Archive for November, 2011

Star Wars: Shadow Games Giveaway

Star Wars: Shadow Games is on shelves now! We’ll be posting a review soon, but first we’ll be giving away a new copy signed by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and Michael Reaves!

To enter, you must follow us on Twitter and retweet the designated giveaway tweet. That’s it! We’ll reveal the winner this Friday evening (December 2, 2011). Email us your shipping info (knightsarchive@hotmail.com) and your book will be on its way! Note: We will verify the winner via email.

We’d like to extend a very special thanks to Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, who is providing the prize!

Synopsis:

SOME GAMES ARE PLAYED FOR LIFE OR DEATH.

Javul Charn is the most famous pop star in the galaxy—and the runaway bride of a violent lieutenant in Black Sun, the crime syndicate commanded by Prince Xizor. Or so Javul says. Soon after Dash Rendar, broke and desperate, agrees to be Javul’s bodyguard, he realizes that openness is not her strong suit—and that murder is stalking her tour. Between the discovery of dead bodies in a cargo hold and an attack by an unidentified warship, Dash and co-pilot Eaden Vrill desperately try to understand who is terrorizing Javul’s tour and why. When Han Solo suddenly joins Javul’s road show, the stakes are raised even higher. Now Dash, who has a history with Han and an even worse history with Prince Xizor, follows his instincts, his discoveries, and Javul herself—straight into a world that may be too dangerous to survive.

SEE ALSO:
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Steve Thomas Star Wars Posters

UPDATE: (11.29.11)

It’s been a year since we first spoke about these awesome posters. Now we’ve come to the final Steve Thomas print.
Swamps of Dagobah Click on image for purchase info.

UPDATE: (7.26.11)

Now selling: Jawa Sandcrawler Click on image for purchase info.


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Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories Synopsis

Random House has posted a synopsis for the upcoming Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories, along with some exciting news! Link

At last in one volume the eight original installments of the epic Lost Tribe of the Sith eBook series . . . along with the explosive, never-before-published finale, Pandemonium—more than one hundred pages of new material!

Five thousand years ago. After a Jedi ambush, the Sith mining ship Omen lies wrecked on a remote, unknown planet. Its commander, Yaru Korsin, battles the bloodshed of a mutinous faction led by his own brother. Marooned and facing death, the Sith crew have no choice but to venture into their desolate surroundings. They face any number of brutal challenges—vicious predators, lethal plagues, tribal people who worship vengeful gods—and like true Sith warriors, counter them with the dark side of the Force.

The struggles are just beginning for the proud, uncompromising Sith, driven as they are to rule at all costs. They will vanquish the primitive natives, and they will find their way back to their true destiny as rulers of the galaxy. But as their legacy grows over thousands of years, the Sith ultimately find themselves tested by the most dangerous threat of all: the enemy within.

Look for Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories on July 31, 2012.

SEE ALSO:
A Look Inside The Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories
Lost Tribe of the Sith: The Collected Stories Cover Art

The Clone Wars Review: Carnage of Krell

SPOILERS!

Hello everyone, Master Optician here.

Yes, I am posting a second Knights Archive review for Carnage of Krell. super_redhead is still our main TCW reviewer; I just felt the need to express my thoughts about what is, quite possibly, one of the best Star Wars productions to date.

To be quite honest, I have not seen all The Clone Wars episodes. I try to watch them, but am more likely to read about them on Wookieepedia afterward. Keeping a close eye on objective reviews also gives me a sense of episode content and how good it was. As far as Carnage of Krell, the overwhelming amount of praise and approval, even from some who are critical of the series, prompted me to set aside time and watch the episode online.

Wow.

This episode is part 4 of 4 of another TCW miniseries, but as most of you know, we’re brought up to speed pretty fast in the first minute of the episode. We find that General Pong Krell has taken command of Anakin’s troops on Umbara, and has a much different disposition and attitude toward the clones. This ultimately leads to outright disobedience from a few clones, who question Krell’s strategies and decide to take the mission in their own hands. They feel that they’re genuinely doing what’s best for the mission, but Krell sees it differently. Fives and Jesse now face a court martial and execution for their actions.

