Outcast by Aaron Allston
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Is this lazy writing or a rushed production? Maybe it's both.
Aaron Allston's Outcast, in which the Jedi order is being subverted, kicks off the nine-novel "Fate of the Jedi" series for the Star Wars franchise. Allston would write three of the novels, while two other writers worked on the other six, and all this was done within three years.
That's a lot of writing in a short period. It would seem like they just wanted to pump this stuff out. I mean, nine books in three years is a lot. On the other hand, it's only one book per year for each writer. That should be doable without rushing things. Quality should be maintained.
However, some poor writing got published here. Too many smiles and glares are "offered" and "given". I lost count of the number of times an expressed emotion was given to someone else. After a while I stopped giving fucks.
Maybe Allston is a shitty writer. Or maybe he could've or would've done better given time. Outcast reads like an early draft in which place-holder text is left on the page in order to expedite the writing process. A writer at leisure would go back and revise, remove redundancies, vary the language, make sure the damn words have the correct meaning for what is being said, etc.
I don't care about the vast expo dumps or the tropes trooping about. This is a sci-fi soap opera. I get that. I'm just looking at this from a reader's perspective. The ability to run your eyes over the page without tripping up on some non-sensical sentiment or having the 4th wall busted down because a repetitious phrase is hitting your eyes with the consistency and irritation of a Chinese water torture device.
That truly is unfortunate, because if you're a Star Wars fan, young or old, there's good to be found within these pages. The action scenes (occasionally gratuitous now and then, but not a big quibble) are handled well. Plus, our old friends Luke, Leia, Han, C3P0 and R2D2 are all here. Joining them are a platoon of sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, and grandkids. The warm-fuzzy of familiarity brought on by beloved characters goes a long way in fostering forgiveness for a book's other faults.