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Before the Storm

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In the blockbuster bestselling tradition of Heir to the Empire comes this thrilling addition to the Star Wars(r) saga, as peace gives way to a new threat... It is a time of tranquillity for the New Republic.  The remnants of the Empire now lie in complete disarray, and the reemergence of the Jedi Knights has brought power and prestige to the fledgling government on Coruscan In the blockbuster bestselling tradition of Heir to the Empire comes this thrilling addition to the Star Wars(r) saga, as peace gives way to a new threat... It is a time of tranquillity for the New Republic.  The remnants of the Empire now lie in complete disarray, and the reemergence of the Jedi Knights has brought power and prestige to the fledgling government on Coruscant.  Yesterday's Rebels have become today's administrators and diplomats, and the factions that fought against imperial tyranny seem united in savoring the fruits of peace. But the peace is short-lived.  A restless Luke must journey to his mother's homeworld in a desperate and dangerous quest to find her people.  An adventurous Lando must seize a mysterious spacecraft that has weapons of enormous destructive power and an unknown mission.  And Leia, a living symbol of the New Republic's triumph, must face down a ruthless leader of the Duskhan League, an arrogant Yevetha who seems bent on a genocidal war that could shatter the fragile unity of the New Republic...and threaten its very survival.


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In the blockbuster bestselling tradition of Heir to the Empire comes this thrilling addition to the Star Wars(r) saga, as peace gives way to a new threat... It is a time of tranquillity for the New Republic.  The remnants of the Empire now lie in complete disarray, and the reemergence of the Jedi Knights has brought power and prestige to the fledgling government on Coruscan In the blockbuster bestselling tradition of Heir to the Empire comes this thrilling addition to the Star Wars(r) saga, as peace gives way to a new threat... It is a time of tranquillity for the New Republic.  The remnants of the Empire now lie in complete disarray, and the reemergence of the Jedi Knights has brought power and prestige to the fledgling government on Coruscant.  Yesterday's Rebels have become today's administrators and diplomats, and the factions that fought against imperial tyranny seem united in savoring the fruits of peace. But the peace is short-lived.  A restless Luke must journey to his mother's homeworld in a desperate and dangerous quest to find her people.  An adventurous Lando must seize a mysterious spacecraft that has weapons of enormous destructive power and an unknown mission.  And Leia, a living symbol of the New Republic's triumph, must face down a ruthless leader of the Duskhan League, an arrogant Yevetha who seems bent on a genocidal war that could shatter the fragile unity of the New Republic...and threaten its very survival.

30 review for Before the Storm

  1. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Starr Light

    "What have you done with *Fill-in-the-Blank*?" Luke Skywalker feels that he no longer can feel the Force the same way and decides to leave and search out a life of hermitude, like Obi-Wan and Yoda. However, a woman penetrates his fortress, with stories of his mother. Luke ventures out to find out more. Meanwhile... Lando is bored stiff and goes to Admiral Drayson, chief of Alpha Blue, for an interesting mission. Lando then gathers a team of Lobot, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to investigate a mysterious "ghost "What have you done with *Fill-in-the-Blank*?" Luke Skywalker feels that he no longer can feel the Force the same way and decides to leave and search out a life of hermitude, like Obi-Wan and Yoda. However, a woman penetrates his fortress, with stories of his mother. Luke ventures out to find out more. Meanwhile... Lando is bored stiff and goes to Admiral Drayson, chief of Alpha Blue, for an interesting mission. Lando then gathers a team of Lobot, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to investigate a mysterious "ghost" ship. Meanwhile... Leia Organa Solo attempts to make an alliance with Viceroy Nil Spaar, Leader of the Duskan League and a Yevethan. But things turn for the worse very, very quickly... I Liked: Although not fond of how Lando aquires his mission, I do like the mission in general. In fact, I wish it had been divorced from this novel completely (because I've read the series, I know it has little to no import on the main story) and made into its own novel, like in the days of the Han Solo Adventures by Brian Daley. Han and Leia again appear as good parents, and I can't tell you how happy I am for that. Han even goes so far as to take an "easy" assignment so he can stay on Coruscant with his kids (with a further tie-in to the events of The Crystal Star--I love it when authors do tie-ins!!). Han and Luke have a conversation about why Yoda and Obi-Wan became hermits (all of it retconned by this point). I thought Luke's discoveries or thoughts were interesting, and they did cast new light on Yoda and Obi-Wan (and the old Jedi Order in general). I Didn't Like: There are three stories here. One I don't mind, but has no bearing on the main story. One is okay (particularly by the end of this book, I found), but it hinges on Leia acting wildly out of character. The last is horrific and makes me want to sharped my teeth on a blackboard. Firstly, the characters. The ones that stand out particularly horrible are Leia and Luke. Leia loses all sense and military keenness, giving valuable intel to a non-ally, Nil Spaar. She then refuses to listen to her counselors, including Admiral Ackbar. Now, I could understand if she wouldn't listen to a young counselor, but Ackbar?! He's got a lot of sense and she's worked with him for years! Is she really so hard up with a tenuous alliance with the Yevetha that she will put her opinon over his at all odds? What happened to her common sense? Or, as Han put it best: "Who was that person and what have you done with Leia?" As for Luke, I could go on for years. What man creates an order then leaves it a mere two years later? How could he be so powerful to create a fortress from scratch and yet need to be a hermit? Why would he leave his siste when she needed him most, only to return to dig her for more information on his mother? Why the big hurry to find his mother now? Why isn't HE helping with this crisis? As you can see, the characters tie in very, very closely to the plots. Lando has to act like a super-spy to penetrate Admiral Drayson's uber secret office. I didn't know there was training for that at Smuggler's Academy! Was that "How to Penetrate an Uber Secret Office 101"? And much of the Yevethan conflict could have been averted had Leia got her head out of her you-know-what and started using her brain instead of her hippie waving peace flag. As for Luke, bah, he's a lost cause. I have no idea why he was included in here. It seems like everyone wants to make him super strong in the Force yet a wuss at the same time (bowing to the whims of Akanah, who has to be the worst girlfriend he has ever had). Speaking of Akanah, can you spell "Annoying"? Well, that's how you spell Akanah! I thought Callista was bad, no, Akanah is worse! She whines about Luke using the Force to protect them from people who try to kill them, bursts in on his sanctuary and lies about his mother (no secret to those of us who have seen the prequels). What is it with Luke and hooking up with these whiny women? Get a grip, Luke! You're a Jedi Master! And about the title: "Before the Storm" could not be more apt. The action only happens at the very, very end and only is briefly seen. Now, if this were a long series, like the New Jedi Order, then this book would have worked perfectly. But for a trilogy? Uh, not so much. Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence: Perhaps a d*** or h*** once in a while. Luke travels with Akanah (and I'm sure there is some "Woohoo-ing" going on in the interim). People die in the conflict, but it's only the beginning so you don't see much. Overall: With a fresh view in mind, I can easily say that this book is still bad. Characters don't act like themselves. Two plot threads don't have anything to do with the main one. And while the political machinations are interesting and Lando's plot is kinda interesting, do I really want to read through yet another bad Luke plot to get to it or read Leia ignoring everyone she cares about? The answer is: Not really.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ian Reay

