A novel by Sean Williams (2010, Ballantine Books)
17 years before Star Wars: A New Hope
A reborn Starkiller escapes Darth Vader to go in search of the one
he loved in his former life, and to eliminate the leverage that keeps
him slaved to Vader.
Read July 18th to
25th, 2015 in hardcover
A weak story, it furthers the birth of the
Rebellion slightly, while showing how an obsessed Starkiller hasn’t
thought through what he is going to do once he finds his love.
In my review of
The Force Unleashed (the first one), I
hoped the second book would focus more on Captain Juno Eclipse. This
book does just that, as the other characters, even Starkiller –who
appears on the cover, take on much smaller roles. Unfortunately, we
didn’t get all that much in terms of interesting story. Either the
solutions were too easy, or they were just not very interesting. And all
of it conflicted with the Expanded Universe (which has recently been all
shunted aside, anyway).
Starkiller himself has been
reborn as a clone on Kamino, but Juno doesn’t know that. She is,
however, of the same mindset as the former Jedi General Kota, who wants
a lot more action by the nascent Rebellion, so she watches over him on
his missions, even though she manages to put her mission in peril while
doing so. At a meeting of the Rebel alliance leaders, she loses her
command, but there are the well-documented differences in opinion
between Mon Mothma and Bel Iblis.
Leia secretly takes Juno aside
and gives her a new mission –to go to Mon Calamari (given a strange name
for some unknown reason in this book), and drive the Empire from that
planet, so that the Rebellion can take possession of their shipyards. It
seems strange that the Empire would let the Mon Calamari keep their
shipyards at all, and that they wouldn’t try to reclaim them once their
garrison is defeated –especially Tarkin. Needless to say, she meets up
with Ackbar, but she also gets another mission with Bail Organa, as he
helps guide her through the Mon Calamari system and gains resistance
members from both the Mon Calamari and Quarren species.
plan to sabotage the Empire’s base under that planet’s ocean goes pretty
well, as they sneak on board and impersonate Imperial troops. Proxy,
Starkiller’s old robot, can assume anybody’s form, and he does so here
in order to get them through various security checkpoints. When Tarkin
arrives (why was he there to begin with?), the resistance’s charges
knock out the power and Proxy impersonates him to send the Imperial
troops in the wrong direction.
There was very little of interest
here, except that Juno gets a better sense of her worth. The results
were as expected, though I do wonder how Leia could remain part of the
Senate when her father is actually seen here by Tarkin. Wouldn’t they
simply take her hostage until he gave himself up? It’s amazing to think
that Mon Calamari remains an independent system after this, all the way
to Return of the Jedi, when the Empire
must know they are building warships.
It takes Juno a while to get back
to the fleet, because it has moved since she left on her covert mission.
There is a strange scene where she encounters an informant who is part
droid, and who wants to get involved romantically with her. I wondered
if this might play into a love triangle of sorts once Juno realizes that
Starkiller is alive again.
Starkiller, for his part, escapes
from Darth Vader and meets up with Kota on another of his missions. He
is trying to figure out who he is, especially when he finds out that
clones of Jedi are always insane (apparently –such as Joruus K’boath and
Luuke Skywalker, from Heir to
the Empire and The Last
Command, for example), and he doesn’t seem to be insane, though he
does have the fierce obsession with finding Juno. Starkiller has a
vision about everyone on Juno’s frigate being killed, which starts to
come true when Boba Fett shows up, having been hired by Vader to find
Starkiller. Fett’s team easily boards the frigate (despite shields?),
and even Starkiller can’t outwit him. I do find it odd that Vader would
stiff Fett about his payment though. It seems unlike Vader, and I doubt
Fett would work for him again if that actually happened. It was an
The worst part of this book came
when Fett is carrying Juno through empty space between the frigate and
Slave I, in which Starkiller decides to follow. Both Juno and Starkiller
are completely unprotected, and the way Fett’s helmet fits, I really
doubt he could survive the vacuum of space, either. They don’t even rasp
for breath, nor does their skin show any sign of freezing or the bends,
especially with the sudden way they are launched through space.
Needless to say, Starkiller
doesn’t catch Fett, because the story continues. He is distracted by a
huge monster that multiplies before his eyes and tries to get to the
hyperdrive core. Starkiller does defeat it en route to Kamino, where the
fleet has decided to take action (even Mon Mothma). Incredibly, the
frigate is crewed only by Kota’s small band of mercenaries! While the
fleet battles in space, Starkiller rams the frigate into the Kamino
shield which causes it to collapse enough that he can shoot through to
the power generator, which is incredibly almost exactly where he needs
to go in order to rescue Juno.
The last sequence seems straight
out of a video game; never having played this video game, I can’t say if
it represents what happens there. Starkiller has to fight his way to the
cloning chambers, through a batch of insane clones of himself, and to
Vader himself, where he tries to save Juno. Vader had laid a trap by
tying Juno there, luring Starkiller to the rooftop. Starkiller actually
catches a ride on the X-Wing of Wedge Antilles; while fun, it seems a
little early for Wedge to already be part of the Rebellion.
Starkiller does manage to rescue Juno, even though Vader almost kills
her. She manages to distract Vader in time for Starkiller to survive his
fight with the Sith Lord, too. Vader escapes as the entire platform is
ready to be destroyed.