May 01, 2005

The Cestus Deception

Before I forget, Bob Sturm points me to this very funny site. The era is Episode V. Darth Vader heads for Hoth to root out the insurgency once and for all and look for young Luke Skywalker. What better time than for the Dark Lord of the Sith to start up his own blog? Let's hope the Emperor doesn't find out about it. Read it in reverse order for best effect.

I finished another Clone Wars book, this one entitled "The Cestus Deception" by Steven Barnes (of Larry Niven and Steven Barnes' "Dream Park" fame, among others). In this novel, Obi-Wan is sent off to help another Jedi with the unfortunate name of Kit Fisto (who I gather will appear in Episode III, along with another dark Jedi introduced here named Asajj Ventress, an apprentice of Dooku, and General Greivous, who appears in other books).

Obi-Wan and Kit are trying to stop a planet from constructing deadly "Jedi Killer" droids to sell to the Confederacy. But doing so would plunge the planet into poverty and also screw over the oligarchy that rules the planet, so there is substantial resistance. There is a resistance movement, vaguely reminiscent of the Fremen from "Dune", on this desert world, and they naturally favor the Republic. One of the things I like about the Clone Wars books more than anything is that they develop the basic idea behind the Clone Wars.

They show how Dooku and Palpatine use the noble intentions of both sides to drag out the war, which both consolidates Palpatine's power and also has the beneficial side effect of killing off Jedi. Here, Obi-Wan's plan to negotiate the ending of the production line of killer robots falls through, and he has to figure out how to revive things from total disaster (thanks to the intervention of Asajj Ventress) before the Republic just bombs the planet into oblivion, driving more planets into the arms of the Confederacy. A fair bit of time in this book is also devoted to exploring the nature of the clone army.

One of the clones is allowed to grow somewhat as a character, and that actually worked ok for me. It felt like a good little sci fi subplot was snuck in to the rigid framework of the Star Wars universe. From what I gather of some of the reviews by SW faithful over on Amazon, Barnes didn't do a great job of consistency with other past events with Fisto and Ventress. Also, I gather that this is perhaps the worst of the Clone Wars novels. I don't know, it wasn't that bad for me, but I would like to see the dark Jedi Ventress portrayed a little better. Maybe I need to read the Dark Horse graphic novels to get in the right frame of mind to appreciate some of these new characters.

Posted by Observer at May 1, 2005 07:58 AM

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