Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: Star Wars - Coruscant Nights: Patterns of Force by Michael Reaves

Jax Pavan must now face Darth Vader himself while some friends become enemies and a weapon of immense power falls into the wrong hands… with unforeseen consequences.

I finished this book two weeks ago already, but our internet has been off, so that’s why I’m only posting the review now. :-)

As soon as I saw the book, I bought it, no questions asked; the sustained quality of Michael Reaves’ work as well as the excellent tales he creates have made him one of my favorite Star Wars EU authors – he knows how to make a reader care for the characters he creates, writes some pretty cool battles, and he knows what Star Wars is and brings that to every project he takes on; that said, I was a bit disappointed with Patterns of Force.

The book starts off well – we are introduced to a new character, a young Force-sensitive eeking out a living on Coruscant; he steals food to survive, always walking the fine line between starvation and satisfaction, and he keeps to himself, because he’s being hunted by the Inquisitors…

The Inquisitors are Force-sensitives garbed in robes who work for Darth Vader – among their more nefarious duties is finding, tracking, and capturing any Force-sensitives, or Jedi-in-hiding, that remain or Coruscant. If you are captured, you’re either killed, or forced to join the Inquisitors and the dark side – there is no middle ground.

Now we come to my first problem with the book. I would have liked a bit more about the Inquisitors, even if it was a short piece on the history of the group – how and why they were formed, who the most powerful among them are, how long they had been operating, etc. but we don’t really get this. It seems they sprung into being in the few weeks between Street of Shadows and Patterns of Force. If an explanation is given, I can’t remember it, and that in itself is also not good – a group of Force-sensitives working with Dark Vader and drawing on the dark side should be a bit more memorable and important. But, that aside, the main Inquisitor we meet in the book is a pretty cool character – not much depth to him, but he’s a good foil to the street-urchin he’s hunting.

Moving on, the rest of the book is pretty awesome – Michael ties together threads that had been planted years ago in the previous books – and many important events come full-circle, including some cool new plot-points that will have you on the edge of your seat:

There is a traitor is Jax’s group, and trust me, you wont have an idea who it is until the moment of the reveal! :-)
The droid I-5 is also, once again, so damn cool, and not your average droid either. And I’m not just talking about his sentience… :-)

The climax of the book, though… Well, it seemed a bit quick, to me. I was expecting fireworks, because, I mean, this is Darth Vader versus Jax Pavan! I s’pose I hoped for a major battle, anyone would, and looking back, all the characters stayed true to themselves and didn’t act out-of-character, but it still seemed that there could have been more.

In any case, what I’m trying to say is that Patterns of Force is a satisfactory end to the Coruscant Nights trilogy – everything seems right and makes sense (though the street-urchin Force-sensitive does seem a bit uber, like Galen Marek in The Force Unleashed), and it’s a great addition to the Star Wars EU (Expanded Universe, for those who don’t speak Basic), but it ended a bit weakly.

Still, I will read everything Reaves writes – the man brings through genuine laugh-out-loud humor to his work, something that is sorely needed in the Star Wars EU at the moment. Don’t get me wrong – I love the serious, epic stories of Legacy of the Force and can’t wait to get into Fate of the Jedi, but when the humor is there, the two authors who do it best are Aaron Allston and Michael Reaves. And when that humor is layered with good storytelling, you can’t go wrong! :-)


To order your copies, click here for US, here for UK and for those in SA, please use the link at the top of the blog. Also, don't forget to check out Michael's site here. :-)

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