Maul: Lockdown

April 15, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , )

lockdownMaul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber

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The timeline of the Maul stories in the Extended Universe is a little weird. According to the master timeline at the front of this book, Shadow Hunter precedes Lockdown, but Shadow Hunter has two short stories at the end of the book that precede both stories. I decided to read them in order, and when I went online to the Wookieepedia to find the right order, I found that Lockdown actually precedes Shadow Hunter. So I read those two stories first, then moved on to this book.

Like Red Harvest, Schreiber’s other Star Wars novel, Lockdown is a decent story, but it feels a little out of place in the Star Wars universe. There’s a connection to the larger story, but it’s tenuous; really, this novel is about showcasing how tough Maul is by putting him up against tougher and tougher foes in literal fight-to-the-death cage matches in a prison.

I’ve given Schreiber a lot of flack for one scene from Chasing the Dead, where the main character is attacked by giant lobsters from the back seat of her car, but I can’t deny that he gets the job done with his narrative. His style is clean and clear, and the story is compelling. Plus, as much as his two books (so far) in the Extended Universe don’t fit that well, they’re decent reads.

While reading this book, I realized that not only am I starting to bump up against characters and stories I already know, but I’m also going to start encountering familiar characters written by different people. Since no two authors create characters the same way, it will be interesting to see how different authors interpret the same characters. With Maul, I’ve just read these three stories that feature him, but his character was so minimally developed in The Phantom Menace that it’s been easy to see him in new contexts. Save for a moment at the end of this book where Maul seems to get almost sentimental, his defining characteristic is his emotionless brutality, which Schreiber captures very well. It doesn’t hurt that the author typically writes horror novels.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I found it to be more compelling than Luceno’s stories, even if it doesn’t quite fit in with what one would expect from a Star Wars novel. As it is, the book reads as if it were a science fiction / horror mash-up that Schreiber managed to shoehorn into the Extended Universe.

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