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Just in: A New Star Wars series coming from John Jackson Miller!

Just received the press release from Dark Horse Comics – as the adventures of Zayne Carrick come to a close in Knights of the Old Republic, John Jackson Miller will take us to a new era in the Star Wars Expanded Universe:

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DARK HORSE ANNOUNCES ALL-NEW STAR WARS™ SERIES, KNIGHT ERRANT!

AS KNIGHTS OF THE OLD REPUBLIC DRAWS TO A CLOSE, WRITER JOHN JACKSON MILLER MOVES TO AN UNCHARTED CORNER OF THE GALAXY!

FEBRUARY 11, MILWAUKIE, OR—Coming off the heels of penning the breakout hit Mass Effect: Redemption and the gripping finale of Knights of the Old Republic, writer John Jackson Miller introduces us to Kerra Holt, a young Jedi who’s about to realize that her role in the galaxy is far more important, and vastly different, than she could have ever imagined.

Set one thousand years before Episode I, in a time referred to as the “Dark Age of the Republic,” this story takes place in an era when the Sith were legion and the Republic was strained to the breaking point, leaving large swaths of the galaxy with no one to turn to. This pivotal time in the history of Star Wars has been largely unexplored, until now.

Additionally, for the first time ever, the writer of this new comics series will also be authoring a novel for Del Rey Books, set in the same era and involving the same cast of characters in an all-new adventure. It’s going to be a unique event for Star Wars, and one that will give fans a whole new perspective on the galaxy.

“There’s such wonderful chaos going on in the galaxy in this period,” said writer John Jackson Miller. “More than a generation before Darth Bane introduced the Rule of Two, Sith Lords are colliding not just with the Republic, but with each other. Kerra’s going to find that good intentions just may not be enough in a galaxy gone mad! This is a wide-open area to explore, and I’m thrilled that Dark Horse and Del Rey have given me this opportunity to do so.”

“With John writing both the comics and the novel, Knight Errant will be a Star Wars story on a scale we’ve never undertaken before,” said comic-series editor Dave Marshall. “This will be a first-of-its-kind opportunity to introduce the Expanded Universe of the Dark Horse comics to the fans of the Del Rey novels and vice versa!”

With more news in the coming months, look for Star Wars: Knight Errant to arrive on shelves later this fall!

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This is really awesome news! I’m a big fan of John’s Lost Tribe of the Sith stories (eagerly awaiting the next story, Paragon), and I cannot believe the man’s luck! Writing a new Star Wars series AND a novel set in the same period, with the same characters?! 🙂 For once, I’m glad that I found out when everyone else did – it would have been hell sitting on this information! 🙂

Congratulations, John! Looking forward to the new series and to the novel! While we wait for Knight Errant, let me point you to John’s excellent Lost Tribe of the Sith series – each story is free to download and ties into the Fate of the Jedi series as well as Paul S Kemp’s excellent Crosscurrent!

Book 1 – Precipice
Book 2 – Skyborn
And Book 3 – Paragon, was released today!

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2010 in Announcements, Dark Horse Comics

 

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Review: Star Wars Fate of the Jedi – Abyss by Troy Denning

Hey everyone! 🙂 I’m back, after some trouble with the internet; seems that my service provider thought that it was high-time to ‘reset the ports’… what ever that means. Suffice it to say that I couldn’t do a damn thing, but it’s all working again now. 🙂

Anyway, let’s get into the review!

Abyss is the third book in the 9-Book Fate of the Jedi series, and the first book of the series by Troy Denning. The main plots that unfurl in this book are Luke and Ben Skywalker’s time in the Maw, the discoveries of Vestara Khai and her fellow Lost Tribe-Sith, and the continuing battle of wills between the Jedi and Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance, Daala.

If you haven’t yet read Book 1, Outcast (audio book reviewed here) and Book 2 (Omen, reviewed here), then don’t pick up Abyss. You wont know what’s going on, who’s who (especially the new characters such as Vestara) and you’ll end up feeling a bit bewildered. In fact, if you haven’t read at least the Legacy of the Force series, don’t read Fate of the Jedi; there’s just too much that has happened in the Expanded Universe that you missed, and that you need to know about in order to understand the character’s motivations in this series.

Abyss was, while not remotely the best work that Troy has done, both better than Outcast & Omen, and at the same time, not as good.

