Wednesday, January 26, 2011

First Impressions: Star Wars: Knight Errant (Spoiler Free)

Just picked up my copy of John Jackson Miller's new novel Knight Errant at my local bookseller, Mysterious Galaxy, a cool little bookstore here in San Diego where I attended a Karen Traviss book signing a few years ago. 

Knight Errant weighs in at 372 pages, a solid paperback novel, featuring a full color 16 page insert from the Knight Errant comic book series Knight Errant #1.  The comic insert is very well colored, but the panels are shrunk down pretty small.  Its the same size as a typical paperback page with a fairly large white border around the comic book panels.

The comic book excerpt looks to be well bound in with the rest of the novel pages, only time will tell to see whether it will fall out or not, but it looks to be a pretty solid job.

The cover of the novel itself features one of my favorite Star Wars cover arts ever by artist John Van Fleet.
(Author's note:  If this cover art is made available as a fine art print, I am all over it.)

On the cover, Kerra Holt is illuminated in green from the light of her lightsaber on a snow covered world with snow flakes blowing around her.  Star Wars is also embossed on the cover, I love embossing on covers.

It also includes an excerpt from Paul S. Kemp's forthcoming The Old Republic Novel, Deceived.  This excerpt is the first part of chapter 1 of Deceived and has been previously been released with the rest of Chapter 1 on-line. 

The book also includes an updated novel timeline, however there is nothing new here that we haven't seen.  No new novels are listed on it that haven't appeared in a recent timeline update.

One of the interesting omissions is that there is no Dramatis Personae (DP).  The DP is a staple of the Star Wars Expanded Universe (EU), it provides the reader with a list of characters to appear in the novel.  The DP in a Star Wars novel also typically lists, species, gender and affiliation or profession.  This is a curious choice for a stand alone (though not a typical stand alone, given the concurrent comic series) with new and unfamiliar characters.  If a reader becomes a little confused its a nice tool to be able to turn back to, too remember who is who in a book particularly if you are reading it in multiple sittings with gaps of time in between.

Edit: I received the following comments from author John Jackson Miller via Twitter

John Jackson Miller
@ Decision to omit Dramatis Personae was mine; many characters' names and descriptions are necessarily secret at the beginning.
John Jackson Miller
@ ...wanted to preserve the surprises. Shouldn't be any trouble keeping the cast straight, everyone's very distinct! :-)
@ Thanks for the info on the Dramatis personae. I will be updating my story with it tomorrow.
@ No problem at all. You were the first person to notice it was missing!

The cover price is $7.99 which is typical for a Star Wars paperback at this point.

Knight Errant looks like a solidly put together book, and I can't wait to dive into the story.

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