May 20, 2005

Medstar

Ok, since I'm going to see Episode III tomorrow with the family, I suppose I should bang off the last couple of Clone Wars book reviews here. I recently finished the Medstar pair of books by Michael Reaves and Steve Perry. This is really one oversized books chopped up into two books for some reason, and it could've easily been shortened to one.

The main action is a Star Wars MASH unit set in a combat zone on a jungle world where a healing plant grows that can't be found anywhere else in the Universe. The surgeons there have all of the same problems and personality conflicts and ethical issues that you might find in a season's worth of ER episodes, just compressed into a few days because of the intensity of the battles being fought between clones and droids. The main Jedi character is Luminara's Padawan from previous novels, Barriss Offee, who is sent here as essentially her last trial before becoming a Jedi. Barriss is also a healer, so she helps out where she can, but larger issues are at stake than merely having her act as a Jedi healer in an assembly line of injured clones.

The medical unit also has to deal with problems caused by a saboteur whose identity is kept from the reader in a misleading way, a culturally taboo relationship between doctors, a corrupt overseeing officer and other underworld characters. These subplots are mildly interesting, but I'm really reading these books looking for some incremental advancement of the overall plot. For that, all we get is basically Barriss maturing and going through this trial to become a full-fledged Jedi Knight, but in the grand scheme of things, how important is Barriss? I don't know.

Probably the most interesting and unique subplot involved a sentient droid with selective memory failure who hinted at being involved in some adventures, but that was never really fleshed out as much as it was worth. Among the Clone Wars books, this was a middle-of-the-pack effort. The authors went out of their way to write about regular people rather than Jedi, which gives them a lot of freedom to make things unpredictable, to kill off characters, etc. The down side of that is that, to me, unless they're writing about major Star Wars universe characters and/or advancing the main story arc in some way, why should I be reading this as opposed to better fiction set in an independent universe without all these rules?

I guess I'm just a sucker for the whole Jedi thing. Plus the books are quick, easy reads and all findable in the local library, so it's a cheap habit.

Posted by Observer at May 20, 2005 04:38 PM
Comments

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(shudder)

Posted by: Humbaba on May 21, 2005 08:18 AM