Star Wars: Riptide by Paul S. Kemp (book review).
‘Star Wars: Riptide’ by Paul S. Kemp is a follow up to ‘Star Wars: Crosscurrent’ and features many of the same characters. To avoid plot spoilers it is best not to read this review if you haven’t read ‘Crosscurrent’ yet, which you should do. It’s quite good.
Following the events in ‘Star Wars: Crosscurrent’, the clones exit their dead moon on the ship that belonged to the Arzat assassin Kell Douro. Jedi Knight Jaden Korr pursues them, assisted by Khedryn and Marr, the interstellar scrap merchants who got involved in the last adventure. Marr has some Force sensitivity and Jaden starts training him in Jedi ways. Khedryn is learning to be less self-centred and more concerned with the rest of the galaxy. He’s a bit of a Han Solo sort, the devil-may-care adventurer with a secret heart of gold.
The bad guys are interesting here. Darth Wyyrlok wants Jaden Korr alive, for reasons unknown, and dispatches two Umbarans called Nyss and Syll, a brother and sister pair who somehow nullify a chap’s connection to the Force by their very presence. All things are connected to the Force but Nyss and Syll are not. They are a kind of hole, a vacancy, and can make themselves undetectable to Force users. They have another clone helping them which they term an Iteration, to be activated when needed. Nyss soon shows himself to be both deadly and ruthless.
Meanwhile, the clones that started all this trouble, the ones who escaped from the moon, are heading for some mystical presence they call Mother which is calling them across the galaxy through a female named Seer who hears that entities summons. The world of ‘Star Wars’ now covers a long span of years and evidently has a kind of pre-history, ancient civilisations that preceded both the Republic and the Empire and had different kinds of science. There is mention of Rakatan technology in connection with Mother and of an even older race, half-legendary, called the Celestials. Of course, all this stuff may be familiar to die-hard fans but it was new to me and added pleasing depth to the whole ‘Star Wars’ concept. The clones are dying from a condition acquired in the last book and hope that Mother can save them. Even though they are given to lopping the heads and limbs off people who get in their way, author Paul S. Kemp manages to elicit some sympathy for their plight.
This is a fine action/adventure story with lots of fighting, chasing and last minute escapes for the heroes, just like in the movies. In fact, it reads like the novelisation of a pretty good film. It’s never slow and the pace picks up to breakneck speed at the end as all the protagonists come together for a grand finale. ‘Star Wars: Riptide’ is just as good as ‘Star Wars: Crosscurrent’ and might be even better. A solid, entertaining contribution to the franchise. I wouldn’t mind more adventures featuring Jaden Korr and his mates.
(pub: Arrow/Random House. 278 page paperback. Price: £ 7.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-099-54284-1)
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