You see, Outcast set the tone for the series, introducing some of the major plot lines, and Omen introduced yet another plot line (that of John Jackson Miller’s Lost Tribe of the Sith); Abyss changes the game up a bit, bringing in a new character, but not much else changes – on Coruscant, the Jedi are still floundering their way through Daala’s unwholesome attentions, and the Jedi Knights are now dropping like flies (not dying, going insane), while Luke and Ben begin to take a closer look at the Maw, the roiling mass of black holes close to Kessel, because of a discovery made in their time with the Aing-Tee monks. It’s more of the same, in my opinion, and the new storyline-additions don’t offer much in the way of variety or newness.

Is this a case of being careful with the story, and not throwing in too much, or a case of being too careful, and taking too long to move tha tale forward? Only hindsight will tell.

I am, I’ll admit, curious about the direction that Fate of the Jedi is taking – the Jedi are really being shaken up and rattled around, and I can’t see the Order regaining their balance and status any time soon, if at all, after this series. If the Order did somehow manage to come back from the anger and distrust facing it now, it would have to be something incredible. I’m also intrigued about what is being discovered about Jacen Solo / Darth Caedus by Luke and Ben Skywalker; on the one hand, it seems that Jacen / Caedus just didn’t really use what he learned to do on his 5 year journey (during the Legacy of the Force series), and on the other hand, we are being shown a side of Jacen that paints him, and this is weird, as a better person and Jedi than Luke Skywalker. There’s just something about the way Jacen is remembered in Abyss by the various characters that Luke and Ben meet that doesn’t gel properly – sure, I know that he only embraced the name Caedus after murdering Mara Jade Skywalker, but it just seems that something else, other than Verger and Lumiya, happened to Jacen.

The case being made at the moment suggests that Jacen was preparing for a threat that Luke and Ben are only now discovering – and this, unfortunately, just doesn’t gel for me. The reason that Jacen become Caedus was to attain and use power so that he could bring peace to the galaxy; so far in Fate of the Jedi, it seems that Jacen discovered an actual, looming threat which has nothing to do with governments pulling out of the GA (in Legacy of the Force).

Anyway, I hope these weird inconsistencies are addressed in the next couple of books. 🙂

But how was the book itself?! I hear you asking. 🙂 Well, anyone who’s read Troy Denning’s work knows that the man writes a tight, pacey, thrilling tale, that his work is filled with excellent lightsaber battles as well as important philosophical ponderings, and that the man really loves Star Wars. Nothing has changed! 🙂

Troy pushes many of the characters to their limits, throws some great action set pieces our way, and takes us a bit deeper into the politics, scheming, and increases the stakes by showing us how the events taking place around the Jedi are leaving them more frantic and reactionary that they’ve ever been – after Order 66, there wasn’t an Order left, and the Order was way more capable during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion that what it seems to be now.

Troy also has some major surprises in store (in the Luke-Ben storyline) that might bring a tear to your eye (and plenty of goose flesh). 🙂

All in all, while I enjoyed Abyss and am still intrigued by Fate of the Jedi, it seems that the story hasn’t yet completely found its feet; it’s not something you can really blame on Troy or Aaron or Chistie (considering how such a series is put together in the first place), but it does have me concerned. I wouldn’t want to see the madness plaguing the Jedi or the information revealed about Jacen’s journey become a plot point that is readily cast aside – as happened with the Second Galactic Civil War in Legacy of the Force.

I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series, Aaron Allston’s Backlash (a nicely ominous title) as soon as I can (yes I know, still have to wait for it to be published), and hoping that things pick up momentum – going from the blurb I’ve read for Backlash, it seems that we won’t be disappointed. 🙂

8 / 10

To order your copy of Abyss, click here for USA, here for UK, and for those in South Africa, order your copy here or visit your closest Exclusive Books branch. And if you want some for information about Fate of the Jedi, click here for the Wookieepedia page.

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2010 in Reviews

 

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Review: Star Wars – Crosscurrent by Paul S Kemp

This is the first time I got to review a new Star Wars novel BEFORE its publication, and not only was I lucky in that regard, but Paul’s Star Wars debut turned out to be one of the strongest Expanded Universe debuts I’ve read to date.

I’m not going to tell you what the plot of the novel revolves around – Star Wars fans the world over have known since the 17th of July 2009 when the Official Site posted its First Look. I’ll dive right into what made Crosscurrent such a strong debut.

Now, let me state from the outset that I’ve yet to read any of Paul’s other work (though I do have the first Erevis Cale book lined up to review), so I had no idea what to expect concerning his writing style. Would it suit Star Wars?

I’m happy to report that it does. 🙂

Paul gives us an intimate focus, character- and action-wise, and his action scenes are as cinematical as would be expected from any Star Wars EU novel.

