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Scourge: Star Wars by Jeff Grubb
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Scourge: Star Wars

by Jeff Grubb

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853141,824 (3.55)3

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This was an enjoyable Star Wars read. Nothing spectacular, but I think I'm ok with some non-spectacular stories for awhile.

A jedi librarian has to find out why his former padawan died and along the way figures out that he's not a total loser because he's not Anakin Skywalker.

And Hutts. I like Hutts. They are great villains and make great characters you love to hate. ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Dec 10, 2016 |
To my knowledge, this is Grubb's only novel in the Star Wars EU and his writing style and terminology is a bit of an adjustment compared to other established Star Wars authors but I enjoyed his approach for the most part. Scourge is more of a crime/mystery tale than a galaxy-spanning adventure that we have come to expect from the EU. Additionally, it is a very singular tale. Often a Star Wars novel will follow multiple characters and jump from scene-to-scene showing you the story from multiple angles. This book maintains only two main points of view but primarily sticks with the main characters. These characters are complete strangers to the Star Wars reader. The protagonist - Jedi archivist Mander Zuma - has never made an appearance or even been referenced by other works in the EU prior to this release. This unfamiliarity was what discouraged me from reading this book initially. I had the same misgivings about other works like the Crosscurrent/Riptide series. But after enjoying those novels, I pushed ahead with Scourge.
This is a tale about little-known Jedi, Mander Zuma, who's career in The Order has never really taken him into the field. He is an archivist (a.k.a. "librarian") who found himself in the role of teacher to an apprentice out of necessity. His student, upon reaching knighthood, is killed on one of his first solo missions. This leaves Zuma emotionally distraught - wondering if his shortcomings as a teacher contributed to his former student's death. He is dispatched by The Order to investigate the death and complete the fallen knight's mission - a trade negotiation with a Hutt lord. In true Star Wars fashion, however, the death of a Jedi is never an isolated incident, and dealings with the Hutts are never what they appear on the surface. Zuma is quickly embroiled in a conspiracy involving not only the murder of a Jedi knight, but also the trafficking of a potent new hard spice that has recently hit the market. Joining forces with his former student's sister (an independent spacer also searching for answers about her brother's death) and her Bothan partner, Zuma's investigation takes the reader along on a journey to a number of worlds between the Corporate Sector and Hutt Space. Arrayed against him are Hutt crime syndicates, Rodian clans bent on vengeance, and the always by-the-book Corporate Sector Authority. It is truly a fish-out-of-water story about a Jedi struggling to overcome his own perceived insufficiencies while trying to solve a mystery he was never prepared to encounter.
The pacing of this novel is a bit jarring - never staying in one locale or plot development for long. My biggest complaint about the author's style is in what is left unsaid. Solutions to conflicts are often glossed over with critical details overlooked. For instance, a chase sequence will sound hopeless at one moment with little chance for survival and then suddenly they meet someone helpful and the next paragraph now finds them miles away in safety. How did they get there? How did they escape all the people chasing them? The reader is left to make their own assumptions. Character development and back-story is often overlooked as well. The reader is expected to take a character at face value and make judgements about his or her motivations and personality based solely on the actions portrayed in the story. There is very little dialog between characters to fill in the gaps. As for Mander himself, he was uninspiring in his uncertainty at the start, but suddenly manifested that famous Jedi wisdom mid-way through the book. There was no watershed moment, no plot twist that clarified his inner turmoils or personal doubts - he just was suddenly a more confident leader (another gap). In addition to this inconsistency, one notices a sudden change in Zuma's skills as a knight in the field. In the beginning he describes himself as being a less-than-capable warrior, feeling unattached to his saber and not comfortable with its use. His efforts in early fight sequences are barely sufficient to keep him alive where other more established Jedi would have handily dispatched his/her foes and walked away without a scratch. This led to an early inquisitiveness on my part - wondering how in the world this Jedi would manage to survive in a hostile galaxy to solve this mystery. I looked forward to seeing some unconventional Jedi tactics. After reading almost exclusively about the exploits of famous Jedi - particularly Skywalkers, Solos, Horns and the like - I was hoping to see what a Jedi without those skills could accomplish. However, like other details overlooked by the author, halfway through the novel Mander suddenly exhibits all those traits of a tried-and-true Jedi master - wielding his blade with mastery and becoming an unstoppable force on the battlefield. How did we get from point A to point B?
If you can overlook those points, the story is good enough to keep a readier interested and the plot certainly does move - never languishing. The climax was more or less predictable but not to the point that it became an uninteresting read. Overall, I give it three stars. It's a good weekend read that takes you to the comfortable surroundings of our galaxy far far away, even if the faces are unfamiliar ones. ( )
  skip_wiley | Sep 12, 2014 |
I enjoyed this Star Wars book. I'm a big fan of the Star Wars universe and was pleased when I won a free copy of this book from Goodreads.

The protagonist Jedi Master Mander Zuma is a Jedi Archivist on Yavin 4 at Luke's Academy. He is more accustomed to spending his time in the library doing research then being out in the field on a mission. But when his former apprentice turns up dead he vows to see the mission through. Even though he doubts his ability to use the Force he gains confidence over the course of the mission. He teams up with his apprentice's sister and forms unlikely alliances with both the Corporate Sector and a Hutt. The trail leads them to a new kind of destructive spice and they begin to infiltrate and neutralize the spice lord's route of delivery. They eventually find the source and then must deal with the unusual being who is at the heart of the problem. ( )
  kkunker | Jun 3, 2012 |
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To Kate, my Lovely Bride, who is known in the better parts of the galaxy as Dr. Bunny Pierce, and who is legendary for hitting golf balls off the flight deck of her Imperial Star Destroyer.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345511220, Mass Market Paperback)

In the heart of crime-ridden Hutt Space, a Jedi Scholar searches for justice.
 
While trying to obtain the coordinates of a secret, peril-packed, but potentially beneficial trade route, a novice Jedi is killed—and the motive for his murder remains shrouded in mystery. Now his former Master, Jedi archivist Mander Zuma, wants answers, even as he fights to erase doubts about his own abilities as a Jedi. What Mander gets is immersion into the perilous underworld of the Hutts as he struggles to stay one step ahead in a game of smugglers, killers, and crime lords bent on total control.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:53 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When a novice Jedi is killed while trying to obtain the coordinates of a secretive, yet beneficial trade route, his former Master, Jedi archivist Mander Zuma, must enter the dangerous underworld of the Hutts to find the truth.

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