    I have an uncommon and slightly unhealthy addiction to Star Wars novels. I have read 54 of them, which is utterly ridiculous and not something I share with everybody. I could have read 54 other books and been a lot smarter, but I didn't. I mean, seriously, I even counted them. Ridiculous. This is to hopefully give my opinion more credibility when I say that this is hands-down the smartest, most mature Star Wars novel I have yet to read. It has garnered a bad reputation since it certainly resides I have an uncommon and slightly unhealthy addiction to Star Wars novels. I have read 54 of them, which is utterly ridiculous and not something I share with everybody. I could have read 54 other books and been a lot smarter, but I didn't. I mean, seriously, I even counted them. Ridiculous. This is to hopefully give my opinion more credibility when I say that this is hands-down the smartest, most mature Star Wars novel I have yet to read. It has garnered a bad reputation since it certainly resides outside the typical Star Wars novel construction - it is slow-paced, light on action, and does stray from the canon in ways that will turn typical fans off. I welcome it. I really don't know if I can read another slapstick space battle or totally shallow deus ex machina laser fight escape. Kube-McDowell thankfully wrote a book brimming with intelligence and outstanding dialogue that, perhaps unfortunately, reinvigorated my interest in the series. Instead of writing another implausible adventure story, Kube brings an outstanding sense of reality to the galaxy in which all the books take place, which lends credibility and substance to the Star Wars saga as a whole. He fleshes out numerous details of the New Republic's political and military structures, and paints a genuine picture of a massive governmental body in its infancy trying to use both diplomacy and morally-questionable black ops to protect its members. He weaves together more minor government branches and chain-of-command protocols into his story than in the rest of the 90's SW books combined. He understands the psyche and choices of military generals all the way down to the file clerks. You really will see the difference in his writing within the first two chapters - it's gritty and to-the-point, bothering very little with flourish or puerile humor. It's also more intense and captivating. With his characterizations, he has obviously gone through all the previous chronological material and thought about what emotional state they would all be facing. They are all written with a heavier hand, less able to deal with the stresses that their adventures have put them through. It's nothing new, but Kube really puts a voice to what we already know about them. And I will mention also that there is a high level of creativity in his unique alien technologies, and his obvious knowledge of real-world aviation and aircraft systems helps the realism of his science fiction. No Sun Crushers or Centerpoint Stations to worry about in this one. This book has a unique militaristic adult style, which is sorely lacking from modern-day Star Wars. I was pretty disappointed when the Clone Wars we've all imagined as the galaxy's most intense and violent struggle was given practically no more story than a children's animated series. This book could not be more different. For other books unwilling to rehash the same style over and over again, I recommend Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter, Tales From Jabba's Palace, and The Lando Calrissian Adventures, since Star Wars needs more variety than what most of these authors are willing to dare.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    The worst Star Wars book I ever read. And truly, that is saying something to earn that distinction- it beat out Barbara Hambly and her off the charts absurdity. Congrats, Michael P. Kube-McDowell!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ron

    See, it can be done. Not may not please Star Wars fans, but it's better science fiction--and a better story--than most bearing the SW imprint. The first contact thread was fun. Speaking of which, yes, there are distinct threads (so far) interwoven to keep the tension up, if nothing else. Luke has a crisis of faith, Leia has a crisis of confidence, Han smirks, and Lando plays the odds. Lando's thread is probably the most unique, and therefore most enjoyable. The Yevetha resonate with nineteenth ce See, it can be done. Not may not please Star Wars fans, but it's better science fiction--and a better story--than most bearing the SW imprint. The first contact thread was fun. Speaking of which, yes, there are distinct threads (so far) interwoven to keep the tension up, if nothing else. Luke has a crisis of faith, Leia has a crisis of confidence, Han smirks, and Lando plays the odds. Lando's thread is probably the most unique, and therefore most enjoyable. The Yevetha resonate with nineteenth century Japan. Decent cliff-hanger to close with.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Darryl Dobbs

