"No matter how bleak things got, or how tempted they were to despair, light would prevail over darkness"
The Clone Wars rages on and Obi-Wan and Anakin continue to lead the front-line assaults against the Separatist. But information is coming in of an operation on Lanteeb. Under the nose of Chancellor Palpatine, Bail Organa and Master Yoda send Obi-Wan and Anakin to investigate.
One thing that has continued to astound me about Karen Miller is her grasp on major characters. When Anakin and Obi-Wan are in her hands, they act and feel like the characters from the movie. Anakin is perfectly tortured, adept and caring while Obi-Wan is nicely struggling with his own set of issues (being a bad master, his relationship to Anakin) and being somewhat aloof.
What is even better is how Karen Miller writes the pair together. The movies never quite got the supposed "joking" but "tender" relationship between the pair. Here, it is obvious the two are brothers in arms, yet they have differences of opinions that quite frequently (due to Anakin's impetuous nature and Obi-Wan's more sedate nature) causes them to butt heads. I could believe that these two could joke, then argue, but then be pals all at the same time.
I am also impressed with Miller's grasp of Ahsoka and Bail. Ahsoka has always been rather annoying to me from the movie and the TV series. But Miller writes her as a caring, young, naïve apprentice and not the know-it-all Mary Sue from the show. Plus, I really liked how Ahsoka went on a mission with Taria Damsin. Bail is positively brilliant. He continues to leap from the page and become a real person, a real friend to Obi-Wan and a friend to the Jedi.
And while I have caveats about it (see below), I actually don't mind the new addition to the list of Obi-Wan's girlfriends. I see no reason why our Jedi couldn't have had multiple liaisons in his life; many people have more than one boyfriend/girlfriend. Heck, many people get married and remarried and married and remarried. Plus, the Jedi only condemn attachment (unfortunately), not a "No strings attached" relationship.
I was astonished at how well Miller wrote the beginning action sequence on Kothlis. A lot of writers have one niche, be it characters or action, and they can't move out of it. Miller does a great job capturing the characters and the movement of the battle as well. It was great to read a nice Clone Wars battle. I even liked how Bail, Padme, Obi-Wan and Anakin gather over dinner to talk about Lanteeb. There are far too many secret meetings, hurried transmissions or whatnot that seeing our characters act like people was great.
I Didn't Like:
As for Miller's original characters, I had a hard time buying them. Taria Damsin wasn't too bad, but she comes perilously close to Mary Sue for my taste (abnormal hair color, abnormal eye color, nearly human alien, dying of an illness that doesn't hinder her abilities whatsoever, a former romantic partner of Obi-Wan...I could go on). Perhaps toning down a few of her characteristics (making her be obviously alien, let her illness actually pull her down and make her fail, making her and Obi-Wan rivals as well as former lovers) might have improved this.
The other original character was Bant'era Fharen, who is supposedly a super-smart biochemist. I say "supposedly", because I could never buy that aspect of her. Firstly, I don't think she was described that well, as I thought she was yet another mid-20's Hollywood scientist, but she actually was a middle aged scientist. Also, and I know this is a problem for writers (I've experienced it myself), but the way Bant'era talks about her "sciency" stuff sounds more like a person trying to act "sciency" than a person who has studied and experimented with science for years. Not to mention, I find her more than a wee bit selfish for putting herself and twelve people over billions.
I must admit, this book had me bored to tears at times. After the intense action at the beginning, the book slows down and segues into a Coruscant scene. While it is nicely done, and has a nice dinner sequence with Anakin, Padme, Bail, and Obi-Wan, it just grinds the story to a halt. The pace doesn't quite return until Taria and Ahsoka rescue one of Bant'era's family members, which is about 50 pages from the end. Not a good sign.
Also, I was more aware of the "angsting" in this book and thus, I had trouble enjoying aspects. While Obi-Wan and Anakin's relationship is superb, they sometimes break into fights or discussions that overstay their welcome. Yes, we get they argue but love each other. Move on. The most aggravating thing to me was how everyone, and I mean everyone, commented on "how tired" Obi-Wan was and "how he should get some rest" and how Obi-Wan would always deny it and avoid it. Good grief! I can understand once or twice, but to have Anakin, then Yularen, then Ahsoka, then Yoda, then Bail, then Padme bring it up...you get my drift.
Barve, there were a lot of barving instances of "barve" in this book.
Taria was a former lover of Obi-Wan. Anakin and Padme have an intimate moment at dinner (no, it's not that intimate).
The book begins with a battle sequence on Kothlis that results in several characters (including Obi-Wan) being injured. Lok Durd abuses Bant'era and threatens her family.
After the brilliant Wild Space, Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth doesn't quite live up. There is a bit too much angsting, too much pushing characters beyond the edge of their physical strength, too little movement in plot and action (particularly at the halfway point), and a little too unbelievable characters. Even with these faults, this is much better than a lot of EU, and I will definitely check out the end of this two part series, Siege.
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