Page count: Hardcover 379
Author: Kevin Shinick
Timeline: 30 ABY (After the Battle of Yavin), or a few years before The Force Awakens
Main characters: Karr Nuq Sin, Maize Raynshi, and RZ-7
Brief synopsis: Karr, who gets force visions of the past when touching certain objects, goes on an adventure, with his new friend Maize and his droid RZ-7, to learn more about the force and the Jedi.
My expectation for this book was highest regarding what this book would add to the Star Wars universe. Considering it was titled Force Collector, I was expecting to learn significant information about the force. While I did, there was more exceptional information that we learned outside of the force too. This was the book’s greatest strength, but I’ll get to that later. I wasn’t too concerned with what the story would be, but it turned out to be well told. I’m not sure exactly what clues Force Collector has for TROS, but I’m sure that’ll be more clear once the movie is released. Overall, it was a pretty fun read that added great content to the world of Star Wars beyond just TROS.
Characters (19/20 pts)
Shinick did a great job with developing three brand-new characters into Star Wars. As I’ve mentioned before, with Star Wars books some authors can have an advantage when their novel involves characters that are already beloved by fans. By developing new characters, Shinick had to create that emotional attachment. And I think he did a good job doing so. The chemistry between Karr and Maize kept reminding me of the chemistry between Carl and Ellie at the beginning of the movie Up (I hope you’ve seen Up, it is an incredible movie!), even though Carl and Ellie were younger. It was a story of two friends coming together over their sense of adventure! This was well done and made the characters relatable and made me feel young again (I’m only 23, but still. . .). Force Collector also introduced a new droid in RZ-7. I get a little worried when new droids are introduced, I just feel that it is forced sometimes. But I really liked RZ-7’s character, it had much depth considering it was only a droid. My only complaint for characters is that I think they could have had some more depth, but overall characters were a strength for Force Collector. So, I am giving 19 points.
Writing Style (17/20 pts)
Instead of saying New York Times Best-Selling Author next to Shinick’s name, it says Emmy Award-Winning Author. I don’t necessarily know what conclusion should be made about that distinction, but I thought it was interesting! I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that no Star Wars books are poorly written. Elite authors are always chosen to write the novels, so it is pretty difficult for a Star Wars novel to score low in this section. Shinick’s writing style was fairly simple, and this made it an easy and quick read. However, it did feel a little elementary for a young adult novel. In many ways the writing style felt like that of Rae Carson in Most Wanted. Because Force Collector lacked some depth in the writing style, I am giving a slightly below average score of 17 points. But I wouldn’t consider the writing style a weakness for the book, so it shouldn’t deter you from reading it.
Plot (18/20 pts)
The book felt like it followed the traditional hero’s journey, much like how the Star Wars films are told. This felt familiar and welcoming as the book started. That being said, most of the first half of the book felt pretty expected, and that made it pretty unexciting. It wasn’t until the second half of the book where the plot started to get more exciting. I think the last half of the book was much better than the first half, and it in many ways saved the plot. The ending was mostly good, except for one detail that didn’t add up. I won’t say much about it because it is a rather significant spoiler, but it did leave me scratching my head. But it didn’t interfere with the plot as a whole. So even though the first half of the book wasn’t that exciting, the strong finish allows me to give 18 points for the plot.
Intrigue (18/20 pts)
The best component for building intrigue for Force Collector was the writing style. It was mentioned as a weakness due to its insufficient depth, but what the style does is make it a quick read. I could read many pages at once without feeling like I needed a break. While that added to the intrigue, the somewhat unexciting plot did hurt the intrigue slightly. I usually wasn’t on the edge of my seat anticipating what was going to happen next. Most of the exciting parts of the book included strong content in the present moment but did not have implications on the rest of the story. So, the plot didn’t really build in excitement due to that (but for the purposes of the story, I think this was appropriate). This will make more sense if you do read Force Collector. But even though the plot pulled away from the intrigue slightly, the writing style still made the intrigue solid. I am awarding 18 points.
What does it add? (20/20 pts)
What it added to the Star Wars universe was by far the greatest strength for Force Collector, and it honestly could have been even better! Throughout most of the book, we end up visiting familiar places within Star Wars. With that, we learned a little bit more about little moments within Star Wars. In some cases, I wish that what we learned was a bit more significant. There were definitely opportunities to learn some cool information that were passed up. That being said, we still did learn some interesting things. We also learned more about the force through the unique force power Karr has. There are even some implications for what “balance” in the force means through a different perspective that was provided. It is great additional information that can help to make sense of the mystery of bringing balance to the force. Finally, there is something that came out at the end of the book that answered a somewhat speculated question among Star Wars fans. I won’t spoil it, but this new content does make Force Collector a must read for die-hard Star Wars fans. This is why I am giving a full 20 points.
Logic (+1 pts)
Something confusing in the Star Wars universe is that many sentients seem to not know anything at all about the Jedi or the force. This is even though they had a pretty significant role in the history of the Star Wars universe. It doesn’t make sense that they could all be forgotten after so little time has passed. While it is still a little perplexing, Shinick does his best to provide an explanation. It does a pretty job, and while I am not completely satisfied with it, it is probably the best explanation we have seen so far for it. So that is why I am giving an extra point for logic.
So, the final grade for Force Collector is a 93/100, or an A. This leaves it as my fourth highest rated book so far, but only out of nine books. While the first half of the book may have been rather unexciting, it is truly made up for in the second half. It is a quick and fun read that we can learn a lot from. As I stated, the greatest strength of the book is what it adds to the Star Wars universe. This is what makes it a must read for die-hard fans. And we’ll learn even more about the quality of the book when TROS comes out because Force Collector is supposed to add clues to the movie. I don’t know what those clues are, but I look forward to watching TROS to find out.
I hope you enjoyed this book review and if there is a book that you want me to read or review, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. As for now, I will only be doing Canon books (but in the future that might change).
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