|"I've Sithed my pants. My diaper's gone over to the|
Dark Side. I've got pages of these, I could go on..."
As Ro put it when she texted me last week, this series is compulsively readable. It's terrible but you just have to know how it ends. For me, it's like really bad chocolate. I know it's bad, I know I'll get a tummy ache, but I can't stop eating it!
To begin with, there's the totally ambiguous narrator. Throughout the series, Anderson's own voice is all over the narration, divulging information that the character whose POV it's supposed to be has no way of knowing. The fluidity of POV makes the author's voice that much more jarring. The easiest place to see this bleed is any time we're supposedly getting Jacen and Jaina's POV. The kids are two - they're not going to know that an evil Sith spirit has hurt their uncle; they're not going to know that they're in the city's lower levels; and they'r certainly not going to know that a ragged bunch of lower-city dwellers are actually Old Republic political exiles. But during the narration, all these facts are shared with the reader. I find this completely shakes me out of the story because I'm so busy thinking, "There's a mysterious god-like voice telling me things. It doesn't fit into the story anywhere. Why can't I get some POV from an actual character?" I never got to be deeply involved with a character because there was so much authorial voice interfering with my immersion in the story.
Another problem I had with the series was that I never really bought into the scenarios so they lacked impact. I mean, Admiral Daala goes nuts and destroys things. I get that she's emotionally scarred but she was also clever enough to get the attention of Grand Moff Tarkin. Someone that clever should have a much better idea of the importance of strategy. And she's been sitting around the Maw tirelessly maintaining her forces for eleven years - someone that patient should, logically, be more cautious with her forces. She's just ... kind of pointless.
Also ... Ro, did you notice how Admiral Daala bears a striking resemblance to Mara Jade? Red hair, green eyes, fiery traumatized-by-the-Empire spirit ... could we have been a bit more creative with physical features? This time around, I also noticed that Tionne, with her "silver-white hair," "willowy form," and memory for historical events seems an awful like like, oh, I don't know, Winter? Now I realize that TZahn is a tough act to follow but it's not that hard to come up with dramatic physical features that don't mimic his characters. Couldn't Daala have had - oh, to pick some features at random - raven-black hair and violet eyes? Tionne could have been non-human.
I want to say something - anything! - positive about this series. To be honest, though, I ended up skim-reading a lot of it. Given that I was still able to follow the plot without a problem, I clearly didn't miss much in doing so.
Very ready to move on. Give me hope, "I, Jedi" ....