Monday, May 24, 2010

Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth

In a previous post, I named Karen Miller's first Star Wars novel, Wild Space, as the best Star Wars book I've ever read. Unfortunately, I probably had too high of expectations for her second book, Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth. Whereas Wild Space was about Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi bonding together through a grueling experience on a forbidden planet (with little in the way of traditional action scenes), Stealth is a more traditional Clone Wars story: maniacal Separatist General Lok Durd is developing a lethal bio-weapon, so Obi-Wan and Anakin have to uncover the plot, rescue the kidnapped scientist involved, and stop Durd from spreading the toxin before it's too late. This book is heavy on combat (especially in the first 60 pages or so), but every description of mass-combat in the Clone Wars pales in comparison to the work of Karen Traviss in the Republic Commando series of books. Indeed, Miller comes across almost naieve in her portrayal of "heroic" Republic armies and "evil" Separatist armies, and she also lacks Traviss' sophisticated portrayal of military culture, terminology, and tactics. There's an attempt in the book to really delve into Anakin's struggles with having been a slave, leaving his mother behind, etc., but these issues have been explored sufficiently in past books. The scenes between Bail Organa and Padme on Coruscant really crackle, but on the whole I found the story and dialogue in this novel barely above mediocre.

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