Review of Dark Disciple by Christie Golden

July 31, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

Dark Disciple Star Wars cover imageDark Disciple: Star Wars
By Christie Golden; Foreword by Katie Lucas; Read by Marc Thompson
Publisher: Random House Audio
Publication date: 7 July 2015
[UNABRIDGED] – 11 hours

Themes: / Star Wars / Clone Wars / Sith / bounty hunter / Jedi /

Publisher summary:

The latest story never told in The Clone Wars television saga: A tale of trust, betrayal, love, and evil starring the hugely popular ex­ Sith/ never­ Jedi female bounty hunter, Asajj Ventress! A tale written but never aired, now turned into a brand­ new audiobook with the creative collaboration of the Lucasfilm Story Group and Dave Filoni, Executive Producer and Director of Star Wars: TheClone Wars and Star Wars: Rebels!    

When the Jedi decide to target Count Dooku­­Darth Tyranus­­himself, they turn to his ex­apprentice, Asajj Ventress, for help in getting close to the slippery Sith Lord. But when unexpected sparks fly between Ventress and Quinlan Vos, the unorthodox Jedi sent to work with her, the mission becomes a web of betrayal, alliances, secrets,and dark plotting that might just be the undoing of both Jedi and Sith­­ and everything in between.

Where did this book come from? I’ve never been much of a prequel person and didn’t get into the Clone Wars TV show but man this book is one of my favorite Star Wars books to date. It has a lot more emotional depth to it than your typical Star Wars book and a lot transpires in such a small novel. Yes it still feels like your typical action pulp novel but with even a bit more. This is the novel that will finally get me to go back and watch the Clone Wars.

The general premise of the book is that the Jedi are concerned about the toll the Clone Wars are taking on the galaxy and decide that taking out the head of the snake will reduce the casualties. That means assassinating Count Dooku. If you can get past the very un-Jedi like premise of this, the ride is worth taking. They decide to send one of their most covert Jedi masters, Quinlan Vos, to team up with Asajj Ventress in going after the Sith Lord. Apparently she decided to become a bounty hunter at some point and he needs to stoke the flames of her hate for Count Dooku so she joins the cause…should be interesting!

The story chronicles everything from concept to courting Ventress (choice wording) all the way to conclusion of things. There are some cameos from the mainstream Star Wars characters but overall this story focuses on Vos and Ventress – which I love. It is a breathe of fresh air to see some other characters take center stage. They have a certain spark for each other and play off one another really well. I think their different backgrounds and their issues add much more of a dynamic to what happens.

We all know how Episode 3 starts but I genuinely did not know where this book was headed. I knew that they couldn’t be the ones who finally did the deed, but wondered if they set up circumstances at the beginning of Episode 3 (I won’t tell you if that happened though). The only reason I bring it up is because I’ve seen reviews of other Star Wars books where people said they almost believed Vader would turn against the Emperor (Lords of the Sith) or that some rebellion could succeed even if you knew it couldn’t because of the movie. I guess this book was that to me where the others were just a fun ride I knew couldn’t succeed.

I wouldn’t say the book is perfect. A lot of things happen in a short period of time or at least I didn’t feel the passage of time as the story progressed. The characters go through a LOT of change in that time and sometimes it felt a bit rushed, but I give Golden credit for pushing for that much change out of them. Other things typical of a pulp novel are here too; like meeting the bad guy and everyone getting away fine.

As for the audio side of things, Marc Thompson did a great job as usual and the sound engineers added all the sound effects and music we’ve come to expect from a Star Wars audiobook. My one minor gripe is that Thompson’s Mace Windu sounds a hell of a lot like Lando Calrissian. That kept throwing me off when the Jedi would convene but apart from that, the audio was great!

Posted by Tom Schreck

Review of War Crimes by Christie Golden

June 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
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SFFaudio Review

wowWorld of Warcraft: War CrimesBy Christie Golden; Narrated by Scott Brick
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: 6 May 2014
[UNABRIDGED] – 13 hours, 31 minutes

Themes: / fantasy / World of Warcraft /

Publisher summary:

The brutal siege of Orgrimmar is over.

