Friday, June 13, 2008
Review: The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
By Agatha Christie. ISBN 0-425-20047-7. One of the author's most acclaimed mysteries, it proves if anything to be a victim of its own success. The less aware readers are of the hype, the more likely they will be surprised. Though Murder on the Orient Express is more famous, it was the solution to this mystery that most brazenly defied the rules of the genre. Those who go into this story with an intimate knowledge of Christie's writing style and this fact in mind will be able to piece together the solution. Unfortunately, that fact is the novel's biggest selling point. Still, it is a marvel to read. Right from the introduction of the unlikable narrator and his domineering sister, Christie pulls off a hell of a juggling act. I tested my (correct) hypothesis at every turn, and I never once caught her cheating. Novelty aside, this stands apart as one of the great Hercule Poirot mysteries.
Review: Invincible (Star Wars: Legacy of the Force)
By Troy Denning. ISBN 978-0-345-47746-0. A mediocre end to a mediocre series that began with a promising start. Overall, the "Legacy of the Force" experiment should reiterate the central lesson of the "New Jedi Order" arc: Lucas Licensing should avoid long, multi-author series with the blistering schedule that tie-in fiction demands. The idea of the Skywalker legacy birthing another Sith Lord is potent, but the execution was flawed; instead of simply retreading the mistakes of Anakin Skywalker, the authors should have explored the differences. Perhaps the biggest difference is that Jacen Solo knew he was a parent. Because each author interpreted they dynamic between father and daughter differently, the relationship was robbed of its potency. She was still the most interesting thing about this series, but thanks to the events of this final novel she's pretty much guaranteed to be screwed up her whole life. The climactic moment is antithetical to the themes of redemption that have made Star Wars so enduring: the problem with Invincible is that it's darkness but without depth.