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Saturday, 21 April 2012

AFICIONADO REVIEW: 'FATE OF THE JEDI: APOCALYPSE'



STAR WARS: FATE OF THE JEDI - APOCALYPSE

By Troy Denning

Published in the UK by CENTURY PUBLISHING


Reviewed by Scott Weller

Reaching a zenith of fast paced action in its final section, it’s a shame that the much anticipated concluding book of the nine-part FATE OF THE JEDI series, APOCALYPSE, by popular author Troy Denning, doesn’t totally succeed in giving the once promising book series-originally designed by LUCAS BOOKS to re-invigorate the STAR WARS saga in printed form-the ultimately satisfying climax that it deserves, and especially after what has proved to be a very long, and often downright frustrating, four-year publishing duration.

Containing an imbalanced mix of over and underwritten material, with middle books that, in my opinion, contained lots of padding and many out of character characterizations, plus some downright poor underuse of some of our Classic STAR WARS heroes within occasionally wacky ideas and set pieces, Denning, part of the series triad with Aaron Allston and Christie Golden, works hard in rounding things off, trying to keep both the series epic sweep and its story momentum intact, with some good, if not totally perfect, plot strands utilizing our old and new Jedi heroes, and a now legion of supporting players, alongside some well described, worthy adventuring, and consequence facing, as the final battle against the Sith and the Abeloth continues across the besieged Coruscant-now the second time the once glistening world had been infiltrated/ attacked since the epic Palpatine kidnap of EPISODE III.

Most of the books previously dangling questions are given answers of sort’s -though some of those relating to the nature of the Force made me a little uneasy, clashing with my perceived view of it from seeing the movies. The conception and existence of the book series-spanning Abeloth creature also wasn’t quite what I expected, either, but not being officially cannon in my eyes anyway I’ll overall accept what the writer/s ultimately did with it/her. Die-hard fans hoping for game-changing deaths galore after the online rumour mill started up a while back are going to be very disappointed, though, and it won’t be spoiling things to say that the book has a happy ending. C’mon, this is still a fairy-tale universe, after all! Our band of heroes (and anti-heroes) have been moved and counter moved around the chess board block but they’re now in stationery positions until they can be manipulated all over again for the surely inevitable follow-up.

Now more than ever, though, I think that LUCAS BOOKS has to think very carefully about their future multi-part book plans, and I certainly think the entire range in general is in danger of going very stale- it’s definitely reached a point where it needs fresher and more innovative blood (and I think they should spread out their wings beyond core American talent, too). Would it also be harmful to move the saga away from the Sith and all the current, and very heavy, continuity baggage bogging it down, so as to find new and more diverse and epic villains beyond the frontiers of the New Republic? Thinking outside of the box has been the core motto of George Lucas for years-how about consulting with the Father Creator on ideas for the future literary destinies of the characters he originally, and lovingly, created? After all, he still has a whole wad of notes for the aborted Episodes Six to Nine that could surely be mined…

Overall, though, and despite such festering criticisms, I can’t totally dismiss the FATE OF THE JEDI series as a wasted opportunity- the ambition was there to try and make a big creative mark after the prior success of THE NEW JEDI ORDER and LEGACY OF THE FORCE series, with some new concepts, character off-shoots and big ideas- but something wasn’t quite pulled off in its ultimate translation, in a way that made it more of a footnote to the previous series rather than a fresh and innovative new step towards the future…


STAR WARS AFICIONADO RATING: Not quite a shockwave ending to the saga, then. Rather a large ripple, instead. 7 out of 10

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