The Courtship of Princess Leia by Dave Wolverton

I read this book about three years ago, but never gave it its own post, so I am doing it now.  This book has a lot of faults, but it is one of the few I have distinct memories of reading as a teenager and I loved it back then, so there’s a lot of nostalgia there for me.  It doesn’t make sense that Leia suddenly is willing to marry for diplomatic reasons and leave Han behind, but I like that they reconcile in the end and get married.  Threepio’s song about Han is the greatest part of Star Wars literature.  Fight me. I also really like the Dathomir storyline and the force witches were awesome.

Rereading it as an adult, I totally see the issues with the book, but at the time I loved it.

Outbound Flight by Timothy Zahn

Thank you, Timothy Zahn!  My quest to read all of these books was in danger after struggling through Rogue Planet, but Outbound Flight was a great follow up to renew my motivation.

So I know that this book is super foreshadowing or whatever for the Thrawn Trilogy I’ll get to some day.  Actually, I read it a long time ago, but I don’t really remember a ton of details.  I think that actually helped because I wasn’t comparing any of the characters to the their future selves or whatever.  It was just a good book full of interesting characters.

There were several characters I really liked – Car’das and Lorana Jinzler come to mind.  I also found Thrawn’s story very interesting.  C’baoth was definitely not my favorite and his storyline was annoying.  But I think it was supposed to be.  I didn’t mind Obi-Wan and Anakin showing up, but if they had not been in the book, I don’t think it would have hurt the book at all.  They were just a little pointless.

This was a good read and a fun adventure.  It makes me look even more forward to getting back to the Thrawn Trilogy and meeting up with Thrawn again.

Rogue Planet by Greg Bear

I… I don’t know what to say about this book.  It took me well over a month to read it, which wasn’t completely its fault (I had a really busy November), but that speaks to how easy it was to put this book down.  It just wasn’t that interesting.  At one point, I checked and realized that I was 2/3rds of the way through the book and it still felt like I was reading the introduction.

I ended up forcing myself to read the last 100 pages today because I just wanted to be done and it just didn’t do anything for me.  Obi-Wan seemed so unsure of himself and Anakin just seemed weird.  None of the other characters seemed interesting at all.  All the mysteriousness of the planet just ended up being dumb.

Here’s hoping the books improve from here!

Episode I: The Phantom Menace

I’m kind of torn on this book. It wasn’t a bad read, really. When I sat down to read, I felt like I was flying through it. It probably helped that I am somewhat familiar with the story, though it has been a long time since I saw the movie and there are definitely parts I don’t really remember.

That said, Jar Jar and child Anakin are still really annoying. All of the written out Gungan dialect was distracting. There were a couple times I wasn’t really sure what had just been said, which isn’t a change from what I remember if the movie. And Anakin… I know he’s nine years old, but I didn’t particularly enjoy being in his whiny head.

Overall, after reading the last two books, this one seemed a little unnecessary – for the most part, it was a lot of the same events told from other perspectives. I liked the story better in Darth Plagueis.  I’m still not a Qui-Gon fan. I should probably rewatch the movie and see how I feel about him there.

Cloak of Deception

I’m not really sure what to say about this book.  I didn’t like it, but I can’t really say why not.  It was just boring.  I don’t think it was because it was a “political” book, because I just finished and really liked Darth Plagueis.  I just couldn’t get interested in this one.

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan drove me nuts.  I haven’t seen Episode I in a really long time, so I don’t remember Qui-Gon all that well, but in this book, I just kept rolling my eyes at him.  I didn’t really get why he was so obsessed with Cohl.

So yeah… I don’t know.  I am just glad this one is over.

Darth Plagueis

Remember when I said I don’t like Sith?  Maybe I was a bit wrong.  This book focused on two Sith, Darth Plagueis and Darth Sidious, aka Hego Damask and Palpatine.  It was really interesting!  I really enjoyed the background on Palpatine’s rise to power and how the Siths’ actions led directly to the events of Episode I.

But even before that, I liked Plagueis’s story more than I expected to.  He was a believable character and I liked seeing how he taught Palpatine.  I really liked Palpatine, especially when he was younger.  I think I liked this book more than the Bane series because it focused on the Siths’ maneuvering and not just them saying “I am bad.  Watch me be bad.”

There were a couple times when I felt like the story was a little slow, like towards the end of the second section and when Plagueis was in hermit mode.  I also would have liked to have learned more about how Padme became mayor of Theed at 13 and why she was in politics so young, but I get that this wasn’t her story.