Paul gives us starfighter dogfights that, while not the equal of what Mike Stackpole or Aaron Allston can do, are still tense and well-suited to the situation. He even manages a great nod at a scene from Return of the Jedi. 🙂

Paul’s lightsaber duels are not as descriptive as I would have liked, but what I did like was the fact that the duels were intense and brutal, something that suited both time-periods that Paul uses in Crosscurrent as well as the characters.

Paul’s handling of the characters in Crosscurrent was excellent! Our protagonist, Jaden Korr, comes across as fully-fleshed, as if we’ve met him countless times in the EU instead of just glimpsing him in Centerpoint Station. (I haven’t mentioned Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy -Jaden’s first appearance in Star Wars- because I haven’t played the game) I trusted Jaden to take me through Crosscurrent, something that I believe any protagonist needs to create in a reader; Jaden was likable and I could relate to his situation (not being a Jedi or having a Force-vision, of course, but going through periods of being unsure of myself and having a need to strip away the clutter) and thoughts.

Paul also has a great supporting cast;

Khedryn, a human male who manages to emulate Han Solo and be a better character (considering the way Han has being relegated to comic-relief post-New Jedi Order), and Khedryn plays an awesome game of sabbac, too!

Marr, Khedryn’s co-pilot and friend, a Cerean (think Ki-Adi Mundi) who is at his most calm when taking on a navicomputer to calculate a hyperspace jump;

Kell, a creepy Anzat who is searching for the Revelation that will give his existence meaning,

Relin, a Jedi trying to accomplish the impossible while fighting incredible odds,

and Saes, a Sith who finds himself is either the best or worst possible situation.

The dynamic between Jaden, Khedryn and Marr was great; Not only did Paul manage, by using Khedryn and Marr, to give Jaden a much-needed perspective that didn’t involve the Jedi, but he also used them as a vehicle to explore the kind of questions that we all face – being afraid and dealing with it, seeing the comedy in against-the-odds situations, gathering the courage to do what needs to be done… This interplay between the characters really gave the novel that relatable feel, something that’s been missing from the Star Wars EU for a while now.

Relin I’m not going to say anything about, nor Saes; but go ahead and read the excerpts that have been posted (the first glimpse, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2) to get a taste (not telling you of who, either). 🙂

Kell is, well, utterly creepy. Here’s a character that has a need, a hunger that must be fulfilled, and if you know something about Anzati, you can imagine where you’ll travel with Kell. Genuinely creepy!

What made this such an excellent Star Wars debut? Well, part from the awesome characters –

Handling two different eras and not getting me confused, keeping the action and suspense constant with short, to-the-point chapters that rocket along, and crafting a story that can stand proudly and strongly on its own without even a glimpse of Canon characters. This is a Star Wars novel that fans of the EU will love, but it’s also a novel that will get someone who has never read a Star Wars novel before hooked; it has all the hallmarks of Episodes 1 through 6 – the beautiful and strange scenery of distant planets, the wisdom and valor of the Jedi, exciting space battles and lightsaber duels, and the kind of philosophical questions that make Star Wars great. 🙂 Crosscurrent ranks right up there with the debuts of Troy Denning, Matthew Stover and Karen Traviss for me – it’s enjoyable, exciting, leads to questions and more mysteries, and that spark that sets it above the current EU choice-list.

I’m very excited to see where Paul will take Jaden, Khedryn and Marr, not least because of the links to other Star Wars EU projects going at the moment (and there are plenty of those, and they all work beautifully!). 🙂

9 / 10

If you’d like more info about Paul and his work, click here for his official website and here for his LiveJournal blog. Need some more info about Jaden? Click here for his listing on Wookieepedia.

To pre-order Crosscurrent, click here for US, here for UK, and for those in South Africa (the book will be out in March), here.

Be EPIC!

P.S. Stay tuned for an interview with Paul and John Jackson Miller, coming up soon!

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2010 in Reviews

 

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Review: Star Wars Fate of the Jedi: Book 2 – Omen by Christie Golden

Book 2 of the 9-book series that follows on from the events of the Legacy of the Force sees the Jedi falling into chaos, and the only person who probably has a hope of saving them -Grand Master Luke Skywalker- has been forced into exile.

