Archive for February, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION

Today Del Rey announced the title of the upcoming 4th novel in the Old Republic series: ANNIHILATION, by Drew Karpyshyn. Link We also have a synopsis:

Republic agent Theron Shan and his Twi’lek compadre, Teff’ith (from Dark Horse Comics’ STAR WARS: THE OLD REPUBLIC: THE LOST SUNS) must contend with a Sith Empire counter-attack against the Republic, spearheaded by the lethal apprentice of Darth Malgus. Satele Shan and Jace Malcolm co-star in what will be a fast-paced and tension-fraught tale based on the award-winning video game from BioWare and LucasArts.

The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION is due to be released on November 13, 2012.

SEE ALSO:
Novel Review: The Old Republic: Annihilation by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Old Republic: Annihilation
Read 27 Pages of The Old Republic: Annihilation Now!
The Old Republic: Annihilation Cover Blurb Now Online
The Old Republic: ANNIHILATION Cover
Drew Karpyshyn Talks ANNIHILATION
Drew Karpyshyn To Write The Old Republic #4

Nomi Sunrider Novel Cancelled

Today Del Rey posted, along with other announcements, that the upcoming Nomi Sunrider novel by Alex Irvine has been cancelled. Link

The previously planned Nomi Sunrider novel (to be written by Alexander Irvine) has been cancelled due to changes in direction and concepts in the overall publishing plans.

There was never really any info given about this book during its existence, other than the name Mandorla, to which Irvine later clarified that the name pretty much meant nothing. Interesting to note, though, that Alex posted very recently on Twitter about the book being finished on his end:

Never know, perhaps we’ll see it again in the future.

Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff will always be special to Knights Archive because she was our first VIP to accept an interview, back when we were a little blog. We are once again pleased to welcome her to our site! This time, we’ll talk about her latest book: Star Wars: Shadow Games, which is another collaborative work with author Michael Reaves.

Maya, it’s been about 3 months since the release of Shadow Games. What kind of fan reaction have you seen?

Well, the week it came out I screwed up my courage and went and looked at the early reader reviews. They were good. I was especially happy to see people talking about how unexpectedly three-dimensional the characters were and how pleasantly surprised they were with the Javul Charn character. I saw especially positive responses from Dash Rendar fans. It was also on the New York Times top 100 bestsellers list at #25, so we were happy to see that, too.

I’ve gotten some fun tweets from fans who want us to do another Dash book and a couple of people have begged for us to bring back Eaden Vrill (missing and presumed dead.)

The cover art for Shadow Games really does stand out from all the other Star Wars novels in the bookstore. How do you feel every time you see that cover?

I love that cover. The movement, the color, the eye-catching, dramatic quality of it. I like that it’s not too specific to the story, which means it doesn’t give away any of the plot. I hope we get the same artist for the next book (Dear Editor—hint, hint) And of course, there’s just a thrill of seeing it on the new releases table and in the stacks. My friend Seanan McGuire had a release in the same time period, and I took an iPhone shot of the two books sitting together on the “new science fiction/fantasy” shelf at a local Barnes and Noble.

You and Michael have truly provided a much needed break for Expanded Universe fans from all the galaxy-altering events or Jedi vs. Sith struggles we’re accustomed to reading. Was that your intention before and during the creation of Shadow Games?

It was definitely our publisher’s intention. They pay close attention to the fan base and saw, I think, that a number of fans were begging for something that was Jedi-free. Dash Rendar was a pretty undeveloped character as EU characters go, and I think Michael was ready to take a break from the Jedi-Sith conflict. Of course, with the next book, we’re right back in it again. ;=)

Dash Rendar is quite the concerned and responsible bodyguard in this novel. How does that mesh with the preconceived notion that, for the most part, all smugglers are scoundrels?

Yep, but then so is the way that Han Solo goes out of his way for Leia. The thing with Dash is that he’s not a career scoundrel. He was an academy-trained pilot with a rosy future. The scion of a well-placed and solid family with parents and siblings that he loved until it was all taken away by Prince Xizor. (Nothing personal, just business, as the Prince would say.) Dash’s impulse to empathize with victims of injustice and greed lies under a very thin veneer. Underneath the care he takes with Javul Charn is the painful recollection that there was no one to stand up for his family when Xizor made it a useful pawn in his own vendetta against the Emperor.



Speaking of scoundrels… Han Solo. Even though he’s in the back ground in Shadow Games and clearly in it for himself, he ends up playing a major role and comes through for the cause, foreshadowing, perhaps, what he see of him in the Original Trilogy. I’m guessing this was the author’s intention.

