The Approaching Storm Literature Review

The Approaching Storm (22BBY)

Written by: Alan Dean Foster

YAAAWWWNN. Oh sorry. But that’s really the best way to describe Foster’s return to the Star Wars universe. His universally acclaimed Splinter of a Mind’s Eye was quick, quirky and engaging. This novel was the exact opposite. About the only thing it really has going for it is the fact that it is generated from a line in Episode II about Obi-Wan and Anakin having just returned from a border dispute on Ansion.

This is that border dispute.

But the novel is slowly paced, redundant (most of the time), and drawn out for forever. The characters are even a mixed bag. Foster attempts to be philosophical on the nature of the Force and the Jedi’s role in it but it falls short due to characters simply repeating their own mantras and then at times even contradicting their own beliefs or statements from earlier in the novel.

Anakin is probably the character Foster does the best with, making him a real character. Too often authors treat Anakin with kid gloves, afraid to take away too much of the mystery so instead they water it down with vague slightly dark feelings at times. This Anakin has real life feelings, real life doubts, and real life arrogance. It’s almost offputting, but in that I find it somewhat refreshing. However, given how all the other characters act, I wonder if it was just by pure accident that Foster hit some of the mark with Anakin.

But all the philosophical talk went absolutely nowhere. I don’t need all action, but a little here and there goes a long way.

And this is from a guy who appreciates and loves the political angles that most hated about the prequels so if I’m complaining about it here, that’s saying quite a bit.

The dispute is between the Unity city dwellers and the nomadic Alwari tribes who live on the dangerous plains of Ansion. The Jedi have to fight through many obstacles both natural and unnatural as there are many people who want to use the border dispute and the Republic’s inability to mediate it as an excuse to force Ansion to secede from the Republic. And amazingly enough Ansion seems to be a keystone of sorts as with all the small treaties it’s gotten itself into, many many more worlds would also secede to keep their treaties with Ansion.

It all sounds intriguing but it reads like drying paint.

All in all it’s got some moments, but ultimately it’s skippable unless you need to read every detail.

D+

- Paul Talon

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