Posts Tagged ‘maya_kaathryn_bohnhoff’

Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves

Michael Reaves is a prolific writer and book author, who’s worked on dozens of television shows. His work on the Batman television animated series has even earned him an Emmy Award. And, of course, he’s Michael Reaveswritten several Star Wars novels that expanded universe fans instantly recognize, such as Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter and Death Star.

What some people may not know is that for more than a decade, he has suffered from Parkinson’s Disease, which no doubt makes his career unimaginably difficult. Michael maintains a blog titled Parkinson’s Monster, which serves as a chronicle of his battle of the disease. Link

For several years now, he has had a collaboration with author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, which he briefly talks about below. Their latest work is The Last Jedi, a book that continues the story of the Coruscant Nights series. Michael recently sat down and answered a few questions we had about The Last Jedi!

KA: Congrats on the release of The Last Jedi! You and Maya have built a strong follow-up to the Coruscant Nights series. If you could single out your favorite thing about this series, what would it be?

MR: The family structure. That’s the key ingredient in an ensemble cast like this. They know that at the end of the day, they’re there for each other.

In The Last Jedi, Jax and I-Five continue their strong bond, even though it becomes strained at times. How do you think Jax would have fared if he didn’t have I-Five behind him all this time?

Not as well, I’d guess. He would’ve had a lot harder time getting out of Rokko’s stronghold in Jedi Twilight.

I-Five and Den Dhur have had quite a journey; from Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, to the Medstar duology, to the Coruscant Nights series. What do you want your readers to take away from this unusual duo?

Well, actually Den joined the gang in Battle Surgeons, but he’s been an integral part of the story since then. What should they take away from them? Whatever they can keep after going through their pockets. And all those endless and obtuse ontological discussions, of course.

Jax makes several questionable decisions that lead him perilously close to the dark side, and could equally lead to disastrous outcome. Personally, after reading this book, even though I know the outcome, I still wonder if his choices were worth the risk. How do you as the author feel about that?

Hey, I had no more choice in the matter than Jax did. He had to do the stuff he did — given what happened, he had no alternative. That you’re asking the question means to me that I’ve done my job well.

I’ve talked to Maya in the past about the collaboration you two have. What are your feelings about it?

I’m ecstatic about her. I’ve been slowed a great deal in the last few years due to health problems, and Maya has been a godsend (and I say that as a confirmed atheist). She’s smart, fast, funny and her style is quite compatible with my own. What’s not to like?

Finally, if asked, would you like to continue the Coruscant Nights storyline? The Last Jedi left an opportunity for it.

One of main reasons I had Five switching bodies was to give him (and us) a fresh perspective. I tend to stick to the same locales (or in the case of the GFFA, the same planets,) because I can put roots down and delve into the characters deeper (that’s the theory, anyway). But he IS a droid, after all, and we weren’t taking enough advantage of that aspect of him. So we stuffed him into a Human Replica Droid chassis. I’m hoping there’ll be enough room for at least one more book, but we have to wait to see how the EU will continue with the new movies coming.

I asked a few more questions that Del Rey felt the editorial staff would be able to answer. The replies they gave me have been used on other sites, but I’ll repeat them here.

The Last Jedi continues the Coruscant Nights story, but it’s also considered a stand-alone. Why?

Shelly Shapiro: We went back and forth on that a million times, trying to figure out how best to attract new readers and old readers alike. In the end we decided that the back cover copy–which makes clear that it’s an adventure with Jax, I-Five, and Den Dur–would carry the message to existing fans of the Coruscant Nights books, while the front cover wouldn’t be off-putting to those who haven’t yet dipped their toes in any of Jax’s story. However, the back cover does show the covers of the first three books with the following line: “LOOK FOR THESE THRILLING NOVELS IN THE CORUSCANT NIGHTS SERIES.”

What are your feelings regarding the death of Even Piell in The Clone Wars? Has there been any discussion regarding possible changes to Jedi Twilight?

