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Before The Storm
by Michael P. Kube-McDowell

Published by Bantam Publishing


Scott's Rating:   3.5 out of 4
Darin's Rating:   3.5 out of 4


The Imperials are almost all completely wiped out and peace now rules the galaxy. The Alliance has become lazy and their enormous military fleet seems like not only a waste of money, but a bully to smaller worlds and non-alliance members. Princess Leia's rule has also come into question.

Meanwhile, a less technically advanced race once subjugated by the Imperials viciously overthrows their masters and takes over a secret shipyard. Could they be worse than the Imperials? And the way they see it, why shouldn't they overthrow the alliance as well?

As their leader 'negotiates' with Leia, Luke discovers clues to the identity of his and Leia's mother. Is it possible she's still alive? Luke begins to follow her trail with a strange companion who also masters the force.

Finally, a strange 'ghost ship' has been roaming space quietly for many years. What could possibly be inside? Lando, Lobot, C-3PO and R2 D2 try to find out!

This is the first novel in the Black Fleet Crisis Trilogy.



Scott:

    I like this novel a lot. Michael Kube-McDowell is very good about developing minor characters and making you care about them in a very short amount of time. He has probably added more minor characters in this one paperback than in several of the other books combined. I also really liked the fact that he showed Darth Vader's castle, as well as more scenes of Coruscant. It was also good to see more facts about Luke and Leia's mother come out, though we have yet to see if they will be true. I also liked the new aliens. They really do seem like an unstoppable, vicious foe. The 'ghost ship' was also a very interesting side story. I like the way he has interweaved so many subplots into one story. I can tell that this is a story that will entertain up until the end.


Darin:

    Darth Vader's castle was cool, but it reminded me of that movie Labyrinth. I really do hope Luke finds his mom. It'd be a bummer if K-Mac led us on like this and didn't follow through. But Lucasfilm might not let him, what with the new trilogy and all. I'm totally repulsed by the new aliens, which is a good thing if they are to be the enemy. I think they probably smell pretty bad too.



Scott:

    I really liked this story, but I did not like the way that Leia was portrayed. I felt she came across as narrow minded, naive, hard headed, and unable to trust her closest advisors. I felt that this was not the same Leia we have seen in the other books or the films (though hard headed is debatable!). I also did not like the fact that they are releasing all this information about Luke's mom, then leaving an 'out' for George Lucas for the new films. For example, they say 'this is her name, but they are known by other names by other people'. If that isn't an obvious setup that she's going to be called something different in the films, I don't know what is. Also they state that they use something that is different from the Force, or beyond it. I suppose there are no real bounds to the Star Wars Universe, but you would think that the Force, as described by Obi Wan and Yoda, was an all encompassing thing that would include this 'other power'. The only other thing I didn't like was the fact that he killed off some pretty cool minor characters. At least let 'em live a while!


Darin:

    If I were to judge this like you would a Shakespeare tragedy, this would be great. The more deaths the better, right? I think Scott is still infatuated with Princess Leia. He's knocking K-Mac for making her act like a woman. (I'm sure glad no women get offended with anything I say :) Really, I can't find much wrong with this book. It's really good, just not quite 4 Death Stars.



Scott:

    Leia's whining! Ugh!


Darin:

    Scott's whining! Ugh!


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