Oct 19, 2008

[Books] Star Wars: Dark Tide I: Onslaught (The New Jedi Order Book 2)

Star Wars: Dark Tide I: Onslaught (The New Jedi Order Book 2)Back in my grade school days, I really got into the MechWarrior games and grew to appreciate the writing prowess of Michael A. Stackpole. Heck, he was the first author that I ever wrote fan mail to, albeit fan email. It was nice that he took the time to answer my note with a little personal flair before the form letter part of things. Sure, it could have been his publicist or something, but I totally loved the experience and will never forget him because of that.

I continued to follow his particular MechWarrior books and eventually found out that he dabbled in some Star Wars ventures as well, namely the X-Wing series. Needless to say I totally got into that series of books as well and continued to enjoy his work.

To have him get involved in the New Jedi Order series of books was a dream for me and another chance to get to read him bring the Star Wars Universe to life. What can I say? I guess I'll always be a Stackpole fan.

Dark Tide I: Onslaught, follows the strong start established in Vector Prime. With the initial incursion in the Outer Rim being treated as an isolated incident by Galactic Senate. With only the Jedi really admitting the possibility of an extragalactic invasion, Luke and his students are pretty much all that stands between the Yuuzhan Vong and the rest of the New Republic.

Thus the Jedi send off various teams around the Outer Rim to try and learn more about the invaders. Thus Luke and Jacen Solo head off to Belkadan to investigate the changes done to the planet, Corran Horn and Ganner Rhysode get sent to investigate the loss of contact with a group of scientists on the planet Bimmel and Anakin Solo goes on to accompany Mara Jade to recover her strength on Dantooine.

Book cover of Book cover via AmazonThe book naturally features characters that Michael A. Stackpole had introduced into the Star Wars universe like Corran Horn, once a pilot in Rogue Squadron but now a full-fledged Jedi Knight. While that aspect of things seems somewhat self-serving to some degree, in the grander of scheme of things it makes sense - who else would be better suited to bring those particular characters to life as best as possible?

The book features a decent amount of spaceship action, which Stackpole handles as good as he always does. He just has a certain flair for battle sequences whether they involve massive metal behemoths known as Battlemechs or deft and nimble star fighters supported by massive capital ships. He also does well in applying some of his narrative prowess to clearly depicting lightsaber battles that just seem to leap from the page and play with your imagination.

I'm not sure what prompted the Star Wars folks to have the writers prepare all these duologies, but it just annoys the heck out of me. Just when things are really starting to get good, things have to cut off in favor of saving the rest for the next book. Not even Stackpole could keep things going well enough in that kind of environment.

I guess trilogies do make sense.
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