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LotF:Betrayal rant...

Damn, and I meant to make it last longer this time...

But, no. I started the book on my lunch break today and finished it when I got home. And I have to say, it was one of the fastest reads (for a hardcover) I've ever had. Most unusual was that I wasn't tempted to skip over entire scenes or chapters as I have been in the past. Allston writes in short sections, with many different POV, which effectively pushed the action, the plot, everything inexhorably foward that really, there was hardly anything in the published book that didn't need to be there. Character-wise, it worked for me, with a couple mild errors. Like most kid characters, Ben tended to alternate between unbelievably precocious and too silly. Alas, I was expecting this, especially from this particular universe, so it bugged me only mildly.

I still do not like Jacen. I do not find his character's evolution either necessary or rational. He still comes across as too arrogant, self-centered and just plain immoral for me to accept him in the intended role as the protagonist. It just doesn't work. He's had how many books, and he's still muddling through basically the same dilemna and identity crisis. I'm sorry, but his actions became objectionable some time ago, and all the funky new age philosophical discussions in the world don't make him any less of a cad. Ass. Whatever. I understand the rationale behind his presence in the series, but either I'm too old-fashioned or the people at the planning table grossly misunderstood their target audience.

Other than that, I was entertained. I love Allston's little jabs and the book is rife with all manner of in-jokes (i.e. Easter eggs) if you know where to look. Again, I must point out that even the darkest subject matter is vastly improved with the addtion of some judicious humour placement. Nothing over the top, but enough to provide some contrast. Irony is a wonderful little device, used correctly. Nothing in the book is clear-cut, and there are no sweeping "good vs evil" epics. Han and Leia in particular are nicely mired in a tricky web of choices, and it's nice to see that there aren't "easy" answers or fixes. I was unexpectedly touched by Leia's resolution towards the end of the book. I liked the expansion of a previously minor character. She illustrated what could have been done with Jaina had anyone with any empathy cared to think about writing her. That whole dogfight section with Wedge and Han had me so strung along, I had to stop once or twice and do something else.

Less than preferable: Anibot (why? And if you're going to do it, why not take the proper time for it, instead of writing it as a throwaway scene? I didn't want it in the first place, but I would have been more satisfied had it been logically developed). Zekk (OOC and still intolerable. On the up side, there's hope that they'll stay platonic. Yay, platonic.) The endless recycling of villians. Not that I'm asking for something quite as original as the Vong, but god I'm sick of the Sith angle. Jacen (see above). Sometimes, Allston's style was a little too reliant on words and phrases that were just too...provincial?...grounded? for the settings/characters. Not to the point of jarring me out of the scene, just...noticible.

Okay, and I need to sleep now. Perhaps I'll go online tomorrow and see how much I disagree with all the other geeks out there. Might have to wait until Friday, though...



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