5.0 out of 5 stars BEST ONE YET!
This book is by far the best NJO book I have read so far, even though I'm only on Star By Star. It had a ton of action and introduces Droma, who kept me laughing with all of his witty remarks.
Published on Oct. 31 2002 by #1swf
3.0 out of 5 stars Anti-climatic .. drops plot for character
I've been reading each NJO book in succession and have found that this book is the most boring. Reading a Star Wars book I root for the bad guy .. since the good guys always win anyways. And this book dissappoints me. The Vong achieve almost nothing - it seems nothing happens that affects the war. You could almost skip this book in that sense.
Instead you get to read...
Published on Dec 25 2003 by Chanon Sajjamanochai
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1.0 out of 5 stars Just plain horrible,
This review is from: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (Mass Market Paperback)This must be the worst book in the entire NJO series, it's like James Luceno hasn't even watched Star Wars. Luceno's representation of Han Solo was so off the mark it made me cry a little, instead of Han having incredibly smooth lines, like in the movies, he had stupid cliche ones, like "Nobody's keeping me away from my son. Not to mention that Luceno clearly tries to replace Chewbacca with the NJO equivalent of Jar-Jar Binks. A warning to all Star Wars fans who hate crappy books, don't buy Hero's Trial!!
1.0 out of 5 stars Put away the thesaurus!!,
This review is from: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero's Trial (Mass Market Paperback)I'd been enjoying this series quite a bit.
I wa actually looking forward to the Luceno book since I'd read another SW book he wrote a little while back.
This NJO book must have been his first attempt. I'm convinced he wrote the book from cover to cover, then went over the whole thing with a thesaurus. In doing so, he mangled the flow, and brought any drama and suspense to a screeching halt.
Agents of Chaos 2 was MUCH more bearable. But this book was definitely tough to get through.
2.0 out of 5 stars ZZZZZZZ - a real sleeper,
This review is from: Hero's Trial: Star Wars (The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos, Book I) (Mass Market Paperback)Forget Nodoze man... just read this!! This is James Luceno's first star wars book, and I have to give him a little slack just because he is new. However... He failed to capture the tone, and the general overall feel of the series that the other authors had created. Although discriptive with his words, he doesn't use them to capture a scene... he just uses them to be discriptive. Text books do the same thing. Although he did try to do some funky stuffs wuth his approach... like writing from Threepio's view at Chewie's funeral... he just doesn't pull it off. He doesn't advance the plot, or add to the charector at all; (this entire book is about Han.) And I don't know Han any better now than I did before. 350+ pages of total waste.
An A for effort. A failing grade overall.
3.0 out of 5 stars Anti-climatic .. drops plot for character,
This review is from: Hero's Trial: Star Wars (The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos, Book I) (Mass Market Paperback)I've been reading each NJO book in succession and have found that this book is the most boring. Reading a Star Wars book I root for the bad guy .. since the good guys always win anyways. And this book dissappoints me. The Vong achieve almost nothing - it seems nothing happens that affects the war. You could almost skip this book in that sense.
Instead you get to read how Han accidentally, through lots of luck and coincedence, saves the day. It's just not gripping enough. I wished Elan fared better, she was a very interesting character.
Where did Deign Lian go ?
I still give it 3 stars because despite the letdown feeling of the ending, we get to meet new interesting characters such as Droma and Elan.
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment,
This review is from: Hero's Trial: Star Wars (The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos, Book I) (Mass Market Paperback)I had hoped for more from the followup to the fantastic Dark Tide series. The book is not poorly written, and the story is generally satisfying, but the book focuses solely on Han Solo, completely ignoring the rest of the galaxy. While Solo's adventures are reasonably exciting, they failed to grip my attention, and I had some trouble getting through this book, for lack of interest.
Okay, to the story. Han Solo, who had been almost entirely left out of the Dark Tide series (which focused on the Jedi), is still mourning the loss of Chewbacca at the hands of the Yuuzhan Vong at Sernpidal. Solo is highly depressed and takes his anger out on Leia and storms away on his own. While almost every one of the 'good guys' is left out, dont worry, the Yuuzhan Vong are present and give Han a hell of a hard time. Han allies himself with an old friend, and after a Yuuzhan Vong attack, a new one. By the end of the book, Han uncovers a Yuuzhan Vong plot to completely eliminate the Jedi, and does his usual hero thing to try and avert it.
Over all, the book is not terrible. Han Solo is true to his original character, an independent rogue, not the paternal Han Solo shown since the Thrawn Trilogy. For any Han Solo fan, this book would probably rank up with AC Crispen's trilogy, but as a New Jedi Order book, Hero's Trial is rather one-dimensonal, and any reader who is not a Han Solo fantatic will find themselves wishing that there was more mention of the Solo children, Luke Skywalker, Corran Horn, etc. This book is not vitally important to the series; nothing of any great import occurs, except perhaps the first real indication of the Yuuzhan Vong's hatred of the Jedi, which will play an important role later on in the New Jedi Order series.
