Kemp, Paul S.

About the Author:

 

As well as being a New York Times bestselling author, Paul S. Kemp also practices corporate law.  He lived in Grosse Point, Michigan, USA.

 

AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:

3.5 out of 5

(4 books)

Star Wars: Crosscurrent

A standalone novel set in 41 BBY, between the Legacy of the Force and Fate of the Jedi series.  This book focuses on the troubled Jedi Knight Jaden Korr (the player character in the excellent computer game 'Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy') as he takes a leave of absence to follow dark visions to a mysterious moon on the fringes of known space.

At first I was a bit dubious about the fact that this book features Sith and Jedi characters from the Great Hyperspace War (5,000 BBY) turning up to meet the modern characters, but Kemp actually manages to pull this difficult plot point off with surprising grace.  In fact, I really enjoyed seeing the Kaleesh Sith Lord Saes Rrogon in action.  However, whilst this plot thread is introduced well, it is ultimately entirely irrelevant to the main story of Jaden's journey to the frozen moon, making this book seem like two complete separate stories just sort of crashed into each other.

Where Kemp manages to pull of something special is in Jaden's arrival on and exploration of the mysterious moon.  Within the walls of an abandoned Imperial scientific facility he manages to bring us scenes filled with tension, claustrophobia and horror.  All of which was great!

Followed by 'Riptide'.

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Lords Of The Sith

14 BBY.  Dissent on the planet Ryloth leads Emperor Palpatine and Lord Darth Vader to pay the world a visit in person in order to root out those responsible.  But the rebellious members of the Free Ryloth Movement, led by hero of the Clone Wars Cham Syndulla, see this as a perfect opportunity to behead the Galactic Empire in one fell swoop by assassinating the Emperor and his enforcer.

I was wary of this book due to the fact that other reviews I'd read harped on and on about it being all-action and in my experience action is too often substituted for plot.  However, I should have known better when it comes to Kemp and here he gives us his best Star Wars book so far.  Whilst there is plenty of action to be going along with, we're also treated to some great insights into the relationship between the titular Sith Lords.  In fact, here we get to witness the transition from the tense, bitchy and back-stabbing interplays from a lot of the post-Episode III stories to relationship we see in the early days of the Rebel Alliance, where Vader truly is the Emperor's loyal and trusted right hand.

Another good element to this book was the story of the Twi'lek rebels.  I had been disappointed with the token dissidents in James Luceno's 'Tarkin' but by using a freedom fighter character who is already established we're given a much more accessible set of protagonists.  In fact, despite knowing the inevitable futility of their plan, I couldn't help but root for Cham and his followers as they launch their first full-scale confrontation with the Empire.  This really sets the scene for a time when full-scale rebellion is a possibility.

Followed by Luceno's 'Tarkin'.

4 out of 5

 

Star Wars: Riptide

The sequel to 'Crosscurrent', set in 41 ABY.  Jedi Knight Jaden Korr, his new apprentice Marr Idi-Shael and the spacer Khedryn Faal set off in pursuit of a shipload of deranged Force-sensitive clones, who are seeking salvation from a mysterious entity known as Mother.  Meanwhile, two assassins working for the Sith undertake a mission which involves the fate of both Jaden and the clone known as Soldier.

It was very enjoyable to see the machinations of the One Sith, working against the Jedi from the shadows instead of being the overt legions seen in all too many other Star Wars stories.  I also enjoyed the character of Soldier, who serves as a dark reflection (in more ways than one) of the troubled Jade Korr we saw in 'Crosscurrent'.

Unfortunately this book just isn't as good as its predecessor and pretty much just involves the same plot points being repeated from three different perspectives.  The clones go to Fhost, then Jaden goes to Fhost, then the Umbaran assassins go to Fhost.  The clones escape Fhost, the Umbarans follow them, Jaden catches up.  The clones reach Mother, the Jedi reach Mother... well, you get the idea.  This means that about two thirds of this already short novel is just repetition.

Perhaps these flaws could have been overlooked had we received the payoff we want at the end of the book, but sadly the plotlines involving Mother, the Iteration and Jaden's past are all hurriedly and unsatisfactorily closed down, as if the author had to cut things short to meet a deadline.

Without a doubt the proverbial 'difficult second project' for Kemp and a big disppointment for me.

Followed by James Luceno's 'Millennium Falcon'.

2 out of 5

 

Star Wars: The Old Republic - Deceived

Set 3,653 BBY; ten years before 'The Old Republic' computer game.  This book focuses on Sith Lord Darth Malgus and his involvement in the Sacking of Coruscant and the destruction of the Jedi Temple as revealed in TOR's 'Deceived' cinematic trailer.  A second plot thread follows Jedi Knight Aryn Leneer and smuggler Zeerid Korr as they infiltrate occupied Coruscant with the intent of confronting Malgus.

I have to admit to being a bit dubious about a book based on the trailer of a computer game, but Kemp managed to pleasantly surprise me.  The main aspect of this is Malgus himself, the sort of anger-fuelled no-time-for-politics warrior Sith Lord that makes for exceptionally entertaining reading.  He's a bit like a less well adjusted Darth Vader.  The storyline involving Aryn and Zeerid is perfectly passable but never becomes anywhere near as exciting as Malgus' scenes.

Another thing I liked about this book is that it takes place over a matter of only a few days and is very focused on its main characters, meaning that we get a small but enjoyable vignette of the war between the Sith and the Republic, rather than an overly ambitious attempt to tell the full epic tale of the conflict.

Followed by Joe Schreiber's 'Red Harvest'.

4 out of 5

Collaborations & Anthologies:

Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View (here)

Read more...

Star Wars (here)