Hello there everyone! MizzeeOH here with a commentary on my first review ever (that’s right, I’m the commentary-star this week, not MIB! So there!). Thankyou, thankyou, hold the applause, you’re too kind. Anyway, I’ll be looking at the very first official review I ever posted of a fantastic Star Wars book named Shatterpoint. It was a cold October evening in 2009 when history was made… *dramatic music*
A few months into the infamous Clone Wars, Mace Windu travels to his home planet of Haruun Kal after hearing disturbing evidence that his former Padawan, Jedi Master Depa Billaba, has gone insane after being stationed on the planet. After he arrives, however, Mace soon discovers that what is really happening on the planet is far worse than he could ever have imagined…
Not a bad intro, but I see my now mostly forgotten habit of ending each beginning summary with ellipsis. I remember how I always thought the DOT DOT DOT sounded dramatic, like the official synopsis for a movie/book/whatever. Now I still sometimes do that, but I mostly stick with the clear cut ones, as well as trying to throw in some humour here and there.
Does Matthew Stover deliver with this Mace-centric novel? Read after the break to see my review of Shatterpoint!
I also used to do the “read on for more!” thing. I just look at is as cheesy now and never do that anymore; it reminds me of when those annoying ass newscasters pull the “stay tuned for that story after the break” crap. I AM NOT MY LOCAL NEWS.
Shatterpoint definitely doesn’t waste time in getting to the main plot; literally in the second chapter (with the first chapter basically consisting of Mace, Yoda and Palpatine listening to a recording in Depa’s own voice hinting at the madness she was suffering from) Mace is at Haruun Kal, seeking out his former Padawan. Things take awhile to kick in, and during the city-time in the beginning of the book there were times when I was a bit bored with it all; however, once Mace and the rest of his group (consisting of entertaining characters such as Nick Rostu and Liane “Chalk” Trevval”) venture into the wild forest of Haruun Kal, things really kick in.
So finally we get to the first part of the actual review, and I notice the conspicuous absence of my usual intro to reviews, where I tend to give some background, what I was expecting going into it, etc. There’s also no humour to this which is very unlike my style now; as far as how I currently write my reviews goes, I tend to try to work in as much funniness as I possibly can (people have described me as…. “sassy”. I don’t know if that’s accurate but who knows). Nowadays, as far as the boring thing went, I would probably include something like, “The beginning part was slow as hell, but it wasn’t Outbound Flight-slow. If there’s one thing we can all be grateful for, it’s that.” Okay, I’ll stop with the OF hate. For now.
The book has a nice, dark atmosphere, much darker than many Star Wars books out there. With Stover writing it, though, that doesn’t come as a surprise, and I mean that in a positive way – Shatterpoint shows the intensity of Jedi Master Mace Windu, a character Stover does fantastically. My only complaint with his characterization (and it’s a minor complaint) is that Mace might sometimes be a little too intense and/or aggressive (though I applaud Stover’s use of the phrase “uncomplicated buttwhipping” as Mace looks forward to an inevitable fight). However, this does contribute to the overall development of the character, and it does add some realism to Mace; being the creator of the lightsaber form Vaapad, a technique which focuses on one’s anger and darkness, he would have to have a certain dark quality to him, as shown in Shatterpoint.
I feel pretty much the same way now about this book as I did back then about the darkness, at least – it still is one of the much more gritty SW books out there, beaten in that regard only by other Stover works. And Mace was a supreme badass in this novel. I wish I would’ve given an example of how he was too apparently intense, however; I mention that and then pretty much instantly move on to how it’s a good thing.
Another thing that shines in the novel is the combat; it was done magnificently, especially the unarmed duel that Mace and Kar Vastor have roughly in the middle of the book. It’s fast paced but usually easy to follow (though sometimes it gets a bit confusing, but for the most part it’s fine). The battle in the skies above Haruun Kal near the end of the book is just marvelous, as well.
Something about me saying something is “just marvelous as well” makes me cringe. It reminds me of the whole “Marvelous darling, simply MAAAARVELOUS!” thing… even if I don’t actually know who originally said that. As a side note though, I can’t actually really remember either of the parts I mentioned here. Does that mean Shatterpoint is ultimately forgettable? Hmmm.
There were some parts that were extremely dark; for example, when Terrel, a thirteen year old Balawai, stabs Chalk and Besh nearly to death while they’re in a deep healing trance, and Kar Vastor, the Korunnai Lor Pelek, goes on to murder him for this. The actual stabbing of Chalk and Besh isn’t even shown; Mace comes in after the deed is done to see Terrel’s arms covered with blood, the knife on the ground, ect. It’s even a bit creepy, considering a thirteen year old boy committed this act.
Even now this is much darker than the majority of things you’ll find in SW, which is probably the most distinctive part of the whole book. I could’ve easily combined this paragraph with the one about Mace Windu above, however, and just focused on the darkness in general for a little bit. *scolds past self*
Another thing I liked about Shatterpoint were Mace’s occasional journals throughout the novel. Carrying around a data pad whose only working function is its recorder, Mace uses it at times to document his thoughts on current events in the novel. Every chapter with the journal entries I enjoyed reading, though if you don’t like 1st person writing (like I,Jedi used) you might get annoyed with these after awhile. Even the last chapter was one of these very journal entries, though I almost feel like they could’ve done more with the ending than what they did, but that’s not a big complaint.
Oh my god, I’m convinced at this point that my old reviews had absolutely no transition into each point. *sighs* At least it’s a problem that’s mostly corrected now. This paragraph does remind me of how much I want a first person POV Mara book, though. *drools at the thought*
Shatterpoint also has a rich variety of characters other than Mace Windu; the intimidating Kar Vastor, the complex Depa Billaba, the humorous Nick Rostu, and other various, more minor characters. I really enjoyed Nick; he was the source of a lot of humor in the book and a fun character all around to read about. The emotion the characters felt throughout the book was very well written, especially near the end when a pretty important character died; I actually got pretty sad reading this whole passage, because it’s very emotional.
I really was repetitive with the whole “emotional” thing. If I recall correctly, though, I think it was Depa who died, though for the life of me I can’t remember how, why, or anything of that nature – maybe I should revisit this book sometime in the future.
So overall, Shatterpoint is an action-packed, dark, and very enjoyable read; I highly recommend it to any EU reader, but for the major Mace fans out there, this is a must-read.
A decent ending, and it pretty much sums up the book in a nutshell; I still say that if you like Mace this should be your top priority to read as far as SW novels go. It’s written by Matthew freakin’ Stover, after all. That should be all you need to know to be assured of its epicness.
Anyway, that’s it for my commentary on my first official review ever of the Star Wars novel Shatterpoint. All in all I think I’ve definitely improved, even if some issues still rear their ugly heads every once in awhile (like the transitions). Still a lot of room for improvement on my part right now, I suppose.