I’m not going to post an in-depth synopsis, not only because you can find that everywhere online, but also because super_redhead has summed up the episode in her review (see link below). What I will say is this: Star Wars fans of all kinds will be impacted by this episode. Carnage of Krell is dark and gives a series with the term “Wars” in the title legitimacy. And it brings to the fore one of the most controversial themes in Star Wars: Are the clones people who can (and should) think for themselves, or are they like droids? No rights, just orders? This episode really digs deep into that theme, and dumps you into it. Whatever your opinion, you can’t help but think about it, and question your feelings. It’s impossible not to think about this issue when you realize, along with Rex, that the clones were duped into killing each other on the battlefield. I can’t imagine a more horrible feeling for a clone to experience. It’s heartbreaking enough to watch your brothers die alongside you in a war you don’t understand but were designed to fight for. But to be the one that pulled the trigger…

The showdown between clone and Krell was a feast for the senses. We also witnessed Krell for what he truly was… a swordsman with unimaginable skill, a Force user with much power and a killer with no mercy. In the end, we discover Krell’s evil agenda, which didn’t really come as a surprise to us, I think. There wasn’t much “Jedi” within him from the beginning. In the end, though, it was a clone, a being that Krell thought so little of, that ended his life. I suspect you’ll find a lesson in that, too.

To the production team: Well Done. Carnage of Krell was television (and Star Wars) gold. The story was, of course, outstanding. The visuals were spectacular. The compliments extend, not only to Krell and his lightsabers, but also to the imaginative camera angles and perspectives. The audio was also just as impressive. The several references to Revenge of the Sith were a nice extra.

However, an episode like this makes me dread the finale. If a “routine” episode like this stops the watcher in his tracks and prompts him or her to experience emotion and ponder the issues, I can only imagine what’s in store for us when we witness the fate of the main characters that we’ve grown to love. Their loss will truly impact many fans out there. But until then, I look forward to more arcs like this and more episodes like Carnage of Krell.

SEE ALSO:
The Clone Wars Review: Carnage of Krell (by super_redhead)

The Clone Wars Review: Carnage of Krell

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.10: Carnage of Krell

SPOILERS!!

Synopsis:

The episode begins as Rex confronts Krell and asks him to reconsider his decision in trialing Fives and Jessie. Krell, instead turns down the request, and orders the trials to be skipped and the execution to be taken out right then and there. Fives and Jessie are then lined up against a wall with six others who are armed with blasters in front of them. As they are about to fire, Fives speaks out and says that what was happening was wrong, and that they aren’t just droids, and that they should make their own decisions. No-one carries out the orders, although Dogma continues to shout out the orders.

Before Krell can punish Rex for not carrying out the order, a transmission from a clone scout appears telling them that the Umbaran troops were planning an offensive attack, but using the clone’s weaponry and armor. Krell orders Rex to attack them. There, they open fire on the enemy, and to the horror of Rex, figures out the enemy was really more clone troopers. Rex stops the battle, taking off his helmet and shouting out for the fighting to stop. As the battle settles they find Waxer on his death bed. He was in charge of the attack, and he managed to explain it was Krell who gave him the orders and coordinates. It was in fact Krell who had made them all attack one another.

After consideration Rex leads all of the men, including Fives and Jessie, to arrest Krell, a battle that then leads to outdoors in the dark. The loyal Dogma tries to stop them, but he is cuffed and send back to the airbase.  In the battle, Tup gets a good idea when he was flung across the floor overlooking a Vixus, and gets Rex to help lure Krell towards him. At last second Tup moved out of the way from the path of Krell, and he is picked up by the Vixus. He was then stunned, cuffed and captured.

It is in his cell that Krell reveals his secret and motives. Krell was traitorous when he foresaw what was to happen to the Republic and wanted to be on the winning side. He also wanted to become Count Dooku’s apprentice, and it was revealed that Obi-Wan had taken over Umbara’s Capital and that the enemy was coming towards the airbase to retake it. Rex and the others decide it was too dangerous to let Krell live, but Rex could not come to shoot him. Rather, it was Dogma whom they let free just prior that shot him.

As the episode ends it is revealed that Obi-Wan and his men in fact took over all sectors, and that their mission was successful. Dogma was taken away and Rex questions the war itself with Fives.

This episode has received such great praise all over the place, and for very good reason. This is my favorite episode for the season, possibly all of the series! The clones were all touched and made personal decisions. They argued and they united and they learned. The whole episode was set out perfectly; everything counted. I was personally touched at Waxer’s death, and the time the clones surrounded Krell. It was all so great to see.

I don’t know where to begin. I had heard good things before I saw this episode, so I decided to view it open-minded. Even before the episode picked up I was quite fond of it. The battle between the clones, although very sad, was in fact another great battle with some unique camera shots. But the episode didn’t really begin ’til after the death of Waxer. His death itself was a deep one. Everything about this episode was deep. His last words were of the sadness and knowledge that he killed his own brothers, and when his head turned down, a glimmer of a tear was seen.  This, and the battle, was a great scene.

The twist was very good. The plot of the last two episodes lead up to this moment when they figured that, hey, Krell’s the bad guy. And although Rex couldn’t kill Krell, I was glad that Dogma did. Overall the clones really learned new things, and figured they don’t have to take orders if they feel them wrong, because they aren’t brainless droids.

