Posts Tagged ‘michael_reaves’

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

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

Novel Review: Coruscant Nights I: Jedi Twilight

Reading a Michael Reaves book is like playing a game of galactic Who’s Who. It isn’t essential to have read the MedStar duology or Darth Maul: Shadowhunter first in order to enjoy Coruscant Nights 1: Jedi Twilight, but recurring characters make Jedi Twilight more enjoyable if you have. Sullustan reporter Den Dhur, one of the major point of view characters in MedStar, joins 1-5 and Jax Pavan in this adventure through Corsucant’s undercity.

Jedi Twilight, as befits a novel of the Purge, is full of half- or almost-Jedi characters. Jax is a Padawan cut loose too soon from his Master, Even Piell. Laranth Tarak, a woman who wields the Force but chooses not to use a lightsaber, was part of the Grey Paladin sect instead of the conventional Jedi Order. It’s hard to imagine Den Dhur as a Jedi, but he’s the most street-smart of all of them. Matthew Stover and Michael Reaves must have discussed swapping characters at some point, because we also get the pleasant return of Force-sensitive soldier Nick Rostu, from the war-torn planet Haruun Kal.

I like Laranth Tarak because she’s an unconventional Twi’lek, tough and scarred, although she briefly becomes a damsel in distress in the last few chapters when she’s the only one of the group unable to escape from binders on her own. She’s one of my favorite female Star Wars characters, mostly because of a conversation in the next book in the series – but she does find herself getting captured a lot.

The underbelly of Coruscant is a world of half-people too: people who are scarred, out of touch with their political ideals, or just plain desperate. Reaves handles them well, in a story where personal, inner struggles for success or pride feel as, or more, important than the inevitable struggle with the Empire. It was the characters that drew me to this book when I first read it a few years ago, and the group dynamic is still great. Everyone has a very distinct way of speaking and looking at the world. The dialogue, snappy and usually very naturalistic, shines, but there isn’t enough of it.

I found myself at times during my re-read wondering whether this was the same book I had loved a few years ago. The beginning is slow, bringing us Nick Rostu’s backstory in pages and pages of prose when a lot of it could have been explained in dialogue when he meets up with Jax. My love for the Dark Times era and for character-heavy stories can’t completely negate some of the book’s flaws, such as the aforementioned swaths of prose or those infamous Star Wars similes (“like looking for a needle in a sleestax”).

The presence of Even Piell is jarring too, since canon has since changed so that Piell died quite a few years earlier than the beginning of this book. That’s something that the keepers of the canon will have to work out.

Speaking of continuity: Darth Vader and Prince Xizor are an integral part of the plot, and introduced early on. It’s hard, though, for me to shake the feeling that they are present to offer the reader some familiar faces instead of completely inundating us with Michael Reaves’ original cast. Vader and Xizor were a good source of plot, but not much new about them is revealed, and they seemed sometimes to occupy spaces that could just as well have been filled by their subordinates.

The fight scenes in Jedi Twilight are a lot of fun, partially because of the pure variety of weapons involved. Each main character has their own speciality, and the final fight reminds me that the Star Wars universe should really feature lightwhips more often.

My final thought about Jedi Twilight is that on a second read-through I remember liking it more than I actually do now. That doesn’t mean that a first-time reader won’t be able to become invested in the characters enough to continue on with the series. I’m still looking forward the release of Coruscant Nights 4.

- Megan

Cover Synopsis:

With the dark ascension of the Empire, and the Jedi Knights virtually wiped out, one Jedi who escaped the massacre is slated for a date with destiny–and a confrontation with Darth Vader.

Jax Pavan is one of the few Jedi Knights who miraculously survived the slaughter that followed Palpatine’s ruthless Order 66. Now, deep in Coruscant’s Blackpit Slums, Jax ekes out a living as a private investigator, trying to help people in need while concealing his Jedi identity and staying one step ahead of the killers out for Jedi blood. And they’re not the only ones in search of the elusive Jax. Hard-boiled reporter Den Dhur and his buddy, the highly unorthodox droid I-5YQ, have shocking news to bring Jax–about the father he never knew.

But when Jax learns that his old Jedi Master has been killed, leaving behind the request that Jax finish a mission critical to the resistance, Jax has no choice but to emerge from hiding–and risk detection by Darth Vader–to fulfill his Master’s dying wish.

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.

Bohnhoff Shares More Shadow Games Info

Not much was given, but here are some new details from the upcoming novel Star Wars: Shadow Games via Bohnhoff’s Blog.

In writing HOLOSTAR, I’m characterizing an alien using his speech mannerisms and his physical attributes as part of his alienness. My goal is for you, the Reader, to be able to recognize his dialogue simply by the way he delivers his lines and the subtle physical gestures that go with them on occasion.

Er, no, I’m not going to tell you what sort of alien he is. That would create a security leak and I’d have to scramble the storm-troopers. But I will tell you that I’m making use of nature and nurture to make him a fully-realized alien … and that this guy’s got a lot to work with. He has a couple of interesting physical attributes that I want to work into characterization, and his species also has evolved some traits that, for a writer, can be extremely useful … and extremely tricky to use. His education and training also plays into what he says and how he says it, and I need to consider that, as well, as I write his dialogue.

From an earlier blog

I will divulge that a Toydarian makes a brief appearance in a scene in Star Wars: Shadow Games (aka, Holostar). I chose a Toydarian because I needed to telegraph to the reader that this is a mercenary sort of fellow and I needed to do it without spending valuable page space building up a character that was only going to walk on, utter a few lines and walk off (okay, flap off—as we all know from Chef Jeff Vader’s YouTube video “Midichlorian Rhapsody” Toydarians are reminiscent of bumblebees).

Also of note from the above blog…

For other roles, I choose aliens because I want to write about them, explore them as people and, well, because I think they’re cool. Take Twi’leks, for example. I love Twi’leks because they’re so graceful and elegant and because of the way their brain power is augmented by their lekku. I think it’s also fun to explore how the lekku are used in communication. Humans shrug their shoulders, Twi’leks (and other species with head-tails) can express indecision, or mirth, or anger and a range of other emotions in much more subtle ways. This might mean that subliminal conversations can take place between Twi’leks while other species remain blissfully unaware.

Speculation: Perhaps a Twi’lek is the mystery alien alluded to in the first quote above?

Star Wars: Shadow Games is being written by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff and is due to be released next fall.

Random HouseSEE ALSO:
Novel Review: SHADOW GAMES
Star Wars: Shadow Games Cover/Blurb
Key Location In Shadow Games Revealed
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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