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Book Review

Book Cover

Star Wars
The Force Unleashed II (Hardback)


Author: Sean Williams
Titan Books
RRP: £17.99, US $27.00
ISBN: 978 1 84856 848 8
Available 05 October 2010

Several months after his death, Juno is still mourning the loss of Starkiller, Vader’s former apprentice, whose actions galvanised the opposition to the empire into a full rebellion. On the planet of Kamino something strange is taking place; Starkiller sits in a cell, his memories nearly completely wiped, ready to take his place once more at Vader's side. When Vader visits his apprentice, to test him to the limit, memories of Juno resurface, forcing a confrontation with Vader and Starkiller’s escape. Juno, sure that he is dead, has taken command of a ship, however her rebellious streak sees her removed from command and sent on a secret mission by Leia Organa...

Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II is the novelisation of the game written by award winning author, Sean Williams. Constrained as he is by what happens in the game, Williams can do little more than expand on what is happening in Starkiller’s head, adding some flesh to the back story as he goes along, which is a nice way of saying that although the book is well written it’s not a very good story.

Lucas Arts decided to bring back the Starkiller character for the game, so the conceit here is the character may be a clone, although there is enough evidence peppered through the book for this fact to go either way.

The biggest problem with the story, and presumably the game, although I haven’t played it, is its differing audience. In a game you want to go to all the places you saw in the films and preferably repeat some of the same scenes, if only in a vicarious way, good for a game but a bit naff for a book.

Taken on its own, Starkiller is an amalgam of Vader and Luke, he can see the future and so is driven, by love, in his quest to save Juno, but this obsession might be the very thing which drives him towards the dark side. Like another Jedi his travels take him to Dagoba, where he meets a small green being and has a vision under a tree, the list just goes on, but you get the idea.

The book also contains pretty much the same characters and planets, meaning that the Star Wars universe is in danger of suffering from the ‘small universe’ issue that affects most Star Trek media.

So, what works well in a game does not really work that well in a book. Where Williams has been able to flex his award winning writing muscles is in Juno’s story as she attempts to bring Ackbar and his people into the fight, not surprising these sections of the book are the most entertaining.

I’m sure fans will lap this up, but I just felt that, in the parts which dealt with Starkiller, the sense of déjà vu overwhelmed any enjoyment which may have been gained.


Charles Packer

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