Anderson, Kevin J.

About the Author:

 

Kevin J. Anderson is an expert on the US space programme and worked at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for ten years.  He is married to writer Rebecca Moesta.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

3.8 out of 5

(9 books)

Star Wars: Champions Of The Force

The final novel of the Jedi Academy trilogy, set 11 ABY.  The various storylines of the previous two books resolve themselves here, but I found myself hard-pressed to actually care whether Mon Mothma dies or Anakin Solo is saved from the Empire. 

However, the assault on the Maw Installation, led by Wedge Antilles, makes entertaining reading as slowly, everyone becomes involved, Daala, Han, Lando, Mara, Luke and Kyp.  And there's a Death Star too.  You can't go wrong with a Death Star. 

All in all though, this book and the trilogy in general is somewhat lacklustre.

Followed by Barbara Hambly's 'Children of the Jedi'.

3 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Dark Apprentice

11 ABY.  The second book of the Jedi Academy trilogy.  A definite improvement over the previous novel, the training of the new Jedi Knights is well worth reading as each shows strengths and weaknesses.  However, it's still not up to standard of the best Star Wars literature. 

Admiral Daala's vicious marauding adds a sense of urgency to the story that is, admittedly, held up slightly by Admiral Ackbar's whinging self-pity.  The fall of Kyp Durron makes for an interesting story thread, but (as with Anakin Skywalker) the character is such an idiot, that it's hard to sympathise. 

Overall you'll find that, with these Jedi Academy books, you are left with the impression that you've been short changed.

Followed by 'Champions of the Force'.

3 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Darksaber

12 ABY.  The second book in the Callista trilogy, following on from 'Children of the Jedi' by Barbara Hambly.  Now, I actually read this book before the Jedi Academy novels and that could well account for why I was so disappointed by Anderson's earlier books; because I loved 'Darksaber'. 

There are two main stories running through the book, the first involves the machinations of Durga the Hutt, who is secretly building a scaled down Death Star, the Darksaber, and the second involves the return of Admiral Daala and her efforts to unite the factions of the Empire and strike against the New Republic.  Each of the storylines is suspenceful and involving, shown from various perspectives to slowly reveal all the details.  There's even some great flashback scenes involving the Emperor, Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin. 

This book has some truly great moments such as Luke and Callista and a group of hunters battling wampas on Hoth, who're led by a certain one-armed beastie (these scenes were originally written to be included in 'The Empire Strikes Back'!), the defence of the Jedi academy is great too and my personal favourite is Daala's introduction to a Super Star Destroyer. 

This book stands alone perfectly well (the other two books in the trilogy are pretty naff) and will be a delight for fans.  Look out for an appearance by Admiral Gilad Pellaeon and for the death of one of the characters from the movies.

Followed by 'Planet of Twilight' by Hambly.

5 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Jedi Academy - Leviathan

(Art by Dario Carrasco Jr., Mark Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett)

Set shortly after 'Darksaber', 12 ABY, this book is effectively a Tales of the New Jedi story.  When a mining colony is wiped out on Corbos, Luke sends several of his new Jedi Knights to investigate. 

One of the things I enjoyed was the make-up of the Jedi team; there's the firebrand Kyp Durron, the insecure Dorsk 82, the warrior woman Kirana Ti and the weather-controlling hermit Streen. 

Carrasco's art has matured greatly from the Tales of the Jedi series too, losing its somewhat hectic look and becoming more precise.  The story, which is effectively one about dragonslaying, is a little cliche, but as a stand-alone adventure for the new Jedi it works.

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Jedi Search

The first book of the Jedi Academy trilogy, set 11 ABY.  I'll be perfectly honest, I didn't much like this book.  The problem is that I find 'the main characters are imprisoned for a prolonged amount of time and don't like it' storylines to be exceedingly tedious.  And one of the main story threads here involves Han and Chewie being imprisoned, then escaping and then being imprisoned again.  Yawn. 

The other main story thread involves Luke seeking out potential Jedi and that follows a predictable pattern too; at first they don't trust him, but a few choice displays of the Force and they're on side.  There is another storyline, in which Lando and the droids investigate race-fixing, but the less said about that the better. 

Basically, an important episode in the Star Wars timeline, but not a very good read.

Followed by 'Dark Apprentice'.

