Star Wars: Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

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Based on unproduced episodes of Star Wars: The Clone Wars, this new novel features Asajj Ventress, former Sith apprentice turned bounty hunter and one of the great antiheroes in the Star Wars galaxy. 

The only way to bring down the Sith’s most dangerous warrior may be to join forces with the dark side.

In the war for control of the galaxy between the armies of the dark side and the Republic, former Jedi Master turned ruthless Sith Lord Count Dooku has grown ever more brutal in his tactics. Despite the powers of the Jedi and the military prowess of their clone army, the sheer number of fatalities is taking a terrible toll. And when Dooku orders the massacre of a flotilla of helpless refugees, the Jedi Council feels it has no choice but to take drastic action: targeting the man responsible for so many war atrocities, Count Dooku himself.

But the ever-elusive Dooku is dangerous prey for even the most skilled hunter. So the Council makes the bold decision to bring both sides of the Force’s power to bear—pairing brash Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos with infamous one-time Sith acolyte Asajj Ventress. Though Jedi distrust for the cunning killer who once served at Dooku’s side still runs deep, Ventress’s hatred for her former master runs deeper. She’s more than willing to lend her copious talents as a bounty hunter—and assassin—to Vos’s quest.

Together, Ventress and Vos are the best hope for eliminating Dooku—as long as the emerging feelings between them don’t compromise their mission. But Ventress is determined to have her retribution and at last let go of her dark Sith past. Balancing the complicated emotions she feels for Vos with the fury of her warrior’s spirit, she resolves to claim victory on all fronts—a vow that will be mercilessly tested by her deadly enemy . . . and her own doubt.

If you’re a fan of The Clone Wars it is a must read. It’s actually heartbreaking because there were some scenes that I wished I could have seen on TV. Damn you, Disney! However, I am happy DelRey took the scripts and turned them into something the fans can enjoy.

One of my critiques is that the story does drag a bit at the end. I felt the final few conflicts were not necessary and could have been resolved sooner and in a much less complicated manner. There is also another issue I have but if I express it here it would be a major spoiler so I am saving it for later (see below).

I loved the chemistry between Ventress and Vos. At first I felt I was betraying my love for the Republic Comics, but I could not help myself, I ship them – in the The Clone Wars universe. I say The Clone Wars universe because their backstories have been altered so much it’s really two different realms now. Actually, it has taken me a while to not be so annoyed with the changes. I can enjoy The Clone Wars stories like Ventress being a Nightsister from Dathomir, the Mandalorians being pacifists, Barriss being a traitor and a terrorist who is Ahsoka’s peer instead of Anakin’s – and though that is now canon, I still consider it a different EU. (I still don’t like or accept the resurrection of Maul though. Cut in half means dead and why cheapen Obi-Wan’s victory?)

Anyway, I am getting away from the review of Dark Disciple. (I could talk about Star Wars all day.)

Back on topic, I love The Clone Wars and though I enjoyed reading Dark Disciple I found myself still mourning its cancellation. I know I mentioned that the ending dragged on and could have been simplified but the one great thing that came from it was seeing Anakin and Obi-Wan fighting together. Their brotherly banter cracked me up and I so would have LOVED to see that on TV. There was even a scene between my favorite ship, Anakin and Padmé. (Though I can’t tell how much of the novel came right from the eight scripts and how much Golden added and embellished. I would love to ask her.)

This is how far I can go without spoiling everything, but I am going to work on a review that analyzes the novel more and will be full of spoilers.

4.5 out 5 Full On Gambits. 

I want to go back and reread the Republic Comics now. It has been a few years.

Here is a refresher of The Clone Wars episodes Ventress and Vos appeared on.

There is also a lovely Foreword by Katie Lucas. She along with Matt Michnovetz and Dave Filoni wrote the scripts for the unfinished “Dark Disciple” episodes. She talks about growing up with Star Wars, spending her adolescence on the set of the Prequel Trilogy, writing for The Clone Wars, and when she and her dad would sneak into a movie theater showing Star Wars. It was so heartwarming. 🙂

 

SDCC 2015: Why with all the Prequel-Bashing?

Thank you! That was very well said.

