Star Wars

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Sunday, April 28, 2013

I, Jedi

Are we ready for more MAStackpole?

Ro here, and we're moving right along from the fun disaster that is the Jedi Academy trilogy to I, Jedi by Michael A. Stackpole. This is not one that I read as a child. Mostly because it didn't actually feature any of the main characters from the movies. I did pick this book up fairly early on, right after it came out in paperback I think. But I bought it without reading the description. It had a picture of Luke and Artoo on the cover for goshdarnsakes!! After I figured out it wasn't actually about either of them (or any of the other main characters I knew and loved) I put it back among my other, very well loved Star Wars novels and didn't give it another thought. After the frustration with the Rogue Squadron series, I can't say I'm stupendously excited to read more of Michael A. Stackpole. But I'm giving it a go. Because it's Star Wars. And Es and I promised to do this together. And maybe it'll be good. Even without the main characters I know and love...

Esme's Two Cents: I remember my friend Kate loving Stackpole as a kid. She was a huge fan of Mirax Horn (nee Terrik) for a lot of the same reasons I'm a huge fan of Mara Jade: sassy, independent business woman. My hope with I, Jedi was that I would be won over by the Mirax/Corran romance. I don't remember making it that far into this one as a kid but I do remember that Mara's in it, and that's always a huge selling point with me.

The kind of iJedi I much prefer...
Ro's Predictions for I, Jedi

1.) Someone major dies, but the main character moves on quickly.
2.) There's lots of action.
3.) Lots of women squabble over Corran Horn.
4.) That's all I got, so let's do this thing!

Esme's Predictions for I, Jedi

1) Mara will turn up and be awesome! Possibly alongside Mirax as a kind of spy/businesswomen badass duet.
2) The writing will be hard to read but the interesting plotline will make it bearable.
3) A lot of women squabble over The Horn (total copycat move - sorry, Ro ^_^).
4) The mystery will not, as such, baffle me til the very end. I kind of expect to have it solved by then

UPDATE 4/28/13: Well, this book was short lived for both Es and I. We've decided to put it down and replace it with the Dark Empire trilogy instead. This will be an interesting experience I think, the Dark Empire books being the first Star Wars graphic novels we've read for our blog project. In it, a clone of the Emperor threatens the galaxy with terrible weapons called World Devastators, and Luke finally gives into hate and anger and goes to the Dark Side.

Luke Skywalker giving in to the Dark Side.
We'll be putting up a post dedicated specifically to Dark Empire very soon, so let's get back to why I, Jedi just didn't work out. As I wrote above a week ago, I already had reservations about Stackpole's ability to write anything resembling a good book after our experience with the Rogue Squadron series. Of which, granted, we did only read the first book. But one was enough, and clearly that goes for all Stackpole books. I was only able to get through 65 pages of I, Jedi. I'm not sure how far Es got, but I'm pretty sure it was farther than that, for which I applaud her. This was not an easy book to stay with, even for just 65 pages. After that amount of time, all I knew was that Corran Horn's wife was missing, she couldn't be located using the Force (Luke Skywalker makes a cameo to inform us of this, and of Corran's impressive, latent Jedi power), and Corran is worried. After 65 pages. Oh, and that Corran has startling green eyes. This part really irked me. So far, I, Jedi is the only Star Wars book we've read that's in the first person. A bit unusual, but it could be done if the book was written really well. However, this was not. And that point was proven in the first 20 pages when Corran describes his own "startling green eyes" in the narrative twice. As silly and ridiculous as it sounds getting angry over something as insignificant as eye color, this really bothered me. A good writer would figure out how to show or describe eye color in the first person some other way. And other than his "startling green eyes," we don't actually know what the rest of Corran looks like, except at one point he's encouraged to grow a beard and change his hair color. From what to what, I don't know.

The above rant over a character's description is only one part of the frustration of Stackpole's writing, but I think it's pretty descriptive of this writer's inability to focus on the bigger picture of what's going on outside of Corran Horn and his green eyes. Stackpole seems so focused on Corran, he can't give us any more plot than the very basic "Corran decides he wants to have kids (a major stresser between Corran and Mirax before the book starts), finds out his wife is missing, and agonizes about it" plot line. In 65 pages (out of a more than 500 page book), I was sort of hoping for more. But as usual, Stackpole did not deliver, and Es and I have decided to move on to much more interesting EU stories. Sorry Mr. Stackpole, we didn't mean to slam you so hard. But really, after two very frustrating tries, I think I'm personally done with you.

