21 April 2014

Return of the New Jedi Order, Episode VI: Onslaught by Michael A. Stackpole

Mass market paperback, 292 pages
Published 2000

Acquired 2000(?)
Reread March 2014
Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide: Onslaught
by Michael A. Stackpole

Year One of the Invasion (Month 3)
Reading this validated my belief that the timeline I'm going off is miscalibrated; there's no way that the first two volumes of Invasion could fit between this and Vector Prime, as the Yuuzhan Vong have clearly not been heard from since then.

Like Vector Prime, this book suffers from starting dully, with lots of political scenes and squabbling; I'm not sure why the powers-that-be behind The New Jedi Order were so into story thread of government denial of the Yuuzhan Vong threat, because it is utterly dull. Who wants to see our heroes constantly arguing with a bunch of idiots?

I remember liking Stackpole's X-Wing novels, but I don't think he's at his best when away from that milieu. Things are a little too mechanical in his writing, a little too black-and-white, and while that's suited for stories for fighter pilots, it doesn't really work for the Jedi: the Force doesn't come across as a mystical presence, but a tool: in his books, Jedi always talk about "TK" (i.e., telekinesis), and that just feels so incredibly un-Star Wars to me. Can you imagine Alec Guinness saying it? Also, characters are constantly lecturing each other on its correct use. Again, it's hard to be interested in the philosophical debate between Luke Skywalker and Kyp Durron when the narrative clearly thinks Luke is right and Kyp is an idiot.

Stackpole's at his best when dealing with Corran Horn, the Jedi without telekinesis but with great mind powers, which leads to some inventive scenes, and there's a great ground battle on Dantooine near the end of the novel, but it just takes too long for everything to get there and get going.

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