    I had low expectations for this novel based on the recent Star Wars novels I've read (Crystal Star, Planet of Twilight) that have taken place at around the same timeline. I had also read a review of the book indicating that it would be heavy in military jargon and that it deviates from the usual SW style. So my hope was that it would be similar to the Republic Commando series. That one, while not my cup of tea and not central to the running SWU plotline, was at least very well written and fairly I had low expectations for this novel based on the recent Star Wars novels I've read (Crystal Star, Planet of Twilight) that have taken place at around the same timeline. I had also read a review of the book indicating that it would be heavy in military jargon and that it deviates from the usual SW style. So my hope was that it would be similar to the Republic Commando series. That one, while not my cup of tea and not central to the running SWU plotline, was at least very well written and fairly interesting. But this turned out to not be the case at all. At least for the first book. I found it to be more political than military. The story takes place on three fronts. First of all, Luke Skywalker is approached by a woman claiming to be from the same race and planet as his mother. This one was confusing, because we all know who his mother is - and where she is from. Not only is it strange that he doesn't know about her (you'd think that Bail Organa would have told Leia, who could then tell Luke), but the story told in this book seems to indicate that his mother had powers different from the Force. This part of the storyline I didn't enjoy. I didn't like how Luke is stronger than I've ever seen Anakin (flying a ship just with the Force? Building a structure out of rock with the Force?). I didn't like how impatient and impetuous he was with this strange woman - is he a trained Jedi Master or not? And will this "mother" prove to be a fairy tale so things can make sense? Second, Lando Calrissian, with the help of Lobot (his assistant in Empire Strikes Back with the metal band around his head that lights up), R2D2 and C3P0 goes with a Republic fleet to investigate a strange ship that isn't flown by anyone...but has defense mechanisms that can't be cracked. I found this storyline interesting and unique. It has me curious. And finally, the main one is on Coruscant with Leia. She spends weeks negotiating with a new race on the outskirts of the Republic. A race that seems to control a sizable area of the galaxy. This race actually thinks all other races are beneath them and their leader, Nil Spaar, does a great job of getting the reader's blood boiling. The story had a strong finish and made me excited to pick up the next book immediately.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    Every once in a while, I have to let my sci-fi geek get its freak on (I have no idea what the hell that statement means, but it sounds appropriate), which usually entails a lazy day of watching six hours straight of cheesy science fiction movies. My wife loves it when I do this. So, anyway, I just recently watched the original Star Wars trilogy again, for the 153rd time, and it still remains awesome. Now, of course, I am back on a Star Wars book-reading kick. There are roughly several hundred-pl Every once in a while, I have to let my sci-fi geek get its freak on (I have no idea what the hell that statement means, but it sounds appropriate), which usually entails a lazy day of watching six hours straight of cheesy science fiction movies. My wife loves it when I do this. So, anyway, I just recently watched the original Star Wars trilogy again, for the 153rd time, and it still remains awesome. Now, of course, I am back on a Star Wars book-reading kick. There are roughly several hundred-plus novels in the "Expanded Universe" of Star Wars, novels which have carried on the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, et al beyond creator George Lucas's six films. I have only read about a dozen of these novels. I would say that 60% of what I have read is decent, 10% is garbage, and 20% is actually excellent writing. (I wish I could say that a very scientifically-based rubric of my own device went into those figures, but, alas, no. I kinda just made it up based on what I liked and disliked.) I'm reading Michael P. Kube-McDowell's three-novel Black Fleet Crisis series now, starting with Book 1: "Before the Storm", and I have to say that it falls into the 20% category of excellent writing. It's much better than Kevin Anderson's "Jedi Academy" trilogy and on a par with Timothy Zahn's superb "Thrawn" trilogy, in my opinion. Sadly, if you haven't read those series prior to this, parts may seem confusing as McDowell does reference characters and events from them. But, unless you are a die-hard Star Wars fan-boy like myself, you won't care. Plot synopsis: The story takes place twelve years after the events of "Return of the Jedi". Leia and Han are married with three children, twins Jacen and Jaina, and baby Anakin. Leia is President of the New Republic, and she is currently in negotiations with the stubborn Yevethans to join the Republic. Unbeknownst to her, the Yevethans may not just be stubborn but plotting something nasty against the Republic. Meanwhile, Admiral Ackbar learns of a missing "Black Fleet" of old Imperial star destroyers, rumored to have been destroyed but never confirmed. If it still exists, and it falls into the wrong hands, the New Republic would not be able to stand up to a fleet of that magnitude. Okay, actually it would be able to---I just wanted to use Ackbar's famous phrase. Also meanwhile, Luke is feeling somewhat antsy and depressed and leaves the Jedi Academy to go searching for his long-lost mother (here is where the expanded universe kind of falls apart, because this was written obviously before the second prequel trilogy and McDowell obviously does not know, as we all now do, that Luke's real mother, Amidala, is dead). Also also meanwhile, Lando Calrissian, Artoo, and Threepio are on a secret mission to investigate a mysterious ship that they have dubbed the "vagabond". When they attempt to sneak on board, the ship (which they begin to suspect is actually "alive") kidnaps them and hyper-drives them to a far corner of an unexplored galaxy. All of this is very fast-paced and exciting, and I pretty much devoured it in a sitting. I'm just starting the second book and loving it as well...

