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Friday, August 16, 2013

Darksaber... are we ready for Kevin J. Anderson again?

Darksaber by Kevin J. Anderson
Ro reporting for blogposting duty! Moving directly on from Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly, we zoom straight into Kevin J. Anderson's Darksaber. After the rousing success that was CotJ, I think Es and I are both slightly concerned that Darksaber won't hold much bantha milk. KJAnderson has disappointed us in the past with his almost-but-not-quite-there antics in the Jedi Academy trilogy. Maybe Darksaber will be different. I really  hope so, but I'm not holding my breath.

I know I have not read Darksaber before. I purchased a copy from the bookstore I work at ages ago in preparation for reading it. I looked it up on Wookiepedia, as I don't have the book with me right now. Apparently, the Hutts are making an appearance. Durga the Hutt and his buddies want to make another super weapon. Luke and Han find out when they travel back to Tatooine so Luke can try to make contact with Obi-Wan Kenobi. The weapon would involved the Death Star superlaser and the Hutts are calling it Darksaber. Hence the title of the book one supposes. At this point, Luke and Callista are continuing work on rebuilding the Jedi Order, and I assume Luke wants to contact Obi-Wan to talk with him about training future Jedi. And, sadly, Admiral Daala does show her Imperial face again.
It's funny because the Obi-Wan gets dead.

I was actually looking forward to Darksaber until I read the following on Wookiepedia: "Although it was not as successful as the Jedi Academy trilogy, Darksaber peaked at number three on the New York Times Bestseller list. Nevertheless, fans in consider it it to be one of the worst Star Wars novels ever, giving it a 5.97 average rating."

We-ell, I suppose that tells me all I need to know. Here's hoping the Star Wars fans got it wrong...

Esme's Two Cents

It could be a trap ...
I obviously love Star Wars fans - and am one myself. However, they can be a biased and unreasonable
bunch, for reasons ranging from "ship" (as in, character relationship) disagreements to irrational claims that if you love Star Wars, you can't love Star Trek (I'm sorry, what?). So, like Ro, I'm holding out hope.

Interestingly enough, gave CotJ 3.5/4 stars (not too shabby) but actually gave Darksaber 4/4 - so either these guys have a real bias or this book is decent. I hope very much for the latter. After struggling through the Jedi Academy trilogy, I have, shall we say, a few concerns.

I guess we'll just have to wait and see ....


  1. Wow, Darksaber was ranked higher than CotJ? Shouldn't that be flipped? On the other hand, we are reading these books many years after they were originally published. Perhaps time does soften all things? (Is that even a saying?) Imagine picking these books up as if they were brand new, just published, no internet to tell us what others rate them. I wonder how much the internet taints our view of these books. Actually, I'm not sure if it really does. We probably would have detested MStackpole no matter what, and struggled through KJAnderson. Here's hoping to a struggle-free reading experience!

  2. It's interesting because, actually, I remember really liking MStackpole as a younger reader. I remember LOVING KJA's Young Jedi Knights as well, but having read MStackpole and having started rereading YJK (remember I told you about my third grade student who I got hooked on the series?), I can honestly say that I'm a bit disgusted. It's not the subject matter - it's the writing. It's truly horrendous from the standpoint of craft. I think we both got into BHambly because she's clearly a very strong writer, in terms of pure craft: her dialogue, her characterization (its consistency and SHOW don't TELL approach), the strength of her POVs ... KJA is constantly inserting his authorial voice and making these sweeping statements that jar me right out of the story. When I do a mid-read post for Darksaber, I'm going to bring all this up, with examples!

  3. You are such an academic! ^_^ I agree. I was obsessed, OBSESSED! with KJA's Young Jedi Knights books as a teenager. I'm really excited to reread them later on in this project, despite the fact that KJA wrote them. I'm under no delusions. They are probably not going to be as amazing as they were when I was young. But I'm still looking forward to the adventures, especially the second half of the series when Rebecca Moesta started writing the books with KJA. But you are right he does far too much telling and far too much carrying on as an author. The author's job is to be invisible, not to draw attention to one's self. Which KJA seems want to do. It's sort of like he wants more attention for being the author than just having his name on the cover. Maybe there's just a bit of ego coming through? Or maybe he's just truly a terrible author who doesn't know how to show instead of tell...?

  4. I must rectify my mistake! Rebecca Moesta wrote all of the books in the YJK series. But for some reason, I always like the second half the best. ^_^

  5. I did spend the last two years being brainwashed by academia ^_~ But I think you're onto something - there's a strong feeling of author ego in the writing. Not like he wants to draw attention to himself, exactly, but like he's so proud of his own writing that he can't stop calling attention to it. Sort of like, "Boy, am I awesome. I mean, my god, how awesome can one writer be? Apparently, REALLY awesome, if that writer is me!"

    Rebecca Moesta co-wrote YJK, right? I think part of the appeal for me when I was younger was that the main characters were just kids. They were our age and getting to train as Jedi and they were really close friends. I loved that idea - it was like a fourteen-book training montage for teens ^_^

  6. I'm so with you there RE: YJK! I loved that they were my age when I read the books, and that they were just as awkward and had just as many problems (more even, what with the Dark Side devotees trying to kill them every chance they got) as I did. And I read "Lightsaber" about a million times because it was the first time I read about a character who became disabled. And she didn't let that get her down (for too long anyway...). I worshiped that book because Tenel Ka came back from losing her arm. It was totally inspirational to me. I'm actually really looking forward to rereading that specific book again, despite KJA having written it.

  7. It's so interesting you say that (and it makes total sense as well!) because I was actually very attached to "Lightsaber" as well but for different reasons. I love that Tenel Ka, in spite of having a disadvantage and not being built like the perfect athlete anymore could still and DID still do whatever she damn well pleased. Having such major body image issues (ones that I still struggle with, and I know I'm not alone and wasn't as a teen!), it was awesome that Tenel Ka basically stuck it to everyone and said, "No, I'm not going to deliberately alter my body. It is the way it is and I'm going to OWN IT." That was incredibly inspiring to me because by the time I was fourteen, I was being told to "drop ten pounds" by gymnastics coaches (I was all muscle and boobs, you may recall) and had basically given up on being a dancer.

    /end Ode to Tenel Ka ;)

  8. LOVE your ode!! ^_^ Tenel Ka really is a phenomenally inspiring character. I'm excited to read YJK again just for her. And Lowie. I was kind of attached to Lowie too.

    In other news, I'm just over 50 pages into Darksaber and KJA isn't bothering me as much as he usually does. His writing is fairly predictably obnoxious, but the story is actually interesting enough that I'm able to look past his telling-not-showing. I think it's entirely because of BHambly's influence and that CotJ was so fantastic. We'll see if this trend continues, I am only one-eighth of the way through (400 pages, REALLY?).

  9. I'm actually having a similar response to Darksaber and KJA. I have to take frequent breaks because the writing REALLY grates on me but I can definitely also sense the positive BHambly vibes on KJA.

    I loved Lowie!! And his little translator droid (Emtee? Can't remember) who was "fluent in over six forms of communication." ^_^ Clever and cute shout-out to Threepio!