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
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Collaborations S
Collaborations T - Z
Anthologies A - R
Anthologies S
Anthologies T - Z
Still to come
Reviewing Literature
The Books of Michael Reaves

Michael Reaves has won an Emmy for his work on the Batman animated series and has worked for Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio.  He lives in Los Angeles.
Average Review Score: 3.3 out of 5 (4 books)

Star Wars: Darth Maul - Shadow Hunter
Set just before the events of 'The Phantom Menace', this book tells the story of Darth Maul's efforts to keep the existance of the Sith a secret.  The information in question falls into the hands of a down-and-out Corellian, Lorn Pavan, and his droid I-5YQ.  Meanwhile Jedi Padawan Darsha Assant is attempting to take her Jedi Trials, but her path brings her and her Master, Anoon Bondara, into contact with Pavan.  After a brief introduction of the set-up (ie Sith secret out on Coruscant, Maul to kill everyone who knows) the story immediately becomes a chase story.  And goes on being a chase story right up to the end.  This is one of the book's many failings, the fact that it is simply a repetition over and over of 'encounter Maul, escape, encounter Maul, escape' etc etc, becoming rapidly very boring.  A far worse failing than the thin and repetetive plot is the fact that, having seen 'The Phantom Menace', we already know that Pavan and Darsha don't manage to succeed and therefore their deaths don't make you say 'oh no' so much as 'about time too'.  Knowing that the main characters don't stand a chance from the very beginning takes the entire point of reading the book away.  Another, smaller, crime is the fact that Reaves has Obi-Wan wandering around Coruscant, not actually doing anything, as if by having another movie character in, it will somehow validate the story.  It's not all bad, mind.  The two duels are excellent, with Anoon managing to get the drop on Maul (before snuffing it) and Darsha finding a connection to the Force as strong as any Master (before snuffing it).  A book that is little more than Lucasfilm's attempt to quickly cash in on Darth Maul's popularity.
2 out of 5
'Space is the perfect place to hide.'
Star Wars: Coruscant Nights I - Jedi Twilight
The first book of a trilogy set in the Dark Times following Episode III.  Not having enjoyed Reaves' previous Star Wars stories ('Shadow Hunter' and three collaborations with Steve Perry) and with this book having been delayed by a year, I can't honestly say I was expecting much from it.  Which is possibly why I actually rather enjoyed it!  This book has none of the cash-in overtones of 'Shadow Hunter' and the boring nature of the MedStar books and 'Death Star' have been left behind.  Here we are introduced to a varied selection of characters with interesting pasts who all have their own agendas.  Among these characters are reporter Den Dhur, unusual droid I-5YQ, Black Sun agent Kaird, war hero-turned rebel Nick Rostu and two fugitive Jedi, Jax Pavan and Laranth Tarak.  Part of this book's charm is that with these characters, in this timeframe, literally anything could happen and you can't be sure who'll survive until right at the last moment.  This series promises to be a welcome change of pace for the Star Wars saga.  It's one major disappointment is that Darth Vader's role in the book somehow never quite manages to really grasp the looming sense of threat that is present in other books featuring him as an antagonist ('Shadows of the Empire' being the best example).
4 out of 5
'In the lowest levels, in the abyssal urban depths, of the ecumenopolis that was Coruscant, it was a rare thing indeed to see sunlight.'
Star Wars: Coruscant Nights II - Street Of Shadows
The second book of the trilogy maintains the tone and quality of the first.  Jax Pavan and his cadre of misfits find themselves operating as private detectives in the murder case of a noted and politically-active artist.  The way in which Jax takes up the case (supposedly having to solve the murder before he draws too much attention himself) is this book's biggest failing, being simply too contrived.  However, once you've accepted that him and his friends are now P.I.s then you can get on and enjoy a thoroughly good novel.  Adding pace to the story are the somewhat parallel quests of Captain Typho and Aurra Sing.  Typho (Padme's bodyguard in the movies) is attempting to track down the killer of the woman he secretly loved in order to extract revenge.  Sing (a Dark Jedi bounty hunter seen in Episode I), meanwhile, has been hired by that selfsame killer, Darth Vader, to hunt down Jax.  This story won't change the Star Wars galaxy forever, but in some ways that's it's charm.  It has no pretensions of being 'epic', it's just a noir story about people trying to survive the Dark Times.  One final thing I should mention, since Star Wars fans will care, is that there are a few continuity inconsistencies that detract from the book (not to mention a bizarre failure of editing in which Typho learns that Darth Sidious went to Mustafar and then vows to kill Darth Vader - without actually aquiring any knowledge of Vader's bearing on his quest).
4 out of 5
'Padme had never known how much he loved her.'
Star Wars: Coruscant Nights III - Patterns Of Force
The third and final book of the series sees Jax take a powerful young Force-sensitive under his wing, making him a far more urgent target for the Empire's Dark Jedi Inquisitors.  Sadly, I felt this book was a bit of a downturn for the series.  It's as well written as the others and the Dark Times setting still makes for a brilliant background to the story, but the book it let down by the collective effects of a number of small problems.  Among these are the anticlimatic end to the bota story thread, the too obvious rewriting of the Dejah-Jax-Laranth love triangle and the lack of exploration of Jax's relationship to Anakin Skywalker.  Following on from this last point, Reaves' worst failing is his complete inability to write Darth Vader convincingly.  He conveys none of the quiet menace of the classic era Vader, but also none of the pain and rage of the post-Revenge of the Sith Vader.  To my mind, if you're going to put Darth Vader on the cover of your book, you'd better make sure you do the character justice.
3 out of 5
'The voices rose and fell around him, but he paid them little attention now.'

If you liked Reaves:
Then you might like to try the Clone Wars MedStar duology, which he co-wrote with Steve Perry and which sees the return of I-Five.

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