Friday, May 15, 2015

James Review -- Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown

This week I decided  to review Star Wars: Maul: Lockdown by  Joe Schreiber. The story is primarily focused around Darth Maul’s mission to the prison station Cog Hive Seven. Cog Hive Seven is also the site of arena battles between prisoners which are gambled on across the galaxy. The story opens with Maul locked in a battle against an unidentified opponent which readers familiar with the Star Wars Legends continuity will swiftly identify as a Yuuzhan Vong. Maul is forbidden from using the Force during his mission but still manages to kill his opponent. Maul’s objective inside the prison is to locate the legendary arms dealer Iram Radique. While Darth Plagueis wishes Radique dead, Darth Sideious has sent Maul to obtain a bomb from Radique and then arrange its delivery to a cult. But unfortunately, this cult happens to be Radique’s most hated enemy which will complicate Maul’s mission greatly, in addition to the difficulty of identifying Radique. As Maul weaves his way through the prison, he makes new allies and gains control of two of the major gangs within the prison’s loosely-controlled population. But Radique soon comes to believe that Maul seeks to kill him and turns his resources against the Sith Lord. And when the prison warden starts a feud with Jabba the Hutt, Jabba launches an assault against the prison, seeking to kill everyone on it. And if these threats aren’t challenging enough, Maul must also deal with an insane former Jedi and a legendary monster which dwells within the prison if he is to survive
I give the book a 7 out of 10. On the plus side, the author did a great job characterizing Maul in my opinion. He showed Maul as more than a killing machine and more mission-focused than evil just for the fun of it. Sure, Maul will do horrible things when he feels his mission calls for it, but he will also do honorable things when it aids his goals, or at one point less because doing so aids his objectives and more than doing so will not hinder his mission. On the other hand, the plot seems a little thin. It feels like the author just decided that setting a Star Wars story on a prison station starring Maul would be fun and just came up with the quickest reason possible to get Maul there. Also, the menagerie of beings Maul encounters is crazy. Right off the bat there is a member of a species which would be incredibly rare, if not unknown in the region where Star Wars takes place at the time the story occurs. This is followed by another person who is implied to belong to a species that is only slightly less rare in known space in this era. And then there are representatives of a third species which not only does not have access to space travel when the story occurs, but their homeworld won’t be contacted by a space faring civilization for well over a decade yet Maul somehow recognizes their species and knows its name. The author desperately needed to resist the urge throw species in just because he liked them, and instead make sure their appearances made sense within the larger Star Wars Legends storyline in my opinion.

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