Alliance and Horde forces have stripped Garrosh Hellscream, one of the most reviled figures on Azeroth, of his title as warchief. His thirst for conquest devastated cities, nearly tore the Horde apart, and destroyed countless lives throughout the World of Warcraft.

Now, on the legendary continent of Pandaria, he will stand trial for his transgressions.

Renowned leaders from across the world have gathered to witness this historic event. As the trial unfolds, agents of the bronze dragonflight present shocking visions of Garrosh’s atrocities. For many of those in attendance, these glimpses into history force them to relive painful memories and even question their own innocence or guilt. For others, the chilling details stoke the flames of their hatred.

Unbeknownst to anyone, shadowy forces are at work on Azeroth, threatening not only the court’s ability to mete out justice…but also the lives of everyone at the trial.

I’m a recovering World of Warcraft addict. I’ve been clean for about a year since my guild’s raids fell apart. I played a good portion of Mists of Pandaria, but didn’t finish the last tier or two of raiding. Warcraft has always been one of my favorites games because I loved the big name characters and the lore they’ve built up. It doesn’t always make sense, but it’s usually a whole lot of fun. I knew enough background to know all the major players and that Garrosh Hellscream was the expansion boss this go around. I didn’t really know any of the details of how it all played out however. I can’t speak to how much of this book is in the game.

This book is full of all the major players from both factions, and everyone is angry. I’ve probably played more Alliance than Horde over the years, but I still like Horde better.  Thrall is probably my favorite character of the series, and I was really annoyed when he stepped down as Warchief. However as an Alliance player, I enjoyed being able to work with him on quests in Cataclysm.

I found myself really not liking many of the Alliance characters in this book. In particular Tyrande Whisperwind. As my main character is a Night Elf, I was pretty disappointed with her. I found myself rooting for Baine Bloodhoof and missing my Tauren druid instead.

I liked the notion of a trial and the involvement of the Bronze Dragons to present key moments in Warcraft lore, not only for the current expansion but back events involving the history of the Orcs.

Overall, I found this book a lot more enjoyable than Vol’jin: Shadows of the Horde. I think this is one that Warcraft players will enjoy, but that probably won’t offer much to everyone else.  If the goal of this book was to get the reader to want to play the game, they succeeded. I was already planning on picking up the next expansion and playing again for awhile, but now I’m itching to maybe try to do the raid that serves as background for this, so Mission Accomplished Blizzard.

Scott Brick is a fine narrator, and does accents for the trolls and a few other races.

Review by Rob Zak.

Recent Arrivals – Star Wars

June 22, 2009 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Recent Arrivals 

SFFaudio Recent Arrivals

As promised, Random House is now publishing the Star Wars titles in Unabridged format! Outcast is the beginning of a new series called Fate of the Jedi. Omen, Book 2 in that series, releases tomorrow! No Prisoners is a Clone Wars novel.

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi Book 1: OutcastStar Wars: Fate of the Jedi (Book 1): Outcast
By Aaron Allston; Read by Marc Thompson
10 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780739376614 (CD)

After a violent civil war and the devastation wrought by the now-fallen Darth Caedus, the Galactic Alliance is in crisis–and in need. From all corners, politicians, power brokers, and military leaders converge on Coruscant for a crucial summit to restore order, negotiate differences, and determine the future of their unified worlds. But even more critical, and far more uncertain, is the future of the Jedi.

In a shocking move, Chief of State Natasi Daala orders the arrest of Luke Skywalker for failing to prevent Jacen Solo’s turn to the dark side and his subsequent reign of terror as a Sith Lord. But it’s only the first blow in an anti-Jedi backlash fueled by a hostile government and suspicious public. When Jedi Knight Valin Horn, scion of a politically influential family, suffers a mysterious psychotic break and becomes a dangerous fugitive, the Jedi become the target of a media-driven witch hunt. Facing conviction on the damning charges, Luke must strike a bargain with the calculating Daala: his freedom in exchange for his exile from Coruscant and from the Jedi Order.

