The Clone Wars: Wild Space

August 19, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

spaceThe Clone Wars: Wild Space by Karen Miller

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Wild Space is the second in a five-book series based on and relating to The Clone Wars, the animated TV show that takes place between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. I haven’t watched the show yet (it’s on my list), so it’s hard to say how they compare, but this and the next three books are supposed to be additional stories that fit in with existing episodes without being novelizations of those episodes.

The story starts off right near the end of Attack of the Clones and reveals how some of the Jedi suspect that there is a relationship between Anakin and Padmé. Padmé is strongly encouraged to discourage it, but as we know from the end of that movie, she ignores that command. A few months later, an attack on Coruscant reveals that General Grievous is leading an attack on the Bothans’ homeworld, which Anakin is dispatched to resolve. Following that, Obi-Wan joins Bail Organa on a mysterious search for a Sith planet. It all seems a little random and convoluted, but I expect all this serves as the setup not just for this novel, but also for the next three.

The story diverges at that point, and instead of following both stories, we instead follow Obi-Wan and Bail, with occasional updates on how Anakin’s mission is going. So the bulk of the story takes place on Zigoola, a forgotten planet out in wild space. There, the Dark Side is so prevalent that when Obi-Wan and Bail crash-land there, it takes all of Obi-Wan’s concentration not to succumb to it. It reminded me a little of Frodo’s journey to Mount Doom in The Return of the King, not just in how Frodo and Obi-Wan must both resist the call of evil, but in how I got tired of reading about it. I get it: The pull is so strong, it takes that much effort to resist it. It just seemed to be more of the same, with Obi-Wan succumbing to hallucinations and reliving all the terrible things he’d witnessed as a Jedi. If Miller had mixed up the assaults on Obi-Wan, it might have been different, but it was just a matter of waiting to see when the next round of mental attacks would begin again.

This is the first book by Karen Miller I’ve read in the EU, and I’m impressed. She does a great job developing her characters, especially Anakin, Padmé, Obi-Wan, and even Bail Organa. The relationship between Anakin and Padmé actually feels real, as does the one between Anakin and Obi-Wan, and, later in the story, Obi-Wan and Bail. In fact, I think I liked Bail’s development most of all. In the movies, he’s a key player in the story, but not much time is spent on him. He seems like a noble, honorable character, played by a great actor, but he still got short shrift compared to the other characters. Miller’s development feels like some long-overdue attention paid to a good character.

In addition, all of the characters feel like the characters from the movies, including Yoda. It seems like getting his dialogue right would be fairly easy, but based on the books where he’s featured more than just as a council member, some authors can’t seem to grasp it. Here, his unnatural way of speaking feels more natural. Also, like Traviss did in the preceding book, Miller shows us Palpatine not just as a chancellor or a Sith, but as both at the same time. It’s refreshing to see his character receive more focus on its duality instead of treating them each as separate characters.

One curiosity about this book is that it’s considered part of the Legends universe, outside of official Star Wars canon. Given that the TV show is considered canon, and this book follows some of the events from the series, I wonder what sets it apart from the official story. Once I get caught up on the canon novels, maybe it will become clearer, especially since Ahsoka is getting her own book later this year.

Wild Space is a decent read, but I feel like it could have been much more. Maybe it will make a little more sense once I start watching the show (my guess is that Anakin’s assignment was the focus of one or two episodes), but the story felt a little disjointed due to its setup. Still, I enjoyed her writing. Miller has written two more books in this series, and I look forward to seeing how she can write a story with a larger plot.

 

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