Review - Cloak of Deception - by James Luceno
Cloak of Deception was one of the long line of Star Wars books that I purchased, enjoyed, but don't often think of. Basically, there are two types of Star Wars novels - there are the novels that are the further adventures of our heroes in the Star Wars Universe, full of tension and new ideas... and then there are books like this. There were a lot of novels that were published to be tie-ins to the Prequel trilogy.
I tend not to think of the tie-in novels that often... they are the novels of Dramatic Irony - they pull back the curtain of what we end up seeing in the films, or expand characters. While that's not what I generally want -- rereading this book reminded me that some of these actually can be really, really good books. So, let's review.
The EU - Qui Gon and the Masters I found that I really enjoyed getting to have Qui-Gon be the, if not main, one of the leading characters in the Novel. I especially enjoyed the interaction between Qui-Gon and the various Jedi Masters. Luceno did a very good job showing their respect for Qui-Gon, but their worry about his slightly rebellious, indifferent-to-the-future approach. Very well done.
The EU - Captain Cohl - Cohl was the... villain? At least the hard scrabble foil - and he was well written. You disagree with what he does - but you almost feel sympathetic for him. He was an interesting character - and one of the better 1 book characters that comes up in the Star Wars World.
The Bad - A Touch Plodding - There are times when the book comes across as a touch plodding, and this is in part because tries to build suspense when we already know what is going to happen. Is Valorum going to be killed? Well, as he shows up in the Phantom Menace -- well, no, he's not going to be killed. Because the audidience knows the Film that follows this, we are automatically in a position of dramatic irony. Luceno tries to build suspense and moves with a slightly slower pacing. If we were worried about the characters, this could be really good. As we know they live and do fine... it just plods. If I handed this to a person before they had seen the Phantom Menace, it might have played better -- or if it was released before hand. The problem -- it was released in 2001.
The Ugly - nothing really There wasn't anything really ugly with the book. That's nice.
The Grade - B I'm going to give this book a solid B. I like Luceno's writing style, and he would have built good suspense if we hadn't already known what was going to happen. It does give us an interesting view of characters, it's a solid story, some nice twists. A surprisingly solid book.