FSFH Book Review

Site Navigation
The Best
The Worst
Abnett, Dan
Adams, Douglas
Aguirre-Sacasa, Roberto
Allen, Roger MacBride
Allie, Scott
Allston, Aaron
Anderson, Kevin J.
Barclay, James
Barnes, Steven
Baum, L. Frank
Bear, Greg
Bendis, Brian Michael
Bischoff, David
Bisson, Terry
Blackman, Haden
Bova, Ben
Bowen, Carl
Brooks, Terry
Canavan, Trudi
Card, Orson Scott
Chadwick, Paul
Clarke, Arthur C.
Clarke, Susanna
Clemens, James
Collins, Paul
Crichton, Michael
Crispin, A. C.
Cunningham, Elaine
Daley, Brian
David, Peter
DeMatteis, J. M.
Denning, Troy
Dick, Philip K.
Dickens, Charles
Dietz, William C.
Dixon, Chuck
Donaldson, Stephen
Eddings, David
Edginton, Ian
Elrod, P. N.
Erikson, Steven
Feist, Raymond E.
Foster, Alan Dean
Fraction, Matt
Furman, Simon
Gaiman, Neil
Gemmell, David A.
Gerber, Michael
Gibbons, Dave
Golden, Christopher
Goodkind, Terry
Goodwin, Archie
Graham, Mitchell
Grant, Alan
Green, Jonathan
Green, Laurence
Guggenheim, Marc
Hagberg, David
Hambly, Barbara
Hamilton, Laurell K.
Hand, Elizabeth
Harras, Bob
Harrison, Mick
Heinlein, Robert A.
Herbert, Frank
Herbert, James
Hine, David
Hobb, Robin
Howard, Robert E.
Jacques, Brian
James, Charlie Hamilton
Jenkins, Paul
Jeter, K. W.
Johns, Geoff
Jones, J. V.
Jordan, Robert
Jurgens, Dan
Karpyshyn, Drew
Kennedy, Mike
Kerr, Katharine
Keyes, Greg
King, Stephen
King, William
Knaak, Richard A.
Kube-McDowell, Michael P.
Lawhead, Stephen
Layman, John
Le Guin, Ursula K.
Lewis, C. S.
Lieberman, A. J.
Loeb, Jeph
Lorey, Dean
Lowder, James
Luceno, James
Lumley, Brian
Macan, Darko
Manning, Russ
Martin, George R. R.
Marz, Ron
Matheson, Richard
McCaffrey, Anne
McIntosh, Neil
McIntyre, Vonda
Michelinie, David
Millar, Mark
Miller, John Jackson
Miller, Karen
Milligan, Peter
Moench, Doug
Moesta, Rebecca
Moore, Alan
Nicholls, Stan
Nicieza, Fabian
Nylund, Eric
O'Neil, Dennis
Ostrander, John
Paolini, Christopher
Perry, S. D.
Perry, Steve
Pratchett, Terry
Pullman, Philip
Quinn, David
Reaves, Michael
Reed, A. W.
Reed, Brian
Rice, Anne
Richardson, Nancy
Roberts, Adam
Rowe, Matthew
Rowling, J. K.
Rubio, Kevin
Rusch, Kristine Kathryn
Salvatore, R.A.
Shelley, Mary
Shultz, Mark
Simone, Gail
Simonson, Louise
Simonson, Walter
Smith, L. Neil
Spurrier, Simon
Stackpole, Michael A.
Stevenson, Robert Louis
Stewart, Sean
Stoker, Bram
Stover, Matthew
Straczynski, J. Michael
Stradley, Randy
Strnad, Jan
Sutcliff, Rosemary
Tolkien, J.R.R.
Traviss, Karen
Truman, Tim
Turtledove, Harry
Tyers, Kathy
van Belkom, Edo
Veitch, Tom
Wagner, John
Watson, Jude
Whitman, John
Williams, Sean
Williams, Tad
Williams, Walter Jon
Windham, Ryder
Wolverton, Dave
Woodring, Jim
Wurts, Janny
Yeovil, Jack
Zahn, Timothy
Collaborations A - F
Collaborations G - M
Collaborations N - R
Collaborations S
Collaborations T - Z
Anthologies A - R
Anthologies S
Anthologies T - Z
Still to come
Reviewing Literature
The Books of John Whitman

An executive editor for Time Warner AudioBooks, John Whitman lives in Encino, California.
Average Review Score: 3.4 out of 5 (8 books)

Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - Eaten Alive
The first book of this series aimed at young adults takes the Star Wars franchise in an interesting new direction.  This series is almost like R. L. Stein's Goosebumps books with a Star Wars coating.  We are introduced to Tash and Zak, two children orphaned by the destruction of Alderaan by the Death Star.  They have come into the care of their mysterious uncle Hoole, a Shi'ido shapeshifter, and Hoole's droid DV-9.  On the planet D'vouran Tash begins to discover strange goings-on involving people disappearing.  The story is genuinely interesting, with a nice degree of mystery and tension.  I also enjoyed Tash and Zak's reaction to a group of people they meet consisting of two droids, a Wookiee, a pretty young woman, a smuggler and a young man wearing a lightsaber.  Finally, the revalation of what's really going on on D'vouran is genuinely surprising, meaning the end of the book has a good pay-off.
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - City Of The Dead
The second book of the series sees Tash and Zak on a planet where the dead are apparently rising from their graves.  I didn't enjoy this book so much as the first one largely because the Star Wars horror idea isn't a novelty any more.  On the plus side this book does feature Boba Fett and Doctor Evazan (the scarred guy who tell Luke "I don't like you either!" in the cantina scene).
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - Planet Plague
Book three finds Tash, Zak, Hoole and DV-9 on a planet troubled by mysterious gelatinous blobs.  It's not quite as daft as it sounds.  They then team up with Wedge Antilles to investigate the Imperial Bioweapons Research Centre when Zak comes down with a strange illness.  There's nothing wrong with this book, but Whitman's irritating habit of ending every chapter with a dramatic cliff-hanger (which often turns out to be something really anticlimatic on the next page) has started to wear on me.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - The Nightmare Machine
Tash and Zak visit Hologram Fun World to avoid the evil scientist Borborygmus Gog, but end up embroiled in his latest plot.  What're the chances of that?  The Nightmare Machine itself defies credibility even further.  Not even the inclusion of a pre-Empire Strikes Back Lando Calrissian can save this one I'm afraid.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - Ghost Of The Jedi
Without a doubt my favourite book of the series, this fifth installment sees Tash, Zak, Hoole and DV-9 join a band of treasure hunters on the abandoned Jedi city Nespis VIII.  The plot is full of lots of wonderful surprises as Tash and Zak discover the dark secrets behind the supposed haunting of the city.  I really wish I could talk about the the character of Aidan Bok, but it would give too much away.  Familiar faces in this book include Jabba the Hutt, Dannik Jerriko (smoking a hookah in the cantina scene) and Darth Vader himself.  This was the first book of the series I read and, despite the fact that my mates laughed at me for reading what they saw as a kiddies' book, I really enjoyed it.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - Army Of Terror
Sadly the benchmark set in the previous book is completely missed here.  This book is the culmination of the Project Starscream plot that has been common to the last five books but the pinacle of Gog's evil creation is both ridiculous and inane.  Not even the scene in which the bio-engineered monster goes toe to toe with Darth Vader manages to redeem this terrible book.  It's only saving grace is that we finally discover the details of Hoole's past and his relationship to Gog.
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - Clones
Book eleven of the series (I've yet to find books 7 - 10) has Tash, Zak and Hoole hiding from the Empire on Dantooine.  This book is one of the better written ones in the series, but it is tragically let down by the plot's lack of credibility.  You see, it seems ancient Jedi droids have stolen genetic samples from the Rebels who had a base on the planet and created an army of flawed clones.  This is a bit hard to credit, but with Episodes II and III, not impossible.  No, the big problem is that Vader also finds himself cloned.  The clone Vader, for reasons that escape me, dresses in a replica of Vader's armour and wields a lightsaber that doesn't work.  Surely a clone of Vader would actually come out as Anakin Skywalker?  It's all just too far fetched for my tastes.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Galaxy Of Fear - The Hunger
The twelfth and final book of the Galaxy Of Fear series proves to be one of the best.  Fleeing from the wrath of Darth Vader, Tash, Zak and Hoole find themselves on Dagobah with the smugglers of Platt O'Keefe.  They encounter a strange group of people apparently decended from a stranded Republic exploration team, but these individuals have a dark secret.  I was genuinely surprised that a book primarily aimed at younger readers would deal with a concept like the one here (I don't want to ruin the surprise) and, despite my advancing years, even found myself drawn into the horror element of the story at times.  However, there is something even better to be seen here as Tash and Zak encounter a strange green gnome-like creature living in the swamps of Dagobah ("Slimy? Mudhole? My home this is!").  There is a truly priceless moment in which Boba Fett confronts the strange little creature and Yoda puts on his crazy hermit act, causing Fett not to bother mentioning him to Darth Vader later on in the book.  It's also interesting to see Zak's journey into the dark side cave (where Luke sees the vision of himself as Vader).  All in all a very entertaining read, which serves to round off the end of the series nicely as Tash and Zak, bolstered by Yoda's advice, decide to join the Rebel Alliance.
5 out of 5

If you liked Whitman:
I'd strongly recommend 'The Illustrated Star Wars Universe' by Kevin J. Anderson.

FSFH Book Review - Fantasy - Science Fiction - Horror - Book Review - Hardback - Paperback - Comics TPB - Anthologies - Star Wars - Book Review - FSFH Book Review - Fantasy - Science Fiction - Horror - Book Review - Hardback - Paperback - Comics TPB - Anthologies - Star Wars - Book Review - FSFH Book Review - Fantasy - Science Fiction - Horror - Book Review - Hardback - Paperback - Comics TPB - Anthologies - Star Wars - Book Review