Now, this might sound a bit strange, but I’ve got a feeling that Fate of the Jedi could possibly be as good a series as The New Jedi Order was (and remains to be). Why? Let me explain:

Looking back at the disjointed spectacle that Legacy of the Force became, there is a sense of Slow and Steady Does It with Fate of the Jedi. Book 1 of the Legacy series, Betrayal, rocked the whole Star Wars galaxy by showing how one of its biggest heroes, Jacen Solo, murdered a fellow Jedi Knight and chose to become a Sith Lord. After such a huge beginning it was almost impossible for the series to end on an even higher note, not to mention sustain the pace that was needed after Betrayal.

Fate of the Jedi begins with Jedi going insane and Luke Skywalker being exiled – huge events, sure, but nowhere near the events in Betrayal – and Book 2, Omen, introduces a group of long-lost Sith who have been cut off from the galaxy for thousands of years. These story-arcs are, in my opinion, very exciting and promising, because I’m pretty sure that Sue Rostoni and the gang learned a lot out of Legacy of the Force.

You see, Omen is not as good a book, event-wise, as Outcast was, but in my opinion, it’s an excellent part of the series.

Luke Skywalker and his son, Ben, meet the Aing-Tee monks, mythical Force users that were visited by Jacen during his 5-year odyssey, and who have a reputation that most sane citizens of the galaxy do well to take into account before venturing into their territory, being the Kathol Rift.

On Coruscant, Leia Solo, her husband Han and daughter, Jaina, are in the thick of a growing hatred and mistrust of the Jedi, and things aren’t getting any better; Chief of State Daala is getting all the fuel she needs to take on and cow the Jedi.

Omen is a short book; most readers will probably finish it in a day or two, but it’s expertly-paced and filled with info and interesting characters, especially Vestara Khai and the hidden enclave of Sith.

All of you should know where these Sith came from thanks to the great eBooks from John Jackson Miller, Precipice and Skyborn. These stories introduced us to a group of Sith from the era of Naga Sadow who were on a very important mission during that destructive war between the Sith Empire and the Galactic Republic. The descendants of these Sith now take center-stage in Fate of the Jedi, and even though they don’t have such a major role to play, a dropped story-arc from Legacy of the Force is explained and given a new direction; I’m really excited to see what happens with these Sith, even after I heard rumors about what might be happening in the next couple of books in the series.

Christie’s writing is easy and flowing and her action scenes are top-notch and as cinematical as every Star Wars action-scene should be. 🙂 Her characterizations are on the spot, too, but one character, in my opinion suffers – and not just in Omen, but in every Star Wars novel he’s appeared in after The New Jedi Order:

I’m talking about Han Solo.

The thing that bugs me is that Han has become a two-dimensional character, no matter who handles him. When Chewbacca died in Vector Prime we met a Han that had great emotional depth, and we went on a journey with Han as he battled to sort through his feelings of grief and loss and anger and find his place in the world again. Han’s descent into 2-bit comedy-relief began in Legacy of the Force and has continued, and it breaks my heart. All he basically does in each novel is take part in action sequences and make funny quips, and after what he went through after Vector Prime, he’s become, well, a disappointment.

I have no idea why this happened, there just doesn’t seem to be a logical reason for it, but I seriously hope it changes. Understand, I don’t think it’s a fault of Christie -even though this is her debut Star Wars novel- but it’s something that’s been happening more and more with many different authors. 😦

All things considered, though, Omen is a great novel, and a strong addition to the Fate of the Jedi series. Things are being put in place in this series that will have repercussions, I’m sure, for a long time, and for the whole Star Wars galaxy. 🙂 Well worth a read!

7 / 10

For more info about Christie and her work, follow this link, and to order your copies, click here for the US, here for the UK, and here for SA. Also, check out the official Fate of the Jedi webpage for excerpts and more. 🙂

Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2010 in Reviews

 

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Review: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi – Outcast by Aaron Allstone (Audio Book)

This review was originally posted over at Realms & Galaxies: Celebrating SFF on the 21st of October 2009

No, I haven’t yet had the chance to read the book – that’ll be coming up soon, though, since my beautiful hard cover arrived on Monday. 🙂 But I did manage to listen to the audio book.

So, the Legacy of the Force series has come to a close (I say it hasn’t, since there was no real ‘Legacy’ evident at the end of the series) and a couple of years have passed. The Second Galactic Civil War has also ended, but the after-effects of this event are still being felt. There is a growing mistrust of the Jedi, and many see them as above the law elitists. At a time when bad publicity is the least needed, the Jedi son of one of the Order’s most respected Masters goes rogue, mobilizing the Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance into action – while the Jedi try to pin down the cause of the malais that struck one of their own, Natasi Daala brings Luke Skywalker to task for allowing the once-hero of the New Republic and Galactic Alliance, Jedi Knight Jacen Solo, to become Darth Caedus.

