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Literature / Shatterpoint

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"When I look at you through the Force, I can see where you break."
Mace Windu

Star Wars: Shatterpoint is a Star Wars Legends novel by Matt Stover. Mace Windu's former Padawan, and current fellow Council member, goes rogue. Mace Windu returns to his birth planet to find her. Four hundred pages of action scenes, musings on the nature of the Force, and Windu being badass (and occasionally, far kinder than one might think). War Is Hell.

Has a sequel in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, which uses several of the same characters and many of the same themes. Similarly, Stover's Revenge of the Sith novelization has more to do with the events of that film, but still has much in common with this book.

Shatterpoint includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several scenes where Mace, Nick, and Depa are just talking, including excerpts from Mace's audio journal. And those aren't the only ones.
  • Actor Allusion: See Flipping the Bird below.
  • All-Loving Hero: Mace Windu, believe it or not; he's very possibly the most compassionate person in the story, hidden by a veneer of toughness and worry about the Jedi and the Republic.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Phloremirlla gets her left arm shot off, opening an artery. Mace is prevented from holding the wound closed; she doesn't live much longer afterwards.
  • Awesome by Analysis: This is actually a specialty of fully-trained Jedi; using the insight of the Force allows them to navigate any situation and achieve an optimal outcome (be in within combat or otherwise). Mace Windu's unique gift is that he can sense what action in any given moment will achieve the optimum outcome with minimal exertion and always could. Effectively, he gets the results of Awesomeness by Analysis without having to run the numbers. Looking at a crystal that would dent a sledgehammer, for instance, he can instantly spot where a light tap would shatter it (i.e. the shatterpoint). Looking at a person, he can see weaknesses in armor or physiology or strategy, and disable or kill them. This doesn't mean a shatterpoint always exists or that tapping it will be easy, however.
  • Action Girl: Chalk. Unfortunately, Vasquez Always Dies.
  • Batman Gambit:
    • Since Kar draws on the Force of the jungle, Mace can't pick him out from the background through the Force. Unless, of course, Mace lets Kar beat him to a pulp with his bare hands so Kar will end up with his lightsaber. And no, he didn't throw the fight. He knew he wouldn't win.
    • Mace is trying to rescue some Balawai children from a dangerous situation, but Terrel refuses to let Mace rescue him as Mace is a Korun and believes that if he's taken alive Mace will torture him. So Mace uses what he's given and reminds Terrel he already has the other children and asks if Terrel is willing to leave them alone with him, a dangerous, torturing Korun. This works.
  • Blasé Boast:
    • Mace makes one while facing the dirty cops.
      Mace: I'm a prophet. I can see the future.
      Dirty Cop: Sure you can. What do you see?
      Mace: You. Bleeding.
    After making good on his promise, Mace simply says, "Told you."
    • Mace has another later on, after meeting his foe.
      Mace: Kar Vastor is not the most dangerous man in the Highlands.
      Nick: You only say that because you don't really know him.
      Mace: I only say that because he doesn't know me.
    He then spends the rest of the book proving it. Repeatedly.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, the Summertime War finally ends in a peace settlement between the Korunnai and Balawai, Kar Vastor is arrested for "crimes against civilization", and Mace Windu makes a breakthrough about the nature of the Force. On the other hand, Depa Billaba is rendered permanently catatonic, the crooked Separatist collaborator Colonel Geptun is a Karma Houdini due to switching sides under the ceasefire, and a lot of innocent people on both sides are dead along with almost the entire clone detachment.
  • Blood Knight: Amazingly, Mace Windu. He actually loves to fight, and maintaining a Jedi's serenity instead of simply kicking the asses of everyone involved in the problem he has to solve is a great deal of effort for him.
  • Body Horror: Fever wasps, which reproduce by infesting the central nervous systems of chordates with their larvae via a sting no more noticeable than a mosquito bite. That is, until they hatch and start slowly chewing their way through all that tender nerve tissue, causing violent dementia and ultimately death. They only leave the body when there's no more nerves to eat, leaving the skull as empty as an eggshell. The treatment isn't much better; a powerful enough Force user can persuade them to burrow out of a victim's spine with minimal damage, but then you've got about half a kilo of flesh-eating worms to dispose of. This is why a Force user native to Haruun Kal is desirable; a Jedi-trained user would be unable to kill them, a Dark Side user would likely just kill the patient, while a nature-driven native in sync with the Hungry Jungle's cycle of life and death can just direct the nasty little things to crawl into a fire.
