The Mace Windu that we barely get to see, but the Mace Windu that was there all along!
Cover Art By: Steven D. Anderson
Written By: Matthew Stover
“It has occurred to me, on reflection, that Nick Rostu can be regarded as a test of my moral conviction. A Jedi might conceivably fall to the dark from the simple desire to smack the snot out of him.” – Mace Windu
The character of Nick Rostu is a great jumping off point for a discussion of Shatterpoint. Nick is a character that defines all of the reasons why Shatterpoint is an excellent novel. When he first appears Nick is a wild character, one so wild, cocky, and nonchalant about people being killed that he is instantaneously someone I felt the need to root against. As the story progresses the layers surrounding Nick fall away. And as he sheds each layer we get to know a little bit more about Nick and about the abhorrent world he has grown up on. By the conclusion of Shatterpoint Nick has not only become an interesting character, he has become a character I was actively rooting for. Matthew Stover imbues the characters in Shatterpoint with a depth that is not seen enough in the adult Star Wars novels. That depth gave me heroes and villains to cheer for and root against, but the story was never a cut and dry black and white.
Mr. Stover has developed a reputation as being a very dark writer. He is the guy who is able to tell horrific tales of war, depraved humanity, and death within the Star Wars universe without the story feeling out of place within said universe. I will freely admit that I may be biased when it comes to the works of Mr. Stover, he’s far and away my favorite Star Wars author as well as far and away my favorite author of all time period. Shatterpoint is another fine entry in his catalog. It is raw, and full of a kinetic energy that made every page easy to turn. This is the third time I have read Shatterpoint, but I felt just as much of a draw to turn the page and keep the story going as I did the first time I read the novel.
The comparison to Apocalypse Now and Heart Of Darkness is an apt one when it comes to Shatterpoint. It’s clear that Mr. Stover draws a lot from those two sources. But his book is more than those stories except for with Jedi. Shatterpoint calls upon Star Wars lore, and it is a tale full of fantastic, and brutal, action pieces that surround the sense of doom and dread that would most be associated with Apocalypse Now and Heart Of Darkness. Mr. Stover’s novel feels, and is, fully realized. He took a great idea and from it he made a great novel. The inspiration is obvious, but the final product is anything but derivative.
I guess at this point I need to address the issue of the way Mace Windu is portrayed in Shatterpoint versus the rest of Star Wars canon. The common complaint is that Mace is never the character that he is in Shatterpoint. I can see that complaint, and I agree with that statement but I do not agree with the argument. In the rest of the Star Wars canon Mace is never portrayed the same as he is in Shatterpoint. The reason for that is that he is never in situations the same as he faces in Shatterpoint. The events on Haruun Kal are a hellish nightmare, featuring the type of brutality and wanton disregard for human life that we don’t get to see in the rest of Star Wars lore. I fully believe that the Mace we see in the rest of Star Wars canon is the same Mace we see in Shatterpoint, but he’s never in the same hellish situation and thus he does not take on the brutal and terrifying visage we are privy to in Shatterpoint.
I hope I’ve made it clear that I love Shatterpoint. Like the rest of Mr. Stover’s Star Wars work it is among the best of the expanded universe. Shatterpoint is brutally violent, and horrifically hellish. Matthew Stover delivers in Shatterpoint a dark world where light clashes against dark and a gray cloud hovers over everything. It has excitement, an engaging story, fully developed characters, riveting action, and a rich atmosphere that feels Star Wars while also feeling fresh. Shatterpoint is everything that a Star Wars adult novel should be, and then some.