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

    I am giving this 4 stars, but it really is a 3 star book. The reason is the overall rating for the book is like 3.12 or something, which it deserves, but there are worse SW books out there that have 3.86 or so ratings... Anyways, The Black Fleet is a lost division of ships that when the Emperor was defeated was supposed to self blow up and be destroyed so the Rebels wouldn't get it. But another alien race took over and stole it before it happened. The setting is 12 years after Return of the Jedi, I am giving this 4 stars, but it really is a 3 star book. The reason is the overall rating for the book is like 3.12 or something, which it deserves, but there are worse SW books out there that have 3.86 or so ratings... Anyways, The Black Fleet is a lost division of ships that when the Emperor was defeated was supposed to self blow up and be destroyed so the Rebels wouldn't get it. But another alien race took over and stole it before it happened. The setting is 12 years after Return of the Jedi, so Luke/Leia are probably in their mid 30's. Ok, not bad story line, fine. This book has all the characters and is from 96' and part of the Bantan books were the best SW books probably were written. I like all the characters and how they are written about them except Leia. Like I said she is in her mid 30's, but she comes across as someone with no self confidence and just not a very smart person. If you read it you will understand. She is the President of the New Republic and she comes off as a loof and shouldn't be there or something. I didn't like that about her. The other books, except The Courtship of Princess Leia, don't have her like that. The other possible let down could be the Luke story line with him meeting this women and he is on a search for his mom. We will see about that... Otherwise it is better then what I was expecting. UPDATE: After reading the 3rd book I have to downgrade it to 2 stars...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    Eh. Not as good as SW books can be (the X-Wing series), but not as horrible as many of them (Courtship of Princess Leia, for instance). The trouble with many of the SW books that feature the movie characters is that I find the characterizations in the book to be extremely inconsistent. Leia in this book is ineffectual, naive, and narrow-minded, pretty much the opposite of her movie character. Luke goes from peaceful hermit determined to take no more action in the world to an impatient jerk while Eh. Not as good as SW books can be (the X-Wing series), but not as horrible as many of them (Courtship of Princess Leia, for instance). The trouble with many of the SW books that feature the movie characters is that I find the characterizations in the book to be extremely inconsistent. Leia in this book is ineffectual, naive, and narrow-minded, pretty much the opposite of her movie character. Luke goes from peaceful hermit determined to take no more action in the world to an impatient jerk while in the company of the book's only other female character, another weak (despite her supposed power) and deceitful woman. Han is barely present except to give updates on the kids and do one minor thing to forward the plot, and old favorite Admiral Akbar seems a bit lame, too. Lando and the book's new characters, however, are interesting, and the plot is intriguing. I assume all the disparate plot elements will come together in the next book, and perhaps will make up for the jarring interpretations of beloved characters.

  9. 4 out of 5

    William

    This was a thousand times better than Crystal Star. I still shudder when I mention that book. This novel had some intrigue, a reasonable plot, and some decent action sequences. I do believe the writers for Star Wars could condense these three book arcs into longer, but better edited single books. Like the Jedi Academy series, this one has such separate plots, you get the feeling that each could have been handled in its own book. Besides that, I didn't think Leia was so gullible. Is the position This was a thousand times better than Crystal Star. I still shudder when I mention that book. This novel had some intrigue, a reasonable plot, and some decent action sequences. I do believe the writers for Star Wars could condense these three book arcs into longer, but better edited single books. Like the Jedi Academy series, this one has such separate plots, you get the feeling that each could have been handled in its own book. Besides that, I didn't think Leia was so gullible. Is the position of Head of the New Republic weighing that much on her? Hopefully, she'll redeem herself in the next two books.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    I've read a LOT of Star Wars books. The first time I tried reading this book was about 10 years ago. I couldn't make it past the first few pages. The writing it pretty horrible. I tried to read the book again about three years ago. I figured maybe my reading skills weren't up to the task the first time. Nope, the book is still trash. I've never come across another book before that I physically couldn't read. I just don't understand how a professional writer can write so poorly.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    This was the book that caused me to abandon reading this Expanded Universe crap altogether. I picked up R.A. Salvatore's "contribution" a few years after this, and that confirmed that I had made the right decision. Pure garbage.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jada Hope

    I read this series because I am a completist when it comes to reading (no more!). Please, take my advice and put the book down, don't order it, don't download it . . . just walk away.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Colin McEvoy