  • Bond Creatures: Some Korunnai form Force bonds with their akk dogs — large, armored, reptilian wolf-bear-things. The bond means the akk trusts its rider completely, is instantly obedient, and they can share senses and orders at the speed of thought, which lends the pair unmatched agility and reaction times. If the human partner dies, though, the akks generally become despondent and/or given to rages, and are usually put down.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Mace Windu. Jedi Master, expert swordsman, exceptional hand-to-hand combatant, and tactical genius, who's also a Humble Hero and Friend to All Children.
    If it were up to him, no one would hurt anyone. Anywhere. Ever.
  • Bulungi: Haruun Kal is, in essence, a failed state in Sub-Saharan Africa re-imagined as a planet.
  • Call-Forward:
    • When Mace arrives at the Haruun Kal spaceport, he's wearing a white shirt, dark leather vest and boots, the latter with dark pants tucked into them, and he's carrying a Power 6 pistol. A knock-off of the one Han Solo uses. Or will use.
    • At one point, Mace has visions of the Jedi Temple ransacked and its inhabitants slaughtered. He also sees Coruscant transformed into an impossible jungle more savage than Haruun Kal. Though he doesn't know it, the audience knows he's seeing both Order 66 and the Yuuzhan Vong's capture of Coruscant.
  • Captain's Log: Mace's journal. His final entry on Haruun Kal includes commentary from Nick.
  • Child Soldiers: Discussed. Part of the ugly nature of the Summertime War is the blurred lines between children and combatants. A thirteen year old is old enough to pick up a knife and stab you with it, so are they a child to be protected or an enemy combatant to be slain? Nick remarks that kids make great soldiers; they're too young to be afraid of dying.
  • Cue the Sun: In the climax, as everyone is dying, and Depa gains the upper hand over Mace, dawn arrives just as Mace and Geptun are able to call off the droid starfighters holding the capital city hostage.
    In the skies over Pelek Baw, as the snowcap on Grandfather's Shoulder kindled with the first red rays of dawn, droid starfighters disengaged from clone-piloted ships and streaked back into the depths of space.
    In the command bunker, the swirl of dark power crested, paused, and began to recede.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • At the beginning of the novel, two corrupt cops try to take on Mace hand to hand—while he's naked in the spaceport decontamination shower, no less. It ends how you would expect.
    • Windu versus Vastor in the novel's climax. Kar is younger, faster, and stronger and has already beaten Mace once in a straight fight while Mace is exhausted, badly wounded, and devastated by the day's events. He beats Kar in a matter of seconds by Force gripping and throwing a discarded vibroshield and letting Kar's instinctive defense against that attack work against him.
  • Curse Cut Short: From Nick.
    "You won, didn't you? Isn't that enough? Why do you have to be such a—"
    Vastor interrupted the young Korun with a backhanded cuff that knocked him to the ground.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mace, emphasis on "deadpan"; Nick, emphasis on "snarker". They are an excellent comedy duo.
    Nick: What's the matter, Windu? Depa says you got a great sense of humour.
    Mace: She must have been joking.
  • Death World: Haruun Kal is covered in active volcanoes that spew so much toxic gas, the majority of the planet is completely uninhabitable. The native humans and all off-worlder settlements are both on the same large plateau, which is high enough above the gases to foster a complex ecosystem. Unfortunately, said complex ecosystem is so insanely, inventively aggressive that Mace theorises the native Korunnai are predisposed to Force-sensitivity because the ones who don't have that edge just don't survive.
  • Defeat by Modesty: Two dirty cops attempt this on Mace and several others. Mace being Mace, this does not end well for the cops.
    ...Members of any sapient species who were culturally accustomed to wearing clothes would feel hesitant, uncertain, and vulnerable when caught naked. Especially humans. Any normal person would stop to put on pants before throwing a punch.
    Mace Windu, in contrast, looked like he might know of uncertainty and vulnerability by reputation, but had never met either of them face-to-face.
  • Determinator: All Korunnai, including Mace, are this in spades. Particular mention goes to Mace and to Chalk, who takes a horrible gut wound and never says anything right up until she dies.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When all is said and done, Mace re-designates the Republic's combat operations on Haruun Kal not as part of the Clone Wars, but as a "police action." This brings to mind the official perspectives on The Korean War, but Mace has perhaps more justification — unlike Korea, which fought a civil war with outside forces participating in their own interests, Haruun Kal was always part of the Republic, and were it not for bribery and corruption, the Republic would have put down the attacks on the natives by the settlers as violations of law long ago.
