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Monday, February 29, 2016

Audio Book Review: Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side! (Star Wars Illustrated Novels #3)

Release Date: September 22, 2015
Author: Tom Angleberger
Publisher: Disney Lucasfilm Press
Narrator: Marc Thompson
Source: Library Audio Book

It's the Star Wars story with everything.

Jabba, Boba, Wicket, Rebo, Salacious Crumb, Nien Nunb, "It's a trap," Luke doing a flip and catching his lightsaber, speeder bikes, Yoda, ghost Yoda, the rancor, the Falcon, Wedge, Lando, Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, C-3PO, R2 . . . but there's also a second Death Star, the Emperor's hideous evil smile, and Luke's final confrontation with Darth Vader!

It's a lot, but is it too much?

Of course not!

You and I, we LOVE Star Wars. So open this book and hang on.

We're about to make the jump to lightspeed!

    

Reviewer's Note: Since Star Wars is so iconic, and this is an adaptation of the sixth episode in the series, I've decided to forgo my usual spoiler-free review in an effort to better review this book, so if you haven't seen the original Star Wars Trilogy (Ep. IV-VI) I will most likely bring up spoilers from time to time. Also, since this is an adaptation and not a re-imagining I've gotten rid of some of the review sections I normally use to instead comment on how I enjoyed the adaptation and to comment on the aspects of the audio book I listened to.

Review:

Protagonists: So going into this book I didn't quite know what to expect. Both installments before this one had some sort of gimmick to them, the first with the three separate sections following one narrator at a time and the second with the whole Jedi Lesson, Luke/Second-Person POV thing. This book however has no particular focus and instead has sort of an omniscient third-person point of view that really gives proper time and attention to each of these characters. Specifically I'd like to talk about Luke's struggle to remain on the light side of the force during his final battle with Darth Vader and Darth Sidious. In the movie the struggle is plainly seen during the fight both cinematically and portrayed by the actor, but on paper it's harder to convey those emotions and I believe this author did a phenomenal job.

Romance: So, this section won't be too long. If you've read my other reviews of this series you probably know my morbid fascination with the fact that in the Star Wars movies Luke and Leia share more than one kiss before finding out that they're related and yet we never see them react in any way to that fact. They accept their role in each other's lives and it never seems to affect them that at one point Luke had feelings for Leia and that on more than one occasion they kissed. Now going into this book I was interested to see how the author would handle it, hoping he would make some sort of off-handed reference to it, possibly finding a logical reason to dismiss it all together, instead though the author takes the movie's route and never once acknowledges this anomaly.

Adaptation Notes: Since this book has no central gimmick, save possibly that the author breaks the fourth wall and talks to the reader now and then, we were able to get probably the most complete Star Wars adaptation in this series. While the author did seem to ramble on about things that felt more unnecessary than needed and referenced the prequel movies more than I would have liked, there were also some great moments and extra content to the story that helped make certain things make more sense. However there were some things that were cut out of the original story that while they weren't particularly needed, did make for a more incomplete adaptation.

Audio Book Notes: As always the audio books of this series are fantastic.The ambient sounds, musical scores, and voice acting of Marc Thompson bring this entire story to life. While I wouldn't say I was super invested in this audio book, it wasn't for the lack of story or the way the audio book was produced. After listening to this trilogy I've begun to wonder about other Star Wars works read by Thompson and wonder if they have the same theatricality as this one. 


Rating:



So as I said, I wasn't as emotionally invested in this book as I thought I would be, in fact I found myself spacing out a lot and not really caring to go back. It's not that this isn't a great adaptation, but since this story is something I can experience in less than half the time it takes to listen to the audio book, and even though the audio book is brilliantly produced everything just sort of felt a bit pointless.

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