NON SPOILER REVIEW
While author Jeff Grubb has an extensive background in Star Wars media, this is his first novel of the Expanded Universe. How is it? In a few words: A good read.
Star Wars: Scourge is a standalone book set before the New Jedi Order, and it contains action, danger and mystery. As mentioned on the cover blurb, a Jedi is killed, and his former Master Mander Zuma tries to find answers. His investigation quickly turns perilous as it leads him straight into the heart of a Hutt family and the dangers that lie within.
For me, the book starts slow. In fact, it wasn’t until after halfway did I start to gain interest. It wasn’t slow enough for me to put the book down, obviously, but it took some effort to keep reading. On the flip side, Scourge will keep you guessing to the end, as the ultimate perpetrator’s identity is occasionally teased yet carefully concealed until the final pages.
I thought the characters were well crafted, with a minor exception: Jedi Master Mander Zuma. I was as bored with him as some of the characters were in the book. And I fully agree with NJOE’s opinion about him. His overall issues and insecurities doesn’t seem to befit a Jedi Master. Perhaps a making him Knight would have been a better choice.
A last critique is about the cover. I’m puzzled about the simplicity of it. For a book that’s been repeatedly dubbed a “Hutt novel”, why have just Master Zuma on the cover and nothing else? To me it would have made more sense to feature the Hutts on the front and perhaps the Zuma image on the back. As it stands now the cover does nothing to describe what’s within, other than another Jedi.
Despite these things, I do recommend reading it. Scourge may not be the kind of book you’ll read more than once, but it’s worth a try.
In the heart of crime-ridden Hutt Space, a Jedi Scholar searches for justice.
While trying to obtain the coordinates of a secret, peril-packed, but potentially beneficial trade route, a novice Jedi is killed—and the motive for his murder remains shrouded in mystery. Now his former Master, Jedi archivist Mander Zuma, wants answers, even as he fights to erase doubts about his own abilities as a Jedi. What Mander gets is immersion into the perilous underworld of the Hutts as he struggles to stay one step ahead in a game of smugglers, killers, and crime lords bent on total control.