Dynasty of Evil (Star Wars: Darth Bane, Bk 3)

I made it through the Darth Bane series!  I think I deserve a medal.

In all honesty, I liked this one a lot more than I liked the previous two.  I liked that it didn’t focus on Bane and Zannah as much, though Zannah didn’t annoy me like she did in The Rule of Two.  I liked that we got good insight into both of their motivations, though I still really hate Bane as a character.  Not just because he’s Sith, but because he’s so egotistical and ridiculous.  And whiny.  “I’m the Dark Lord of the Sith! Why aren’t you challenging me? I guess I’ll just have to replace you and/or live forever.”  In the end, I think I liked Bane better as Des the soldier and student.

I liked the newer characters for the most part.  Serra and Lucia were cool.  I might have liked the Huntress more if she had some motivation and/or a real name.  Set was just kind of there.  He didn’t wow me at all.

With the various perspectives, I felt like this was a faster read.  I was more engaged than I had been with the last two.  But then I got to the end and it all fell apart.  The ending was more “everyone dies” and the very end was vague and confusing.  I started out thinking this would be a 2/5, then around the middle bumped it up to a 3, and by the end, it was back to 2.

I am so glad to move on to another character and another story, even if next up is another Sith story.

Rule of Two (Star Wars: Darth Bane, Bk 2)

Still not a fan.  I pretty much detest Darth Bane and have very little interest in what he’s doing.  Even when he was in mortal peril, I wasn’t that concerned because he’s on the cover of the third book.  He’s gonna make it, much to my chagrin.  Speaking of book covers, can we discuss how horrible this cover is?  Bane’s head is shaped very oddly and he doesn’t have lips.  It’s weird.

But yeah, I didn’t really care that much about Zannah.  She just wasn’t that great of a character to me.  Johun was alright, but kind of pointless.  I continue to hate how characters are introduced, heavily described, and then killed off.  It just makes me really not care about anyone.

The writing in this series just doesn’t do anything for me, which is weird because I really liked Annihilation, which is the same author, but these drive me nuts.  For one thing, the fact checking is off.  There’s one time that Johun is called Joshua.  There’s also a time when Bane’s head is referred to as shaved, when I thought the first book established that he was bald because the mines.  He doesn’t shave his head.

I’ve started the final book of the series.  I made it to page 6 before checking the end to see how many pages I have to slog through (300 more, btw).  But then I hit a non Bane/Zannah stretch and am enjoying it more, so we’ll see how it goes.  I’m definitely excited to be done with this series.

Path of Destruction (Star Wars: Darth Bane, Bk 1)

So I’ll be honest with you: When it comes to Good vs. Evil, I pretty much always land on the side of good.  I like puppies and rainbows and happily ever after.  I like rebels, but generally that’s because they’re fighting against the status quo and making the world a better place.

So going into this book, I had some reservations.  Obviously Darth Bane is Sith, not Jedi.  It’s difficult for me to cheer for him when he’s defeating Jedi.  I was interested in his story, but I didn’t like him.  Even when he was rebelling against the Sith Lords and the status quo, I wasn’t always cheering for him.  Sometimes I was, but several times I wanted him to fail and stop being such a pompous ass.

Beyond the fact that the main character didn’t work for me, I had several issues with the writing.  Too much time was spent on things that ended up not being important at all. I was annoyed by the amount of detail that was thrown in about things like sabacc that never went anywhere.  I felt like it was included just to pad the word/page count of the book.  And while I won’t spoil it for anyone that happens upon this, I didn’t like the way the book ended.

So now I have two more Darth Bane books to read. This could definitely be a struggle. I am curious to see where the story goes from here, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting to the books where the good guys prosper.

Annihilation (Star Wars: The Old Republic #4)

I liked this!  The action was good and kept me interested.  I like Theron as a protagonist.  I liked that he wasn’t a Jedi so he had to figure things out on his own and use computer skills to solve problems.  I ended up liking the secondary characters more than I thought I would at the beginning, especially Teff’ith.

I’m skipping the rest of the Old Republic books for now and moving on the Darth Bane series, which is well reviewed on Goodreads.  I may go back and fill in gaps at some point, but at this point, I don’t own any of the other early books and I do own the entire Bane series, so here I go.  (Thank you, McKay Used Books!)