Yes, again. That was one of the delightful things about writing Han. We knew how he turned out, so it was fun riffing on the “you’d never see me acting like that over a woman.” Han’s soft spot (not the one in his head), has a different genesis than Dash’s. He’s a veteran loner, but not by choice. He was cheated out of family relationships by a series of people. Ultimately, Han gravitates toward helping Javul precisely because his own life was so manipulated by uncaring forces. There’s a point in the book where we paint that pretty clearly—the reader gets to see “the moment” in which Han decides he’s had enough of being herded by the Empire.

The holostar, Javul Charn, turns out to be quite an individual; much more than meets the eye. Can you tell us about the development of this new and exciting character?

With Javul, the question was always—for me, at least—how can she raise the stakes? What’s her real story and how can it be a big enough story to intersect with THE story of this time period in the GFFA. We wanted her to deke the reader just as she did Dash. Once we decided what her story arc was, I just set about writing her as if she was a real person with certain goals (hidden, of course) that she was willing to do anything to reach. All the time, of course, she had to look to the reader like a loose cannon or a ditz—until the veils start coming off. It’s too bad that I can’t really experience her the way the reader does, because I KNEW her secret the whole time and could only pretend I didn’t.

Has there been any discussion of possible future stories featuring Dash Rendar or Javul Charn?

We’ve pitched an idea to our editors and they haven’t ruled out the possibility. Of course, if fans were to make it known that they’d like to see another Dash and/or Javul book, from Michael and me, we’d be happy to write it.

Moving on to Coruscant Nights IV… Any development on what the final title will be? Jedi Dawn, The Last Jedi, or something else? Where are you in production? Can you tell us anything about the plot at this point?

We are just doing our first round of editorial changes to the manuscript. No definite word on the title, though I note that Jedi Dawn has already been used. And the plot is classified :=)

Do you have other, non-Star Wars projects in the works?

I’ve got a ton of stuff in the works and wish I could clone myself so I could work on all of ‘em. They run the gamut of science fiction to detective fiction to magical realism, but nothing immediately forthcoming, though Michael and I are plotting a non-Star Wars collaboration …. Most recently Book View Café released an anthology of twisted fairy tales entitled “Beyond Grimm” in which I have a couple of stories—as do Vonda N. McIntyre, Irene Radford. and Laura Anne Gilman among others.

Maya, thank you again for visiting with us!

SEE ALSO:
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Review: SHADOW GAMES

Novel Review: SHADOW GAMES

- Minor Spoiler Review -

This novel has had a long and winding road. Originally, we found out that a new book was in the works called HOLOSTAR. Later, Expanded Universe fans were given an unexpected treat: We had a say in the final title choice! The choices were Shadow Play, Pursuit or Shadow Games, to which of course Star Wars: Shadow Games became the winning title. Details about the novel were released constantly, especially from co-author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, via her blog over at the BOOK VIEW CAFE. She never gave away too much, which in my opinion was a healthy way to keep interest stirred up.

Closer to release day we were given a few official excerpts and eventually the cover release, which has a completely different look from other Star Wars novels. As I followed the developments, and in some ways, the special treatment for Shadow Games, I got the feeling that this novel would be different from the others out there, that this one would be something special. Was I right? In short – yes. Shadow Games is something special. Let me share with you why.

First and foremost, this novel is fun. Even though there are some serious themes, this is an easy novel to swallow. The fate of the galaxy doesn’t depend on the events of Shadow Games. There’s lots of mystery, action, humor and banter, especially between Han Solo and Dash Rendar. Some of you may not know who Dash is, but he’s been around the Star Wars universe for many years. I was introduced to him along with most fans through the Shadows of the Empire game on the Nintendo 64. In time I also read the Shadows comic and the novel. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to familiarize yourself with Shadows of the Empire. It’s not essential, but I recommend it.

As mentioned, Han Solo also appears and remains throughout, but as a secondary character. It’s nice to have a familiar character around, as Shadow Games features nearly all new people, but don’t let that scare you away. They hold their own. Black Sun is involved and even Xixor is mentioned and makes an appearance, but it’s a very brief one. And of course, the star of the show is Javul Charn, who is the galactic Holostar. She’s beautiful, talented, adventurous, and more than what Dash bargained for.

There are many stops throughout the galaxy, and plenty of entanglements with Black Sun, assassins and even Imperial warships. Counterbalancing that is the fun competitive nature between smugglers, the unlikely attraction between two people and the constant comedic relief provided by a pleasantly sarcastic droid. In the midst of all that is a jaw-dropping twist I assure you didn’t see coming.