    I had heard bad things about Before the Storm and the Black Fleet Crisis series in general, and I went in with low expectations, especially given that I had found some of the other Star Wars novels I had read from this storyline era (I, Jedi, Children of the Jedi, Planet of Twilight) to be severely lacking. While this novel is largely a novel setting the scene for the rest of this trilogy (I mean, it’s called Before the Storm, for crying out loud), I found it enjoyable enough. Despite a few issu I had heard bad things about Before the Storm and the Black Fleet Crisis series in general, and I went in with low expectations, especially given that I had found some of the other Star Wars novels I had read from this storyline era (I, Jedi, Children of the Jedi, Planet of Twilight) to be severely lacking. While this novel is largely a novel setting the scene for the rest of this trilogy (I mean, it’s called Before the Storm, for crying out loud), I found it enjoyable enough. Despite a few issues with it, I mostly enjoyed the introduction of an interesting new antagonist species, the political machinations and turmoil they create for Princess Leia and the New Republic, and the subplot involving Lando Calrissian investigating a mysterious phantom spacecraft. Although Before the Storm obviously isn’t the first Star Wars novel to do it, I enjoyed having an entirely new bad guy who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Empire. The Yevethan were a fascinating species with a well-developed back story, an interesting set of customs and beliefs, and a clever scheme to attempt to undermine the New Republic and attain power for themselves. I enjoyed that much of their plotline (at least so far) was focused on politics, not warfare, in their attempts to create tension in the Senate and destroy Leia’s credibility. Michael P. Kube-McDowell focuses a lot on the inner workings of the New Republic military and government (including Alpha Blue, a cool shadowy, CIA-like spy organization), which I enjoyed.But when it did switch to action, like the Yevethan Purge, it was also very effective. I also found Lando’s investigation of the Teljkon Vagabond to be surprisingly well done. In some novels, I feel like Lando is often thrown in arbitrarily, assigned a random subplot of nominal interest simply as an excuse to include him in the action (as was the case in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, which I otherwise quite enjoyed), and indeed it first seemed like the direction this book was going as well, since Lando literally walked into a New Republic official’s office and said he wanted something to do because he was bored. But I was pleasantly surprised to find myself quite engaged in Lando’s investigation. The attempts by him, Lobot, C-3PO and R2-D2 to understand and infiltrate a mysterious ship built by a long-extinct species reminded me a bit of the plot of the science-fiction film Arrival. Although obviously different in tone, they had similar themes in that they raised questions about how to interact with and comprehend a species of which literally nothing is known, for which there is no true foundation to build upon. (Plus, I really enjoyed that they found a way to get Lobot back in the mix. I always liked him as a minor background character in The Empire Strikes Back when I was a kid, so the fact that he even made the cover of Before the Storm made me happy. As for what I didn’t enjoy in this book, I found myself largely uninterested in the storyline of Luke Skywalker seeking his “long lost mother.” I think this subplot might be the reason this series received so much criticism, as it was rendered entirely moot by the prequel films, even before the entire Legends continuity was removed from the official canon. I’m not ruling out that it might get more interesting in future books, but so far it hasn’t grabbed me like Yevethan story did. I also had some issues with how Princess Leia was portrayed in this book. It was interesting at first to hear her confess to Han Solo about her insecurities about leading the New Republic (how she sometimes feels like an “accident of history” not up to the task), as we’ve always known her as a tenacious and fearless leader up to this point. But I feel they went a little overboard on this as the book progressed. Leia was literally the only top New Republic official who was unsuspicious of the Yevethan, and her blindness to the threat they posed was quite unbelievable, and not in keeping with her usual intelligence. Worse yet, when the crisis grew to its worst point, rather than overcoming her errors and facing the threat, she retreats into herself and refuses to even talk to anybody. This is not the Princess Leia we all know. That aside, however, I still found Before the Storm quite enjoyable, and look forward to reading the next books in the series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Koan

    This is a difficult book to review. I have a lot of thoughts about it, most of them bad. I should start out by saying that I think that Michael P. Kube-McDowell wrote a good Science-Fiction piece. He did not, however, write a good Star Wars piece. If there was no Star Wars label or characters, this would work as an ok or good general Science Fiction novel as a start to a trilogy. He introduces lots of new aliens and weird spelled names and exploration of new space, all of which fits a generic Sci This is a difficult book to review. I have a lot of thoughts about it, most of them bad. I should start out by saying that I think that Michael P. Kube-McDowell wrote a good Science-Fiction piece. He did not, however, write a good Star Wars piece. If there was no Star Wars label or characters, this would work as an ok or good general Science Fiction novel as a start to a trilogy. He introduces lots of new aliens and weird spelled names and exploration of new space, all of which fits a generic Science Fiction novel(or even a Star Trek novel). Unfortunately, there is a feeling that good Star Wars novels have. They capture the adventure, excitement, and voice of the characters of the story. McDowell just really didn't capture any of that. None or few of the characters felt like Star Wars characters. Leia was the most eggregious example. She was rude to Ackbar and didn't listen to him and was really out of character with both her film and book(EU) characteristics. Luke was quick to just say "Well, I've been told this, so I guess I'll go and believe this person". He felt off and him just leaving the academy out of the blue, then following the person claiming to know who his mother was just didnt' seem plausible to me. Han was the most believeable in his actions, but it didn't feel like McDowell nailed his character, only happened to get it right. Also, this is technically a side note, but this trilogy of books(assuming it doesn't drastically change by the end) shows why the EU shouldn't have been considered canon in its time and shouldn't now. This author is setting up Luke's mother to be a part of this group, but we know for a fact from the prequels that she was Padme' from Naboo. At the point of writing this book, Lucas knew he was going to do the prequels, and yet this story got through anyway, showing that the EU really didn't fit into George's plan and that Lucasfilm(and Bantam Books) didn't really in the long run care about continuity. Thats why I'm ok with the "Reset" in 2014, but I digress. Lando just used some phrases that sounded weird coming out of his mouth. I could see him saying them if the writer wanted him to say them, but it was just kind of wierd to me. I've spent the last several paragraphs outlining what I didn't like so I'll pivot to what I did like. Even though I didn't buy Leia's actions and decisions in the book, I did like her plotline. The whole political problems, particularly in the third act were really interesting and exciting. That was the only part of the book that I felt like I had to keep reading, the rest was just bland to me. Overall, this book isn't atrotious, but I have to be honest and say that overall, I did not enjoy it, and that is hard for me to say as a Star Wars fan. 4 out of 10. Sorry McDowell. Maybe another project.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Christian Santos

