Monday, December 27, 2010

Preview Review: Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber: Chapter 8 *SPOILERS*

Warning: The following contains spoilers for the forthcoming novel, Red Harvest.

StarWars.com has released the 8th and final chapter excerpt for Joe Schreiber's latest Star Wars Horror novel, Red Harvest.  Red Harvest tells the origin story of the zombie virus that first appeared as an Imperial bio-weapon in the novel Death Troopers.

Random House Description: 
The era of the Old Republic is a dark and dangerous time, as Jedi Knights valiantly battle the Sith Lords and their ruthless armies. But the Sith have disturbing plans—and none more so than the fulfillment of Darth Scabrous’s fanatical dream, which is about to become nightmarish reality.

Unlike those other Jedi sidelined to the Agricultural Corps—young Jedi whose abilities have not proved up to snuff—Hestizo Trace possesses one extraordinary Force talent: a gift with plants. Suddenly her quiet existence among greenhouse and garden specimens is violently destroyed by the arrival of an emissary from Darth Scabrous. For the rare black orchid that she has nurtured and bonded with is the final ingredient in an ancient Sith formula that promises to grant Darth Scabrous his greatest desire.

But at the heart of the formula is a never-before-seen virus that’s worse than fatal—it doesn’t just kill, it transforms. Now the rotting, ravenous dead are rising, driven by a bloodthirsty hunger for all things living—and commanded by a Sith Master with an insatiable lust for power and the ultimate prize: immortality . . . no matter the cost.
There are cool flowers like Mario's fire flower that give you a quick change of clothes and the ability to shoot fireballs, and then there are flowers that turn you into mindless darkside zombies.  Darth Scabrous is going to get his hands on one of these very rare black orchid flowers and zombie hijinks ensue.


Chapter Dramatis Personae:
Rojo Trace, Male Jedi Knight

Lieutenant Norch, Male, Republic Officer
Captain Tekla Ansgar. Female, Republic Officer

Summary:

The Chapter 8 (Polyskin) excerpt opens at the scene of a  crashed Sith Warship on the planet Geonosis.  We are introduced to an aloof Jedi Knight Rojo Trace, who is the brother of one of the books main characters Hestizo "Zo" Trace a member of the Jedi AgriCorps and the person whom is bonded with and nurturing the rare black orchid flower. 

Rojo gets in a turf battle with a bureaucratic Republic officer Lt. Norch, and gets some unneeded attention by the Jedi Fan Club member Republic officer Captain Tekla Ansgar. 

 After asserting his authority over the crash site and warning the Republic personnel away because of a pocket of dangerous gas the Sith Warship crashed into, Rojo jumps down into the crash site using the force to levitate down and into an opening in the ship.

While investigating the ship, Rojo has a force vision of his sister in danger and pain, "blindsided by a storm of disjointed images: the shaft of a spear, dripping with blood; a flash of green; a whiff of something rancid and feral. His nostrils burned with the stench of a place that had been bottled up too long, a place of death and solitude and agonized last breaths."

Thoughts and Impressions:

Mr. Schreiber has a particular aspect to his writing that many Star Wars authors ignore, that is in depth visual descriptions of his new characters.  We have already seen this with the introduction of Darth Scabrous, but we get the same treatment in Chapter 8 for Rojo Trace. 

Chapter Excerpt #1:  

He was a dark- haired man of unremarkable build and complexion, tall and steady and vaguely handsome in a way that didn’t draw attention to the unshaven jawline, the green eyes, and the faintly smiling lips. Yet for every moment that he stood motionless outside the tent—perhaps listening, perhaps not—a sense of intensity seemed to gather around him, a sense of acute psychological awareness of its own rarefied state.
 I think many of the authors are in the habit of not including such descriptions for two reasons, either the characters are movie characters and we should have an image in our head already what they look like, or the  characters are previously established characters in the EU, and similarly they feel that they have been described sufficiently in the past.

I enjoy getting these in depth descriptions of these characters, it helps fill out the chapters, and if you are new to the EU or to those characters in particular it helps give you a better grasp of who is who in the universe.

In terms of characters introduced in this chapter we really only get Rojo Trace, as both Republic officers are there for him to play off of.  Initial impressions of Rojo are that he is really kind of a jerk.  Is he actually a jerk or is he just a Jedi with particularly poor interpersonal skills?  I suppose we will have to wait until the full novel to find out.

Mr. Schreiber does a very nice job describing Rojo's use of the force, making it easy to visualize not only what he is doing but how he is doing it.

Chapter Excerpt #2: 
Shearing downward through the chasm, he summoned the Force, generating a cushion of resistance beneath him until he felt his free fall slackening, the crater walls slowing down, individual molecules mesh-ing to buffet his descent. Now, with a little bit of concentration, he could see every crack and divot in the rock as it passed.
The weirdest part of the excerpt was what seems to be Rojo Trace channeling Liam Neisson's character from the 2008 movie Taken.

Chapter Excerpt #3:
Listen to me, Trace told him. I don’t know who you are, but I am in possession of a very special set of skills. If you bring my sister back right now, unharmed, then I’ll let you go. But if you don’t, I promise you, I will track you down. I will find you. And I will make you pay.
Quote from the movie Taken via IMDB.com
Bryan: I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.
 I don't mind this throwback to the movie Taken, as it is one of my recent favorites, as well as the fact that it comes from an actor who appeared in Episode I: TPM as Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, but it took me out of the reading of the excerpt for a minute because it sounded so familiar.  Some fans may have issue with this however. 



Read Chapter Previews 1-8 below and get hooked on some Sith Zombies...

Download Red Harvest Chapter 1: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 2: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 3: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 4: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 5: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 6: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 7: Here
Download Red Harvest Chapter 8: Here

Pre-Order Red Harvest from Amazon.com: Here

Follow Joe Schreiber: Twitter @joeschreiber1 and his blog, http://www.scaryparent.blogspot.com/

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