The ending scenes of this episode opened whole new doors for the clones. They briefly talk about why there’s a war, and what happens when it’s all over.  This was touching for me just as much as the rest of the episode: They realized new things in this arc, and when Anakin returns they’ll be better people.

Star Wars: Darth Plagueis Audio Excerpt

Want more Darth Plagueis? Random House has posted an audio excerpt!

Click here to listen!

SEE ALSO:
Darth Plagueis Among the Best in 2012 Science Fiction
Review: DARTH PLAGUEIS by Bry Dean
Review: Darth Plagueis by Andrew
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis Back Cover
Darth Plagueis Blurb Now Online
Star Wars: Darth Plagueis Cover Art

The Clone Wars Review: Plan of Dissent

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.09: Plan of Dissent

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

While in the new captured airbase, Obi-wan contacts Krell and the clones with the news that his forces are under attack by missiles and that the enemy is supported by a Separatist supply ship in the planet’s atmosphere. The transmission then fails when the Umbarans jam the transmission, leaving Krell to decide his course of action.

Krell orders another full out attack, planning to go right into the battle. When Rex tells the clones this, they again have an argument between themselves where they pose their own opinions. This time, Fives gets the idea to use the Umbaran codes and ships to do a surprise attack. This idea was though rejected by Krell when Rex offered the idea. Fives, Jesse and Hardcase plan to go ahead with the attack nonetheless, and decide it best to practice with the Umbaran starfighters first.

When they accidentally fire a missile from one of the ships, they manage to bunk themselves out of trouble from Krell. Fives, Jesse and Hardcase make a plan to attack the supply ship from the inside, like Anakin did in The Phantom of Menace,and received Rex’s reluctant permission.

When the time came the three leave in the Umbaran ships, and make it to the supply ship by weaving through heavy fire. They enter the craft but are blocked off just outside the reactor by an energy shield. Hardcase jumped out of his ship and physically destroyed the reactor, telling the others to flee. Hardcase’s plan was successful, but he was killed in the suicidal act.

When the two came back Krell found out about the plan and what had happened. Both Rex and Fives told Krell to give themselves the blame and punishment, but Krell swore that he’d punish Fives with a court hearing and execution.

This episode was a great one because it showed what clones can do if they don’t want to do something. It shows the fact that maybe some clones could go against Order 66.

The episode again used the great lighting. I haven’t talked about this yet, but I love the Umbaran ships’ glow on the clone’s helmets, and the space battle was just a treat to watch! The lighting in both shows the great things that the animation can do.

The twist at the end of the episode poses a concern for me. I don’t want more clones to die! Poor Hardcase… Krell does not seem like a great Jedi, he just seems to be more caught up in his good reputation than care about the clones who are losing lives for his attack methods.

I hope that they find Obi-Wan soon, and that the clones will be saved, and that Krell will come to an end, but then it’s not for me to decide. Also: I loved how Anakin told his clones about his early days and adventures. It shows just how friendly he is to his soliders, unlike Krell. Overall, the episode was very interesting and is just leaving me waiting for the next episode.

Novel Review: Red Harvest

- Minor Spoiler Review –

Red Harvest  is a prequel by Joe Schreiber to his earlier Star Wars novel Death Troopers . This novel sets to explain how the zombie virus from Death Troopers came into being. As a fan of the horror genre, I was really impressed with Schreiber’s earlier Star Wars novel (which has also been reviewed). The novel takes place at a Sith academy during the Old Republic era, almost four thousand years before A New Hope. The headmaster of this academy, Darth Scabrous, is seeking the path to immortality and believes that an ancient Sith formula will grant him just that. However, things don’t go according to plan and things go very wrong. The novel is fun, though it is far from perfect.

Without going into too much detail, the plot is as follows: Darth Scabrous needs the Murakami orchid for his formula. He dispatches a bounty hunter, Tulkh, to capture the orchid from the Jedi Agricultural Corps. While there Tulkh kidnaps the orchid’s caretaker, Hestizo Trace, to ensure the orchid’s survival. Trace’s brother, Rojo, also a Jedi, rushes to save her. All the while Scarbrous’ formula is working, though not in the way expected, and the ensuing virus quickly spreads throughout the academy.

The location for the Sith academy, Ocader-Faustin, is effective. It’s a frozen planet that helps add the senses of isolation and dread throughout the story. Darth Scabrous’ tower, located in the heart of the academy and where he conducts all of his experiments, is a nice touch. It’s a subtle nod to the ominous towers that have become iconic in the horror genre. And like Death Troopers, Schrieber is able to keep the action continuous throughout this novel. The pace is quick, the movement of the story is rapid. It was difficult to put the book down and not think about where the story was going.

