Sunday, September 21, 2008

Star Wars: Clone Wars (novelization)

The Clone Wars, Vol. 1 (Star Wars)

by Karen Traviss

Book Review by Dan Tres Omi

Omi's Note: Again, I have yet to see the movie. I plan on watching it before the October 3rd release of the animated series on Cartoon Network. I do have a few points to discuss on this blog about the Clone Wars and GL's current maneuvers. I know I am so behind on what is going on. Please bear with me. Again, thanks for the support and the emails.

When it comes to the Clones of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) or the Mandalorians, Karen Traviss is the go to person. Her successful Clone Commando series is a testament to that. Not to mention her contribution to the Legacy of the Jedi Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus story arc. Unfortunately, Traviss gets caught up in the Star Wars franchise scramble for more money.

One would assume that George Lucas, or GL as we affectionately call him here, has made enough money to really sit back and let the SW canon evolve. Most of us, even non Star Wars fans, know that GL is loaded and there is no need for him to make bad decisions. Of course, many Expanded Universe (EU) fans wanted the Clone Wars plot to continue since the movies only cover a very small portion of the actual Clone Wars and the books only make reference to them. So it was natural that supply and demand would bring new stories out. Yet introducing new characters that have never been mentioned before causes more problems.

Of course, Traviss is not to blame in any of this. I find that when it comes to the Clones, Traviss brings even much more of a perspective from a cloned human. Although much of it deals with their do or die dedication to the Republic and the Jedi Order. Yet through Captain Rex, his non commissioned officers (NCOs), and Commander Cody (who plays a prominent role in Ep III), we see a more personal interaction between the clones. Unfortunately, the story takes away too much from the clones. The idea of the Jedi helping Jabba the Hutt is far fetched but when the story continues, it makes sense.

Remember, these stories are supposed to get into how Anakin continues to slide deeper and deeper into the dark side. So helping a Hutt who at one time owned him and his mother helped to bring out some deep seated anger. Helping Jabba also made Anakin asks more questions about the Jedi's role in the galaxy. Why aren't the Jedi helping the regular citizen of the Republic instead of some questionable characters such as Jabba the Hutt? Why didn't the Jedi free all of the slaves that Anakin knew growing up on Tattoine? Traviss does a good job of exploring that.

Making Anakin a Jedi Knight keeps Obi Wan Kenobi out of the picture. This allows Anakin an opportunity to really explore his feelings about the Force, the Jedi, and his relationships with Padme Amidala. Although I have issues with Ahsoka, Anakin's padawan, I can see why she was introduced into the story. Having an apprentice keeps Anakin in check. However, there could have been other ways to do that.

Traviss does a great job but unfortunately, she will catch all the flak from the EU fans due to the input of GL and Dave Filoni. . The book is a quick read since it covers two short battles. Members of the 501st will also enjoy this book since it adds two more battles under the 501st flag.