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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Star Wars: I Jedi (audiobook) by Michael A. Stackpole

         A review of the abridged audiobook

Published by Random House Audio in 1998
Duration: 2 hours, 54 minutes
Read by Anthony Heald

I was not a fan of this book. I'm not sure if it was the abridgment or the writing style, but I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and blame the abridgment.

Like most abridged books, it was too abridged (where are the Reader's Digest abridgers when you need them?). Characters, ships and situations show up without preamble but we're expected to be familiar with them. The whole book seemed hurried.

The typical special effects that Lucasfilms provides their audiobooks are a bonus, but they were somewhat haphazardly applied in this case - sometimes the music overpowered the text and jungle background noises were on a continuous loop that was too loud and too repetitive. The lightsaber sound effects are wonderful, but they were not timed with the text very well - sabers were being turned on before the text mentioned danger and off during battles (which made me wonder if someone was trying to do the Obi Wan Kenobi letting-himself-get-killed thing from Star Wars Episode IV).

Anthony Heald read the text and did a strong job, as he always does. But, there was only so much he could do with this one.

Corran Horn's quick welcome into the secretive pirate group (the Survivors) as a pirate seemed contrived and I'll credit that to the abridgment. Think of pirates as a street gang and try to imagine joining a street gang as a full-fledged member over a drink at a bar and you'll see what I mean.

Also, the use of a Star Destroyer as a smuggler ship boggles my mind, and not in a positive way. Smugglers depend on the importation of small quantities of goods to keep the price high to justify the risks they take. They use stealth to avoid the law. A Star Destroyer is neither small nor stealthy. It would overwhelm the market and make prices plummet and it would be so obvious that it would demand government attention. Think of a drug smuggler pulling into San Diego harbor with an aircraft carrier full of drugs. It would be: A) super obvious; and B) a disaster for the local drug market prices. But, you'd have to unload the product there because the cost of operating such a ship precludes stopping off at little ports all over the coast and doling out little amounts.

I did like this quote: "Selflessness is the only antidote to evil."

So, I cannot recommend this one - I listened to it and liked parts of it, but on the whole, it was unsatisfying.

I rate this audiobook 2 stars out of 5.

This audiobook can be found on Amazon.com here:   Star Wars: I, Jedi

Reviewed on November 21, 2007.

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