    Looking back the first time I saw the Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy in the must-read for Star Wars novel novice reader's list was the one of the things I do not regret buying soon enough. But when I really got my mitts on the whole trilogy, I just hoped, "give it a try, it wouldn't hurt you...wouldn't it?" A short review for Before the Storm, book one of the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy would make up for it then? First of all, this is one of the most boringly interesting Star Wars novels out there. I h Looking back the first time I saw the Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy in the must-read for Star Wars novel novice reader's list was the one of the things I do not regret buying soon enough. But when I really got my mitts on the whole trilogy, I just hoped, "give it a try, it wouldn't hurt you...wouldn't it?" A short review for Before the Storm, book one of the Black Fleet Crisis trilogy would make up for it then? First of all, this is one of the most boringly interesting Star Wars novels out there. I had a mind-mongering duel with time as the book is slowly numbing and reassuring, with some plot holes being too wide, but then bridged it with a ton of content that was too much at times. I liked how Michael Kube-McDowell manages to give us a peek of what it feels like to be a Chief of State in Coruscant- in vivid detail, no problem there. He's great at getting important plot messages through and it's always an easy read at some chapters. Lobot's talking for the first time and I am seriously liking Lobot as a sort of human-cyborg relation than See-Threepio more, though. But as I was saying earlier on, Kube-McDowell is great at introducing then bridging conflicts easily, which in turn makes the novel quite interesting. It leaves you wondering with so much questions that you'll definitely try reading the second book of the trilogy afterwards soon enough. And honestly, the Yevetha, led by their leader aptly named Nil Spaar, is one of the most convoluted in personality and cunning in stature for me. But doubtless after reading this, the Yevetha are the second ruthless beings besides the Yuuzhan Vong (later introduced in NJO series) and Natasi Daala (introduced in Jedi Academy trilogy), somehow. I didn't like that this book was too much for a 300-page novel. Too much bore sometimes but quite crucial in development. There are some times I go "WTF" and most especially the time Luke's mom's name was Nashira. Man, I knew that this is a 1996 novel but seriously, it doesn't come close to Padme. I know it's weird for watching the prequels first but yes. You'd think weirder otherwise. All-in-all, this is a polarizing novel to behold. But I have bigger expectations for Shield of Lies. Hope I could stay on track soon enough though. -Christian

  16. 5 out of 5

    James Taylor

    By pure coincidence, I read this book after The Jedi Academy trilogy, so it was a nice surprise to find out it follows on. Luke leaves his Academy to go into hiding, but is then visited by a mysterious woman who claims to know his mother, so he goes with her to learn more. Leia is visited by the Yethethan Nil Spaar and tries to form an alliance with him. He seems insistent that he only wants peace and to be left alone, rather than join. Meanwhile, the New Republic find intelligence on the Black By pure coincidence, I read this book after The Jedi Academy trilogy, so it was a nice surprise to find out it follows on. Luke leaves his Academy to go into hiding, but is then visited by a mysterious woman who claims to know his mother, so he goes with her to learn more. Leia is visited by the Yethethan Nil Spaar and tries to form an alliance with him. He seems insistent that he only wants peace and to be left alone, rather than join. Meanwhile, the New Republic find intelligence on the Black Fleet which is unaccounted for, but was last known to be in the Yethethan region of space. What a coincidence that Nil Spaar is here! Leia orders Han to go on the recon mission to investigate what happened to the Black Fleet. Chewbacca makes a cameo, and takes the Falcon to his home-world to visit his family. Lando, Lobot, C3PO and R2D2 investigate a unmanned ship, but need to crack the defence systems to unlock its secrets. My main thought on the book is that there's a lot of plot threads which seem to be there to build up the overall plot to the trilogy; but it means this book is watered down as a result. There's a lack of action for the majority of the book, but things begin to happen during the final few chapters. I'm not sure if Lando and Luke's plot threads are actually going to tie into the main plot or if they are just side stories. I think this leads into another problem; that there are far too many characters. There are plenty of characters that get mentioned once then are never referred to again, and it's hard to keep track of who actually is important. I think the usage of some characters were a bit forced. They could have used new characters instead of having Lando and the droids. Cutting out irrelevant parts could have led to a more focused and interesting story. I didn't find the book very enjoyable, but the other two books in the trilogy could be good since they have the foundations of the plot threads to build upon.

