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Star Wars: Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover (2004-05-06)

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    Matthew Stover;(Author)

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  • Matthew Stover;(Author)
  • Arrow; New Ed edition (2004-05-06) (1800)
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  • By Greggorio! on January 22, 2016

    THE FURTHER YOU get into this scintillating, compelling, fascinating, totally unique and absolutely enthralling member of the beloved Expanded Universe, the better it gets. There’s no doubt, however, that it starts off with a bang. We learn many things in SHATTERPOINT about the wonder that is Jedi Master Mace Windu, not the least of which what a ’shatter point’ actually is. But we also learn the number of combat techniques (there are six) that are available to a Jedi and their Padawan. We also learn of a mystical, mythical and magical seventh which is extremely difficult to learn, damn near impossible to master and incredibly dangerous to use. This final technique, it turns out, was developed by Master Windu. Which should be of no surprise to anyone. Mace Windu is the personifcation of everything good, and cool, about the force, and of being a Jedi.SHATTERPOINT is also about a search. Windu’s Padawan (Depa Billaba) has gone missing on his home jungle planet of Haruun Kal, and Mace has put his heroic hand up to rescue her. The things is, the planet is so strong in the force (literally as well as metaphorically) that even placing one’s foot on the planet’s surface is enough to push even a mild force user over to the Dark Side. So just imagine the powers of determination and concentration a powerful Jedi will have to use to save his own soul from this fate.The concern is, of course, that Depa herself has faced this same test, and failed. The few items of evidence presented to the Jedi Council on Coruscant certainly point in this direction. And of course there is a war going on, too, both on the planet’s surface and right across the galaxy. So not only does Mace have to fight the separatists to stay alive, he has to fight these same forces of evil in order to save his Padawan from herself. And from the very aspect of her existence which brought her to the planet in the first place.So this book is really about war. But it is so much more than that. It talks about self doubt, torture, cowardice, and even how to break a human being. It talks about unbelievable courage, and bravery, friendship, love, revenge, and everything else both your standard human and Jedi deal out to the universe every spare moment of their lives.SHATTERPPOINT is an extraordinary book. It is certainly the most realistic, exciting, fist-pumping and confronting expanded universe novel i have ever read. I won’t say it is a realistic novel about war, since (thank God) I have not found myself in that theatre of human existence. But every Star Wars fan in the galaxy should read this book. Every science fiction fan should read this book. Every war aficionado should read this book, and I would hope, close the cover at it’s end a changed person. I know I am.Full marks for a truly extraordinary and amazing reading experience.Star Wars just got serious.Bye for now.

  • By Josh Whitson on May 15, 2015

    Spoiler free:I never read Shatterpoint when it originally came out, but decided to give it a look when the events of the Kanan comic book seemed to imply that the story in Shatterpoint happened. Thus, while this story is technically part of the "Legends" series and not canon, aspects of it help us understand things that are in the current canon. I'm really, really happy I picked this up as I'd rank it at the top of all Star Wars books, right alongside Darth Plagueis.Shatterpoint explores the darker side of the Force. How dark can a Jedi go and still be a Jedi? What acts are acceptable for Jedi during a time of war? This book explores the ethical decisions the Jedi had to make during The Clone Wars in a Vietnam War type of setting. You don't have to be a Star Wars fan to appreciate the dark story and great storytelling. I couldn't put it down.

  • By Mark on March 20, 2018

    Starting off this book was interesting for about 10 minutes. Then it sunk it seemed like a job to finish it i kept hoping it would get better. The story is good but the author could not keep the momentum going. It constantly side tracked during climatic battles or fights. For example you would get a very dry explanation of something obscure and not relevant in the middle of an action scene which took away the suspense. It just did not flow for me. In addition I got nothing extra from learning about the SWU or the force. It does not hold a candle to Darth Plagus, Bane Trilogy or Kenobi. A good stand alone book is Deceived.

  • By Andrew Pruette on August 23, 2006

    The original Star Wars films presented an exciting, swashbuckling world of adventure where good and evil were clear, wounds were clean, and deaths were quick. The prequels began to muddy these pristine waters, where evil was everywhere (to quote the opening scroll of Revenge of the Sith) and the saga grew progressively darker. At their core, the Clone Wars represent a horrifying manipulation of billions of lives to serve the lust for power of one man. This is grim stuff, and with Shatterpoint, Matthew Stover delves into the shadows and offers us a stark and gripping portrait of one Jedi Master struggling to come to grips with his world disintegrating around him.Shatterpoint is the Star Wars re-telling of Joseph Conrad's classic story Heart of Darkness, famously recast into Francis Ford Coppala's brilliant film Apocalypse Now. This book grabbed me from the opening line, immediately shedding new light on the events of the Battle of Geonosis from Attack of the Clones. Mace's agony over his decisions on the arena balcony is logical and easy to empathize with. The Jedi have not faced sweeping open warfare for centuries. They can hardly be expected to smoothly adjust to leading armies after acting largely as localized peacekeepers for so long. Mace's ability to see shatterpoints (essentially showing him the key fault lines of any given situation or person and all the consequences stemming from that various actions available to him) is a well-conceived addition to the various Force powers we've seen Jedi and Sith use.Stover's technique of alternating between a standard telling of events and looking at things through the device of Mace's journal entries keeps the story fluid. He's not afraid to play with chronology when it makes a particular sequence more interesting and this pays off multiple times, such as the Balawai outpost in the jungle where Mace finds the children. His writing is intelligent, lively, and engaging - it's great to have him writing Star Wars books where this level of quality isn't always present.Kar Vastor and Nick Rostu are the two standout new characters from this novel. Nick can be a bit irritating but is an intriguing and lively foil to Mace's stolid wisdom and practicality. His optimism carries him through the horror of the Summertime War, enabling him to survive and even thrive in the worst of situations. Kar also thrives out in the jungle, but in his case sheer rage and primal power propel him. Kar is a superb antagonist for Mace, showing Mace everything he could have become if the Jedi order had not taken him away for training as an infant. It's nice with Kar to see an author break so cleanly from the usual Light Side/Dark Side conflict presented in Star Wars and to show a wholly different and very organic approach to using the Force.Haruun Kal is a compelling setting and I would love to see a future novel set post-Return of the Jedi revisit it. It would be fascinating to explore the impact the Empire would have had on this society. Considering the Korunnai's extreme natural aptitude for the Force, Palpatine might have dealt with them quite harshly to prevent a possible source of opposition to his reign.Stover invests the Mace Windu-Depa Billaba relationship with a deep amount of sensitivity and pain, making a far stronger emotional connection to the transformation Depa has endured than I ever felt with Kurtz in Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Now. The Star Wars movies don't have time to get into motivations and characterizations of minor characters (or even Mace to a certain extent) and that's where a thoughtful book like this brings so much to the table.My only hesitation in giving this one a five-star rating was deciding whether it is excessively dark for the Star Wars universe. If this was a film, it would be guaranteed an "R" rating with its graphic violence and bloodshed. Beyond that, the psychological themes of the novel are quite chilling. However, the book is so well done that I concluded the darkness was appropriate and indeed, vitally necessary to the story. Kudos to Matthew Stover for a job very well done.


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