I’ve been waiting for something like this to happen, to be honest. I mean, Kyp Durron destroys the Carida system, murdering billions; Corran Horn’s misplaced trust in the Yuuzhan Vong commander, Sheddao Shai, gets Ithor destroyed, and before it all, Luke’s own act of destroying the Death Star and causing the deaths of millions, was bound to lead somewhere. So bringing charges against Luke seems the logical step to take – after all, even if Jacen Solo had survived, how exactly would he have been punished? So Sith, not even Darth Vader, has ever seen the error of his / her ways – they believe (and this is the real reason why they will always be the biggest threat the Jedi will ever face) that they are right, that what they are doing is for the greater good (well, at least those Sith that have a measure of brains and vision). But the Jedi have no 5-year plan. For beings capable of using the Force to receive visions and glimpses of the future, they are very now-focused and reactive, and this is the main reason why I’m very glad to see this storyline in the Fate of the Jedi series. Call me a lover of what Karen Traviss did for Star Wars (and I am, through and through), but there hve to be consequences (and therefor, a measure of reality) for what the Jedi have been doing for the millennia they’ve been around. Having Luke realize that it is a neccessary path was one of my fist-pumping moments, and it was also a storyline that Aaron handled extremely well. We do, after all, have to see and understand both sides of the argument.

The trip that Luke and Ben go on to try and retrace Jacen’s footsteps during his 5-year Odyssey is a bit of a reach, though I can understand that it’s a neccessary plotline for Luke to be able to get a sense of Jacen in those situations – in certain respects, Luke knew Jacen better than his own parents. I would have substituted Ben Skywalker for Jaina Solo, though. Not only would that have made for some very interesting story-arcs with Ben on Coruscant, but it would have given Luke and Jaina the opportunity to really spend time together. Granted, Aaron did pull it off, and the glimpse into the world of Dorin and the Baran Do Sage’s was interesting but ultimately of little value – the only story-driving point being that father and son now know where and how Jacen learned one particular ability.

The Kessel-arc was interesting, too, but I would have liked to know a bit more about how it ties into (if it does) the Celestials and Centerpoint Station. I can’t wait, though, to find out just who contacted Allana… 🙂

I do think, though, that Outcast was a better beginning to a 9-book series – sure, it’s an almost sedate saunter into the plots that the series will be remembered for, and there’s no “Holy Crap!” moment at the end (as when Jacen murders a fellow Jedi and chooses to become a Sith in Legacy of the Force: Betrayal), but Outcast definitely sets the arcs and the tone of Fate of the Jedi, so, in my opinion, a great, promising start. 🙂

The storyline gets a solid 7 / 10 from me.

Now onto the production of the audio book:

Once again, I’m in awe. 🙂 (Well, you wouldn’t know it, since this is the first audio book I’ve reviewed on the blogs)

Marc Thompson does a stellar job of capturing the voices of the characters – he’s a veteran now, so he should, but he always puts in effort, and it definitely comes across. You can also hear how much he enjoys what he does, which is great!

Music- and sound effects-wise it’s excellent! You really do feel as if you’re in the thick of things, hearing air-scrubbers on the ships, feeling the tension with the lightsabers and music; it really is cool! 🙂

I’m also glad that the audio book is unabridged (the one I listened to, at least) – you really do get a sense that the story flows better. 🙂

I give the audio book a solid 9 / 10,

So my combined rating for Fate of the Jedi Outcast is a promising and entertaining 8.5 / 10. 🙂

To order your copies of the audio book, click here for the US and here for the UK; to order your copies of the book (still in Hard Cover), click here for the US and here for the UK; for those in South Africa, please use this link.

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2010 in Reviews

 

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Big, Cool Star Wars News!

First thing, check out this cover for the first Imperial Commando novel, written by Karen Traviss, 501st:

star-wars-imperial-commando-501st

Doesn’t that look cool?! And here’s the official blurb for the book, taken from this post on the official site:

The Clone Wars are over, but for those with reason to run from the new galactic Empire, the battle to survive has only just begun….

The Jedi have been decimated in the Great Purge, and the Republic has fallen. Now the former Republic Commandos — the galaxy’s finest special forces troops, cloned from Jango Fett — find themselves on opposing sides and in very different armor. Some have deserted and fled to Mandalore with the mercenaries, renegade clone troopers, and rogue Jedi who make up Kal Skirata’s ragtag resistance to Imperial occupation. Others — including men from Delta and Omega squads — now serve as Imperial Commandos, a black ops unit within Vader’s own 501st Legion, tasked to hunt down fugitive Jedi and clone deserters.

