FSFH Book Review

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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 Kevin J. Anderson

One of the core authors of the Star Wars novel franchise and of the X-Files books, Kevin J. Anderson's talent for playing in other people's universes meant that he was given the opportunity to work on a series of prequels to Frank Herbert's legendary 'Dune' series with Frank's son Brian.

Average Review Score: 3.9 out of 5 (9 books)

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - The Golden Age Of The Sith
(Graphic Novel with art by Chris Gossett, Dario Carrasco Jr., Mark G. Heike, Bill Black, David Jacob Beckett and Stan Woch)
Set 5000 years before 'A New Hope', this is the story of two youths, Gav and Jori Daragon, who are orphaned by war.  Seeking to make their fortunes as hyperspace explorers they make a random jump that takes them into the heart of a strange and exotic empire, the Sith Empire.  They then find themselves caught in a powerstruggle, at the heart of which is Naga Sadow, the Dark Lord of the Sith.  This a great little story revealing the background to the first great war between the Republic and the Sith, with a lot of nice little touches such as the fact that the Sith use Force-empowered swords rather than lightsabers.  There are two flaws however; the first is simply that you'll also have to buy the sequel (see below) to get the real meat of the story and the second is that Carrasco's art tends to seem a little over-drawn (if that makes sense).
4 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - The Fall Of The Sith Empire
(Graphic Novel with art by Dario Carrasco Jr., Mark G. Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett)
The sequel to 'The Golden Age Of The Sith', this book takes up where that one finishes.  Jori Daragon flees back to Republic space to warn her people about the Sith Empire, however, she inadvertantly leads that very threat back to the Republic.  I really enjoyed this book because it covers an entire war that rages all across the Republic, showing aspects such as the former rebels of Kirrek fighting alongside their conquerors against the Sith or the Jedi Knights forming a last defence around the Senate on Coruscant.  Even Carrasco's tendency to over-draw works in the book's favour, giving a nice chaotic look to the battle scenes.  On it's own this book is excellent, but combine with the build-up in the previous volume and it's an essential part of any Star Wars fan's collection.
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - The Sith War
(Graphic Novel with art by Dario Carrasco Jr., Jordi Ensign, Mark G. Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett)
Set nearly four thousand years before Episode IV, this book tells the story of the war between the Republic and the forces of the Sith Lords Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma.  Those latter two characters are this book's best element, proving to be great villains.  Ulic is trapped within his own passions (be they anger for the death of his mentor or lust for Aleema Keto) and Kun is a man of incredible power and limitless ambition.  This book is what the entire Tales of the Jedi series builds up to and it doesn't disappoint (it even features the always-cool Mandalorian warriors).  Anderson does a good job of tying the Tales of the Jedi series up with the Star Wars stories set millennia later (in particular his own Jedi Academy trilogy and Tom Veitch's 'Dark Empire' comics).  Essential reading (particularly if you like the 'Knights of the Old Republic' computer games and want some background info).
5 out of 5
Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - Redemption
(Graphic Novel with art by Chris Gossett and Andrew Pepoy)
Set ten years after 'The Sith War', this book begins with the Force-blind Ulic Qel-Droma seeking a quiet world to live on and try to hide from his past crimes.  Elsewhere, however, young Vima Sunrider, angry at her lack of training, sets off in search of his mother's former love.  This book lacks the epic scale of the other Tales of the Jedi books and definitely lacks the impact too.  It does, however, feature one of my favourite depictions of a lightsaber duel in a Star Wars comic, capturing the feeling of the duels in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return Of The Jedi' perfectly.  Generally, good in that it wraps up the loose ends of the series but bad in that has none of the potency of the previous volumes.
3 out of 5
Star Wars: Jedi Search