  17. 5 out of 5

    David

    After reading the horrendous books that is The Courtship of Princess Leia, Jedi Academy, I Jedi, Children of the Jedi, Darksaber, Planet of Twilight, and The Crystal Star, I had all but given up hope of there ever reading another good Star Wars novel. The writing seemed to have fallen on dark times (pun intended). I had to take a few months break from reading another Star Wars books in the continuity of the timeline. So my hopes were not very high and I decided to jump back on the Star Wars wago After reading the horrendous books that is The Courtship of Princess Leia, Jedi Academy, I Jedi, Children of the Jedi, Darksaber, Planet of Twilight, and The Crystal Star, I had all but given up hope of there ever reading another good Star Wars novel. The writing seemed to have fallen on dark times (pun intended). I had to take a few months break from reading another Star Wars books in the continuity of the timeline. So my hopes were not very high and I decided to jump back on the Star Wars wagon and start reading the next book in line, the Black Fleet Crisis. This review is for the first book in the series because I have not yet read book 2 and 3. I must say that I actually really enjoyed the book (hallelujah!). It got me hooked very early on and I couldn't put the book down. The three separate storylines of the three Ls (Luke's, Leia's and Lando's)are equally fascinating and I had to keep reading to see what would happen next. I don't understand why there is hate towards this book. It's so much greater that the novels I mentioned in the very beginning and the writing is far superior to Barbra Hamley. The only reason I'm not giving this 5 stars is because I find Leia so out of character in this novel, I don't even recognize her. When did she get so gullible, naive and trustworthy, especially towards a unknown alien species? And then to alienate herself from her own entourage and most trusted advisers, such as Admiral Ackbar, almost accusing him of treason, after all they have been through together that she would not even listen to his counsel?? This is not the strong willed character we have come to know and love. This is not Leia. Apart from that, great read and I am ready to just into book two to find out what happens next.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    This is a strange book in a lot of ways. At its core, it's a fairly intriguing set of parallel stories. The mystery around the Yevetha and the sense of impending doom that hangs over them from the start is gripping. The escapades around the mysterious rogue ship are compelling. And while the quest to discover Luke and Leia's mother is less interesting, especially in light of the Prequel Trilogy, it isn't as dull as it might be. And the whole thing is fairly well written, with some well drawn char This is a strange book in a lot of ways. At its core, it's a fairly intriguing set of parallel stories. The mystery around the Yevetha and the sense of impending doom that hangs over them from the start is gripping. The escapades around the mysterious rogue ship are compelling. And while the quest to discover Luke and Leia's mother is less interesting, especially in light of the Prequel Trilogy, it isn't as dull as it might be. And the whole thing is fairly well written, with some well drawn characters. What's bizarre though is that it doesn't feel like the *Star Wars* characters. Han is not especially important and Lando is fine, but neither Luke nor Leia feels at all like themselves. Luke is incredibly mopey and detached; like the worst parody of what detractors complain about his Last Jedi self in the new canon, but without even any proximate cause to explain his behaviour. And I have no idea what the author was going for with Leia, who is characterised here as staggeringly naive and stubborn about it. It doesn't come across as idealism, but rather stupidity, as she clings to wildly optimistic assessments even when all the (male) characters around her are signalling in no uncertain terms that the reality is rather different. I should say that I'm a firm believer that there is no 'one' way to portray any character; it's entirely fine for different authors to emphasise different elements of these icons, but this just felt bizarre. I gave this four stars out of some benefit of the doubt, hoping that the subsequent two books in this series will improve here. At its core, it really is a decent book; I just have a lot of trouble reconciling it with the characters it is supposedly about.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ben Yandle

    Things I dislike: 1)Lukes whole philosophy at the beginning of the book. I get that this was still sort of early days for the star wars EU but it just seems really strange to me. Especially with how quickly he drops it in the same book. 2) Leia's whole outlook and actions leading up to the crisis just seems really weird and out of place to me. Again sort of early days and I'm reading them chronologically by in universe timeline but she has never seemed this unwilling to listen to people that hav Things I dislike: 1)Lukes whole philosophy at the beginning of the book. I get that this was still sort of early days for the star wars EU but it just seems really strange to me. Especially with how quickly he drops it in the same book. 2) Leia's whole outlook and actions leading up to the crisis just seems really weird and out of place to me. Again sort of early days and I'm reading them chronologically by in universe timeline but she has never seemed this unwilling to listen to people that have clearly been by her side for ages. 3) Everyone else is so willing to believe Nil Spaar. That seems strange to me. Maybe we live in a more cynical time but this guy throws up a lot of red flags Things I like: 1) Pretty much everything else. I like this new foil for the republic its something different. Though i do seem so broad strokes similarities to the Yuzhong Vong which I know were written later. 2) Han getting to be Han but still a good husband and father. 3) The mystery behind what is going on with Lando and the vagabond is actually one of the more interesting side stories I've seen involving Lando. Also I did not realize how much I want more Lando and Lobot adventures until this book. Lando and Han never felt like fantastic foils because while they are so similar in a lot of ways. Lobot is almost the opposite of Lando it makes for a a good time 4) More non Jedi Force sensitive sects. I like them Its nices to see them even if this one is a bit preachy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Bit of a mixed bag. I think some of the criticism of this is valid. The characters do seem a little off in this, Leia in particular who seems almost obtuse at times as she struggles to stay on the good side of a visiting head of state. I think that if the author had more strongly played up the pressure she felt filling Mon Mothma’s shoes, this aspect of the book might have worked better. The story does move a bit slow but to be honest I was kind of happy to see finally a plot not involving anyon Bit of a mixed bag. I think some of the criticism of this is valid. The characters do seem a little off in this, Leia in particular who seems almost obtuse at times as she struggles to stay on the good side of a visiting head of state. I think that if the author had more strongly played up the pressure she felt filling Mon Mothma’s shoes, this aspect of the book might have worked better. The story does move a bit slow but to be honest I was kind of happy to see finally a plot not involving anyone being kidnapped or yet another top-TOP- secret weapon of the Emperor. The ending was a bit of a mess for me. The second to last chapter features a random tumble of action featuring so many new characters that at first I was sure there was a glitch with my eBook. Like how Star Wars titles will frequently include an excerpt from another book and I had accidentally jumped ahead. There was an interesting philosophical discussion between Luke and Han about Luke’s decision to go into seclusion that was a high point for me. Ultimately, I think the book would have been stronger if it had been either about Leila’s confidence struggles in her new position or Luke’s uncertainty about his role in society as a Jedi. As it is, I feel like the book ends up being about neither. Many have argued that this book has little to do with the overall trilogy. I can’t speak to that.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    This book has three stories going on that I assume will converge into one story as it gets going. Luke has decided to go live like a hermit until a stranger comes along and tells him she knew his mother and that she could use his help. This book was published in 1996 so in this series his mother is not Padme. Although this story barely gets started in this book, so the stranger might not even be telling the truth. Lando has taken Artoo and C3-PO on an adventure to a ship that may or may not be aba This book has three stories going on that I assume will converge into one story as it gets going. Luke has decided to go live like a hermit until a stranger comes along and tells him she knew his mother and that she could use his help. This book was published in 1996 so in this series his mother is not Padme. Although this story barely gets started in this book, so the stranger might not even be telling the truth. Lando has taken Artoo and C3-PO on an adventure to a ship that may or may not be abandoned. Lando uses a lot of his less that reputable charms to do exactly what he wants. I'm really curious where this part of the story is going. Lastly Leia and Han are dealing with a double dealing leader of a world outside the Republic. It was easy to tell from the beginning that he had bad intentions. At first I was annoyed by Leia's behavior, but she became more like herself as it went. Also, who's to say that having three kids and all that responsibility wouldn't have changed her a little. I love that Han is always just along for the ride. Time and Leia have softened his edges, but it's still Han. I am really looking forward to the next two books!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Brayton Cole