For Darman, grieving for his Jedi wife and separated from his son, it’s an agonizing test of loyalty. But he’s not the only one who’ll be forced to test the ties of brotherhood. On Mandalore, clone deserters and the planet’s own natives, who have no love for the Jedi, will have their most cherished beliefs challenged. In the savage new galactic order, old feuds may have to be set aside to unite against a far bigger threat, and nobody can take old loyalties for granted.

Pre-order your copy here for those in the States and here for those in Europe!

Next up, the incomparable Timothy Zahn returns to the Star Wars Expanded Universe!

Bestselling author and fan-favorite Timothy Zahn will return to the Expanded Universe of Star Wars novels with a new full-length story to be published by Del Rey Books in 2011. The new tale of intrigue and action is set in the time of classic Star Wars trilogy, not long after the events of his previous novel, Allegiance. The legendary heroes return — Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca — along with some of Zahn’s most popular creations: Thrawn, Mara Jade and the Hand of Judgment stormtroopers.

The book is as yet untitled, but is slated to debut in fall of 2011, the year that marks the 20th anniversary of his first Star Wars novel, Heir to the Empire, the blockbuster book that launched the modern era of Star Wars publishing.

Taken from this post, this is also great news! Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy were the first EU books I ever read, and probably what led me to having over 110 SWs novels in my collection so far. 🙂 The man knows Star Wars, knows the characters, knows the themes – in short, he’s one of the best EU writers working today, and his books are always entertaining and true to the galaxy that George Lucas created. 🙂 You can be sure I’ll update you on any further information and will post the cover as soon as it’s available. 🙂

And last but not least, some cool Fate of the Jedi goodies! Want some peeks into the 9-book series opener, Outcast? Follow this link. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2009 in Announcements

 

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Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Abyss Cover-reveal!

Saw this at ClubJade, followed the link to the official site, and nabbed the spoilery blurb, too! 🙂

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Abyss

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Abyss

BEWARE! DON’T READ FURTHER IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED!

Tensions are heightening across the galaxy as more Jedi Knights seemingly go insane and anti-Jedi sentiment, fed by fear and mistrust, spreads from world to world. Han and Leia Solo have their hands full helping the Jedi Order keep the affected Knights out of the grip of government security — whose only solution is to freeze the offenders in carbonite.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker and his son, Ben, arrive in the mysterious part of space called the Maw, in search of more clues to whatever it was that caused Jacen Solo’s fall to the dark side. It is here, in the Maw, that they will confront the members of a lost Sith tribe who are determined to kill Luke.And it is here, too, where Ben will meet the Force ghost of his dead mother, Mara Jade.

I am positively DYING to read this series! 🙂 Sounds great!

Be Fantastic!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2009 in Announcements

 

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News, news, news! And more!

Wow, another day goes by and there’s plenty more to tell you all about! 🙂

First off, do you want to try your hand at creating your own Fantasy (or SF, for that matter) book cover? I followed a link from The Old Bat’s Belfry to this site, read the instructions, and created my own book cover! 🙂 Okay, granted, it’s a bit crappy (butterflies for sails?) but it still looks cool, and the title, together with the cover, really does make the book look intriguing. 🙂 Anyway, here’s my effort:

The Power of Lodon

The Power of Lodon

The author’s name? That’s my pen-name when I write the literary stuff. 😉

Here are the instructions:

CREATE YOUR DEBUT FANTASY BOOK COVER
1 – Go to “Behind the Name”. Hit “Generate a Name!” or click http://www.behindthename.com/random/
The first name you get is your author name.
2 – Go to “Fantasy Novel Title Generator”
or click http://nine.frenchboys.net/novel.php
This is the title of your book.
3 – Go to Photobucket and click on “surreal art” or click http://photobucket.com/images/surreal%20art/
Add the two numbers of your age together (ex. 2 + 7 = 9). Go to that page of results. The fourth picture, no matter what it is, is your cover.
4 – Use photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together.
5 – Post it to your site along with this text.

Pretty easy, I have to admit, and quick, too! 🙂

Okay, next up: Wheel of Time News!

