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Tag Archives: Books

My Review of Star Wars: Tarkin, by James Luceno

25 Jan

January 25, 2019

In Star Wars, Grand Moff Tarkin was played by Peter Cushing. He’s easily my favorite character, more villainous in the film than Darth Vader. He’s also played by one of my favorite actors, so when this book came out I went against my better judgement and read a Star Wars novel. I’m glad I did.

I give Tarkin 5 stars, but bear in mind, this 5 star rating is not the same 5 stars I give Flowers for Algernon. This is 5 stars as far as Star Wars books go, a totally different scale. Flowers for Algernon is a triumph of literature. This is a good read.

I generally dislike Star Wars novels. This one, though, breaks the mold. It is more sci-fi than fantasy, ignoring all the Jedi mumbo-jumbo nonsense that other books get bogged down in. In fact, being from the bad guy’s point of view, this has a nicely negative view of the Jedi. It reads more like the old Alan Dean Foster novels, like Splinter of the Mind’s Eye or the original Han Solo novels. It bridges the gap to the New Hope era, disposing of The Clone Wars and entering the better era of Star Wars. If  you need a movie reference point, consider this as happening just before Rogue One.

Peter Cushing

Some reviewers don’t care for the plot, which they dismiss as Tarkin and Vader chasing around some random disposable rebels. They miss the point. This book is all about the backstory. You learn a lot about Tarkin and what molded and motivates him. You also learn a bit about The Emperor and Vader too. The main plot is really just the skeleton that the meat of the backstory hangs on. This is a character study / biography of Grand Moff Tarkin, and as such it works. The novel also explores the relationship between Tarkin and Vader, and for all those who wonder why Vader would take orders from anyone besides the Emperor, let alone someone who isn’t even a force user, this book explains.

The writing is also well done. In fact, just compare it to the two excerpts of novels by other authors that follow it in the paperback edition. Not only is neither the least bit interesting or original, but their writing is clearly not as good. James Luceno may be the only Star Wars writer today worth reading.

 

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The Worst Line Ever Written In All Of Star Wars

23 Nov

November 23, 2015

Aftermath, written by Chuck Wendig in, I think, about 20 minutes, is the new Star Wars novel, bridging the events of Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. If you ever wanted to read a Star Wars book not starring any Star Wars characters and not taking place in any familiar Star Wars locales, with a cast of characters you really don’t give a bleep about, then Aftermath is the book for you.

 On the other hand, if you can overlook the little things, like plot and dialogue, it’s really not too bad. To be fair, there were 6 pages with Han Solo that were interesting. The other 360? Not so much.

However, there was a hidden gem of awfulness stuck in the middle. It was a line that jumped out of the page and stuck on the bottom of my shoe like a sticky lump. For no particular reason, the scene shifted to a fight between bounty hunter Dengar (from The Empire Strikes Back) and a new character ridiculously named Mercurial Swift.

I cannot stress strongly enough that Mercurial Swift is not a potion used by Harry Potter, it is a character’s name in Star Wars.

DengarIG88Fett-TESB30

Dengar is the smelly looking one on the left.

I believe this to be the worst thing ever written in all of Star Wars, and remember- it is in competition with every single thing Jar Jar Binks ever said.

Page 182
(Dengar to Mercurial Swift)

“Oh ho ho, you think I’ve lost a step, huh?”

“Can’t lose a step you never had.”

Dengar guffaws. “You little scrap muncher. I was putting away bounties while you were still in your space diapers.”

“What’s it say about you that you’re still in your space diapers?”

“You don’t much like me, do you?”

Anyway, aside from the fact that Dengar speaks like he’s in an old Errol Flynn pirate movie (“Oh ho ho”), what’s with “space diapers”?  Are they different than regular diapers? Do little kids in Star Wars sleep in space cribs and eat space oatmeal? Why was it important to stress that these are space diapers?

NOTE TO CHUCK WENDIG: On any planet they would still be called plain old diapers.

NOTE TO SELF: Do not buy any more books written by Chuck Wendig.

 

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