  • Dramatic Irony: When talking about Palpatine, Mace says, "A shame he can't touch the Force. He might have made a fine Jedi." If only you knew, Mace. If only you knew...
  • Due to the Dead: Mace buries a number of dead Balawai and thinks on the nature of this trope as he does so. He imagines Nick's response would be that the dead hardly care if they got a proper burial and that there's no point to it, which Mace counters by thinking it has more for his benefit than theirs. He wants to show proper reverence to the sanctity of life and so can't just ignore that all these people have been killed.
  • Ejection Seat: Weaponized by Mace; when he needs an enemy gunship, he simply uses the Force to launch the pilot and navigator's seats against their will. This also blows away the windscreen, providing a convenient entry point.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: The end fight; the clone troopers, militia prisoners, Kar's bodyguards, Nick's team, and Depa (sorta) all die. Mace, Nick and Kar barely survive with terrible wounds.
    Mace: I seem to be... the last one standing.
  • Evil Counterpart: Mace describes Kar Vastor as not necessarily "evil", just having given himself to "the jungle" to survive. Which is basically The Dark Side (or life without the restraints of society). They have a lot of similarities, and turn out to be from the same clan. See Foil, below.
    Mace: I don't see Vastor as evil. Not as a truly bad man. Yes, he radiates darkness—but so do all the Korunnai. And the Balawai. His is the darkness of the Jungle, not the darkness of the Sith. He does not fight for power, to cause pain and dominate all he surveys. He simply lives. Fiercely. Naturally. Stripped of all restraints of civilization.
  • Face–Heel Turn: War and the dark side. Not a good combination.
    • It gets even worse if one is The Empath, and is a master of a lightsaber form which focuses on channeling one's Blood Knight desires.
  • False Flag Operation: As Mace notes, droids are stupid. So, when hundreds of droid starfighters are making hash of the landers carrying his clone reinforcements, he commandeers two enemy gunships and uses them to launch a Macross Missile Massacre at the starfighters. The droids have no programming to consider the idea of a stolen allied ship, so while one instance of Friendly Fire might be a fluke, two is definitely treachery, and the droids leave off the lower-threat landers and commence making hash of all sixty-nine of the militia's gunships.

    Later, Mace uses one of the remaining gunships as a distraction to take the spaceport, by claiming that it's heavily damaged from the battle and leaking radiation, and needs to reach port to protect civilians from a possible explosion. The entire city is so enthralled by this drama that no one notices the clone ships sneaking up on the spaceport until it's too late.
  • Fantastic Racism: There's plenty of bad blood between the balawai (offworlders) and the korunnai (natives). Colonel Geptun mentions that his own Korun heritage is not discussed in polite society.
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The Summertime War is your average colonial war between Europeans wanting to exploit the land for profit, and the indigenous tribes who are in the way. Matt Stover was specifically inspired by Heart of Darkness, an anti-colonialist novel set in the 1890s Belgian Congo. The larger context of the war is a Proxy War between the Republic and the Separatists over the strategically important jungle world Haruun Kal, much like the Vietnam War, which Stover's other main inspiration Apocalypse Now (itself a Setting Update of Heart of Darkness) was set within: the Separatists back the Balawai with financing and weapons (South Vietnam), while the Republic inserted Jedi Master Depa Billaba to assist the native Korunnai (Vietcong).
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Windu's looking at everything through the prism of Jedi philosophy and civilization itself. His initial impression, which everyone else on the planet shares, is that you can't fight the Hungry Jungle using ethical means and survive. Over the course of the novel, he learns the truth: the "jungle" is everywhere — it's desperation, despair, and the things it drives people to do. Civilization is what you get when you do fight those things — and you don't need to win. Just fight. You'll never achieve a civilization free of desperation or despair, or destroy the potential for those things within yourself, but even if it isn't perfect, that doesn't mean it's not worth fighting for. But it takes a lot of suffering, death, and a near-fall to the dark side for him to figure it out.
    • By contrast, Vastor looks at everything through the prism of "the jungle." He's ruled by animal instinct, not reason. This allows Mace to play him like a puppet — up until Depa finishes her Face–Heel Turn, anyway.
  • A Father to His Men: Windu to Depa, and eventually to Nick and his team; Depa to the Korunnai resistance.
