I am a Star Wars geek.
Not so much that I can name every bounty hunter in all 6 movies. I don't watch the crappy Clone Wars cartoon (I tried one day ... it reminded me of the last time I tried to watch the Superfriends cartoon. Ridiculously stilted to the point of unwatchable).
I don't actually own a Jedi robe. I have not (yet) built my own lightsaber. And somehow, we haven't gotten around to getting the original movies on DVD yet. (Definitely need the one without Lucas' later crap added on.)
I do, however, read some of the books. I discovered a long time ago that despite how much I absolutely LOATHE Star Trek, the original series, some of the books were actually pretty decent. I really can't watch the show because of Shatner and nothing else. Armed with that knowledge, I started checking some Star Wars books out of the library many moons ago and discovered there were some damn good ones. And, with a "hobby" of reading children's books, I was delighted when they brought out the Young Jedi Knights series - a series for young adults revolving around the next generation of Solo and Skywalker. And, I was terribly impressed with the characterization of Leia's and Han's twins, Jacen and Jaina.
Jaina was quite a lot like her dad - a mechanic, a pilot, into action a bit more than introspective navel-gazing. Jacen was very empathetic, very thoughtful, prone to the most inane and wretched jokes, and he loved animals/creatures of all sorts. The opening of the first book had Han coming to visit his children at the Jedi Academy with flowers for his son and an engine for his daughter. Sure, the flowers were a food for Jacen's pets. Sure it was done quite deliberately to shock readers out of stereotypes.
But they didn't leave it a shock-level thing; it was a one-time "trick." And you quickly realized that it fit the characters perfectly and thought no more of it.
The kids' series was a splendid run and I still enjoy going back and reading them. I quickly branched out into the main storyline of the Star Wars 'verse and discovered that the franchise was perhaps getting even better in the books than the original three movies. The New Jedi Order segment of books was stunning. The Dark Nest, not so much, but it contained some vital information that led into the absolute tour de force that left me reeling in Legacy of the Force. (These "titles," by the way, all cover multiple books. Some are trilogies, some are longer. I think New Jedi Order, which was just an incredibly rich storyline, hit something like 21 books including an e-book novella.)
In a lot of ways, I think the books have now told the basic storyline of the prequel movies far better than Lucas' movies did. In the Legacy of the Force we see a fall to the dark side that makes sense and shows it happening to a character we actually care about ... something Lucas just did not set up well in the prequel movies at all.
I can't remember the last time a series of books hit me as hard as this New Jedi Order and Legacy of the Force runs. The writers, largely because they have the luxury of "space" (not restricted to a 90 minute or 120 minute film) had the time to set up the characters (those who weren't already established) and the time to let things evolve in a natural matter instead of forcing things through in a short period of time. There was no need for "Five Months Later..." or any nonsense like that.
If you enjoy strong characterizations and SciFi, I really recommend these books. And, if you could start out with the kid's Jedi series, it would be even better. If there was one kid to fall to the dark side ... well, I wouldn't have picked this one from the beginning.
The books show how easy it is for the best of us to be seduced by thinking we're doing good and how hard it is to jump off that track once we're on it.
Posted by Red Monkey at June 12, 2009 11:16 PM |
People Say I Have ADHD, But I Think - Hey Look, A Chicken