About the Author:
Karen Miller was born in Vancouver, Canada but was raised in Sydney, Australia.
AVERAGE REVIEW SCORE:
2 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit - Siege
The follow up and conclusion to 'Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth', set 21 BBY. On the planet Lanteeb, Obi-Wan and Anakin are forced into hiding whilst their friends on Coruscant attempt to mount a rescue mission.
The vast majority of this book is tedious repetition; Anakin fixing shield generators, Obi-Wan healing people, Yoda and Bail going behind Palpatine's back, Lok Durd beating up Bant'ena - all of these things happen over and over again. And they weren't particularly interesting the first time.
Durd continues to be one of the worst villains ever to befoul a Star Wars novel, basically spending all his time either shouting at people or beating up a girl.
The worst element of the book, however, is that it features a truly breathtaking anticlimax. Everything, oh so very slowly, builds up to a final battle with General Grievous blockading the planet, Padme recruiting a civillian fleet to fly in like the cavalry and the siege of Torbel coming down to one last desperate defence... and then it's all skipped over in about four pages. And I do mean 'skipped'.
This book, and its predecessor, require a long boring slog to get through, only to have nothing actually happen at the end. Awful.
Followed by Karen Traviss' 'Republic Commando: True Colors'.
1 out of 5
Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit - Stealth
21 BBY, book one of two. Amid the Clone Wars Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker infiltrate the planet Lanteeb and discover that the Separatists there have created a devastating new biological weapon.
This book has a long list of flaws but the most prominent is just how badly Miller get the characterisation of Obi-Wan wrong, to the point that I barely recognised my favourite Jedi. The author did a great job with the character in 'The Clone Wars: Wild Space' but here we see an Obi-Wan who genuinely considers murdering a kidnapped scientist in cold blood so that she can't work on the bioweapon any more. Anakin, always a difficult character to like, spend his time in this book yo-yo-ing from whiny hissy fit to outrageous double standard and back again. Considering that nothing really happens throughout the entire book, it's just the two Jedi sort of hanging out together, to make both of them so badly realised means there's little left to like.
The truth is, this book's best scenes are the ones which don't feature the main characters or 'plot' at all; such as Bail Organa's increasing distrust of Palpatine, Yoda's concern for his two favourite Jedi and the rescue mission undertaken by Jedi Taria Damsin and Ahsoka Tano.
Perhaps the massive flaws in this book could have been offset with a really good villain but instead we get Lok Durd, voiced by George Takei in the Clone Wars TV show but unrecognisable as the same character here. Durd's villainy here extends pretty much to getting cross. Really cross.
Overall this is a boring book with bad characters. Simple as that.
Followed by 'Clone Wars Gambit: Siege'.
1 out of 5
Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Wild Space
22 BBY. A sequel to Karen Traviss' novelisation of 'The Clone Wars' movie and a tie-in to its associated animated series; both of which gave me strong reservations about this book. However, it was lauded by Star Wars writer Abel G. Pena and therefore I decided to give it a look.
The story focuses on Obi-Wan Kenobi and Senator Bail Organa (Princess Leia's adoptive dad) as they are forced to travel into the untamed regions of Wild Space to a planet permeated with the power of the Sith. Obi-Wan has long been a favourite of mine and not only was it was nice to see him taking centre stage rather than the deeply irritating Anakin, but it was also interesting to see how he and Bail become the trusted friends seen in 'Revenge Of The Sith'.
The book begins in the immediate aftermath of 'Attack Of The Clones' and I really enjoyed reading how all the characters involved are coping with the emotional fallout of that story's ending. It's interesting to note that in those first few chapters Obi-Wan's voice in my head as I read his dialogue was very much Ewan McGregor but as the story transitioned into tying-in to the animated series the voice became the much crapper version seen there. Even now I'm not sure if this was because Miller was acknowledging the shift in tone between the movies and the cartoon, or simply a subconscious affectation on my part.
The tie-ins to the cartoon provide all this book's worst bits, all of them involving the aforementioned irritating Skywalker and his apprentice Ahsoka, who is remarkably even more irritating. Also the book does drag slightly, and perhaps intentionally, during Obi-Wan and Bail's long space voyage into Wild Space.
So, by the last third of the book I was a little dispirited overall. However, once Obi-Wan began facing the dark side assaults on the Sith planet Zigoola I really began to enjoy the book and it redeemed all of its flaws. The simple truth is that I love reading about the eternal struggle between the Jedi and the Sith and it is in this era, when there aren't the legions of Sith which seem to be popping up in all other Star Wars media at the moment, that the struggle is it's most intense and personal.
So overall, I felt that this book, whilst flawed in places, was more than worth my time.
Followed by Elizabeth Hand's 'Boba Fett: Hunted'.
4 out of 5