  • Flat World: Haruun Kal is a partial example. The planet itself is as ball-shaped as any other, but most of it is covered with toxic clouds; the only part where anything can live is a large plateau that, presumably, one could fall off of if one got too close to the edge. So while the planet itself may not be flat, the livable part may as well be.
  • Flipping the Bird: Mace extends his middle finger in insult to a pair of dirty cops just before beating the crap out of them.
    Mace flipped up a thumb. "You think being armed and ruthless means you can do whatever you want." He folded his thumb and flipped up his forefinger. "You think nobody will stand up to you when they're naked." He folded that one again and flipped up the next. "And you think you're going to look inside my bag."
  • Foil: Though not precisely Evil Counterparts, comparisons are made between Windu and Depa, Kar Vastor and Mace, and the Akk Guards and the Jedi. Kar and his Guards, in particular, are dark reflections of Mace and the Jedi. Jedi lightsabers are designed to cut, stab and slash, but are most often used to deflect blaster-fire. The Akk guards' vibroshields obviously stop bolts and bullets, but their edges are razor-sharp...
  • The Fettered:
    • Throughout the book, it's very clear that Mace is just barely restrained from mauling several people due to his adherence to the Jedi code and his personal restraint. As his foil, Kar Vastor is The Unfettered and revels in his freedom.
    • Mace plays this one straight as an arrow at the end. His final revelation is that the To Be Lawful or Good dilemma he's been wrestling with is a false dilemma. It's fighting for the Jedi Code and the morals of civilized society that allows for justice and eventually peace, rather than victory over those who oppose them. Regarding the Jedi:
      Mace: We don't have to win. All we have to do is fight.
  • Field Promotion: Mace brevets Nick Rostu as a major in the Republic Army, giving him what he wants most: a way offworld, and experience he can use to join a mercenary company. Mace later recommends that the brevet rank be confirmed. He also gives a posthumous one to Chalk, so that he can recommend both for medals of valor.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During the journey to Depa, gunships seem to appear shortly whenever Mace uses his lightsaber. He doesn't realize until they get to the Lorshan Pass that the blade's energy signature is being tracked by Geptun.
    • While fighting Vastor, Mace explicitly strikes blows designed "not to disable or to kill, but to hurt." The reader might think that he's just in the grip of his Vaapad instincts, but it's actually because he knows he can't win. He just needs to make it look like he's trying.
    • Mace says Vastor's shields can't be cut. "Not by a lightsaber. File the data." In the climax, he force-grabs one of the Akk Dogs' shields and tosses it at Vastor. It cuts right through its brother weapon. And Vastor's hands. And some of his chest.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Mace is a Jedi and an incredibly experienced warrior, so he doesn't have hang-ups about being unclothed in public. He specifically notes that from a tactical standpoint, species acclimated to wearing clothes feel vulnerable when caught naked — particularly humans. Two dirty cops are taking advantage of this fact in the spaceport decontamination showers at Haruun Kal to rob travelers, and end up Bullying a Dragon in Mace.
  • Genius Loci: Occasionally, Mace personifies the jungle, describing everyone in it as being its playthings or its dreams; it doesn't help that Haruun Kal's life is predisposed towards developing Force talents, so when he 'senses' things, they can often 'sense' him back. Nick tells him not to be stupid — the jungle isn't a thing you can treat like a sentient being, it's just a place where stuff lives and kills other stuff — but often Kar Vastor acts as though he's a conduit for the jungle's wishes, and the translation of the native Korunnai term for the Force is literally jungle-mind.
  • Good Feels Good: Nick comes to feel this way when he and Mace spare the Balawai prisoners from Kar Vastor, to the point that he's most angry about Mace's submission to Kar when he says they were wrong to do so. Mace privately notes that Nick is, for likely the first time, taking pride in what he's done during the war and realizing that he can do the right thing even in the midst of the hellish jungle war.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Nick Rostu's reaction when he realizes that he, Mace, and Kar Vastor are about to be bombarded by DOKAWs: "Oh, nuts. Ohhh, nuts nuts nuts."
  • Green Thumb: Controlling Haruun Kal's native flora is just one of Kar's many unique Force talents.
  • Groin Attack: Mace uses this against Vastor in their duel.
  • The Gunslinger: Nick Rostu. Already a highly experienced combatant at a young age, he has untrained Force talent that manifests in a number of ways, including here.