A good effort for Luceno (his first Star Wars novel) but this book doesnt stand out and is probably my least favorite New Jedi Order book to date, perhaps even my least favorite Star Wars book to date (L. Neil Smith's Lando Calrissian saga may give Luceno a run for his money, though).
3.0 out of 5 stars The Rogue is Back!,
I've been anxiously awaiting Han Solo's story ever since what happened to Chewie. In Stackpole's series, Han was sidelined as somebody who was wallowing in his sorrows and going off to get drunk. He was gaining weight and basically becoming a slob who didn't care about anything. But we knew he wouldn't be like this forever. When I heard that Hero's Trial was about him, I rejoiced.
Then I read it, and I wasn't quite so happy. I'm not sure if it just suffers in comparison to Stackpole's, or if it has its own problems. First of all, while there are the requisite space battles that any Star Wars book or movie has to have, the scenes just fall flat here. The dialogue's not bad, but the descriptions of the battles just lie there, moribund. They don't bring that sense of exhilaration that previous ones did. Sure, all the terminology's there: the jukes, the jinks, the firing of lasers and proton torpedoes. However, the sense of the ebb and flow just isn't there. I wouldn't say I was necessarily bored, but they definitely didn't hum.
The second problem with the book is the other characters. They are, almost to a man (or woman), dreadfully dull. Luceno creates a few Yuuzhan Vong characters, but they just lie there on the page. The scenes on the Vong ships are flat and just basically exposition. The Vong plan is to "allow" a defector to join up with the Alliance, but when she meets the Jedi Knights, a surprise will be awaiting them. This is not a spoiler as the plan is detailed by the Vong in the first few chapters. Thus, any sense of suspense is lost because we know what they are trying to do. The only suspense is whether it works or not. This isn't always a bad thing, but this causes the Vong characters to be nothing but mouthpieces as any scene with them devolves into "make it look like you're trying to rescue her, but make sure you don't."
None of the other characters inspire much in the reader either. The lone exception to that is Droma, the Ryn that Han meets up with on Ord Mantell. Droma has a lot of snappy dialogue and he makes the perfect foil for Han. He becomes a temporary partner to Han, and the interplay between the two is a wonder to behold. Droma is sarcastic, philosophical, slightly a coward but he's also willing to make the extra sacrifice when necessary, even with his tail (which we see in a truly memorable scene where it's instrumental in rescuing Han). He is a wonderful creation, and I hope we see more of him.
Another major problem with this book is the coincidences. The Star Wars universe is full of coincidences, and usually I can look past them. If two stories are going on, it's very likely that they'll both end up in the same place eventually. That's all well and good. But in this case, three stories all end up in the same place, and it just stretches my suspension of disbelief almost to the breaking point. On top of that is when Han ends up on the same passenger ship on which the defector is being transported. I'm willing to grant a little bit of leeway on this usually, but this book was just too much.
One thing I did like, however, was the way the story showed two sides of the same faction (in this case, the Vong and their associates) not know what the other one is doing. Some Vong associates actually believe the defector is real, and they try to capture her, throwing a wrench into everything. It's the sort of incompetence that happens in real life, when the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing, and it was nice to see here. It adds a bit of chaos to everything and was a nice feature.
From a series point of view, I am a bit disheartened, though. Monumental events happened in the last book. While some of them are referred to (the planet Ithor, for example), one of the major events is never mentioned at all: the fall of Corran Horn. While this did happen a couple of months ago in the Star Wars timeline, it still should be fresh in everybody's minds. But he doesn't get a mention at all. It brings up something I was afraid would happen, and I hope it doesn't become a chronic problem. Are the authors only going to use their own characters in their own books? I seriously hope not. I don't want Horn sidelined for too long. He's too interesting of a character.
I think I liked this book more than it sounds because I was anxious for some Han Solo action. It's nice to see him again, and it was nice to see him be his old roguish self. I love the quirky grin, the "who, me?" attitude and his ability to get himself into the worst situations and then fly out of them unscathed. This is the Han Solo that I loved seeing in the old movies and I missed him. He's a man who isn't used to responsibilities, except to himself. He's been living a responsible life for 25 years now, and it's beginning to wear on him. It was good to see you in action, Han. Too bad the book around you couldn't have been better.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book...Bad space battles,
Written well enough...my main critique comes in Luceno's handling of space battles. A major part of the Star Wars Universe involves squadrons of fighters and ships going to blows in Space Combat; however, Luceno needs to work on this aspect of his writing. His space battles are lacking and pale in comparison to the rest of his exciting story. With the first battle scene, I thought he was trying to avoid writing the details, which actually might have been better than him trying to do so (which he attempts later in the story).
