Star Wars: Shatterpoint
Author: Matthew Stover
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Why does it always feel like, when it comes to Star Wars novels, Iím always playing catch up? Maybe itís because there are so many out there to choose from! Trust me, Iím not complaining! My new endeavor is to catch up on my prequel novel reading. Star Wars: Shatterpoint by Matthew Stover was the next novel on my ever-growing list.
Shatterpoint is a Clone Wars novel featuring Mace Windu and his former apprentice Depa Billaba. In this novel, Depa has been sent to Maceís homeworld of Haruun Kal in an effort to stir up local factions as resistance fighters to combat the Separatists threatening to take over the system. Unfortunately, it would seem that the Jedi have lost contact with Master Billaba. More importantly, the Republic has uncovered some disturbing information that points to a recent civilian massacre possibly orchestrated by Billaba and her resistance faction. Mace Windu, finding the idea that his former apprentice could have any hand in the senseless murder of non-combatants impossible, volunteers to travel back to his homeworld to find Depa. Upon returning to Haruun Kal, Master Windu immediately discovers that not everything is as it seems in this system. Will he find his lost apprentice and, if he does, will finding her be more than Master Windu can handle?
Matthew Stover has some fun with his readers in this novel. It is written in two points of view Ė we have Master Winduís point of view via the entries recorded in his mission journals and we have the third person point of view in which we are the fly on the wall watching things unfold. The descriptions and style of writing in this novel are very reminiscent of a Heart of Darkness , a novella written by Joseph Conrad or Apocalypse Now, a Vietnam era movie loosely based on the novella. The jungles of Haruun Kal is very unforgiving, much like the jungles of Vietnam. Many of the setbacks Mace Windu encounters while trying to find Depa Billaba are reminiscent of the difficulties faced by the hero characters in these two works.
In Shatterpoint, readers are given a different view of Mace Windu. Prior to this novel, Master Windu has always been seen as someone very sure of his path. However, in Shatterpoint, Windu is plagued by his decision to kill Jango Fett (Attack of the Clones) rather than Count Dooku when he had the chance. Winduís Jedi specialty is finding shatterpoints, points from which entire objects can be rend asunder. Simply hitting an object in a specific point can cause it to shatter into hundreds of tiny shards. Windu believes that killing Dooku at that moment in the Geonosis arena could have been the shatterpoint that stopped the Clone Wars from coming to fruition. This perceived mistake on Winduís part has been on his mind quite often since Geonosis and is the source of some series doubt for the Master Jedi. Unfortunately, as we all know, doubt is something that can definitely lead a Jedi down the path of the Dark Side.
As in all Star Wars movies and novels, comic relief is always a factor used to infuse some levity in between scenes filled with heavy tension. Such levity is achieved in the character of Nick Rostu, a native of Haruun Kal and Winduís somewhat resistant guide through the jungles. Although a great source of comic relief, Nick does have his heroic moments and this adds some intrigue to his character. The idea that the harshness of the jungle world and the darkness of the war between the Balawai (foreigners to Haruun Kal soil) and the native Karunnai people can be a test of Jedi faith is quite intriguing. The horrors of war have been known to test the faith of many a soldier, but as Depa Billaba points out, Jedi were never meant to be soldiers. They were meant to be peacekeepers. The horrors of war would have an even greater impact on the peacekeepers than any battle-hardened soldier.
I had a slightly harder time getting into this novel than previous Star Wars tales, probably because it is written in such a different style. However, once I got into it, I found it hard to put Shatterpoint down. The difference in writing style actually made the story much more interesting and the ability to see things from Maceís point of view as well as the third person point of view gave the reader a more rounded understanding of the events taking place in the novel. The explanations of what is going on in Maceís mind before and during Shatterpoint give readers great insight into his actions during Revenge of the Sith. For this reason alone, Shatterpoint is one Star Wars Clone Wars era novel that is not to be missed. The fact that the story is well-written and captivating makes this a must read for fans of every era of the Star Wars Universe.
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