Clone Wars Gambit: Siege

September 5, 2016 at 6:00 pm (Reads) (, , , )

siegeClone Wars Gambit: Siege by Karen Miller

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With Siege, the saga of the Clone Wars comes to an end. Even if I didn’t already know that this series follows along with the television show, I would have picked up on it based on the way the story develops. Several things happen off-screen in the same way that it did in Wild Space, meaning that it might have been better for me read these alongside the show. Considering that I’m in the “read it before I watch it” camp, I missed out on those details, and instead found characters and scenes that felt underdeveloped.

Siege follows directly after the events of Stealth, which is no surprise since Stealth was just half a book. Think Connie Willis’ Blackout and All Clear: These aren’t two complete stories set in the same timeline; they’re one story broken down across two volumes. I rated Stealth a bit low because of it, and while Siege isn’t a four-star book, it at least finishes the story that should have been finished in the previous book. Surprisingly, as much as the backstory was established in StealthSiege still takes a long time to get to the end, and then once we get there, it happens very quickly.

In Wild Space, I got frustrated with how Miller drew out the drama at the end, and I felt that same frustration here as she drew out the final showdown between Durd and the townspeople. Every time the scene shifted, hours would have passed, and days went by while they were under siege, but I swear it took half of the book to cover it from start to finish. If different things would have happened, it might have been different, but it seemed like it was always the same handful of issues that were being handled with each scene shift.

Miller again does a great job with her characterization, capturing Obi-Wan and Bail Organa well, and giving Anakin a bit more depth to explain how he could fall to the Dark Side. I mentioned in my review of Wild Space that she captured Yoda’s way of speaking, but here it seems to get more stilted and more difficult to follow. What I think she captures best is the mining town’s residents. She develops them as a group of secretive insiders, which Obi-Wan and Anakin try to infiltrate under cover, and the way she brings all parties together feels honest and realistic. The residents are forced into an untenable situation, and how they react to it is genuine, with bravery, fear, paranoia, and loyalty, all in different amounts based on which character is reacting. That whole dynamic is my favorite part of the book.

Stealth and Siege should be read together, as they’re one single story. They’re still not the best example of what can be done in the Expanded Universe, but they’re at least in the middle of the pack, based on what all I’ve read so far. I do think it would be better to read these while also watching the television show, though.

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