Sunday, August 20, 2006

Book-A-Day #34 (8/20): Star Wars: Tempest by Troy Denning

This is the third in the nine-book "Legacy of the Force" subseries, and it comes out in December. I'll say nothing about the plot, since that can only lead to heartbreak.

I will say that I've been feeling vaguely unsatisfied with Star Wars books recently, for no reason I could articulate. (Despite the fact that some of the very best books to come out of that world have come in the last few years, like Matt Stover's two excellent novels Traitor and Shatterpoint and Sean Stewart's thoughtful Yoda: Dark Rendezvous.) Reading Tempest, I think I've figured it out.

Nearly all of the Star Wars books lately have been Things Get Worse books, and I like my space opera to have happy endings.

The big "New Jedi Order" plotline? Eighteen volumes of unmitigated Things Getting Worse (and then Much Worse, and then Oy! I Can't Even Tell You How Much Worse), and finally an ending in which happiness must be found in the fact that things have briefly stopped getting worse, though they're certainly not all that good, or getting much better. Obviously, in a nineteen-volume story about the same bad guys, they have to keep winning for quite a while, but I did begin to wonder if there would ever be any possibility of joy in this fictional world ever again.

The prequel movies are all Things Get Worse stories, as they had to be, and so the books set in and around that part of the timeline were also about Things Getting Worse.

And the current storyline is also very much in Things Get Worse mode so far. (Though I hope there's some happiness at the end, unless the Star Wars Powers That Be are trying to induce mass suicide.)

On the other hand, the Bantam Books era was set in Things Get Better time: our heroes were mopping up the remnants of the Empire (though, according to the timeline, it took more than a decade to do so), and storylines rarely spread across more than one book. That was more to my temperament; I like happiness in my zippy space adventure.

But I'm not the target audience for Star Wars books to begin with, so nobody needs to listen to me. At least now I know what's been making me grumpy, and I'll stop expecting something that I'm not going to get when I read a Star Wars book.

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