Shadow Games is very entertaining and kept my attention to the very end. Buy it. I think you’ll agree.

Bryan Dean is the founder and administrator of Knights’ Archive. You can follow him on Twitter at @bry_dean.

Random HouseSEE ALSO:
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Star Wars: Shadow Games Cover/Blurb
Key Location In Shadow Games Revealed
Bohnhoff Shares More Shadow Games Info
Bohnhoff Gives Fans A Glimpse Of Shadow Games
‘Holostar’ Now STAR WARS: SHADOW GAMES
Title For ‘Holostar’ Novel Is In Your Hands!

Publisher’s Summary:

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.

The Clone Wars Review: Massacre

The Clone Wars
Episode 4.19: Massacre

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

From hiding, Asajj Ventress returns after her assassin, Savage, betrayed her. She goes back to Dathomir, and is welcomed by the Nightsisters. They take her for a ritual so that she could become a sister in the order, and Mother Talzin suggests to give up in becoming a Sith, and end her part in “Dooku’s war”.

Count Dooku, however, wants revenge on Ventress and the Nightsisters and commands General Grievous to travel to Dathomir and slaughter them with the droid army. The sisters prepare to do battle with the droids, and Talzin tells Ventress to lead the sisters in battle. When she does, however, Grievous sends out massive tanks to simply kill them all.

Talzin, not in the battle, seeks the power of Old Daka, the oldest of the nightsisters, to rise an army of the preserved dead Nightsisters to aid in the battle. Talzin herself takes a bunch of Dooku’s hair and creates a doll that is in his image and tortures him from it, and warns him to stop his attack or suffer a horrible death in pain.

In the battle, Ventress is determined to find Grievous and battle him. In the duel, Ventress was winning when he enhanced his attack on the sisters. Wounded on her arm and scarred by the fate of her sisters around her, Ventress ran away. Per orders from the weak Dooku, Grievous found Talzin and Old Daka. He kills Old Daka, causing the un-dead Nightsister army to fall, and the droids to kill all of the Nightsisters. Grievous also tries to kill Talzin, but she vanashes into smoke and soon reappears in front of the escaping Ventress, telling her to take on a new path, and a new destiny.

This was the first episode of the last arc in season four, and I think it sets the feel of the next few episodes of the season. Dark. The witchcraft, torture and un-dead creatures really portray this, I think. As well as the eerie green glow throughout the episode. The whole arc, I think, is going to be based around revenge and dark things like that. All to prepare for Darth Maul, I think.

With that being said, I thought it was very cool to see the Nightsisters in combat, along with an army of, well, zombies. Mother Talzin is also something to mention, with her crazy magic that tortured Dooku to the point that he was crawling. She also appeared to Dooku from the inside of himself, or so it seemed, threatening and being just evil.

It was also quite interesting to note that Grievous wasn’t defeated and then ran away, rather, Ventress was. It seems everyone thinks that Grievous is quite weak and cowardly, since he runs away all the time, but my respect for him has gone up as a villain in this episode, especially since Dooku, supposedly the boss behind Grievous’ attack, was on his knees in pain for the episode. Grievous was the big bad guy.

APOCALYPSE Tour With Troy Denning

This information has been online for several weeks now, but I never got a chance to post it. Author Troy Denning will be out promoting his upcoming Fate of the Jedi: Apocalypse across the country. He may be coming to a city near you!

Minneapolis, MN     
Tuesday, March 13th  
Talk & Signing               
7:00pm
Barnes & Noble
2100 North Snelling Ave.
Roseville, MN 55113

Indianapolis, IN
Wednesday, March 14th
Talk & Signing
7:00pm
Barnes & Noble
14709 US Highway 31 North
Carmel, IN 46032

Cincinnati, OH
Thursday, March 15th
Talk & Signing
7:00pm
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
2785 Dixie Highway
Crestview Hills, KY 41017

Lexington, KY
Friday, March 16th
Talk & Signing
7:00pm
Joseph-Beth Booksellers
161 Lexington Green Circle #B
Lexington, KY 40503

Dallas, TX
Saturday, March 17th
Convention and Trade Show
All-Con
Crown Plaza North Dallas
14315 Midway Road
Addison, TX 75001

Denver, CO
Monday, March 19th
Talk & Signing
7:30pm
Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch
9315 Dorchester Street
Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

Sacramento, CA
Thursday, March 22nd
Talk & Signing
7:00pm
Barnes & Noble
1725 Arden Way
Sacramento, CA 95815

Review: Darth Plagueis

Darth Plagueis

Author: James Luceno

Release Date: January 2012

Darth Plagueis is my favorite EU novel. That’s not an overstatement. I’ve never read a novel like it. There’s been a lot written on this novel already, and rightfully so. The anticipation has been building for this novel for years now, and rightfully so. Unlike any other novel, Plagueis actually enhances the films. I dare anyone to watch the prequels the same way after reading this novel. Luceno has long been known as one of the best writers working in the EU and he more than lives up to that reputation with Darth Plagueis.