Joe Schreiber has the same problem that he had with Death Troopers, and that is the lack of characterization. The biggest problem is all of the Sith students that Schrieber writes about. It’s difficult to keep track of all of them (made all the more difficult by bland Sith dialogue about power and fear, etc.). The novel also faced another problem. The Black Orchid, the one that Darth Scabrous needs, talks. I mean, the plant has actual dialogue in the novel. It communicates with Hestizo Trace, something that proved to be quite annoying. I appreciate Schreiber taking such a risk (the Force connecting all living things, as you all remember), but it was just too quirky, to odd for my tastes.

As a long time fan of both horror and Star Wars, I have really enjoyed Joe Schreiber’s EU novels. They’re fast paced, entertaining books that provide real chills. Though they both have their faults, and, believe me, these are not perfect books, I’d recommend them to any fan of horror or Star Wars, especially new fans who are trying to get a grasp on the EU.

Red Harvest receives a 3 1/2 out of 5.

SEE ALSO:
Red Harvest Paperback Cover Art
New Red Harvest Blurb Released
Review: Death Troopers

The Clone Wars Review: The General

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.08: The General

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

We find the clone troopers trying to get through the Umbaran army to aid Obi-Wan Kenobi in destroying an airbase. Krell again believes that a quick, all out attack is the most successful way, posing an argument between Rex who wants to scout for a better way to attack. This causes a scene where the clones all argue and express opinions on Krell’s battle ways, including a separate quarrel between Rex and Fives .

The clones then split up and enter the canyon, only to be attacked by huge Umbaran crawler tanks. After defeating them they proceed and are then attacked by the Umbaran spider canons. Outgunned and under heavy fire Rex decides to get Fives and Hardcase to go to the airbase on a stealth mission, much to the disapproval of Krell.

Fives and Hardcase break in by climbing a tree, and use two fighter to destroy the enemy’s tanks. Krell slightly gives Rex praise, although the clones still see Krell’s errors and ways as wrong.

This episode was really awesome! We got to see some of the best, in my opinion, fighting, clones and technology. The misty, dark planet and the awesome technology like the crawler tanks were great to see with the battles that took place. Seeing the clones in action is always a treat, this episode with canons and explosives. I loved the scene with the clones all quarreling. They’re really coming out of their shells, and show their true opinions and to whom they are loyal to. Everyone had a say, everyone was different in a way, and that I really loved.

Krell I need to talk about…. I’m not sure about him. He’s too tough and commanding to the clones, not even getting into battle. There was a quick view of Krell’s eyes where they were orange, and with flame inside. when I first saw this I though of Sith, but I’ll let you decide that.

The Clone Wars Review: Darkness on Umbara

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.07: Darkness on Umbara

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

The episode starts with Anakin and Obi-Wan discussing tactics on how to capture the planet of Umbara’s capital. The plan was that Anakin and his clones would rid if the enemy’s reinforcements from Obi-Wan’s joint attack.

In the mist of battle on the dark surface of the planet, the Republic forces clear out an area to land their transports and set up. A Vixus, a large tentacle creature, attacked clone troopers Fives and Hardcase, but was destroyed with a thermal detonator thrown by Fives. Distracted, the Umbarans attacked them again, but they were saved by Master Krell, another Jedi who then takes over Anakin’s job as he is requested by Palpatine. Anakin is reluctant to leave, but does nonetheless.

Krell is strict and harsh towards the clones. He changes the battle plan from Anakin’s sneak-in surprise attack to an all out assault using everything he’s got. The clones run into mines and are soon surrounded by the Umabarans. Rex orders his men to retreat for a better battle stance, and when the enemy retreated Krell criticizes him for doing so. Rex, with the help of Fives, expresses his own opinion, and the action earns respect from Krell – but not to much.

I really did enjoy this episode. The beginning was quite funny and laid back since Anakin and the Clones were all sort of having a good time. Like old friends. You see the characteristics of most of the clones well: you can tell who is who, almost, and Anakin respected them all.

It was great until Krell came along. A clear distinction was made between his and Anakin’s lifestyle, attitude and tactics. He calls the clones to attention when he give his orders, and calls them by their codes. He doesn’t seem to respect them as individuals, more as droids. The introduction of Krell was not a bad one. His ruff personality was entertaining to watch.

I was so excited to see Rex in action in the new helmet of his. It looks great! In my opinion, the new costumes this season have been a huge improvement, and mark maturity and experience in the characters as episodes go by.

Overall, I enjoyed the episode, it wasn’t rushed plot-wise, and I’m looking forward to the next episode.

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