have you ever read the original novelization by george lucas? that doesn't have the feel of star wars either. But without that, there is no star wars.
and as to the advice with don't read vector prime, start with onslaught....that kinda breaks up 2 plot elements. The Death of Chewie (and the collapse of Han) and the whole Yuzzan Vong political entity to fail and the necessary vicousness that the Military must take out the Jedi.
I agree with it not being the best or even upper half. But it's not the worst. There are far worse out there. (in no particular order)Dark Empire comes to mind, the whole Boba Fett trilogy, Tales of the Bounty Hunters, Anything by Kevin J Anderson post Jedi Academy Trilogy, Children of the Jedi/Planet of the Twilight, Crystal Star.
Haven't read the black fleet crisis trilogy or the han solo trilogy.
aka Bad Monkey
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