||This book seemed to lack a proper
focus, but it continued to develop Tash's ability with the Force.
I like the continued use of Dantooine in
the Star Wars universe. The tribal Dantari people were also explored in
The Jedi Academy Trilogy, where, I believe, they were wiped out along
with the colony established there. As I recall, the Dantari were seen to
have had previous contact with technological people in those books, and
this might be one instance of that.
Unfortunately, we don't spend enough
time with the Dantari, though the author packs in the information
while we are with them. Although Hoole was an anthropologist, he didn't
mind establishing contact with these people, even disrupting their
religious and political system. The one Dantari that we meet is the one
who takes offence to the intruders. The tribal garoo Maga sees the
disruption that Tash, Zak and Hoole have on his people. I don't think he
is upset that they have undermined his authority, like Hoole says. I
think he knows that they will disrupt the lives of the Dantari, then
disappear, and he will have to fill in the emptiness they leave behind.
He likes the stability and predictability of a routine life.
That relationship was well drawn
through the first half of the book, and it was very interesting. Once
the title characters came into play, however, the story became muddled
and a little dull. It took half the book to get to the point where Tash
enters the ancient Jedi ruins (from the
Knights of the Old Republic
comic series, though I don't recall which specific title).
The people Tash discovers in the old
Rebel Base are very strange. We learn later that they were cloned
bodies, but without a mindscan, they had no real personalities. It was
funny to see how they had built a replica of a starship out of scrap
metal, wood, and grass! And they expected it to fly into space! When
they discover that Hoole has a ship, they become very excited. But when
a clone of Vader shows up, they send the ship off in remote control far
Most of the story takes place from
Tash's point of view. Now that she has the ability to move things with
the Force, we get to see her deal with the Dark Side. She knows that
something is wrong when she uses the Force in anger, but without
guidance and training, she doesn't know why. I really liked her query as
to whether the Jedi used anger to fine-tune their use of the Force. But
I found her progression too quick -soon afterward, she is calling
anger-Force the Dark Side, probably the first she ever heard of the
term. She shies away from it immediately after calling it that.
However, her clones had no trouble
using the Dark Side of the Force. One of them used her influence with
the Dantari to capture them. Several others tried to kill her, along
with clones of Zak. I loved the way she used her change of clothing to
an advantage, jumping into the mob and pretending to be one of the
clones! Her confusion about whether she was a clone or not was one twist
too many for me, as the other clone was in her original clothing, and
doubting herself, as well.
When they are all captured by the
clones except the real Tash, the real Darth Vader shows up, and battles
his clone. Everybody is distracted enough that Tash can free them, but
Hoole does battle with one of his clones, too. I find it rather convenient
that one clone shows up at a time, except when necessary. Hoole's battle
would have been even more tough if he had to battle more than one clone.
When it inevitably comes time to choose
between the two Hoole's, Tash makes a cool choice- claim to shoot both
of them, hoping the real one would know she wouldn't do such a thing. It
works, and she shoots the clone, recovering the ship's remote activator.
I was surprised at how easily Tash was able to fire the blaster. I doubt
she would have recalled that they were on the stun setting. She was
ready to kill the clone. Of course, she watched so many people die in
the last book without a second thought, so maybe she is growing immune
Another way Tash could have told the
difference between the two Hoole's was to ask him to input the code for
the ship. She used the same trick with the Zak clone earlier, and it
Vader, for his part, plans to study the
clones of Zak and Tash, to determine why they keep interfering with his
plans. Will he show up in the last book? I doubt it. I don't like the
way the author keeps each of the stories so open-ended, without any
follow-up. Is he setting the stage for potential future stories? Again,
I doubt it. I think it is just part of the horror-type of genre, to show
that our heroes didn't succeed as much as they thought they did. Vader
has a working clone machine now, though.
I also wonder why we never hear from
Tash Arranda again. She didn't exist for
Jedi Search, so that can be
excused. But Star By Star and many other New Jedi Order books brought in
some of the really obscure Jedi, but not her. Surely after their last
encounter, Luke would have gone searching for her as a potential
I wish we could have stayed with more
study of the Dantari, instead of the clones of the old Rebels from DNA
left on the walls of the old base. I suppose we wouldn't have had the
Fear part of the Galaxy of Fear if we had stayed with them longer,
though. Maga could have played some part in that, I'm sure. I did like
the resolution between Tash and Maga, though. He sees in her eyes how
she is telling the truth about her clones, and she finds out that she
really should respect him, even though he seems more primitive. He
managed to overcome his fear of the old ruins to rescue his people, whom
the Vader clone was going to use for genetic diversity.
Not one of the best books in the
series, because of its confusing and unfocused storyline, it nonetheless
explored Tash's growing Force-sensitivity, and allowed us to see her
doubts about its use.