    • Guns Akimbo: When you're a Force-user you don't have so much trouble firing in two directions at once.
    • Improbable Aiming Skills: See above.
    • Quick Draw: Shooting a lightsaber out of a Jedi's hand, pressed to her own temple, before she could hit the activation plate. In one shot. While delirious from blood-loss. Nick can also call his weapons to his hands.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The Balawai's only exposure to Jedi has been the increasingly unhinged Depa, so they believe Jedi to be monsters and try to kill Mace simply for being one. After he saves some of them from Kar Vastor, they declare him a "true Jedi" which doesn't make him feel any better about Depa's Sanity Slippage.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Mace considers the Republic spy who brought back Depa's message is a weak, pampered civilian daring to accuse an accomplished Jedi of atrocities. After exactly what the spy had to do to obtain that message is made clear, Mace thinks that he's truly seeing the man for the first time and wonders if he might be made of even sterner stuff than Mace himself is.
    • Reading the ULF squad through the Force lets Mace see their deeper personality traits, like Nick's devil-may-care attitude and cavalier regard for his comrades' lives being a defense mechanism to minimize the pain when they inevitably die.
  • Honor Before Reason: Why Mace didn't just kill Dooku at Geonosis. Deconstructed as this allowed the Clone Wars to go forward and billions of people have died because of it, but Reconstructed when Mace comes to understand that the ensuing events will allow Anakin to fulfil his destiny.
  • Hope Bringer: It's shown that Depa is more than a leader to the Korunnai — she is a symbol, almost a goddess.
  • Hungry Jungle: Both literal and figurative. The planet Haruun Kal is home to an omnipresent fungus that eats technology, as well as much larger and more dangerous creatures in the jungle that eat... just about anything else, including each other.
  • I Am What I Am: Mace makes a breakthrough of this sort during the climax. He realizes that excessive wariness of the Dark Side of the Force is also a dangerous kind of fear: true mastery of the Force and especially his own Vaapad fighting style requires him to accept his own imperfections as part of the package of being human, rather than fearing failure or that he might fall to the Dark Side.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Mace Windu is on the receiving end of this trope, via lightsaber, and survives by ensuring the blade is turned off and dissipates, leaving a smoking, ghastly — but cauterised — wound through his midsection, instead of allowing the blade to be ripped out sideways, burning him in half. His injuries are terrible but survivable, assuming medical attention.
  • Inhumanable Alien Rights: Matt Stover rather reasonably substitutes the term "crimes against civilization" for "crimes against humanity"—and notes that a prosecution for these has not happened in centuries. Kar Vastor is formally charged under these statutes at the end of the novel.
  • Ironic Echo: Of the worrying recording of Depa's voice that sets Mace on his journey in the first place, no line haunts him more than, "I know you think I've gone mad. I haven't. What happened to me is worse. I've gone sane. [...] Nothing is more dangerous than a Jedi who's finally sane." When Mace comes to realize that she has a point, and that he can't leave the planet without attempting to fix the horrible situation it's in, she can't believe her ears when he outlines his plan to do so.
    "Are you insane?"
    "Just the opposite," Mace said. "Haven't you heard? There's nothing more dangerous than a Jedi who has finally gone sane."
    She sputtered like a droid with a shorted-out motivator.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better:
    • The DOKAW (De-Orbiting Kinetic Anti-emplacement Weapon) — essentially a hundred kilos of durasteel falling from space to hit the ground at ten kilometers per second.
      In a word: WHAM.
    • The trope is generally Discussed. This book marks one of the few times "slug-throwers" (i.e. guns that fire bullets) make an appearance in the galaxy far, far away. Haruun Kal's metal-eating fungus renders blasters and their delicate circuits worthless in hours or less, but slug-throwers are much less vulnerable — keep them maintained and they last. However, Haruun Kal is one of the only places such low-tech weapons as slug-throwers and DOKAWs would be of any use at all. A DOKAW is almost hilariously ineffective against anything smaller or more mobile than a town, and can be pushed off course or even brought down by, at minimum, particularly poor weather. Slugs aren't deflected by lightsabers (they just get disintegrated), are useless against energy shields, and bounce unpredictably in tight quarters.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: When Mace rescues several prisoners, one of them kowtows to him, calling him "Your Highness" and begging for the lives of his children. Mace tells him to knock it off, as Jedi are servants to ordinary people, not the other way around.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Chalk. Her real name, as Mace learns after her death, is Liane Trevval.
