A disappointing sequel. It had the power to be great, but instead had a
strange focus, plus the art was not as good as in the previous installment.
As I mentioned below, from my first time reading the book, it
was very complete and well thought out. I could see where some of the setup
from the last book came to fruition here. But a lot of the battles won by the
Sith didn't make sense unless the Jedi were stupid, cowards, or the Dark Side
of the Force is stronger.
I have no idea what Mandalore is supposed to be doing, except
acting as a mercenary thug. I suppose the authors are trying to portray the
origin of Boba Fett, except that we don't know where this Mandalore came
from. He first attacks the Krath, and asks Ulic for a duel. I never understood
why Ulic agreed to all the measures that were taken against him, in order to
provide a "fair fight". If it was man against man, then one has the power of
the Force and one doesn't. Maybe he has other abilities, like Jango Fett (for a
time), but what kind of honor would it be, to beat a man like Mandalore wanted
to do? And then Ulic throws down his weapon so he can fight with Mandalore's
weapon. Doesn't make sense. But Ulic wins, and gets a loyal ally after that.
Exar Kun, meanwhile, goes to the Jedi Library on Ossus, and
convinces twenty Jedi students to join him, with false promises of more
knowledge than their masters have, all for the light side of the Force. And he kills another
master and steals the Sith holocron. When they reach Yavin 4, Kun smashes it
and the spirits of some old Sith enter into his students. Huh? What just
happened here? More magic, which I railed against in the
last book. And that
isn't what a holocron does! It also makes their next acts, murdering their own
masters, less effective, because they are not themselves. While we got a nice
slow buildup in Dark Lords of the Sith towards the Fall of both Ulic and Kun,
it is disappointing here to see mindless followers. And how are these mindless
followers able to defeat their own masters? Are they more powerful?
It seems that they are. After stealing a fleet of brand new
ships and foolishly attacking Coruscant, Ulic is captured by his brother Cay,
and Nomi Sunrider. During his trial, where he is sentenced to death, Exar
Kun walks right in, frees Ulic, kills what seems to be the chancellor of the
Republic, stands speaking of his own greatness for a while, and then kills
Master Vodo. During all this, the guards and senators are held in a Sith
trance. But the Jedi are not- and they stand watching this happen as
well! Between the three Jedi, they could have overpowered Kun before he did
more damage. And it appears that Kun is more powerful than his master, as he
defeats Vodo the same way he did in the previous book. Vodo doesn't use a
lightsaber, even in such a dangerous battle. What would have happened if he
had? Why does it have to be one-on-one all the time...
The next battle comes on Ossus. Aleema, a cipher in this
book, really, is given command of a ship to lure the Jedi defenses away from
Ossus, so that Ulic and Kun can loot the place. She takes the cat-like Crado
with her, and they destroy three Jedi ships before causing a supernova. It was
unintentional on their part, but because she betrayed Ulic (when he was
captured), the Dark Lords made sure she died. Crado on the other hand, was
seduced by Kun, and I don't believe it at all. He was not infused with Sith
poisons like his fellow Jedi. He just worshiped Kun. He even tried to kill his
mate, which is why she went after Ulic in Redemption.
Ulic fights his brother on Ossus, as the Jedi are trying to
evacuate in light of the shock-wave from the nearby supernova. Strangely
enough, the shockwave can travel faster than the speed of light. The one in
Star Trek Generations was much more realistic- the planet would have been blown
apart, not just all life extinguished!
But Exar Kun loots the Jedi Library, though it seems that he
left a lot of stuff behind, and he claims that they have everything they need.
Hmm. Ulic, however, kills his brother, and breaks into tears. Nomi, in a rage,
uses her newfound powers of casting a giant wall of light, and imprisons Ulic
inside it, removing his powers of the Force altogether -good or bad. This
doesn't fit with the dichotomy of powers we saw in the last book. Good Force
users can do good stuff, evil ones can do Dark stuff. Here, in a rage, Nomi
projects a Light Force power. Contradictory, but I like the implication better.
Ulic's will drains, and he leads them to Yavin 4, where the
Jedi fleet projects a sheet of light onto the planet, devastating all the dark
power there. And then they turn around and leave! Instead of investigating, or
destroying the temples! Why is that!?! What kind of logic are they using? Kun
could have survived that conflagration even if he hadn't removed his spirit
from his body. And I wonder about his chief Massassi. Is that the creature from
the Marvel comics, which we meet in In Deadly Pursuit? Or was there another
beast in the Jedi Academy trilogy that I've forgotten about? In either case,
how did it live so long?
On Onderon, for some reason, Mandalore fights to capture the
planet for Ulic. I guess he wants a familiar home base. But the beast riders
fight them off with help from the Republic fleet. We are led to believe that a
new Mandalore will sire generations of Mandalore's, who will eventually become
Boba Fett, I suppose.
The story in its entirety was nowhere near as good as the
previous book. This one contradicted so many ideas and themes from the previous
book that it's hard to believe that the same authors contributed. I notice,
however, that the main author from the last book, Tom Veitch, is not present
here, and that could be the difference. Anderson is not a great author; though
he has some great ideas, he has trouble communicating them in a passionate and
The artwork was still good, but nowhere near as good as the
beginning of the first part. There was a lot happening, but it was very
diffuse, in that so much of it was not a completed image. Layout and color
schemes were not as impressive in this installment, either.
A lot of things didn't make sense, and didn't do a lot of
what we saw in Dark Lords of the Sith. The most interesting part of the
previous book was the path to the dark side. Now that the characters
have arrived, all we get is war, which is much less interesting. As much as the
artists tried to make it more personal, it wasn't. Maybe it could have been
much more -maybe not. But a lot of it was just not all that interesting.