Star Wars: The Clone Wars: No Prisoners
I am woefully behind in my pre-Star Wars: A New Hope reading. The books keep coming and I keep scrambling to catch up. This time around, I decided to read a Clone Wars novel featuring characters from the cartoon series. I enjoy the cartoon and with Karen Traviss as the author, I knew that Star Wars: The Clone Wars: No Prisoners was going to be good.
As the story begins, Anakin Skywalker finds he needs some alone time with his wife Padme. He sends Ahsoka off to the Leveler with Rex and the new members of the 501st. The Leveler is the newest addition to the Republic fleet and Captain Gilad Pellaeon has been tasked with trying out the new ship and seeing if it is worthy of the Republic navy. Unfortunately, what was supposed to be a routine testing of a brand new vessel becomes a rescue mission as the Leveler is tasked to extract a Republic agent from a planet under siege. Whatís even more worrisome is that the agent needing extracting is Pellaeonís lover.
As the crew prepare for a mission their ship is woefully unprepared for, the Leveler is hailed by another vessel offering their aid in the mission. They soon discover that the ship in question is filled with Jedi of a different sect than those trained at the Jedi Temple. These Jedi believe in attachment, allowing love to blossom among its members and marriages to take place. Unsettled by the existence of such Jedi, can Ahsoka put aside her own feelings on the issue and work together with these Jedi to complete their mission? Or will the differences between the sect get in the way as the rookie troopers and their equally rookie starship come under the attack of the Separatists?
Although the books in The Clone Wars series are based on the cartoon characters, the topics these books tackle are anything but cartoonish. The first book in the series, Wild Space, was rather dark in nature. Although not so dark, No Prisoners tackles some rather tough issues. The purveying theme of this book is the question of attachment - can attachment be a good thing? If so, why do the Jedi of the temple preach that it is the path to the dark side? Jedi Altis disagrees with Yodaís belief and his followers are living proof that not all attached Jedi fall to the dark side. Having read a great many Star Wars novels, Iíd say the arguments for both sides are quite strong.
Attachment comes in all shapes and sizes and we see various perspectives on how attachment affects actions in Pallaeonís relationship with his crew as well as his lover, in Rexís dealings with his troopers, in Anakinís relationship with Padme. In Altisí view, attachment can be a very good thing. Obsession, however, can destroy a being. In this novel, Altis has a premonition of things to come for Anakin and he believes that obsession, not attachment, will be his nemesis.
There is also a convincing argument against detachment as witnessed in Republic spy Hallena Devis and her conflicting emotions about her job, the company the Republic keeps and the lives she leaves behind after each job. Trapped behind enemy lines, Devis begins to realize that the people holding her have suffered under the regime the Republic has been supporting. It is no wonder why they would turn away from the Republic. Despite her training, she beings to sympathize with her captors, realizing that detachment has been her lifeís work and perhaps it is not always the way to go.
In my opinion, Karen Traviss is the guru on all things Fett and clones. Thus, it is only fitting that in this novel we get to see the individuality of the new clones coming to light. We also learn about what happens to clones should that individuality show itself while in training at Kamino. I enjoyed the insight into Rex and his relationship with the Jedi, Pallaeon and his fellow clones.
I also enjoyed an early view of a character I never really liked in the Star Wars Expanded Universe - Callista. In this novel, her last name is different, but this is clearly the Callista that was one of Luke Skywalkerís early love interests. I was thankful when she left, but was always curious as to Lukeís first meeting with Callista, who had somehow made herself one with a shipís computer. No Prisoners shows us just how Callista can do this and gives us insight as to why she lost touch with the Force after being separated from the shipís computer in Children of the Jedi.
It was also good to see Gilad Pallaeon before his days as an Admiral. Introduced by Timothy Zahn in the Thrawn Trilogy, I have always found Pallaeon to be a character of good moral fiber. I feel that Karen Traviss did an excellent job on this early version of Pallaeon, giving the reader insight on the Admiral he was to become.
Star Wars: The Clone Wars: No Prisoners is a fast and entertaining read worthy of the Star Wars: Clone Wars series. It handles tough topics relevant to todayís society and expands upon characters from both the cartoon series and the novels of the Expanded Universe. Thereís plenty of action and suspense as well with space battles, hand to hand and ground fighting. Karen Traviss has come up with another Star Wars novel every fan can enjoy!
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