So I mentioned on the 5 things that you may not know about me that I was a huge Star Wars fan - so get ready for a dose of that. I know this post will be utterly meaningless to most readers, but I feel like ranting and this is my forum...
Disclaimers - Spoilers from the New Jedi Order
and Legacy of the Force
series will be mentioned.
All that said. I finally got my holds in at the library of the new Star Wars series - Legacy of the Force. It's meant to be a nine book series (three are out) that takes place ten years after the war with the Yuuzhan Vong (as told in the 19 book New Jedi Order series). I really liked the NJO books, and enjoyed the postmodern philosophical turn they took in exploring the nature of the Force, life, and ethics. The books took the universe beyond the good vs evil dichotomy that the movies are so famous for. Through the character of Jacen Solo (Han and Leia's son fyi) the nuances and complexity of war, family, and allegiences were brought into play. Then through the Dark Nest books, those implications were played out in the whole Jedi system with Luke and Mara Jade redefining power structes in the Jedi Order. I thought it was a great plot device and kept the universe moving forward in deeper ways.
Now there is the Legacy of the Force which so far as been really annoying and disappointing. Apparently all that philosophical soul searching by Jacen was pointless because the universe is really just black and white and by questioning anything he set himself on the path to becoming a Sith Lord. (okay, yes. I'm only partway through the second book so there are 7 more books to come, but its not looking good). Not only does the once pacifist start killing at whim, he chooses to be trained by the Sith, and sets himself up as leader of the secret police in a not so subtle allusion to the Nazis and the Patriot Act. It falls into the oh so annoying false perception that is often brought up as a charge against emergents - that if you think deeply and question anything you will go off the deep end. So - seriously bad character and plot development there.
But the authors not only ruin Jacen, they have the big name Star Wars characters making really stupid decisions as well. As the Corellia system tries to withdrawl from the Galactic Alliance, Luke, Mara Jade, and Jacen become the advocates of big govenment. Preempitive strikes, interment camps, sactioned terriorism and all the typical trappings. Han, Leia, and Wedge Antilles - the heros who made the GA possible decide that ethnicity is the most valuable thing and commit treason to fight for Corellia. As out of character as that is, the authors, of course, have them make that choice and try to portray the dire irony that they then have to go to battle up against their children (as if they didn't know where their flighter pilot children were stationed???). All of this to support the books theme that there really isn't no us vs them - its all us. Whatever. Good theme, bad writing.
And on top of the character and plot issues there are the glaring consistency holes that emerge when multiple authors work on the same series. Of course their writing schedules overlap, but one would hope that they would communicate a tad more than just basic plot outlines to each other. The contridictions between the books get annoying. On their blog the authors say they meet to discuss plot, but I'm having a hard time seeing it.
So here I am. Ranting about something as insignificant as the Star Wars extended universe. As annoying as it is, its still a fun read. Maybe the series will get better, I'm sure I'll read them all as they come out over the next few years. But of all the big controversies that the books have caused (the death of Chewbacca being a big one), this so far is the most disappointing. Just when real potential was developing they had to go and betray the characters to further the plot and make a social commentary on the war in Iraq. I just think those things could have been done way better.
UPDATE - Okay, so I just heard that there are some serious rumors that Mara Jade will die as part of this new series. (as the loved one Jacen must sacrifice to become a Sith). I think it goes without saying that I will be seriously pissed off it that happens.
Labels: Book Reviews, Star Wars