I hate spoilers in reviews, and will try to avoid them in this review. Plus, the book has been out for over a month now, so I’m assuming that a lot of the major plot points are known by now. The novel is very political oriented, consisting of lots of deals, conversations about the Sith’s plan, etc. This is a nice change of pace for the EU. It’s great getting to read about Palpatine’s early years as well. The menace, the darkness of Palpatine is there even in his early years. He’s always been a compelling character, but I never really realized how fascinating he was until this novel. Here we see Palpatine as he really is. The information on the events surrounding Episode One is wonderful. Reading about what was going on behind the action of the films helps to enhance the standing of that film. When I went to see the film in 3D last week it was all but impossible to think of the novel.

And what about the character of Darth Plagueis? The importance of this character in the Star Wars universe is incalculable. He was everything that I had hoped for. He is dark, thoughtful and worthy of the legend that surrounds him. He is one of the most interesting characters to appear in the EU.

This is a short review, I know, but I don’t want to ruin the novel by going into too much detail. This novel is a fans novel. Talking about it too much might spoil it. My advice to everyone is run, don’t walk, to a bookstore and pick this up. This is one of the best novels to have emerged from the EU. It’s an engaging novel that will not only change the way you watch the prequels, but also the way that you think of the Star Wars universe as a whole.

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

The Clone Wars Review: Crisis on Naboo

The Clone Wars
Episode: 4.18: Crisis on Naboo

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

In the Jedi Temple the Jedi Council, Anakin and Ahsoka discuss the plan to save Palpatine using the information given to them from Obi-Wan. Anakin, jealous of Obi-Wan and wanting to be be a bigger part of the plan, is confident that the plan will work when he is there.

Meanwhile, the other side are also making plans, getting disguises and getting ready for the kidnapping. In case you forgot, our bad guys are Count Dooku and Moralo Eval leading the plot and Cad Bane leading the team of selected bounty hunters including the disguised Obi-Wan. Cad gives the orders to each bounty hunter: Derron is to take down the deflector shield, Moralo gets a transport, Embo and Twazzi are to escort Palpatine in disguises and Obi-Wan is to use a sniper to cover the bounty hunters and shoot Palpatine if he trys to escape, but not by killing him. Leaving, Dooku says to Cad to take care when Obi-Wan is around, with suspisions of him.

Palpatine arrives at Naboo with guards and Jedi as sucurity and is welcomed by Padme, Queen of Naboo, Neeyutnee and other senators. Ahsoka is also assigned by Anakin to protect Padme. Obi-Wan also takes his position as a sniper and contacts Mace Windu with the plan.

Later the stage is set with Senators and Palpatine who gives his speech for the Light Fesival. Derron is successful in destroying the sheild generator much to Anakin and Mace’s efforts. Derron is shot out of the sky by Obi-Wan behind the sniper, but he soon figures out that it was one shot, and he just used it up. There is confusion below as Embo and Twazzi use the disguises to make Palpatine look like a fallen Senate Guard and Twazzi to look like Palpatine himself. Obi-Wan trys to stop this, observing from his spot above, and Anakin and Mace find Twazzi and Embo, but not Cad Bane who was disguised in the audience all this time. He proseeds in taking Palpatine to the transport Moralo had set beforehand. Obi-Wan follows.

Cad and Moralo discuss what they should do next, with Palpatine and a transport, waiting for Dooku, when Obi-Wan arrives. He blows his cover and battles Cad, but Mace and Anakin soon come to help him and rescue Palpatine, whilst capturing Cad and Moralo.

Later Obi-Wan has a suspicion and checks the sniper case. It had an activated comm system, which meant Dooku was listening and that’s why he didn’t show to meet the bounty hunters before.

Meanwhile Dooku ambushes Anakin and Palpatine, really a plot by the latter in seeing Anakin fight with rage for future when he will turn to the dark side. Dooku almost escapes with Palpatine though, but Obi-Wan arrives just in time and turns the tide on the battle. Dooku escapes empty-handed.

I was just as happy to see Anakin’s progress almost as much as Palpatine in this episode. It was a great battle between Dooku and Anakin for a moment there. Although with that being said, I was wishing to see more bounty hunter action, especially with Embo or Bane.

