Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Star Wars: Knight Errant



I.  SETTING

Knight Errant is set 1,032 years before the Battle of Yavin (BBY).  It takes place in the Grumani Sector of the Outer Rim. Within an area of space intentionally cut off from communications and interstellar travel with the Republic.  This is ineffect the wild wild west controlled by numerous rival Sith Lords or would be Sith Lords.  The novel is also set in the midst of what is known as the Charge Matrica, what is this you ask?  Well giving that away would be giving away one of the best parts of the novel.  So read it to find out.




II. DRAMATIS PERSONAE(Unofficial)

Kerra Holt, Female Human, Jedi Knight
Jarrow Rusher, Male Human, Mercenary Artillery Brigadier and Captain of Diligence
Narsk Ka'hane, Male Bothan Spy/Saboteur
Lord Damian, Male Human, Sith Lord
Lord Odion, Male Human, Sith Lord
Beadle Lubboone, Male Duros, Member of Rusher's Brigade 
Tan Tengo, Female Sullustan
Lord Dromika, Female Human, Sith Lord
Lord Quillan, Male Human, Sith Lord
Saaj Calician, Male Krevaaki, Sith Lord
Arkadia, Female Human, Sith Lord
Vilia, Female Human, Sith Lord
Ryland Dackett, Male Human, Member of Rusher's Brigade

III. STORY

The story of Knight Errant is broken down into sections: Prologue, Part One: The Daimanate, Part Two: The Dyarchy, Part Three:  The Arkadianate. 

Its always  nice when a book suprises you with the direction its story takes, in Knight Errant I didn't entirely get what I was expecting but I found something else entirely that  I enjoyed.  There are three characters that play very large roles in this book, Kerra Holt, Jarrow Rusher, and Narsk Ka'hane.  With the comic book already out as well as from all the publicity for the book, we already knew that it was going to star Kerra Holt as our hero, a lone Jedi out in wilds of Sith space.  What I didn't know or expect, was that arguably the real star of this book is Jarrow Rusher.  The mercenary Brigadier General of a mobile artillery brigade based off of a custom built spaceship that worked as independent contractors for Sith in their internecine battles.

In Rusher we find a dedicated individual who is good at his job and cares for those under his leadership, but who ultimately lacks a real direction or cause to believe in.  Through the course of the book, through his interactions with Kerra Holt and others, Rusher undergoes a similar transformation (though for different reasons) that we see Han Solo undergo in the Star Wars movies.  This transition from scoundrel/fringe figure  to trusted ally and friend is a transformation that does not happen easily or seamlessly for Rusher, but that fits with the nature of his character and sets the stage for events to transpire after the novel. 

Rusher plays a very interesting role, almost as a mentor to Kerra Holt.  In Kerra we have a lead character, who though she often speaks with certitude and forcefulness, really is inexperienced and unprepared for what she is dealing with.  Rusher often acts as a voice of reason, testing and challenging Kerra through the novel, as they both try to do what they believe is right for those they feel responsible for. 

Kerra is an interesting choice for a leading character.  In many ways I think that  her character works better for a comic series then a stand alone novel.  We have a young Jedi Knight with a very well developed set of organizational skills from her time working with Master Vaanar Treece.  We also have a Jedi Knight attempting to act as savior for an entire sector of space.  She is a bit over her skis on this one, fortunately she realizes this even though she doesn't let that stop her.  But when we meet Kerra in the novel, as good as her intentions are, she lacks experience and that effects her judgment and the choices that she makes.  In a comic or a novel series we would get to see the evolution of her character as she matures and gains experience.  There is less opportunity for this kind of growth in a stand alone novel. 

Narsk is fun, who doesn't like a Bothan spy?  Like Rusher, Narsk is for hire to the highest  bidder.  An independent contractor who floats in and out of jobs for Sith Lords.  He also has a handy dandy stealth suit that helps him in his snooping.   The best part about Narsk is that he is the kind of character that we need more of, the non-Force user, who uses his unique skills and intellect to match up against powerful Force-users, in this case Sith Lords, and occasionally get the better of them. 

John Jackson Miller does a very good job creating unique Sith Lords and fresh perspectives on what a Star Wars Villain should be.  Without giving too much of the plot or story away, we have seven main Sith in this book, Odion, Damian, Dromika, Quillian, Calican, Arkadia, and Vilia. 

With such extreme personalities and world views as these Sith possess it would be easy for them to become caricatures instead of characters, but Miller does a fine job in the novel fleshing out the characters and the reasons that they act the way they do. 

Vilia was interesting and made me think of  Ta'a Chume the former Hapan Queen Mother that Jacen Solo, shall we say, "dealt with."  I am intrigued by this character and hope that she reappears in the comic series. 

Odion and Damian are a very odd pair.  Damian is over the top and straight up nuts, while I feel like as crazy as Odion is, he is a little more grounded in reality. 

The Dyarchy section of the book features, Dromika, Quillian, and Calican, and is at times creepy, scary and sad. 

My favorite of the new Sith Lords that we meet is Arkadia, who has a very interesting perspective on chaos.  She is a Sith that runs a well ordered society and doesn't seem superficially or wantonly evil.  Of course appearances can often be deceiving. 


IV. CONCLUSIONS

At 372 pages, Knight Errant is a good sized novel.  As a debut novel, it is a very solid effort by John Jackson Miller.  My only real criticism is that it felt like the last third of the novel was significantly better then the first two-thirds.  Not that they were bad, but the ramping up of the plot, the twists and the fiendish new female Sith Lords really made the third section a ton of fun.  If this book starts a little slowly for you, stick with it the ending is well worth it and sets up tons of story telling possibilities for the comic series or future sequel novels. 

Knight Errant, the novel gets 8 out of 10 Lightsabers.

1 comment:

  1. I bought this book last week and will be reading it soon.

    BTW, I recommend the upcoming TOR: Deceived. I got an advanced reader copy and liked it alot.

    ReplyDelete

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