There is a widget available (which I cannot put on the blog) counting down the days, hours, minutes and seconds until A Memory of Light hits the shelves – in November. Now, now, don’t get too excited yet! Brandon Sanderson is working on rewrites for Harriet at the moment (for those who’s been living on another planet, Harriet is Robert Jordan’s widow and his long-time editor) and hopes to have them done by April (if I’m not mistaken); coupled with that, Brandon has time and again stated that this book will be a big, thick book, and that even his projected wordcount might get tossed out the window as he progresses. The book might even be split (I know, I’d like to devour it and finish it, too, without having to wait for part two, but hey, it’s not up to us), and the first part may hit shelves in November. Either way, I think the November date is a bit premature, considering the project and what Brandon has already said about working on it.

But if it does hit shelves in November, either Part One or the full book, you can be sure of one thing – in November, forget any other book hitting the shelves at the same time – The Wheel of Time will be the biggest news of the year! 🙂

Check out the announcement from Dragonmount here.

And now, back to Star Wars! 🙂

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil – I saw the announcement here, followed the link to the official site, and saw this:

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil

I’m so glad they’ve decided to go back to the cover-style of the first book, Path of Destruction! I’m sorry, but the cover of Rule of Two was a major let-down. This looks great! 🙂

And then, this:

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Omen front

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Omen front

This is the front cover, and now, here’s the back:

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Omen back

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi Omen back

I haven’t warmed up entirely yet to the new style of cover art, but it’s starting to look really cool – who is that on the cover, I wonder? 😉 Here’s the announcement on the official site, and if you want them, spoilers for Omen! 🙂

Okay, that’s it for now, I guess. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2009 in Announcements

 

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Star Wars News and Updates!

Man, I’m gone for two weeks and the whole Star Wars Expanded Universe explodes!! 🙂 Hehehe, I’m definitely not that important, but then you all knew that anyway. 🙂

Okay, where do I start?!

The great, big, huge mother of all MMO’s, Star Wars: The Old Republic, is on its way, and if you follow this link, you’ll be taken through to the game’s website – why, you ask? Well, if you would like to get a bit of an introduction to the storyline of this MMO, the guys have set up a webcomic on the site that serves as an intro for some of the major characters and sets the stage, so to speak. 🙂

Next up: Star Wars: Darth Bane: Dynasty of Evil – here’s a cover blurb for you all from the official Star Wars site! Let the bloodbath begin! 🙂

The Sith are gone — all except Darth Bane, creator of the “Rule of Two,” which states that the new Sith Order will consist of only two: a Master and an apprentice. But how does one train an apprentice whose ultimate goal — and proof of success — must be to kill the Master?

Darth Bane is beginning to suffer the effects of drawing heavily on the dark side of the Force for so many years. At the same time, he’s beginning to doubt his apprentice, Zannah, because she hasn’t yet tried to kill him and take his power. Is she weak? Unworthy of being his apprentice? When he learns of an ancient Sith artifact that might hold the secret to immortal life, he heads out in search of it alone. But Zannah is anything but weak, and now that she has glimpsed his worries, she knows that the time is ripe to take him on. The Forces of evil will clash in spectacular battle, with the future of the Sith hanging in the balance!

Does that sound cool or what?! And here’s something extra, too – author Drew Karpyshyn dropping hints! 🙂

I don’t really know if I can say anything else about who might be appearing in the novel, but I’m going to throw a couple names out just for kicks: Cognus, Set Harth, Andeddu.
Wow, I probably said way too much. Maybe I should delete that. But for some reason I’ve been very in touch with my own personal dark side lately, so let’s leave it for now and see if I get in trouble.

*rubbing hands in anticipatory glee* Sounds good huh? For those who don’t know it, there were Sith mentioned above – but wait! you say, there are only supposed to be two at any time! 😉 I think this novel is going to KICK ASS!

Next: Deathtroopers renamed!
Nonono it’s not what you think, I promise! They’ve only put in a space between ‘Death’ and ‘troopers’, and here’s the cover art as it will be for the hardcover coming out in October of this year! 🙂

Death Troopers

Death Troopers

Here is the official blurb, too:

When the Imperial prison barge Purge breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope seems to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting, derelict and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back — bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours, nearly all aboard the Purge will die. And death is only the beginning.
For aboard the Star Destroyer, amid its vast creaking emptiness that isn’t really empty at all. For the dead are rising, soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.

Next up: A book about Vader!

“Fully licensed with Lucasfilm, VADER will be the definitive book on the history, myth, and cultural impact of Darth Vader. From his early development by George Lucas in the original classic films, to the new legends created in comics and novels, to his appearances on everything from commercials to bedspreads, VADER will present a complete view of the character. This book will contain unique pieces both printed flat and removable, including never-before-seen concept sketches, rare promotional materials, early comic books, video games, action figures, merchandise, movie posters, and more.”

