Star Wars: Slave Ship by K.W. Jeter – Review [Lord of the Night]
Lord of the Night reviews the enjoyable second book in the Star Wars: The Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy, Slave Ship by K.W. Jeter.
“Though not as exciting or tense as The Mandalorian Armor, Slave Ship does a good job of advancing the plot and revealing much more about the enigmatic Boba Fett.” – The Founding Fields
Now Slave Ship was a book that despite flaws, mainly it’s shorter length and focus on events beyond Boba Fett, that I enjoyed. It wasn’t as gripping as The Mandalorian Armor and certainly was not as exciting, but it has some very good moments and makes vital plot advancements that make the book worth reading to have completed the trilogy.
Boba Fett is alive! But the galaxy has yet to learn that the famous bounty hunter has returned from the dead, and plans revenge on those who have taken this chance to ensure that he remains in the ground. With a aged and washed up bounty hunter and an amnesiac slave-girl and a stolen ship being the only weapons he has, Fett must figure out who is trying to make sure that he is dead and what connections they have to his past. Namely a hunt so many years ago, for a renegade stormtrooper and a bounty beyond belief, and the power plays of a long-dead crime lord in whose game Boba Fett was a mere pawn. Boba Fett has his work cut out for him, as he must fight an enemy whose identity he does not even know.
The story of Slave Ship is the advancement of the plot from the previous book. Picking up literally immediately after the previous book’s ending the story starts off quickly, putting Fett and company on the hunt for the mysterious enemy that is bent on his death. And as with the last book a flashback story takes up a major part of the book, this time further elaborating on the conspiracy that led to the Bounty Hunter Wars and the events that followed. The flashback is not as big this time around and I felt that it could have used some more chapters, and perhaps the hunt could have been a bit more involved. But mainly it was the multitude of chapters, the two longest chapters in fact, that did not involve Fett at all that made the book a slower read for me. But the chapters with Fett are top-notch and do make up for it, for the most part.
The characters are as dark as before and now even better. Boba Fett is cold and mercenary, yet a genius that impresses on every page with his savvy and intellect, but his character does not change or grow through this book as really Fett is not the type to change or grow. He is who is he. The side characters become more developed in his stead though, we find out more about the mysterious Neelah and learn more and more hints about just who she might be; the ferocious Bossk who has been out on his own and is determined to usurp Fett as the galaxy’s greatest bounty hunter; the obsequious Kud’ar Mub’at whose segments show a very unique creature in Star Wars and one that i’m disappointed has not appeared in any wider works; and the calculating Kuat of Kuat who begins to play a much larger role in the trilogy as of this book. Jeter’s characters are strong and really stand out amongst the usual Star Wars writers, his characters are not heroes and do not apologise for it and I admire that when reading a book where the author doesn’t look for ways to make the characters sympathetic.
The action is toned down for this novel. Only one or two actual fight scenes take place and they are not very in-depth. This is more a novel devoted to advancing the plot and revealing more of the characters, and sadly I do think the novel suffers for it. No Star Wars novel should be without a battle, and as far as I know no Star Wars book is, but Slave Ship doesn’t measure up to The Mandalorian Armor when it comes to the battles and fighting scenes.
The pacing is done well in most places, but I found the chapters that did not revolve around Fett or a bounty hunter to be slow. Particularly the chapters involving Kuat of Kuat as I just did not find the noble houses of Kuat and their dealings to be as interesting as Boba Fett’s own dealings. Plus those chapters felt much slower due to the conversational pace they took, it felt like a slog to get through them at certain points. On the whole the book is not hard to read but at times it took more effort than normal to get through a chapter or a POV segment.
Now for my favourite quote, this one nice and early in the book is definitely the highlight.
“Lets see how they like it, when the dead return.”
The ending is once again a cliffhangar, and a real cliffhangar at that. Not a good leaving off point that leaves unanswered questions for the next book, but literally an ending that stops the book and if you want to know what happens immediately after this, onto the next book you must go. Which is where I currently am of course. But Slave Ship, despite some rough patches, does deliver a good book just not a very good or great one.
For a good story, more of the grey characters that the trilogy has done so well, I give Slave Ship a score of 7.0/10. This is not a novel for everyone, and definitely not one to read outside of the trilogy, but if your a fan of the bounty hunters of Star Wars, it’s definitely the book you should take up once you finish The Mandalorian Armor.
That’s it for this review. My next review will be for Hard Merchandise, the final book in the Bounty Hunter Wars trilogy. Until next time,
AVE DOMINUS NOX!