  • Lady of War: Depa was one — a Jedi Master (and a member of the Council); a woman; a highly spiritual, intelligent, cool-headed and graceful individual; and devastating in combat due to her mastery of the lightsaber and the Vaapad style. Her time on Haruun Kul has left her... changed. She's just as deadly, but her mental state no longer lends itself well to grace.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Mace considers Kar Vastor to be this to the Sith. Kar isn't terribly malicious or cruel, he's simply a hard man living a brutal life and his inability to rise above that is a failing but is still better than the active malice of the Sith. This changes during the novel's climax when, despite having won the Summertime War, Kar is intent on slaughtering the Balawai for vengeance.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: As was established in Attack of the Clones, the Jedi's ability to use the Force remains diminished since the start of the Clone Wars. The Council still has not informed the Senate or Chancellor of this (and Yoda gets angry when Mace nearly reveals it out in the open while meeting with Palpatine).
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Launched by Mace's stolen gunships against the droid starfighters attacking his clone troops. It is only marginally effective, as droids are very good at the High-Speed Missile Dodge, but that's not the point — a coordinated attack from supposedly friendly ships prompts the droids to respond in kind.
  • Man Bites Man: Kar Vastor is a very practical individual.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Col. Geptun.
    Mace: I keep forgetting he's smarter than I am.
  • Master Actor: After getting beaten up by Vastor, Mace acts very humble and submissive. Vastor, in the grip of his jungle instincts, is fooled, as is Nick at first. Depa doesn't buy it for a minute.
  • Motive Misidentification: After bribing Colonel Geptun to cut him loose, Mace runs into a pack of mercenaries. When he tries to defend himself, he finds his lightsaber's running on empty. Mace thinks Geptun was trying to cover up the bribe by leaving him defenseless for the kill. He doesn't realize until later that Geptun had no knowledge of the attack. The lightsaber being depleted was actually a result of his techs analyzing its energy signature — thereby allowing Geptun to track Mace all the way to the ULF's base.
  • Motor Mouth:
    • Phloremirlla Tenk, the Washeteria owner/Intel agent.
      She never stopped talking. Mace hadn't started listening.
    • The alien comedy duo, especially the Pho Ph'eahian.
  • My Greatest Failure: Mace regrets not killing Dooku at Geonosis. He would have died at Jango Fett's hands, but it would have been worth it as Dooku was the Separatists' Shatterpoint. The resulting battle and the escalation of the conflict means that Shatterpoint is gone — and with it, any chance of easily ending the Clone Wars.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter:
    • Being a Jedi, Mace is more conservative in his language than most of those he meets, and is reluctant to quote them directly in his journal.
      Nick was still simmering as he helped me to my feet, muttering under his breath a continuous stream of invective, characterizing Vastor as a "lizard-faced frogswallower," and a "demented scab-chewing turtlesacker" and a variety of other names that I don't feel comfortable recording, even in a private journal.
    • Later on, when Mace uses the Force to make two pilots' Ejector Seats activate, it's mentioned that one of them howled something unmentionable. The other just howled.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: The Force is normally associated with life and nature, but Haruun Kal is a Hungry Jungle so vicious its presence in the Force approaches the Dark Side through its sheer hostility. It hasn't been corrupted by the Sith or is a natural Dark Side locus or anything else — it's just a place where all life fights to survive, by any means necessary.
  • Nemesis Weapon: Mace Windu notes that the razor-edged vibroshields used by Kar Vastor and his acolytes are a twisted mirror of the Jedi lightsaber; he uses his sword as a shield, while they use their shields as swords.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: Mace reflects on this after "foreseeing" a Dirty Cop on the ground bleeding and making it come to pass by breaking his nose.
    Mace stood over him. "Told you."
    The big man didn't seem impressed. Mace shrugged. A prophet, it was said, received no honor on his world.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Again, Mace feels responsible for the Clone Wars as he did not take the opportunity to kill Dooku at Geonosis.
    • Mace is also indirectly responsible for alerting Colonel Geptun to the location of the ULF's main base. Kar Vastor calls him on this.
  • No Blood for Phlebotinum: The original cause of the Summertime War was the resource conflict between the Korunnai (Haruun Kal native tribes) and the Balawai (offworlder settlers). The Korunnai are nomads that follow herds of local herbivores called grassers, so named because the clearings they tear through the jungle as they graze fill with grass. Problem is, the Balawai want to cultivate the jungle for valuable botanicals and the Korunnai are in the way.
