Dietz, William C.

About the Author:

 

William C. Dietz graduated from the University of Washington and has worked for the U.S. Navy and, variously, as a surgical technician, newswriter, college instructor, television director and public relations manager.  He lives with his wife and two daughter in the Seattle area.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

4.3 out of 5

(4 books)

Halo: The Flood

The follow-up to Eric Nylund's 'The Fall of Reach' and the novelisation of the first Halo game itself.  To people who haven't played the game, this will be an enjoyable and instructive introduction to the franchise that made the Xbox so popular.  To those who've played the game and therefore, by definition, loved it, it's a chance to relive those familiar moments and discover what the Master Chief was thinking when you were gunning down those hoardes of Covenant warriors. 

The downside to this is that, due to the sheer number of enemies the Chief annihilates in the game, it soon becomes repetetive reading about him pumping a hostile full of lead, reloading, thowing a grenade, pumping another hostile full of lead and so on and so forth.  To counterbalance this Dietz also tells the stories we don't see in the game; focusing on how the Marines (and the elite Helljumpers) establish a base on Halo from which to provide the support the Chief receives.  The best bit of this aside-action is where Lieutenant McKay has to lead an immense convoy of Warthogs and Scorpions through a Covenant ambush.  The defence of Alpha Base is also a great scene. 

So, repetetive at times but an enjoyable military feast for action fans nonetheless.

Followed by Nylund's 'Halo: First Strike'.

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Jedi Knight

The third and best Dark Forces novella, set 5 ABY and illustrated by Star Wars veteran Dave Dorman.  This book brings to a head all the issues from the other two and resolves them well. 

What I enjoyed most about this book is the tidbits of earlier Jedi history we learn as we go along; they've since been linked into the Prequels as the battles where the Sith were all but destroyed.  Also, when Kyle has his visions, the fact that he enters the mind of a Jedi and a Sith is a good reflection of Kyle's own psyche, torn between his duty and vengeance. 

This book also features an excellently written battle scene in which Kyle and Jan fly alongside Luke's X-Wing and the Millennium Falcon against an Imperial Star Destroyer. 

The downside to this book is Dietz's habit of sidetracking the narrative to minor characters, specifically the Ruusan colonists, which slows down the story and is generally pretty annoying.  However, Dorman's excellent and dynamic artwork more than balances the faults.

Followed by Michael A. Stackpole's 'X-Wing: Rogue Squadron'.

5 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Rebel Agent

Book two, set 5 ABY.  The second illustrated novella of the trilogy features a prologue in which Morgan Katarn discovers the lost Valley of the Jedi.  The story then jumps five years into the future, precisely where the Jedi Knight computer game begins.  Kyle is investigating his father's murder years earlier and discovers that a Dark Jedi is responsible.  He soon discovers more is at stake than vengeance, however, as the Dark Jedi, Jerec, is seeking the power of the Valley. 

This book is about Kyle learning the answers to the questions of his past and then growing beyond them to accept the mantle of Jedi Knight and undertake the quest to protect the Valley.  It's a definite improvement over the first book, having a more focused storyline, but suffers from the fact that it doesn't resolve many of the plotlines it introduces. 

I did think that the romance between Kyle and Jan was handled fairly well and that it could have been a lot soppier and annoying.  I also wasn't too impressed with the art in this book, especially considering there's a picture of Maw without any legs, from before he loses them in the story.  Luke and Leia make brief appearance, further linking Kyle's story to the larger saga.

Followed by 'Dark Forces: Jedi Knight'.

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Dark Forces - Soldier For The Empire

0 BBY.  Book one.  This illustrated novella tells the early story of Kyle Katarn, the character made famous by the Dark Forces and Jedi Knight computer games.  The story is lively and interesting, particularly when Kyle, on his first mission as a Stormtrooper, finds his conscience interfering with his ability to kill Rebels. 

The fact that Kyle is pulled between the Empire and the Rebellion is what makes the story worth reading, but there's also a few cameos to keep fans on their toes; Rom Mohc and Jerec (baddies who Kyle battles in the games) make appearances, as does Lando Calrissian. 

The finale of the book links directly into the beginning of the Dark Forces game, as Mon Mothma sends Kyle on the mission that puts the plans for the Death Star in Princess Leia's hands.

Followed by 'Dark Force: Rebel Agent'.

4 out of 5

Read more...

Halo (here)

Star Wars (here)