The first book of the Jedi Academy trilogy.  I'll be perfectly honest, I didn't much like this book.  The problem is that I find 'the main characters are imprisoned for a prolonged amount of time and don't like it' storylines to be exceedingly tedious.  And one of the main story threads here involves Han and Chewie being imprisoned, then escaping and then being imprisoned again.  Yawn.  The other main story thread involves Luke seeking out potential Jedi and that follows a predictable pattern too; at first they don't trust him, but a few choice displays of the Force and their on side.  There is another storyline, in which Lando and the droids investigate race-fixing, but the less said about that the better.  Basically, an important episode in the Star Wars timeline, but not a very good read.
3 out of 5
'The black hole cluster near Kessel reached out for the Millennium Falcon with jaws of gravity, drawing it close.'
Star Wars: Dark Apprentice
The second book of the Jedi Academy trilogy.  A definite improvement over the previous novel, the training of the new Jedi Knights is well worth reading as each shows strengths and weaknesses.  Also, Admiral Daala's vicious marauding adds a sense of urgency to the story that is, admittedly, held up slightly by Admiral Ackbar's whinging self-pity.  The fall of Kyp Durron makes for an interesting story thread, but (as with Anakin Skywalker) the character is such an idiot, that it's hard to sympathise.  You'll find that, with these Jedi Academy books, you are left with the impression that you've been short changed.
3 out of 5
'The huge orange sphere of the gas planet Yavin heaved itself over the horizon of its fourth moon.'
Star Wars: Champions Of The Force
The final novel of the Jedi Academy trilogy.  The various storylines of the previous two books resolve themselves here, but I found myself hard-pressed to actually care whether Mon Mothma dies or Anakin Solo is saved from the Empire.  However, the assault on the Maw Installation, led by Wedge Antilles, makes entertaining reading as slowly, everyone becomes involved, Daala, Han, Lando, Mara, Luke and Kyp.  And there's a Death Star too!  All in all though, this book and the trilogy in general is somewhat lacklustre.
3 out of 5
'The Sun Crusher plunged into the Caridan system like an assassin's knife into an unsuspecting heart.'
Star Wars: Darksaber
The second book in the Callista trilogy (the others being 'Children of the Jedi' and 'Planet of Twilight' by Barbara Hambly).  Now, I actually read this book before the Jedi Academy novels and that could well account for why I was so disappointed by Anderson's earlier books, because 'Darksaber' is brilliant!  There are two main stories running through the book, the first involves the machinations of Durga the Hutt, who is secretly building a scaled down Death Star, the Darksaber, and the second involves the return of Admiral Daala and her efforts to unite the factions of the Empire and strike against the New Republic.  Each of the storylines is suspenceful and involving, shown from various perspectives to slowly reveal all the details (there's even some great flashback scenes involving the Emperor, Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin).  This book has some truly great moments such as Luke and Callista and a group of hunters battling wampas on Hoth, who're led by a certain one-armed beastie (this scenes was originally written to be included in 'The Empire Strikes Back'!), the defence of the Jedi academy is great too and my personal favourite is Daala's introduction to a Super Star Destroyer.  This book stands alone perfectly well (the other two books in the trilogy are pretty naff) and is an unmissable read for any fan.  Look out for an appearance by Admiral Gilad Pellaeon and for the death of one of the characters from the movies!
5 out of 5
'The banthas plodded in single file, leaving only a narrow trail of scuffed footprints across the dunes.'
Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan
(Graphic Novel with art by Dario Carrasco Jr., Mark Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett)
Set shortly after 'Darksaber', this book is effectively a Tales of the New Jedi story.  When a mining colony is wiped out on Corbos, Luke sends several of his new Jedi Knights to investigate.  One of the things I enjoyed was the make-up of the Jedi team; there's the firebrand Kyp Durron, the insecure Dorsk 82, the warrior woman Kirana Ti and the weather-controlling hermit Streen.  Carrasco's art has matured greatly from the Tales of the Jedi series too, losing it's somewhat hectic look and becoming more precise.  The story, which is effectively one about dragonslaying, is a little cliche, but as a stand-alone adventure for the new Jedi it works.
4 out of 5

If you liked Anderson:
Then try his collaborations with other authors, such as the Dune prequels with Brian Herbert or the Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights series written with his wife Rebecca Moesta.  If you liked 'Darksaber' then you could read the other Callista books, 'Children of the Jedi' and 'Planet of Twilight' by Barbara Hambly.

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