SS: Yes, that certainly took us all by surprise! But when Evan Piell was offered as a usable Jedi Master for Jedi Twilight, no one knew that the TV show would end up using him in their stories and killing him off there. When we found out, the authors and I discussed the idea of changing Piell to a different Jedi Master in the Science Fiction Book Club version, and maybe even in future Del Rey reprints of the book, but that wouldn’t fix the fact that continuity had already been broken, and it would leave two versions of the book existing on bookshelves. So we just opted for not mentioning him by name in The Last Jedi. I’d like to say it’s a miracle that, considering how huge the Star Wars universe has become, more of these kinds of slips haven’t happened. But in truth, I think it is a testament to the diligence and hard work of everyone involved, especially the continuity keepers at Lucasfilm.

For more information about The Last Jedi, read our interview with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and our reviews by clicking the links below. And be sure to pick up a copy of The Last Jedi today! Thank you Michael for answering our questions, and thank you Del Rey for arranging the interview!

SEE ALSO:
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

The Last Jedi

Novel Review: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi

- Spoiler Review -

Since the initial announcement, we’ve waited several years for the completion of this novel. I have always looked forward to it, mainly because of the characters involved in this series. The Last Jedi continues the story of the Coruscant Nights series (Jedi Twilight, Street of Shadows, Patterns of Force), and brings back memorable characters such as Jax Pavan, Laranth Tarak, Den Dhur, and of course, I-Five.

As mentioned, The Last Jedi picks up where Patterns of Force left off. It’s been several months since those events, and because of the attacks on the anti-Imperial resistance called Whiplash, Jax and his crew must move its leader, the Cerean Thi Xon Timmon, off Coruscant. It’s still very early in the book, but just when you think they’re well on their way to succeeding, the entire story turns upside down.

Vader’s fleet moves in to intercept their ship and succeeds. But that’s not his only victory.

The Last JediJax is able to escape, but the events that follow lead him into a downward spiral mentally. This makes for some tough, and at many times, questionable decisions that allow Jax to skirt dangerously close to the dark side. One such decision is a partnership with Black Sun, via Prince Xizor himself. The dark prince is all too happy to have a Jedi Knight at his beck and call, and Jax decides that because of the resources Black Sun can provide, committing himself to Xizor is worth the risk.

The Last Jedi boasts an incredibly deep look into the Force, and devotes many pages to it. Along these lines, Jax feels he must seek the dangerous knowledge contained in a Sith holocron if he’s to have any chance of succeeding in his quest. Which leads him to another risky alliance: The Singing Mountain Clan witches of Dathomir.

In the meantime, the situation on Coruscant turns grim for Whiplash, as plans are foiled and surprising actions are revealed.

All of this leads to a final showdown with Vader and several Inquisitors including the powerful Probus Telsa, who are located on a nearly impenetrable Imperial base filled with Stormtroopers. I have to admit that while exciting, the ending is not what I expected, and still leaves me with a few questions.

I enjoyed The Last Jedi. Not only does it have depth, but it provides many surprising twists. Familiar characters Den Dhur and I-Five provide their usual hilarious dialog, but also struggle right along with Jax as he deals with sadness, anger, and a thirst for revenge. Darth Vader maintains a constant presence, and is even surprised at times by Jax, who also knows that Vader is actually Anakin Skywalker. And of course, I’m always happy to see Prince Xizor.

But it’s not all about these marquee characters. Several new characters are introduced and become an essential part of the story.

I recommend you to read The Last Jedi by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. It is designed as a stand-alone, but you would do well to read the Coruscant Nights trilogy first, so you are familiar with the situations and characters.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge in order to provide an early review. However, this did not affect the overall review content. All opinions are my own.

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Cover Synopsis:

KNIGHT OF RECKONING

The Emperor’s ruthless Order 66 has all but exterminated the Jedi. The few remaining who still wield the Force for good have been driven into exile or hiding. But not Jax Pavan, who’s been steadily striking blows against the Empire—as a lone guerrilla fighter and a valued partner of Whiplash, a secret Coruscant-based resistance group. Now he’s taking on his most critical mission: transporting a valued Whiplash leader, targeted for assassination, from Coruscant to safety on a distant world. It’s a risky move under any circumstances, but Jax and his trusted crew aboard the Far Ranger, including the irrepressible droid I-Five, are prepared to pit their combat skills and their vessel’s firepower against all Imperial threats—except the one Jax fears most. Reports have raced across the galaxy that the dark lord of the Sith has fallen in a duel to the death with a Rebel freedom fighter. But Jax discovers the chilling truth when he reaches out with the Force . . . only to touch the dark, unmistakable, and malignantly alive presence that is Darth Vader. And Jax knows that Vader will stop at nothing until the last Jedi has fallen.

Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi

- Spoiler Review -

I wish the entirety of The Last Jedi was like the first 45 pages.

I’ve really enjoyed Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff’s past tales of Jax Pavan and his merry band, so I was excited to pick up The Last Jedi.  Series hero Jax Pavan has grown from a self-serious Jedi apprentice to appropriately grim, sometimes even dour knight via the Jedi Purge and a stint as a gumshoe. He is a likable and fallible character – more worrisome than his mentors, but then, he does have the weight of the galaxy on his shoulders. Another thing that keeps him from becoming a stock lead (who also happens to know Anakin Skywalker) is the way he visualizes the Force as ribbons of light or islands in an ocean.

The beginning of the novel sets up a lot of questions about time and space, with Reaves and Bohnhoff displaying an enjoyable menagerie of strange beings such as the Cephalons. I do wish some of this hadn’t been shown in flashbacks: it would have worked just as well as a prologue. Reaves – I’m singling him out here because he did it in the first few Coruscant Nights books as well – has a habit of placing flashbacks or three paragraphs of introspection right in the middle of another scene, which often feels disruptive and distracting.

However, parts of the novel absolutely shine, and the ending has a lot of momentum that ends in a showdown that ties most of the book’s threads together as well as giving readers a look into the initial struggles of the rebellions against the Empire.

Laranth Tarak and Jax have settled into a stable relationship: in an atmospheric scene near the beginning they’re tempted to stay on a verdant planet, and it’s clear that they have not only a physical attraction to one another but similar sensibilities and priorities. There are some beautiful descriptions of both the landscapes and how it feels to sense the Force.

But after around page 45, the positive world-building is replaced by something that feels more emotionally manipulative. After a brief battle, the plot sags in the middle. New rebel characters are introduced, but the plot prevents them from actually getting involved in anything for a while. The Last Jedi is longer than any of the previous Coruscant Nights books. (Although it’s not officially billed as a sequel I’m pretty sure that’s just because it doesn’t take place on Coruscant.) The length is mostly because the characters bounce around between surprisingly unexciting encounters with Prince Xizor and some Mandalorians around the middle. Name recognition of other canon events events such as the Mandalore arc on The Clone Wars are not enough to keep this section entertaining.

The Last JediOn the other hand, some activities of the rebel group Whiplash on Coruscant were brushed over when they could have been long scenes, and Whiplash itself loses some steam from having a lot of characters without much going on. I like the shaggy, loyal detective Pol Haus and the serene and talented Togruta Sheel, although their flirtation seems left over and repeated from the noir atmosphere in Patterns of Force.

The book has quite a few female characters who fare better, however, with the last third of the book being almost fifty-fifty in terms of gender. There are women in relationships and women without relationships, women who get revenge on creeps and women who are creeps. The capable Sacha was dismissed by Jax at first on the grounds that a woman, any woman, on the ship would jar his own fragile mental state, so I was glad to see his narrow-mindedness proved wrong when she becomes a significant and sometimes humorous part of the plot later.

Jax’s longtime companions Den Dhur and I-5 are also part of the story, but I felt they were a bit less entertaining than usual: Den is best in social settings instead of big action scenes, and continued unanswered questions about whether or not I-5 can feel the Force are starting to feel both old and overdramatic.

The end picks up a bit with an interesting trip to Dathomir: l like Reaves’ and Bohnhoff’s look at the witches; less evil than the ones in The Clone Wars and less sensationalist than the ones in The Courtship of Princess Leia, we nevertheless get to see both a Zabrak-human mix and a member of the Djo family. The Zabrak seemed pretty equanimous toward a male, more curious than prejudiced, which didn’t seem very realistic when compared to gender biases on Earth but was more welcome as a piece of fiction than Courtship’s Witches trussing up their male visitor.

The novel stays on target with a couple main themes: the price indecision can exact, and how the Force connects to the flow of time. Some of the ideas about time travel were more jarring than others, and Jax seemed to become adept at some pretty drastic Force abilities very quickly, but Reaves and Bohnhoff’s colorful descriptions of what having Force abilities feels like was always worth it. I liked the bizarre alien Cephalons. Reaves’ inclusion of canon characters always feels a bit perfunctory, perhaps because the amount of original characters who might die makes scenes more frightening and because his original characters are perfectly capable of holding a scene on their own.