Though forbidden to intervene in Jedi affairs, Luke is determined to keep history from being repeated. With his son, Ben, at his side, Luke sets out to unravel the shocking truth behind Jacen Solo’s corruption and downfall. But the secrets he uncovers among the enigmatic Force mystics of the distant world Dorin may bring his quest–and life as he knows it–to a sudden end. And all the while, another Jedi Knight, consumed by the same madness as Valin Horn, is headed for Coruscant on a fearsome mission that could doom the Jedi Order . . . and devastate the entire galaxy.
 
 
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi Book 2: OmenStar Wars: Fate of the Jedi (Book 2): Omen
By Christie Golden; Read by Marc Thompson
8.5 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780739376638 (CD)

The Jedi Order is in crisis. The late Jacen Solo’s shocking transformation into murderous Sith Lord Darth Caedus has cast a damning pall over those who wield the Force for good: Two Jedi Knights have succumbed to an inexplicable and dangerous psychosis, criminal charges have driven Luke Skywalker into self-imposed exile, and power-hungry Chief of State Natasi Daala is exploiting anti-Jedi sentiment to undermine the Order’s influence within the Galactic Alliance.

Forbidden to intervene in Jedi affairs, Luke is on a desperate mission to uncover the truth behind Jacen’s fall to the dark side–and to learn what’s turning peaceful Jedi into raving lunatics. But finding answers will mean venturing into the mind-bending space of the Kathol Rift and bargaining with an alien species as likely to destroy outsiders as deal with them. Still, there is no other choice and no time to lose, as the catastrophic events on Coruscant continue to escalate. Stricken by the same violent dementia that infected her brother, Valin, Jedi Knight Jysella Horn faces an equally grim fate after her capture by Natasi Daala’s police. And when Han and Leia Solo narrowly foil another deranged Jedi bent on deadly destruction, even acting Jedi Grand Master Kenth Hamner appears willing to bow to Daala’s iron will–at the expense of the Jedi Order.

But an even greater threat is looming. Millennia in the past, a Sith starship crashed on an unknown low-tech planet, leaving the survivors stranded. Over the generations, their numbers have grown, the ways of the dark side have been nurtured, and the time is fast approaching when this lost tribe of Sith will once more take to the stars to reclaim their legendary destiny as rulers of the galaxy. Only one thing stands in their way, a name whispered to them through the Force: Skywalker.
 
 
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: No PrisonersStar Wars: The Clone Wars: No Prisoners
By Karen Traviss; Read by Jeff Gurner
7 hours – [UNABRIDGED]
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: 2009
ISBN: 9780739376836 (CD)

The Clone Wars rage on. As insurgent Separatists fight furiously to wrest control of the galaxy from the Republic, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine cunningly manipulates both sides for his own sinister purposes.

Torrent Company’s Captain Rex agrees to temporarily relieve Anakin Skywalker of Ahsoka, his ubiquitous–and insatiably curious–Padawan, by bringing her along on a routine three-day shakedown cruise aboard Captain Gilad Pellaeon’s newly refitted assault ship. But the training run becomes an active–and dangerous–rescue mission when Republic undercover agent Hallena Devis goes missing in the middle of a Separatist invasion.

Dispatched to a distant world to aid a local dictator facing a revolution, Hallena finds herself surrounded by angry freedom fighters and questioning the Republic’s methods–and motives. Summoned to rescue the missing operative who is also his secret love, Pellaeon–sworn to protect the Republic over all–is torn between duty and desire. And Ahsoka, sent in with Rex and six untested clone troopers to extract Hallena, encounters a new and different Jedi philosophy, which shakes the foundation of her upbringing to the core. As danger and intrigue intensify, the loyalties and convictions of all involved will be tested. . . .

Posted by Scott D. Danielson