  • Noodle Incident: Apparently, Mace visited Haruun Kal previously, as a young Jedi Knight.
  • The Nondescript: The guy who brings the recording from Haruun Kal is so ordinary-looking that Mace immediately pegs him for a spy.
  • Once More, with Clarity: An interesting variation occurs when Mace activates his lightsaber at the Lorshan Pass. He's suddenly assaulted with Force images of shatterpoints. He follows the Force's threads, which take him back towards earlier events during the journey to the Lorshan Pass... and allows him (and the reader) to grasp the truth behind innocuous details that he didn't notice or misunderstood at the time.
  • Oh, Crap!: Mace realizing that Geptun used him to locate the ULF's main base... and that he's about to drop a barrage of DOKAWs on the Lorshan Pass.
  • Or Was It a Dream?: Overlaps with Fever Dream Episode. Windu has several visions of meetings with Depa, days before they actually meet, but she appears 99% accurately to how she looks and acts later. Dreams because Mace knew her so well? Or something more real through the Force?
  • Out-Gambitted:
    • Mace brilliantly out-gambits the CIS forces by pulling a False Flag Operation and taking advantage of the fact that droids are stupid.
    • Later, he traces Geptun's holo-call to the Ministry of Justice, but realizes that there's no way Geptun would have allowed that if he weren't already somewhere else.
    • Then Mace gets this pulled on him by Kar and Depa, who order the clones to fly low over the city to draw down droid fire.
  • Planetville: Most of Haruun Kal is uninhabitable, with all natives and colonists on the only plateau of significant size to rise above the toxic lower atmosphere. The end result is a planet that believably behaves like a nation-sized setting.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Nick Rostu, crossed with Sad Clown; his rapier-quick wit is his coping mechanism, and he really needs it.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Zigzagged. Mace, doubtful of Depa's sanity, preempts any trouble by telling his clone commander she's been relieved of command and he is to disregard any orders she gives. However, the commander did not relay this information to the rest of the force, so Depa and Kar simply kill him and give orders to his lieutenants.
  • Put Their Heads Together: When Mace captures an enemy gunship, he disables the turret gunners by holding their access doors shut with the Force, waiting until they're both straining against them, then letting them open so that the gunners fly straight into each other head-first (helped along with a Force push).
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Mace eventually defines his victory conditions as saving Depa and if he can work saving the rest of Haruun Kal in process, so much the better. By the novel's end he's managed to end the Summertime War, drive off the Separatists and defeat Vastor but Depa fell fully into the Dark Side and tried to kill first him, then herself before plunging into a coma. When Geptun asks if they won, all Mace can say is that he's still standing.
  • Recycled In Space: Compare Apocalypse Now and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Matt Stover said Shatterpoint is based upon both.
  • Sacrificed Basic Skill for Awesome Training: Kar Vastor, born with a strong connection to the Force, was forced to hone his skills to survive the jungle alone when the rest of his family was massacred by Balawai prospectors. Now he’s a sort of incarnation of the jungle itself — Mace considers him as powerful as Anakin or Yoda — but he had to trade away some of his humanity for it, most notably his ability to speak. He “talks” in unintelligible growls and barks, and only Force telepathy lets people know what he’s saying.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Actually, Stover does have one. The book includes commentary on the much-maligned 1.2 million clones number (a result of the Attack of the Clones novelization), with the explanation that, yes, that's roughly one clone for every planet in the Republic, and that most of the fighting is actually being done by member militaries with the clones reserved as an Elite Army for critical battles.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Mace bribes a Neimoidian customs agent to keep her from inspecting his bag. It's heavily implied that this is a regular occurrence.
  • Shatterpoint Tap: Physically shattering objects is the least that Mace can do with his unique Force talent. He can see the weak points of people's minds, the wills of armies, even entire interstellar nations. It's just that Jedi aren't supposed to mow down worlds like fields of wheat — and just because he can see those points doesn't mean that tapping them is easy.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Slides all the way to cynicism, then past it to become pure idealism again. Everyone Mace meets insists that the only way to survive on Haruun Kal is to focus on nothing except survival, and the only way to win the war against any enemy is to to do whatever it takes to win, damn human decency and Jedi codes. Except that's not the way to survive as a human being, or as a Jedi. By taking those measures, the person you were dies and you may as well have lost.