The book, now titled Vader: The Dark Lord and His Universe, is by Ryder Windham and Pete Vilmur and is due out in October.

More info on that as the info is released! 🙂

Next up: Monthly Yuuzhan Vong, anyone?

If you haven’t heard about it, we’ll be seeing more of the scarheads in Invasion! 🙂

Check out this post for more updated info, and below is the cover art for what has been confirmed to be the first issue:

Anyone wanna place bets on who’ll survive this encounter? 😉

Okay, that’s it for Star Wars for today. 🙂

Be Fantastic!

P.S. I’ll have the review of The Modern World up tomorrow, or later (depending on how lazy I get 😉 ), and I thought I’d also let you all know that I found A Clash of Kings day before yesterday, and all I can say is, “Mr Martin, you gave me one hell of a surprise with Stannis!” 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2009 in Announcements

 

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Review: Star Wars Coruscant Nights: Patterns of Force – Michael Reaves

Star Wars Coruscant Nights Patterns of Force

Star Wars Coruscant Nights Patterns of Force

Jax Pavan must now face Darth Vader himself while some friends become enemies and a weapon of immense power falls into the wrong hands… with unforseen consequences.

I finished this book two weeks ago already, but our internet has been off, so that’s why I’m only posting the review now. 🙂

As soon as I saw the book, I bought it, no questions asked; the sustained quality of Michael Reaves’ work as well as the excellent tales he creates have made him one of my favourite Star Wars EU authors – he knows how to make a reader care for the characters he creates, writes some pretty cool battles, and he knows what Star Wars is and brings that to every project he takes on; that said, I was a bit dissapointed with Patterns of Force.

The book starts off well – we are introduced to a new character, a young Force-sensitive eeking out a living on Coruscant; he steals food to survive, always walking the fine line between starvation and satisfaction, and he keeps to himself, because he’s being hunted by the Inquisitors…

The Inquisitors are Force-sensitives garbed in robes who work for Darth Vader – among their more nefarious duties is finding, tracking, and capturing any Force-sensitives, or Jedi-in-hiding, that remain or Coruscant. If you are captured, you’re either killed, or forced to join the Inquisitors and the dark side – there is no middle ground.

Now we come to my first problem with the book. I would have liked a bit more about the Inquisitors, even if it was a short piece on the history of the group – how and why they were formed, who the most powerful among them are, how long they had been operating, etc. but we don’t really get this. It seems they sprung into being in the few weeks between Street of Shadows and Patterns of Force. If an explanation is given, I can’t remember it, and that in itself is also not good – a group of Force-sensitives working with Dark Vader and drawing on the dark side should be a bit more memorable and important. But, that aside, the main Inquisitor we meet in the book is a pretty cool character – not much depth to him, but he’s a good foil to the street-urchin he’s hunting.

Moving on, the rest of the book is pretty awesome – Michael ties together threads that had been planted years ago in the previous books – and many important events come full-circle, including some cool new plot-points that will have you on the edge of your seat:

There is a traitor is Jax’s group, and trust me, you wont have an idea who it is until the moment of the reveal! 🙂
The droid I-5 is also, once again, so damn cool, and not your average droid either. And I’m not just talking about his sentience… 🙂

The climax of the book, though… Well, it seemed a bit quick, to me. I was expecting fireworks, because, I mean, this is Darth Vader versus Jax Pavan! I s’pose I hoped for a major battle, anyone would, and looking back, all the characters stayed true to themselves and didn’t act out-of-character, but it still seemed that there could have been more.

In any case, what I’m trying to say is that Patterns of Force is a satisfactory end to the Coruscant Nights trilogy – everything seems right and makes sense (though the street-urchin Force-sensitive does seem a bit uber, like Galen Marek in The Force Unleashed), and it’s a great addition to the Star Wars EU (Expanded Universe, for those who don’t speak Basic), but it ended a bit weakly.

Still, I will read everything Reaves writes – the man brings through genuine laugh-out-loud humor to his work, something that is sorely needed in the Star Wars EU at the moment. Don’t get me wrong – I love the serious, epic stories of Legacy of the Force and can’t wait to get into Fate of the Jedi, but when the humor is there, the two authors who do it best are Aaron Allston and Michael Reaves. And when that humor is layered with good storytelling, you can’t go wrong! 🙂

7/10

Check out Michael’s site here,

Order Book 1 here, Book 2 here, and Book 3 here!

Be Fantastic!

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2009 in Reviews

 

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