Friday, February 13, 2009

Shatterpoint

Shatterpoint
© 2004 Matthew Stover
406 pages


Set very soon after the conclusion of Attack of the Clones, Shatterpoint is an Extended Universe Star Wars novel centered around the character of Mace Windu and a personal trial of his at the beginning of the Clone War. A former padawan who was almost a daughter to him has vanished under questionable circumstances. She, like many Jedi knights, had been sent to a Seperatist world to stir up trouble for the Confederacy of Independent Systems and allow the Republic time to get on its feet after being thrust into an unexpected war -- but there are hints that she has gone over to the Dark Side.

Such is the way of padawans and Jedi masters. I sometimes wonder if there is a Jedi master in the Star Wars universe who has not lost a padawan to the dark side. It's obviously a good source of drama, but at this point I think it's overused. The wayward padawan in this novel, Depa, has been sent to the jungle world of Haruun Kal to organize resistance against the Confederacy -- and Mace takes it upon himself to rescue her from the darkness she may have fallen into. The beginning of the book is strong, allowing us to see the Republic attempting to transition into a wartime government. The author gives us insight into the character of Windu and his relationship with Chancellor Palpatine. Once the book's setting shifts to Haruun Kal, Windu has to struggle with questions of morality and ethics in wartime. Stover does a good job of showing the stresses war places on peacekeeping Jedi who have been thrust into the position of being generals. The combat situation on Haruun Kal reminds me of the Vietnam War, and the author paints the political situation well. The last two hundred pages of the book are expressly military.

The beginning of the book was very strong, as said, but after the two-hundred page park my interest began to wane. This book was the first book I began reading this past week, but it was almost the last one I finished, largely because I couldn't stay interested. Even Windu's self-conflict became tiresome after a while: it seemed like gilded drama, if that makes any sense. It was overdone. Books have varying appeals, though, and I don't imagine that my response is a universal one.

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