3 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - Redemption

(Art by Chris Gossett and Andrew Pepoy)

Set ten years after 'The Sith War', 3,986 BBY, this book begins with the Force-blind Ulic Qel-Droma seeking a quiet world to live on and try to hide from his past crimes.  Elsewhere, however, young Vima Sunrider, angry at her lack of training, sets off in search of his mother's former love. 

This book lacks the epic scale of the other Tales of the Jedi books and definitely lacks the impact too.  It does, however, feature one of my favourite depictions of a lightsaber duel in a Star Wars comic, capturing the feeling of the duels in 'The Empire Strikes Back' and 'Return Of The Jedi' perfectly. 

Generally; good in that it wraps up the loose ends of the series but bad in that has none of the potency of the previous volumes.

Followed by John Jackson Miller's 'Knights of the Old Republic: Commencement'.

3 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - The Fall Of The Sith Empire

(Art by Dario Carrasco Jr., Mark G. Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett)

The sequel to 'The Golden Age Of The Sith', set 5,000 BBY, this book takes up where that one finishes.  Jori Daragon flees back to Republic space to warn her people about the Sith Empire, however, she inadvertantly leads that very threat back to the Republic. 

I really enjoyed this book because it covers an entire war that rages all across the Republic, showing aspects such as the former rebels of Kirrek fighting alongside their conquerors against the Sith or the Jedi Knights forming a last defence around the Senate on Coruscant.  Even Carrasco's tendency to over-draw works in the book's favour, giving a nice chaotic look to the battle scenes. 

On its own this book is really good, but combine with the build-up in the previous volume and it's an essential part of any Star Wars fan's collection.

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - The Golden Age Of The Sith

(Art by Chris Gossett, Dario Carrasco Jr., Mark G. Heike, Bill Black, David Jacob Beckett and Stan Woch)

Set 5000 years before 'A New Hope'. this is the story of two youths, Gav and Jori Daragon, who are orphaned by war.  Seeking to make their fortunes as hyperspace explorers they make a random jump that takes them into the heart of a strange and exotic empire, the Sith Empire.  They then find themselves caught in a powerstruggle, at the heart of which is Naga Sadow, the Dark Lord of the Sith. 

This a great little story revealing the background to the first great war between the Republic and the Sith, with a lot of nice little touches such as the fact that the Sith use Force-empowered swords rather than lightsabers. 

There are two flaws however; the first is simply that you'll also have to buy the sequel to get the real meat of the story and the second is that Carrasco's art tends to seem a little over-drawn (if that makes sense).

Followed by 'Tales of the Jedi: The Fall of the Sith Empire'

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - The Sith War

(Art by Dario Carrasco Jr., Jordi Ensign, Mark G. Heike, Bill Black and David Jacob Beckett)

3,996 years before Episode IV, this book is the follow up to 'Dark Lords of the Sith' and tells the story of the war between the Republic and the forces of the Sith Lords Exar Kun and Ulic Qel-Droma. 

Kun and Qel-Droma are this book's best element, proving to be great villains.  Ulic is trapped within his own passions, be they anger for the death of his mentor or lust for Aleema Keto, and Kun is a man of incredible power and limitless ambition. 

This book is what the entire Tales of the Jedi series builds up to and it doesn't disappoint and it even features the always-cool Mandalorian warriors.  Anderson does a good job of tying the Tales of the Jedi series up with the Star Wars stories set millennia later (in particular his own Jedi Academy trilogy and Tom Veitch's 'Dark Empire' comics). 

Essential reading particularly if you like the 'Knights of the Old Republic' computer games and want some background info.

Followed by 'Tales of the Jedi: Redemption'

5 out of 5

Collaborations & Anthologies:

House Atreides (here)

House Harkonnen (here)

Star Wars: Tales From Jabba's Palace (here)

Star Wars: Tales Of The Jedi - Dark Lords Of The Sith (here)

Star Wars: Tales From The Mos Eisley Cantina (here)

Star Wars: Tales Of The Bounty Hunters (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Crisis At Crystal Reef (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Darkest Knight (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Delusions Of Grandeur (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Diversity Alliance (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Jedi Bounty (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Jedi Shadow (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Jedi Under Siege (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Lightsabers (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Return To Ord Mantell (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Shards Of Alderaan (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - The Emperor's Plague (here)

Star Wars: Young Jedi Knights - Trouble On Cloud City (here)

Read more...

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Star Wars (here)