||Frustrating, to say the least. So many
sequences in this book were so well written, but the plot kept getting
in the way. So many things in this book just didn't make any sense.
We learn a little more about Hoole in this
book, but just enough to be frustrating, all the same. Escaping Hologram
Fun World from The Nightmare Machine, Hoole makes his way to Jabba the
Hutt's palace on Tatooine. Why he thinks to bring two young kids there
is beyond me. Frightening at the least, they could have easily been
killed on Jabba's whim. Although we were told that Tash was terrified,
she didn't sound like it when she confronted Jabba
The whole point of seeing Jabba seems
to be to put Hoole in his debt, since Hoole doesn't think the
information is trustworthy. Jabba and Hoole seem to go way back, but we
will undoubtedly have to wait a while to see what their relationship is.
Tash contacts her internet friend,
Forceflow, who tells her the same thing as Jabba: go to the world of
Auril. These guys don't seem to know how to pilot a ship out of
hyperspace, as yet again, they nearly collide with something. This
already happened once in Planet Plague. Enough is enough, stop repeating
the same horror gags.
The object that they nearly collide
with is the space station Nespis 8, also known as the place where Luke
met Kam Solusar before Dark Empire 2, and the place of Anakin Solo's
birth. There, Tash finally meets Forceflow. I wondered why she had to
tell Forceflow about Hoole, since he was the one who gave her the
information at the beginning of The Nightmare Machine. As the story
continued, however, I got a bad feeling about the man; it's strange that Tash didn't. I guess her crush on him got in the way. He expressed so
much interest in the rumored Jedi library, but once it was found, he
didn't go in. Later, he urged others to go, but never did, himself.
Finally, when he disappeared and reappeared, I allowed myself to believe
he was really Gog in disguise. To my disappointment, I was right.
I don't understand why Gog revealed
himself when he did. He could have easily had Tash open the book as
Forceflow; once he revealed his true form, he never had a chance. He
became way too talkative, again telling everybody his plans. When he was
finally injured, I'm sure he could have transformed into a bird, to
out-fly Tash, or again when he was running away from her, or in the air
Gog didn't seem right to be Forceflow,
either. Why warn them against going to the planet of
then? Why give her the information on Starscream? Why would he need to
hire the Anzati (at least they spelled it right, unlike in
Darkness) to kill the assassin that Vader hired, when he was near the
kids all the time? Still, speaking of Dannik Jerriko, I liked him here,
much better than I enjoyed his stories in The Tales from the Mos Eisley
Cantina and the Tales from Jabba's Palace. From his first protests of
being innocent, I figured things were not as they appeared, and that he
was saving them from the assassin, for whatever reason. It made sense in
Life in Nespis 8 was really dumbed
down, really simplified. This is a place where nice and kind treasure
hunters come, slowly stripping the station bare. They all live in a
single room, keep the same hours, sleep at the same time, never intrude
on each others' territory, which makes them unusual for that kind of
The exception, of course, was the
treasure hunter who found the Jedi Library, as he was the only one out
hunting at that time. This is why Zak could accuse Jerriko of murder,
since the Anzati was the only person on the whole station not accounted
for. I had to shake my head in disgust. I can't believe that every
person in that common room would want to investigate the death, either.
That would have made an excellent time for somebody to rob the others,
or at least search for their clues. The treasure hunter's scream echoed
through the tunnels, as did Tash's. Why? That is a big station, and
private conversations didn't seem to travel far in the same tunnels.
The garbage pit and the diagona were
tired and derivative, especially using some of the same dialog from
New Hope! Still, it was put to good use by Tash later, assuming Gog was
human, and not able to shape-shift into something that could fly above
the reach of the diagona.
It turns out that Gog was stealing the
life essences of people who opened books in his fake Jedi Library. The
original one had been vaporized by Vader years earlier. I suppose if he
could reanimate the dead, and create a creature capable of grabbing
nightmares from their heads, he could create something like this. He
wanted to find somebody with the Force, to find out how it ticks, to
either steal it or annul it in Vader.
I cannot accept Zak's explanation of
the cold of the cryogenic tanks. If it really was colder because of the
tanks, then that room would have been very freezing, in order for the
cold to penetrate to other parts of the station. The only reason for the
whole thing was to explain the word cryogenic to the kids reading this
book, through Tash, but it made her sound stupid, something this series
doesn't do often, to its credit.
This was definitely a Tash book. She
admits here that she isn't afraid of heights, but why, then, was she
terrified of the cliff face in her nightmare in
The Nightmare Machine?
She seems to be obedient to adults, though, as when Gog tells her to
step away from the lever, she does so, instead of pulling it and then
facing him down. This brings us back to the level of the first book,
Eaten Alive, where everybody would stop what they were doing so that the
plot could advance and the characters would live.
The ghost of the title is somebody who
tried to defend the real Jedi Library against Vader, and failed. He
haunts Nespis 8 because he feels that he isn't worthy of becoming one
with the Force. He helps Tash, though (by choking her to get her out of
the room?), and reveals some of the details of the trap. He explains
that she does have the Force in her, and that (NO!) her brother does, as
well. Not another brother-sister Force family, please! At least we get
development on Tash's behalf, and we might even see her testing her
abilities in the future. She helps the Jedi Aidan Bok fade into the
Force, by having her help him, redeeming himself.
Gog appears to die, to which I say good
riddance, but I think he has at least one more appearance to make,
judging by the last page of the book. He was never a good villain, once
I guess that's enough complaining about
this book. It certainly wasn't all bad. As I said above, much of the
writing was actually quite good, between plot holes. Deevee also had the
best line in the book, after jumping in front of Tash and getting shot
instead of her, he shakes his head, and says, looking down at his broken
body, "with such a superior intellect, you would think that I could have
come up with a better plan"! Ha!
I can only hope that this book was
another glitch, in that it had to stretch the plot so thin and unlikely,
make the situation so unrealistic, that it really fell apart. For the
most part, it was written about the same as the first couple of books,
with less exposition than the first one, but a lot more than
Nightmare Machine. Hoole should really start listening to Tash's
feelings, no longer dismissing them out of hand. We've seen Tash grow a
little, Zak a little less, but Hoole not at all. We require more
development, with less technobabble and more plot. Maybe next time.