Palpatine was very interesting, reminding me of just how much he controlled at that moment. He was just watching everything going on, and really set the whole thing up, being in control over the whole thing and keeping it that way. Makes you think about everything again, from a different perspective I think. And, remembering, that in the end Anakin had been lied to by the Council, and was upset about that.

I think that the series as a whole is trying to do two things. Tell stories, and add to the Star Wars universe, but also link Attack of the Clones to Revenge of the Sith by connecting the dots in the character’s personalities. This episode, I thought, helped show how the small boy on Tatooine became to hate the Jedi Council and transform into Darth Vader.

Palpatine also knew the future, (or had a rough idea at least), and what’s going to happen, as do we. His last comment on what the galaxy would ever do without the Jedi gave me chills.

The Clone Wars Review: The Box

The Clone Wars
Episode: 4.17: The Box

SPOILERS!

Synopsis:

Cad Bane, Moralo Eval and the disguised Obi-Wan arrive on planet Serenno where Count Dooku welcomes them and reveals the plan for a “friendly contest” to take place to find the five best bounty hunters in the galaxy for the mission to kill Palpatine and “bring the Republic to it’s knees”. The contestants are Obi-Wan, Cad Bane, Embo, Sinrich, Kiera, Sixtat, Derrown, Jakoli, Onca, Twazzi and Mantu. They have little time to talk, (Cad kills Onca’s brother, Bulduga for a hat), before they are sent inside The Box, Moralo’s invention to test their skills.

At the Jedi Temple, Master Yoda calls on Anakin and explains to him the truth about the mission and Obi-Wan’s identity. Yoda says that Anakin is strong, but his temper could get in the way of the mission, and that is the reason for leaving him out. Anakin reluctantly agrees to be patient and wait for Obi-Wan.

Back in The Box the bounty hunters face their first challenge. They find The Box is made of cubes that move and hide surprises as Moralo and Dooku please. The first challenge involves a dangerous gas and columns to take temporary refuge. Obi-Wan finds the exit and leads all of the others out. The next two challenges had swinging rows of cubes with lasers and a dangerous inclosing wall that only one of them could defuse. Each challenge was solved and lead by Obi-Wan, which lead to some discussion between Moralo and Dooku about him.

Dooku first showed an interest and asked what Moralo knew about him. When Moralo replied with “he killed Jedi Obi-Wan Kenobi”, Dooku just smiled. After another challenge Dooku told Moralo that he might make Obi-Wan head of the operation- Moralo’s job- if he makes it out alive. This makes Moralo bubble with jealously and motivates him to try and kill him in The Box.

There are six bounty hunters left in the last challenge, a target challenge. Moralo enters the box himself at a distance to give the challenge – to shoot a moving target that zooms across the wall. One bounty hunter tried but failed, and was killed in a fire pit. This lead to Obi-Wan to then take a rifle. He completed the task but Moralo was still not happy as Obi-Wan would now take over the operation if he survived. Moralo asked to shoot more targets than Obi-Wan had ammo, sneakily, and let Obi-Wan fall into the pit, but Cad saved him with his cable launcher and told Moralo to “kill him like a man”. The over-looking Dooku agrees and uses his set of controls to set an area and pushes Moralo in it. They fight without weapons, but Moralo’s controls give him an advantage, sending out droids and a maze for Obi-Wan to overcome. Obi-Wan pins down Noralo in the end an punches him many times. When Dooku asks to finish him off though, Obi-Wan does not. He instead joins the other four bounty hunters that made it through The Box.

The bounty hunters are Rako Hardeen (Obi-Wan), Cad Bane, Embo, Twazzi and Derrown.

In this episode it’s interesting to try an figure out how much Dooku knows. I think he knows Obi-Wan’s real identity, and is simply playing a game with Moralo in trying to kill Obi-Wan without making a big deal of it. But lots of questions still remain, that can only be answered later on.

Some great things to look out for in this episode was the scene with Anakin and Yoda. Meditating Yoda is always cool, but Anakin doesn’t look patient or happy about the Jedi Council’s decision, and might go and “help” Obi-Wan anyway, with Ahsoka. I also liked watching bounty hunters in action, (who doesn’t?), especially Embo, and the two other survivors, Twazzi and Derrown.

This episode gets me thinking about how much Palpatine really does control, and what the point of all this is. Is he trying to kill Obi-Wan to aid Anakin’s fall to the dark side, but fails? (We all know how it really ends) Or is he playing a game to test Dooku? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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