I'm not only reading these books for a second time and with much more literary experience, I'm also reading them after having read a lot more Star Wars. As such, I'll probably discuss other Star Wars books, namely the Legacy of the Force series (and the Dark Nest trilogy, although I didn't like it much) because they're closely related to the NJO. As such, I guess I have to put out a blanket spoiler warning that I could potentially end up talking about whatever in these posts. I think that Revelation has been out long enough that I don't need to worry about a warning for that, but I promise I will put one up for Invincible when it comes out.
Also, I've decided that my current nondescript "Star Wars" tag is probably not going to suffice if I'll be talking about Star Wars so much, so I'm going to go through and retag, and from this moment use series specific tags (ie. DN, NJO, LotF) as well as a tag for this series: NJOX. I may also start considering book specific tags. But now, before I talk your ears off before the cut, I'm making my first post. Although I'm about 50 pages into Vector Prime, I think my first post needs to be an introduction to me, as a Star Wars fan. That way, I won't have to be telling my own backstory later. Consider this like a foreword to a book, giving you a platform from which to read my later entries (if you could possibly care....)
I became a Star Wars fan at the end of 6th grade, so almost 6 years ago, when I saw AotC. That was my first Star Wars movie, and over the next year or so, I would learn to love all the movies. That first summer, I bought the AotC novelization; you really have to understand that, at that point, my love of AotC was the driving force in my life. My love of Star Wars grew to the point when I began to look for the greater fandom. I don't really remember too much of what happened when, but I got a subscription to Star Wars Insider. Actually, the very first issue I got came with an AMAZING fold out map of the galaxy, which is still one of my most treasured possessions. It was probably through the magazine that I learned a lot more of the fandom and eventually the idea of books came to me as well. The first Expanded Universe book I ever read was The Courtship of Princess Leia, which I borrowed from the local library. (I have since purchased every SW book I've read).
Needless to say, I was entralled with the expanded universe. However, I was also very overwhelmed by the possibilities. But, in 8th grade, I got two (random, really) Star Wars books from a friend for my birthday (in November): Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I and II. I actually read a lot of the first one before giving up, not surprising I was in over my head. So I got my act together and figured out what I needed; since I already had two NJO books, I decided I would read that. So for Christmas I got Vector Prime and I got started for real. By the spring, I was reading Balance Point and the Enemy Lines duology. I remember this specifically because I read them as independent reading for my English class. Over the summer, I would actually read the last 12 or so books, which now that I think back on it, was pretty incredible.
At some point, I don't remember exactly when, my bff Christine, who had been a Star Wars fan, also started reading the books. I still remember sitting around with her all that summer just reading, me egging her own because she was always several books behind me. That summer I read Star by Star which was the first book that I ever stayed up into all hours of the night reading, not Harry Potter. By the time I got all caught up, The Unifying Force had just come out and I actually finished the series on a plane home from Vancouver, having read the whole book in Canada.
So I had finished the series a few weeks before I started high school. In that time, my love of Star Wars had expanded in many ways that I couldn't properly chronicle, but suffice it to say that I had embarked on quite a few crazy projects and I had continued to explore the universe online and through guidebooks and all sorts of other stuff. Over that summer, however, I also embarked on one of the few of my many crazy projects that I ever actually finished.....
For Christine's birthday, which was in July, I decided I wanted to make her something special, as I often did with my friends on their birthdays. Initially, this was meant to be a collection of some cool passages from the New Jedi Order, I think I was initially planning on 10-20 of them. Well, as many things do, the quotes started multiplying, and I ended up collecting excerpts from all 19 of the books. Naturally, I couldn't finish this in time for her birthday, I actually gave it to her in October. So, how did this work?
As I was about 2/3 of the way through the series when I started seriously, so as I finished up the books, I would earmark pages of stuff I wanted to put in. I also went back to the prior books to grab stuff and earmark it. In many cases these were things that I remembered without consulting the books, but I also got some really great stuff from perusing the books and sparking more memories. Anyway, over those few months, I actually typed up all of these scenes, at total of 71,108 words. (I kept the stats sheet I made after completing it.) The idea behind the excerpts was just to find the most meaningful and memorable moments in the series; of course, I could have spent years agonizing over what should be in there, but I spent enough time that I think this selection is really great. Anyway, I finally made a book of sorts out of what ended up being 86 excerpts and gave it to Christine. Typing it ended up being a majorly daunting experience, but a fun one and it created an unbreakable bond between me and my computer just as NJO has created an unbreakable bond between me and Christine. Also, the excerpts weren't in chronological order, I put them in my own order, which I spent a lot of time crafting. Anyway, after that summer, I spent lots of time getting pumped for Episode III and still loving Star Wars stuff. I read another great Star Wars book, Tatooine Ghost, and I tried to get into the Thrawn Trilogy, but it wasn't working for me. I know I have yet to really address the impact of the NJO books themselves, but I have to say that they have held my heart and soul like nothing else in Star Wars, and really no other books (although this statement begs a complicated explanation about Harry Potter). Obviously, the fact that I'm rereading the series and writing this much about it already will show you how much it has affected me, but I think my true love for it will come out in the coming months as I blog about it.
Moving on, after Episode III came out (and I LOVED it), I read the novelization, which was by Traitor author Matthew Stover and which rocked my world. I remained dedicated to Star Wars, but I ended up canceling my subscription to SWI because I got really sick of the new design and whatnot, and I was using primarily for Episode III info.
That summer, Half-Blood Prince came out, which was really the spark of the beginning of my super-uber HP fanness. Star Wars had taught me how to be a truly dedicated fan, and for the next two years, I would pour all of myself into Harry Potter. As such, Star Wars sort of faded into the background some. At some point during those two years, the first books after the NJO (chronologically), the Dark Nest Trilogy came out. This was initially very exciting, but these dense books by Troy Denning (who is often a trudge-through-it author) really bored me. Also, they seemed to lack a lot of the charm and magic of the NJO, and quite frankly certain events really pissed me off. Plus, at the time, they got little attention compared to HP.
This fall, as the Potter stuff finally calmed down, the SW bunny inside me began to reemerge. Although I had known that the post-DN series had begun to be released a while ago, I hadn't bought the books because I was busy and I had had a bad experience with DN. But, over Thanksgiving this year, I started reading Betrayal, and it was really good! So I kept going, and I'm really into the Legacy of the Force series. It regained much of what was great about the NJO, although its still missing some big pieces. In honesty, its harder to love something where the villain is a hero that we know so well. But I'm definitely invested. And Christine's reading again too (she only skimmed DN), although she's still on Exile. LotF has been great escape in the stress-ridden winter months of this year, as indicated by all the day-dreaming that resulted in my fanmix that I posted a couple of months ago. And as I got reimmersed in this stuff, it inspired tons of memories of the NJO, and here I am today.
As such, the posts I make over the coming months, as I try (and probably fail) to make my way through these books, will reflect me as a six-year fan and NJO lover above all. Of course, my posts will also reflect what has happened since, and I will certainly comment on LotF as it is applicable to what I'm reading in NJO. I will comment on very specific scenes along with my general impressions. I think I'll almost always take note of the scenes that I included in Christine's book, not to say that these are the only notable ones in the books, because they're not. But still, they're all interesting. I think that should be it for this intro, because I could write more, but I'd probably die of exhaustion. I'm much too much of a maximizer for my own good. Oh with poodles already!
Anyway, I'll try to post tomorrow about the beginning of Vector Prime. I've certainly got lots to say. Woot! I'm going to go read, or maybe just sleep.