It’s not a perfect novel, with some odd pacing choices, but the cast of memorable characters that have gathered by the end make up for the novel initially suggesting that Jax might avoid friendly people, and therefore interesting scenes, as much as possible. Reaves and Bohnhoff’s prose is strongest in dialogue as well as in introspection, and some of the most memorable scenes happened inside characters’ heads. Even with the Jedi Order dead, this book is at times a thought-provoking examination of the Force and where its limits might be. The Last Jedi would probably not be a good place to start with the Coruscant Nights series, since the feeling of camaraderie from some of the characters having been together for three books propelled me through the drier parts, but for fans of Jax or of varied and alien characters, The Last Jedi is an enjoyable read that shines the most when it’s letting its characters explore and figure things out.

Read below for some comments including spoilers:

Spoilers

The dividing line toward the beginning of the book is, if it wasn’t obvious, Laranth’s death.  If the scene on Toprawa was meant to work as the emotional analog of the top of a roller coast and propel the rest of the book along, it worked. But in some ways it worked too well, and with Dejah Duare’s death in Patterns of Force also involving Vader I started to think that women weren’t allowed to stick around Jax for too long. Laranth was a character with a unique look and backstory who could have been more than an inciting incident for another character.

The reason Jax rejects Sacha is because her presence reminds him too much of Laranth. Laranth was one of my favorite characters and I was sad to see her go, and the only mention of her “bare shoulders” coming right before her death seemed tasteless. I liked that she informed almost all of Jax’s thoughts in the rest of the book, but she could have been more than the tragic plot point that Padme also became in Revenge of the Sith.  I was disappointed that one of my favorites had died, but I was more disappointed that she was turned from a character into a catalyst.

DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book from the publisher at no charge in order to provide an early review. However, this did not affect the overall review content. All opinions are my own.

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

COVER SYNOPSIS:

KNIGHT OF RECKONING

The Emperor’s ruthless Order 66 has all but exterminated the Jedi. The few remaining who still wield the Force for good have been driven into exile or hiding. But not Jax Pavan, who’s been steadily striking blows against the Empire—as a lone guerrilla fighter and a valued partner of Whiplash, a secret Coruscant-based resistance group. Now he’s taking on his most critical mission: transporting a valued Whiplash leader, targeted for assassination, from Coruscant to safety on a distant world. It’s a risky move under any circumstances, but Jax and his trusted crew aboard the Far Ranger, including the irrepressible droid I-Five, are prepared to pit their combat skills and their vessel’s firepower against all Imperial threats—except the one Jax fears most. Reports have raced across the galaxy that the dark lord of the Sith has fallen in a duel to the death with a Rebel freedom fighter. But Jax discovers the chilling truth when he reaches out with the Force . . . only to touch the dark, unmistakable, and malignantly alive presence that is Darth Vader. And Jax knows that Vader will stop at nothing until the last Jedi has fallen.

44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!


Random House has uploaded the Insight Book Preview for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which is due out next month! Link

Click on the image above to see the preview, which includes cover and front matter. Note: Treat this excerpt like you would any other. There might be spoilers.

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Chapter One of The Last Jedi now Online!

The Last Jedi

Random House has posted the first chapter of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, due out February 26, 2013! It’s written by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff. Click here to head to the excerpt.

SEE ALSO:
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb

Random House has posted the cover synopsis for Star Wars: The Last Jedi , due out February 26, 2013! Link

KNIGHT OF RECKONING

The Emperor’s ruthless Order 66 has all but exterminated the Jedi. The few remaining who still wield the Force for good have been driven into exile or hiding. But not Jax Pavan, who’s been steadily striking blows against the Empire—as a lone guerrilla fighter and a valued partner of Whiplash, a secret Coruscant-based resistance group. Now he’s taking on his most critical mission: transporting a valued Whiplash leader, targeted for assassination, from Coruscant to safety on a distant world. It’s a risky move under any circumstances, but Jax and his trusted crew aboard the Far Ranger, including the irrepressible droid I-Five, are prepared to pit their combat skills and their vessel’s firepower against all Imperial threats—except the one Jax fears most. Reports have raced across the galaxy that the dark lord of the Sith has fallen in a duel to the death with a Rebel freedom fighter. But Jax discovers the chilling truth when he reaches out with the Force . . . only to touch the dark, unmistakable, and malignantly alive presence that is Darth Vader. And Jax knows that Vader will stop at nothing until the last Jedi has fallen.