Esme's Two Cents: My issues with Stackpole kind of dovetail with my issues with KJA. I need a narration that isn't overshadowed by the author's voice. I need characters who talk like actual people, not like flowery, over-dramatic caricatures.

In short, I need Zahn!

In other news, cannot wait for this book!!!!
No, but seriously, after having the same experience with two authors in a row, I'm wondering how many more of these books we'll have to wade through before we find the quality of writing that will bring our beloved characters back to life. Will Barbara Hambly, Vonda McIntire, or Kristine Katherine Rusch (huh, lots of WOMEN coming up all of a sudden) be the answer to our desperate pleas? We did both enjoy
Kathy Tyers ...

Well, here's hopin'! Now on to Dark Empire!


  1. This is an excellent point Es! We do have a lot of women writers coming up! I don't know if gender plays a role in how well we like books (gender of the author I mean). I've certainly read many romantic books with male authors, and many action-packed books by female authors. But maybe these women will have more intuition when it comes to our very favorite Star Wars characters. I'm hoping so anyway. I am looking forward to reading all three of the authors mentioned above as I've read other books by them and really enjoyed them. I hope they can do justice to Star Wars!

  2. I don't know if author gender will affect the writing or not but Kathy Tyers did a really nice job of not letting her authorial voice own her story. Here's hoping the other ladies follow in her footsteps.

    I'm nervous about Barbara Hambly, who nearly destroyed me with the invention of Callista. I think it's gonna be fascinating to read Callista more open-mindedly as an adult, as opposed to a kid thinking, "No, that's not right. MARA, COME BACK!"

  3. It has been forever since I read Children of the Jedi, so I don't actually remember Callista all that much. Except that at the time, I had a friend named Calista, and the two correlated in my brain. I don't actually remember when Mara and Luke really and truly get together. I don't think I really fixated on any one character the way you did with Mara. I definitely loved Winter, and a few other previously established characters, but not the way you love Mara Jade. I really hope Callista doesn't drive me crazy. I mean, really Luke, it's OK to date around, but with a silly, useless character, I might not be able to take it! ^_^

  4. I did love Mara so ... still do ^_^ The thing is, I don't actually remember Callista at all. I just remember that I hated her because, damn it, Mara was supposed to be with Luke! So I'm actually really curious what Callista will be like and what sort of influence she'll have on Luke. I'm kind of excited to get the Children of the Jedi now ...

  5. It's amazing the kind of prejudices we can form as children! I remember trying to read one of Timothy Zahn's non Star Wars books (I forget which one), and deciding that it was awful! Purely because it wasn't Star Wars. But then, several years ago, you encouraged me to read the Conqueror's trilogy, and I fell completely in love with Zahn's other science fiction work. But as a young girl, I just could not like anything he wrote outside of the EU! I thought it was all crappy muck. I'm very glad to be wrong about that!

  6. It can be like watching an actor portray a character you just love and then watching him or her go on to do something else that just isn't the same. For example, I adore David Tennant - he's the tenth Doctor Who and I'm in love (with him as an actor, not obviously as a person ^_^). I've also seen him in two Shakespeare plays - he played Hamlet and Benedick from Much Ado and he's absolutely brilliant. So I've been looking at other stuff he's been in and I've got a copy of Casanova, the BBC drama/comedy/thing that he's in and I'm kind of a afraid to watch it. I'm sure he's good but he also spends most of the movie sleeping with people and I'm just not sure I want to watch that.

    So ... returning from my meandering tangent there ^_^ Yes, I agree, it's interesting as kinds the prejudices we formed. I don't remember a majority of the Star Wars books in any detail because, to be honest, if they didn't have Mara I just wasn't interested. The exceptions were "Courtship of Princess Leia" (for some reason) and the Corellian Trilogy, which just rocked, I thought. It'll be interesting to read Crystal Star, New Rebellion, etc. and see what I pick up this time around and what sticks out.