisions are analyzed to the nth degree. The books in these two series could have benefited from significant editing.

In Legacy of the Force we have known most of the way so far that Jacen Solo was going to end up embracing the Dark Side. The readers know it and the major characters know it, but apparently nothing can be done about it except to discuss how serious the problem is. Sacrifice by Karen Traviss is the fifth book in the series, and finally Jacen at the end refers to his new Sith name of Darth Caedus. Maybe some action will be taken in the remaining books. 

We also know that Jacen has to sacrifice a loved one, i.e., a main character, in order to become a true Sith. He agonizes greatly over who it will be, so I really don’t understand why the publishers gave us a very strong hint with the character featured on the cover.

Ms Traviss is a very experienced author. She certainly can write a good book, building action and tension as she goes. It is just the constant interludes of internal discussion and weighing possibilities that drive me crazy. The book could have moved along and been much more fun to read. I also find that I grow tired of the Star Wars habit of going to completely different areas of the story each time the chapter changes. There are no rules that say you can’t stick with the same plotline for several chapters.

Boba Fett is back with a major role in Sacrifice. We spend a fair amount of time with the Mandalorians. It was good to see him again. Some of his story is separate from the main plot, and some of it ties in. We do get to meet some new people who are associated with him. The book has a number of important characters – the Solo family, the Skywalkers with son Ben being very important, Lumiya, and Alema Rar. One new character is actually a Sith spaceship that Ben stumbles onto on Ziost. It is very close to being a sentient being and is fondly known simply as Ship.

Time to move on to Inferno, the sixth book in Legacy of the Force.

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.