    Tom Clancy goes to Coruscant. If you enjoy vacationing in the mind of a hard-right militarist, and like having that splashed over onto SW, you will enjoy this. Very much a product of its time, with none of the anxieties or self-doubt that crept into America's consciousness in the decades after it was written. Democracy is great but needs to be routinely saved from itself by people ignoring its rules and subverting its institutions. This works out great in the books, because the rule-breakers are Tom Clancy goes to Coruscant. If you enjoy vacationing in the mind of a hard-right militarist, and like having that splashed over onto SW, you will enjoy this. Very much a product of its time, with none of the anxieties or self-doubt that crept into America's consciousness in the decades after it was written. Democracy is great but needs to be routinely saved from itself by people ignoring its rules and subverting its institutions. This works out great in the books, because the rule-breakers are always well-intentioned and well-informed. Just for contrast, there is a subplot involving a hypocritical, dishonest, and condescending pacifist who functions to remove Luke from the main action for all three books. Another subplot involves Lando poking around an alien ship, but this plot is at least somewhat interesting. Meh.

  23. 5 out of 5

    C.

    As a fan of Han Solo fantastic father, this book gets stars for every Solo family moment it includes, but the plot was mostly yawnable from my memory of having read it long ago, and in this reread it's similarly so. If you like Solo family shenanigans, this book does have those and so might be worth picking up on that merit alone. I also appreciate that it deals with Leia's position and parentage and potential political fallout from it, but overall I probably won't pick it up again, and there we As a fan of Han Solo fantastic father, this book gets stars for every Solo family moment it includes, but the plot was mostly yawnable from my memory of having read it long ago, and in this reread it's similarly so. If you like Solo family shenanigans, this book does have those and so might be worth picking up on that merit alone. I also appreciate that it deals with Leia's position and parentage and potential political fallout from it, but overall I probably won't pick it up again, and there were a few chapters I skimmed heavily in (also some quibbles in how the Han and Chewie relationship is written...) Definitely a mixed bag. Not the worst of the 90s EU, but not the best either.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David

    I'm not going to pretend that this is great but it is one of the better EU novels I've read outside of Timothy Zahn's stuff. All three plotlines (for once) are actually pretty engaging and the world-building is great. It's really interesting seeing Leia dealing with a New Republic that has begun to rival the Empire in it's military might. Generally speaking, McDowell has a pretty good feel for these characters and this world. With that said the book still has some major problems. Leia's characte I'm not going to pretend that this is great but it is one of the better EU novels I've read outside of Timothy Zahn's stuff. All three plotlines (for once) are actually pretty engaging and the world-building is great. It's really interesting seeing Leia dealing with a New Republic that has begun to rival the Empire in it's military might. Generally speaking, McDowell has a pretty good feel for these characters and this world. With that said the book still has some major problems. Leia's characterization (surprise, surprise) is pretty weak at time's and the three plot lines are fairly unrelated (at least in this book). Still, all things considered. I quite liked this.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brendan Pelto

    Disclaimer: 4 stars for a SW Novel. Don't think it is near high art. Better than average. Don't pick it up thinking you're getting the full story, it is definitely a third of a book. The author does a great job making lesser known characters and new characters come to life. Luke is mopey and disappears from the novel, which is nice, because he has been mopey for most of the EU. Weird segment where Ackbar barges in on Leia and Han "hoping his friends are not mating'.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sunknight

    I would have given this book 4 stars except for the way the Princess Leia character was written. She seemed totally out of 'character' and it only seemed a cheap plot motivator. Emphasis on the title 'Princess'. Naive, proud, dismissive, arrogant, pouty... you get the idea. Almost destroyed the whole story.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ali

    So, clearly on a Star Wars reread at the moment, apologise in advance haha! This was one of my favourites. The intrigues that Leia is having to deal with & how she copes between the role of mother, wife and politician is very interesting. The only thing I didn’t really like was the lando subplot? So weird! Waiting to see if it improves in book 2. So, clearly on a Star Wars reread at the moment, apologise in advance haha! This was one of my favourites. The intrigues that Leia is having to deal with & how she copes between the role of mother, wife and politician is very interesting. The only thing I didn’t really like was the lando subplot? So weird! Waiting to see if it improves in book 2.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alexandr Iscenco

    A very good contribution to the Star Wars Universe. The novel is notable for its depiction of how an oppressed nation (in this case, species of aliens) could become the oppressor, of how politics could be manipulative, and how even great leaders could make great mistakes... but then do everything possible and seemingly impossible to recover from them.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    A good read, so far looking forward to the rest of the series.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Chronister

    Pretty good for a Star Wars book, I am already reading the next one.

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