a novel engineer (jawastew) wrote in bookish,
a novel engineer

Star Wars 501st: An Imperial Commando Novel by Karen Traviss

I won’t even pretend I remember everything that happened in the last Republic Commando book. Big events (Dar has a baby, Fi was brain dead, Sev’s MIA), points of suspense (clones have accelerated aging)--those are easy to recall, but tiny details that set up larger, looming, and very far off in the future plot lines fall away pretty easily: the significance of Death Watch, Arla Fett, Gilamar, etc… The problem with these books is the amount of intricate information and the large cast crammed into 400 some odd pages that beg for sequels and long, satisfying arcs. These are books I definitely need a Dramatis Personae to help jog my memory.

501st did not have a Dramatis Personae.

In a lot of ways, these books remind me of Timothy Zahn’s on the scale of character and growth Traviss writes into her cordoned off area of the Expanded Universe. It makes her books fascinating, but that depth comes at the cost of my attention span between releases which have been teased out too far apart for my tastes. Then again, with more time to write, Traviss has always delivered books I can’t get enough of.

In 501st, there’s so much set-up and introduction of new characters and potential plot lines that it makes me even more upset most of them probably won’t be explored, if at all, by Karen Traviss or anyone. With only one more Imperial Commando book left, I can only guess what gets left behind (Death Watch?? Melusar??). The end of Order 66 was, predictably, with the order to execute all Jedi on command. Etain is dead; Niner and Darman are part of Vader’s new Imperial 501st legion of elite stormtroopers; Skirata’s running a rogue clone daycare; Uthan must tackle the tricky and problematic accelerated aging process; Jango Fett’s sister is under the watchful eye of the Skirata clan and may or may not be legitimately insane. Suffice to say: there’s a lot going on before we even get into this latest book.

To put it bluntly: all of this is still a problem in 501st. This does not detract from the book at all. Let me tell you why.

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Tags: genre: science fiction, review, xxx author last name: r-z

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