Clone Corridor

San Diego Comic-Con 2015 has come and gone and it has been amazing… for the most part. Clone Corridor was started in April of this year not long after the end of SWC: Anaheim and, partly, as a consequence of the attitude at SWC: Anaheim. The first post posted to this website was ‘The Risk of Ignoring the Prequels’, a post I wrote in the middle of the night while slightly mad, much like this one right now. Like everyone else I was ecstatic about the upcoming film and the newly released teaser trailer, but I was also curious as to why not a single interview about The Force Awakens could be had without unnecessary emphasis on “original” and “practical” effects and lack of CGI. Now I am in the exact same position, only a little wiser and a little sadder.

What I’ve come to think, and what I’ve been arguing for…

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Alive (The Generations Trilogy #1) by Scott Sigler

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“I open my eyes to darkness. Total darkness. I hear my own breathing, but nothing else. I lift my head . . . it thumps against something solid and unmoving. There is a board right in front of my face. No, not a board . . . a lid.”

A teenage girl awakens to find herself trapped in a coffin. She has no idea who she is, where she is, or how she got there. Fighting her way free brings little relief — she discovers only a room lined with caskets and a handful of equally mystified survivors. Beyond their room lies a corridor filled with bones and dust, but no people … and no answers.

She knows only one thing about herself — her name, M. Savage, which was engraved on the foot of her coffin — yet she finds herself in charge. She is not the biggest among them, or the boldest, but for some reason the others trust her. Now, if they’re to have any chance, she must get them to trust each other.

Whatever the truth is, she is determined to find it and confront it. If she has to lead, she will make sure they survive. Maybe there’s a way out, a rational explanation, and a fighting chance against the dangers to come. Or maybe a reality they cannot comprehend lies just beyond the next turn.

I picked up an ARC at Book Con. The release date is July 14, 2015. I will be respectful of author’s request and keep this spoiler free.

I enjoyed Alive very much. It’s an exciting page turner. Sigler does a great job of writing about human behavior. During the characters’ journey and discoveries they face many ethical, phycological, political, and other challenges.

The characters are well developed and play off each other in a manner that the reader feels like they are a part of their group.

I have to mention this and I won’t give anything away. I’ll just describe it in a general summary. There is a very subtle love triangle but it was not the main focus, which I loved. It’s more about basic human emotions of attraction and some jealousy, rather than anything mushy, idealistic and moving way too fast.

I like the sci-fi aspect. It was not what I was expecting since I thought it would be a supernatural story. Some answers I guessed correctly and other times I would go back and reread chapters to absorb all the details again. There is some world building that really interests me and I want more details.

The pacing is just right. I didn’t get frustrated by drawn out mysteries but there are questions I hope are addressed in the next two books.

I can say without a doubt I am interested in this trilogy and look forward to the release of book two.

5 out 5 (circles) O

 

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace #1) by M.J Arlidge

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The “dark, twisted, thought-provoking” (#1 New York Times bestseller Tami Hoag) international bestseller—first in the new series featuring Detective Helen Grace.

Two people are abducted, imprisoned, and left with a gun. As hunger and thirst set in, only one walks away alive.

It’s a game more twisted than any Detective Helen Grace has ever seen. If she hadn’t spoken with the shattered survivors herself, she almost wouldn’t believe them.

Helen is familiar with the dark sides of human nature, including her own, but this case—with its seemingly random victims—has her baffled. But as more people go missing, nothing will be more terrifying than when it all starts making sense….

This is one of the free books I picked up at Book Con this year.

It was ok for me. Crime thriller novels are not my usual genre. I’m not usually into the who-done-it and the catch the serial killer before he or she strikes again, unless it’s on TV. Sometimes the story went really dark, and the details were quite gross. I understand the theme of the novel and painting a whole picture for the reader, but it was almost like torture porn.

There were also the typical red herrings, one of which I guessed early on.

On to the positive aspects. I liked the short chapters from different characters’ persectives. Not only did it make it a fast read, it also gave a wider view of the psychological consequences. The trauma and PTSD the characters went through was well written. As for the villain’s motive, while not justifiable was understandable. I don’t have much experience reading crime thrillers so I have this unfair assumption that the villains are written to be sick and twisted for no reason. Knowing her reasons made the character more dimensional than just someone who kills to further the story of the protagonist/lead detective.

I also liked the way the female detectives worked together on the case.

Fans of crime novels will enjoy this series. I think for now I am one and done. Unless I pick up a free copy of the next book at a convention. There is a whole series planned. My copy has a conversation with M.J. Arlidge and he said when he first discussed Eeny Meeny with his publishers he also verbally pitched the first seven novels in the Helen Grace series to them. The next book, Pop Goes the Weasel, comes out October 6, 2015.

2.5 out of 5 locked rooms.