More Like Homework
Finished the "prequel" novel to the upcoming Star Wars Episode III film, James Luceno's Labyrinth of Evil, on the train this morning and was mildly nonplussed. It's not that it was bad per se, just that it's mission statement seemed to be pretty strongly defined as providing background on the key players of Episode III. In other words, it failed pretty miserably as a story in and of itself--you would never want to read it just as a novel, even just as a stand-alone novel set in the Star Wars universe. It had no real beginning, middle, or end, but was instead just a recitation of what was happening to Anakin, Obi-Wan, Sidious, and the rest right up to the beginning of the third film.
That said, as that, it succeeded, and I'm happy I read it. I feel that, upon seeing the film, I'll have a better grasp of the stakes at hand for the characters, and a better understanding of events that are really underway already as the film begins. In other words, it achieved its mission; it set up the film for me. So I didn't enjoy the book itself, but I did enjoy what it did in terms of setting up the film. An odd sensation, that, to find a novel poor as a novel, but to find it valuable just the same, as a kind of background dossier for a film.