He does wrap up some annoying parts of the NJO saga extremely well and makes the saga ready to move on. These things include: Han's pouting over Chewbacca's death and Mara's illness. I think these things were annoying him as much as they were me...so he got rid of them. Bravo!
Overall, I think he is an excellent addition to the SW universe, and he has written a great book.
3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag.,
I rather liked the first third of Hero's Trial--Chewbacca's memorial service is rather well done and there is some meaningful Han/Leia interaction--but the book pretty much falls apart after that. First of all, Luceno cannot write a space battle. He spends several pages on each of the few major battles that take place, but instead of relating details of strategy and the progress of the battle, he fills the space with meaningless, if florid, descriptions: "Asteroidlike coralskippers, varying in size, shape, and color, advanced in an unstoppable cloud, forging through the intense hail and swarming into the midst of the starfighter groups. Well-maintained formations broke apart as crafts peeled away to all sides, barrel- and snap-rolling into furious engagements with their quarries. In a bloodbath of swirling combat, coralskipper preyed on starfighter and starfighter on coralskipper" (180). This is all very pretty, though rather silly for the excess of adjectives, but it paints nothing more than a general tableau of "space battle." Part of the problem is that we don't know anyone in any of the battles, so Luceno has no obvious character(s) to follow--a problem that stems from his book having such a narrow focus (it deals more or less exclusively with Han). Luceno tries to fix the impersonal nature of the fighting in a later battle by tracking one X-wing, but the pilot is no one we've ever heard of before, and we never hear of him again--not to mention that Luceno renders rather little of the pilot's thought process and actions. In a book about a war, this failure to describe or engage with military combat is rather disappointing--especially because this book follows on the heels of Michael Stackpole's duology, and if ever there was a master of battle-description, it was Stackpole.
Aside from the trouble with writing combat, Luceno falls into a few other traps. Around the middle of the book, he makes a typical Star Wars novel mistake by constantly quoting the movies. Han Solo is a quarter of a century older than he was in the films. You'd think he'd have expanded his vocabulary a little in that time. Also, in the second half of the book Luceno's writing shows signs of influence from Kevin J. Anderson, author of the most abominable Star Wars books ever written, the Jedi Academy Trilogy. The events are melodramatic, the characters act stupidly, and the dialogue is like slap-stick comedy. Particularly annoying is a scene at the start of ch. 20 in which the Jedi hold a council that reeks of Kevin J: the characters act with uncharacteristic idiocy, deciding that something obviously suspicious is really okay and that the best way to deal with it anyway is to be insanely optimistic just because "we're all together!" What really gets me is that Wurth Skidder, undeniably the least wise and intelligent of the Jedi (i'm not kidding--check his stats in the NJO Sourcebook if you don't believe me), is the only one who says anything rational or intelligent at the meeting. Anyway, Luceno draws the scene to a close by refering to events directly out of the Jedi Academy Trilogy, confirming the source of his Jedi's behavior.
Finally, Luceno's language lacks clarity. At times this makes the plot rather confusing. There are things he just fails to explain adequately--fine points of the bo'tous toxin, details of one character's death, etc. At other times, he trips on his overly-developed vocabularly. He uses (and sometimes abuses) far too many SAT words, which create clutter and just make his writing sound silly.
Don't get me wrong, though. The book isn't all bad. I really appreciate Luceno's insistance on re-using characters from past Star Wars novels--it lends credence to the fact that the books really tell one continuous, canonical story. Sometimes he overdoes it, writing entire chapters that talk about what happened in previous books, but it is good to see that not all characters in this universe show up once and then evaporate. Luceno also writes several passages of inspired characterization and inner monologue. In particular, I think he does rather well with Threepio, giving the reader an internal view of the droid that is rare in the books, and treating him with the appropriate mix of levity and seriousness. Luceno also does some interesting and appropriate things with Han's character and with Han's marriage to Leia, though I wonder if the credit for this belongs with the committee that designed the plot for the entire series. Similarly, he introduces Vergere, who will later become enormously important, and he builds her up as a convincingly ambiguous and mysterious character. Finally, I actually somewhat enjoyed Droma. His banter could be a little too much at times, but it was far more interesting than Luceno's excessively serious description. Also, Droma actually seemed to have a touch of depth to him--that is, he was a bit more interesting than a stereotype, which is more than I can say for some of the other Star Wars characters I've met.
5.0 out of 5 stars BEST ONE YET!,
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the NJO book thus far. . .,
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Hero's Trial: Star Wars (The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos, Book I) by James Luceno (Mass Market Paperback - Aug. 1 2000)
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