    Mace Windu: Our enemy is power mistaken for justice. Our enemy is the desperation that justifies atrocity. The Jedi's true enemy is the jungle. Our enemy is the darkness itself: the strangling cloud of fear and despair and anguish that this war brings with it.
  • A Spy at the Spa: One appears running a spa with a secret bunker hidden under one of the baths (the one that no one ever wants to go in). She notes that "talk as much as I do, it takes people a while to notice I don't actually say anything."
  • Stock Jokes: The Pho Ph'eahian comedian tells a customs agent that "he'd just jumped in from Kashyyyk and boy, were his legs tired." Neither Mace nor the agent find him amusing.
  • Stop, or I Shoot Myself!: Mace takes "the one hostage a Jedi can legally take": himself. He puts Depa under arrest, saying he will escort her from Haruun Kal (to which Kar Vastor would object very strongly) or die in the attempt. Meaning Depa will have to talk Kar down if she doesn't want him killing Mace. She sees through the gambit immediately and agrees to be taken off-world — however the jungle has changed her, she still cares for Mace.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Mace as the Straight Man, Nick as the Wise Guy.
  • Strange-Syntax Speaker: The Korunnai (except for Nick, who has a better grasp of Basic) place the subject of a sentence at the end. When speaking the native tongue, the Translation Convention renders their words into standard English, while Mace's rusty Korunnai speech is depicted with the same subject-last order as their Basic.
  • Too Clever by Half: Geptun. While he manipulates and outmaneuvers Mace for most of the novel, that same cleverness ends up biting him in the ass during the final assault on Pelek Baw. While issuing his ultimatum to Mace, Geptun allows the Jedi to "trace" his signal to the nearby Ministry of Justice. It's most certainly a trap...and it doesn't work, because Mace by now has the measure of Geptun and his style. Mace correctly concludes he's being suckered — and he likewise correctly deduces Geptun's real location based on details the Colonel unthinkingly let slip during their first conversation weeks earlier.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Kar Vastor is an unusual take on this trope. He qualifies as this in terms of Force users in general, as he is incredibly powerful but has no formal training and limited skills, but what skills he has are specialized to his environment of Haruun Kal's jungles, making him more skilful in interacting with the jungle than Mace and other Jedi would be.
  • The Un-Smile: Smiling is not one of Mace's talents.
    • He tries early on when Yoda starts talking about how skilled a Jedi Depa Billaba is.
      "She'd better be." Mace tried to smile. "I trained her."
      "But worry you do. Too much. Not only for Depa, but for all the Jedi. Ever since Geonosis."
      The smile wasn't working. He stopped trying. "I don't want to talk about Geonosis."
    • When he warns the Dirty Cops at Pelek Baw that he's about to leave them bleeding:
      His expression might have been a smile if there had been the faintest hint of warmth in his eyes.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Mace doesn't realize Geptun's using him to locate the ULF's main base until it's almost too late.
  • War Is Hell: The main point of the book is how profound an effect war has, partly on the galaxy's population as a whole, but more so on the Force-sensitive Jedi. They sense (and are affected by) pain, suffering, fear and threat, and what is war?
  • Waterfall into the Abyss: The giant waterfall at the edge of the Korunnal Highland. In this case, the water doesn't actually fall into "the abyss" so much as a soup of heavier-than-air toxic gases; eventually it boils away and makes its way back into the cloud layer.
  • Weak, but Skilled: For once, Mace Windu. Vastor is untrained, but he's much taller, a lot stronger physically, equally if not more so in the Force, and half Mace's age, making him a perfect example of being Unskilled, but Strong. On the other hand, as Mace notes:
    Mace: The ultimate answer for power is skill.
  • World of Snark: There are seemingly two cultural requirements to being a Korunnai, in addition to the Five Pillars: You must be a Determinator, and a Deadpan Snarker. Geptun is one as well.
  • Worthy Opponent: Kar considers Mace one; Mace really really doesn't reciprocate. Also, Mace and Geptun; after the war, Mace recommends Geptun be inducted into Republic Intelligence.
  • You're Insane!: Multiple people say this of Mace for acting like the laws and morals of the civilized galaxy apply on Haruun Kal. Eventually, Mace declares that people like Kar want to believe he's insane for having restraint and mercy because otherwise they would have to admit what monsters they really are.
  • Your Mom: During an argument between Phloremirlla and a taxi driver.
    "Yeah? Well, your mother eats Hutt slime!"