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi

We’ve known since 2010 that I-5YQ would appear in Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and now we have further details regarding one of the Expanded Universe’s most popular droids. While not revealing much, co-author Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff talks about I-5 in her latest blog entry and gives us some idea of what to expect. Link

I-Five has a sterling sense of honor and integrity on top of being logical and fearless in the face of just about everything. But the thing that makes him so special to me is his loyalty—to Jax, to Den, to the Resistance that will one day evolve into a full fledged Rebellion. That and his indomitability. I-Five is the energizer bunny of droids, the Timex tin man who takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’.

He is unique and, in each book in which he appears, that uniqueness is refined upon just a bit. The Last Jedi is, for I-5YQ a tour de force (and no, I didn’t catch the pun until I got to it). And I have to admit, for reasons I think you’ll understand when you read the book, he was especially fun to write in this Jax Pavan adventure.

I don’t want to stop writing about this droid. I feel as if his story is still unfinished. And besides, I love him.

Maya, I don’t want to stop reading about him! Star Wars: The Last Jedi is due out February 26, 2013.

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Newly revealed at San Diego Comic Con 2012: the cover and synopsis for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff! Current paperback release date is March 26, 2013. Link Via

Here’s the synopsis:

Another fast-paced, action-packed Star Wars stand-alone mass market original by New York Times bestselling authors Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff!

Ever since Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66–which called for the execution of all Jedi–Jax Pavan is the last Knight around to fight the dark side of the Force. Together with his droid I-5, Jax has eluded Vader time and again, all the while wreaking havoc against the Empire through the underground resistance on Coruscant. But now the Rebel’s leader on the city-planet has been captured, and it’s up to the Last Jedi to ride again…possibly for one final adventure.

SEE ALSO:
Welcome to the Archive: Michael Reaves
Talking The Last Jedi with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Novel Review: The Last Jedi by Bry Dean
Megan’s Review: The Last Jedi
44 Pages of The Last Jedi Now Online!
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Blurb
I-Five Returns in The Last Jedi
Welcome Back, Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
Knights Archive Exclusive: Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

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.

Star Wars: Shadow Games Cover/Blurb

UPDATE:

I asked Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff who the person is on the cover. She replied…

Well, that’s the cool thing — it could be either Dash Rendar or Han Solo given the context. Clever of the art department, I think.

—————

ORIGINAL ARTICLE:

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!

Star Wars: Shadow Games is due to be released November 29, 2011.

Random HouseSEE ALSO:
Novel Review: SHADOW GAMES
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!

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

Key Location In Shadow Games Revealed

SPOILERS!

Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff has once again given fans a glimpse into the upcoming novel Star Wars: Shadow Games, via her blog. Now, this blog post is originally from 2010, however, it is our belief that she has revised it and inserted a key location in Shadow Games: Bannistar Station.

Michael and I determined to set Shadow Games in a variety of locales but, as things transpired, a little-used location will be the scene of the penultimate confrontation and an epic (I hope) battle … which—at the time of my expert-stumping queries—I was in the process of writing.

Anyway, there I was, sailing toward this BIG MOMENT when I realized that I knew very little about this Mystery Locale—a hole in the wall called Bannistar Station. I had chosen it because of where it lay along the path of our holostar’s tour, then became fascinated by it, then determined that it fit the bill with regard to more than location.

Bottom line: not much is known about Bannistar Station. Which put me in a position that is both exhilarating and a bit scary—while adhering to the little that we know about the place, I get to make stuff up. About a place in the GFFA.

If you’d like to learn more about Bannistar Station, here is an article from Wookieepedia. Star Wars: Shadow Games is due to be released on November 29, 2011.

Random HouseSEE ALSO:
Novel Review: SHADOW GAMES
Star Wars: Shadow Games Cover/Blurb
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!

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

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