David's Book Review: STAR WARS: RIPTIDE
Published: December 18, 2011 - 9:05am
STAR WARS: RIPTIDE, written by Paul S. Kemp, follows Jedi Jaden Korr as he tracks a group of renegade clones who are unique among their peers. These are clones with the ability to use the Force. As Korr and his group close in on the them, it quickly becomes apparent the clones are on a mission of their own and, worse yet, the Jedi is not the only one tracking them.
I have always been a Star Wars fan. I remember watching the original trilogy over and over again with my dad when I was little. I collected the toys. I watched the TV movies and specials. As I got older, I grew to enjoy other things and, while I still loved me some Star Wars movies, I never really got into the expanded universe that had been created. I knew a little, but didn't read any of the books or comics.
My limited knowledge helped me to understand some of the events that influenced STAR WARS: RIPTIDE , which takes place over 40 years after the end of Return of the Jedi, but I was still in the dark in a few places. The feeling really grabbed me when I realized this was a continuation from a previous book, Star Wars: Crosscurrent. Events from that book led right up to the beginning of this one. I initially felt like I had started watching a TV show in the middle of the season. A little more explanation of what was happening and who some of these people were would have been helpful. If nothing else, a little line on the front of the book stating it was a sequel would have alleviated a bit of the initial confusion for those who may pick up this book looking for a standalone story.
Once I started to get a handle on the characters, setting, and events I really enjoyed the story as it unfolded. The characters were fleshed out pretty well, aach with their own motivation and personality, including R-6, the only droid in the book. On this note, however, Mr. Kemp is guilty of an easy misstep as the antagonists were more interesting than the protagonists. I would often become disappointed when the narrative moved away from the clones or the Umbarans, who were also chasing them. The clones had a more diverse set of personalities. In ways, they were sympathetic. The Umbaran assassins were mysterious and just plain cool. They could almost control shadows and wear them like a cloak. Their ability to sever both Jedi and Sith's connection to the Force was something I had never seen before either.
The story moved along at a nice pace and built to a rewarding climax that had me flipping pages pretty quickly toward the end. My biggest complaint in the pacing area goes back to the character introductions. I would have liked to have seen more backstory on where these people came from. I could have focused more on the story in the first quarter of the book if I didn't have to keep trying to remember who was who and why they were where they were. But the story ended solidly and left it open for spin-offs for some characters.
In short, any big Star Wars fan already familiar with the Expanded Universe will want to pick this up. If you are new to it, I would suggest finding a better jumping on point and coming back to this one.
When a ship full of Sith warriors arrived in Galactic Alliance space, the fight to destroy it accidentally uncovered a deadly menace: a long-hidden group of clones, secretly created as insidious weapons capable of wielding the Force and heedless of the differences between light side and dark side. Now the clones have escaped -- and evidence suggests they are flawed by genetic disease and violent madness.
Jedi Knight Jaden Korr pursues the clones, hoping to heal them but prepared to destroy them. What he doesn't know is that Sith agents are hot on his heels, determined not only to recover the clones for their Master but to capture Jaden for their own dark-side purposes. In a life-or-death battle, Jaden will confront a shocking reality that will rock him to his core and bring him face-to-face with the question of what makes a man... and a Jedi.
Paul S. Kemp
Del Ray Publishing/Random House