||Like the first two books in this
series, it took a lot of effort to get interested, and in this case,
even that didn't last long. The plot was almost
non-existent, but more than that, it was boring. Only a couple of
characters really did anything in the slightest, and they changed their
minds based on no evidence or real argument whatsoever. The climax was
also very strange, and made no sense.
This focus of this book relied heavily
on the Clone Wars novel Jedi Healer, and a little on
Darth Maul: Shadow
Hunter, namely the Force-enhancing bota and the bond I-Five had with
Jax's father, Lorn Pavan, respectively.
There were no guest stars from other
novels in this book, unlike the first two books in the series. Maybe
that made it seem less interesting -I'm not sure. It just seemed that
everyone simply sat around discussing non-issues. Looking over my
reviews for Jedi Twilight and
Street of Shadows, I can see that
those books were probably just as bad, though at least they had some
action or intrigue.
The main villains in this book are the
new Enforcers, Force-sensitive people who do Darth Vader's dirty work.
Apparently he and the Emperor have had time to find new Force-sensitives
and set up an academy on how to use the Dark Side! And this less than a
year (as far as I can tell) after Revenge of the Sith. Not that it
really matters, as they all seem to be rather inept, anyway. This is
along the same lines as what I said about the last book, in which Vader
and the Emperor haven't had enough time to become notorious figures they
are portrayed as.
There are only two real plots of any
mention in this book, and those seem barely worth mentioning. In one,
Tuden Sal, who betrayed Lorn Pavan back in Shadow Hunter, tries
to hire I-Five to assassinate Emperor Palpatine. Everyone thinks this is
crazy (including me), but I-Five considers it. But he thinks he should
follow the majority vote of the group (Dejah, Den Dhur, Rhinann and
especially Jax). Why? I suppose because it suits the author to drag this
out for as long as possible. Jax doesn't make his decision until almost
the end of the book, where he decides against the plot (because he
detects a glimmer of the Force in I-Five), but then gets caught up in a
discussion with some people from Whiplash (the group that smuggles
people off Coruscant), and changes his mind completely -and for no
apparent reason. But at that point, he decides that he should be the one
to do it, using the bota.
The second main plot focuses on Kaj, a
young Force-sensitive orphan who was sent to Coruscant to join the Jedi,
but too late, obviously. Jax is convinced that he should be the one to
train the boy, who has more raw power in him than Anakin did,
apparently. The light-sculptures created by Dejah's late husband
actually create a Force-bubble, which can hide the Force-sensitives,
even of Kaj's strength.
There is a fight scene where Jax, Kaj
and Laranth (the not-Jedi who is really good with a blaster) take on the
Inquisitors. It is written reasonably well, but is nothing special. It's
a wonder that Vader himself didn't come to the area to investigate.
Dejah, recall, exerted pheromones
similar to Xizor, and also possesses some form of telepathy, where she
can read emotions. She feels the Force coming off Jax and Kaj, and
relishes it. So when Jax discovers that she has been trying to
manipulate him, he increases his Force-established bubble which he
thought had been keeping the pheromones away, and she rebukes him. She
enmeshed Kaj in a trap set by the Inquisitors, who then bring him to
Vader. Vader and his people mind-wipe the boy, making him think that Jax
is the bad guy, and that he was in the Inquisitor academy.
Vader actually agrees to a trade with
Jax: he will return Kaj and Dejah if Jax will give up the bota, Sith
holocron, and the super metal that I-Five gave Jax in the first book.
They all meet up, and Vader takes the bota and puts it in his control
box to enhance his powers. I don't understand that at all. I've never
heard that Vader's control box could transmit external stuff into
Vader's air supply or blood stream, but worst of all, I don't understand why Vader would
want to waste the bota at that time, instead of keeping it for another,
more opportune moment.
Vader starts to emit a giant
uncontrolled Force-storm, killing Dejah and Rhinann, damaging I-Five,
and falling off a high-level ledge, but not to his death, even as Den
Dhur comes to rescue them with the sector police squad. It was actually
quite a confusing jumble, and not very interesting.
Of the minor characters, there is
little to say. Den had been considering leaving Coruscant to go back
home to a lover on Sullust, but decided he liked the action more, so stayed until
the end of this book, at least. Rhinann spent the whole book trying to
figure out where the bota was, so he might become Force-sensitive
himself for a short time, and goes crazy when Vader uses it. Finally,
the inept police chief from Street of Shadows turns out to be a pretty
smart guy, and a member of Whiplash, too.
Kaj ended up being so damaged by the
mind-wipe that he had to be sent off Coruscant to somewhere relaxing so
he could try to regain his original memories. It's too bad he didn't end
up growing into a Force-sensitive man like one of those found by Luke in
Jedi Search. It would have given some nice continuity to this series,
which otherwise feels like it is a completely separate entity.
One of the strange things about this
novel was the characterization of the Force from the eyes of the three
principal Force-sensitive people. Jax, Kaj and the main Inquisitor
character (Probus Tesla) all see the Force as patterns (hence the title). There
is nothing wrong with that, but it seems very strange, especially as
they focus on it so much.
I suppose they had to do that, because
there was nothing else to do in this book. It was not about much,
plot-wise, and that plot had very little to do. There wasn't enough
character development to justify all the time we spent with the
characters, either. A fourth Coruscant
Nights novel has recently been released, but it's hard to expect any
more than what we got here, so I'm not very enthusiastic about it.