||This was a fun Star Wars adventure -or
the start of one, anyway. It lacks the finesse of most recent Star Wars
novels, and drags a little too long on the internal thoughts and
dilemmas of the main characters, but it was also refreshing, in that it
could move at a leisurely pace, and give us some nice character moments
that felt very real.
The book is
a quick, simple read. The author doesn't try to make things too
complicated, and the fact that he will tell the story over three books
means he can focus on what the characters are thinking for a fair
amount. Unfortunately, he stays in their heads for a while too long. The
characters bring up so many alternative theories about what they should
do that it gets annoying. It's probably a realistic portrayal of what
our subconscious minds go through ever time we make a decision, but I
don't think it needs to be vocalized every time.
Then there is the turn of phrase "that
Corellian guy", or other similar phrases, like "that Luke person". It is
used way too often, by way too many different characters.
But there was a lot to like here, even
if not much actually happens. The author is able to ramp up the tension,
so that it is quite fun to get through it to the climax, which occurs at
the very end of the book -since this is book one of three, it's allowed
to do that.
Lando's story is the easiest to cover
first. He mysteriously invites Luke to his new home in Dometown, a city
he helped finance in an enormous cavern under Coruscant's surface. There
he asks Luke to join him in his new enterprise- the search for a rich
wife. Why work for money when he could marry into it? But he doesn't
just want money for its own sake. He wants to invest it, to create
things. Mon Mothma had urged Luke to take on this opportunity with Lando,
so he cautiously does. Mothma thought Luke was drifting off into
becoming a hermit. Apparently the authors at this point didn't know what
to do with Luke as a Jedi Master. Somehow Leia beats him in a lightsaber
duel, which I think is meant to show not only that she has potential,
but that he is losing his way. Mothma feels that Luke should go into
politics. Little did she know what was to come!
Little did the authors, either, as he
says that nobody has heard of the Empire in years. Surely the
Hand of Thrawn duology was in the works by now, but I guess they didn't realize
that Admiral Pellaeon was still on Bastion.
The author plays up Lando's apparent
hatred of droids, even though he had a droid in the pre-A New Hope
adventures. He does not welcome C3PO or R2D2's advice, and all of the
droids' scenes are played for comedy. Fortunately, the droids play a
minor role, except in one instance, when they save Lando's life by
telling him what a life-witch is just as he is about to marry her -he
would have been bonded to her for five years, able to fulfill as many
dreams as he could, after which he would die.
The second woman he goes to see was
married a few weeks earlier -oops! And the third is Tendra Risant, from
Saccoria, in the Corellian system. Tendra, of course, is miraculously
still alive by the end of the Legacy of the Jedi series,
Fury at least, and
is finally pregnant there. Lando does not immediately fall in love with
Tendra, but has an incredible time just talking with her. They get along
really well. The important part of what takes place on Saccoria is that
Lando and Luke get thrown off the planet by the Triad government.
Lando's next stop is Corellia, but his
ship is stopped by the giant interdiction field, which Luke feels they
must report to Coruscant, so they turn around.
For their part, the New Republic
Intelligence agency knows that something is wrong at Corellia. Their
agents keep disappearing. So agent Kalenda secretly approaches Han,
warning him that he and his family might be in danger. She also tells
him that the New Republic does not have any ships to fight with, if
something should happen. I think this is the most ridiculous thing to
believe. Where are all the ships from the Black Fleet Crisis? Didn't
they learn anything back then?
A lot of time is spent giving us an
inside view of Han and Leia's image of family. Sometimes this was
tiring, and felt a little like filler, but it did give us a baseline for
how they would react if their family was actually put in danger. And by
the end of the book, they are all split up, so we can imagine what their
reactions are going to be.
When they arrive at Corellia, they feel
something is wrong, so Han jumps out of hyperspace early, and is caught
in a very strange and poorly organized attack on them, which the
Corellian defense force "destroys". It is obviously faked, but
can figure out why.
Han and Leia play sightseers for a
while. Han goes out exploring, and discovers that the prosperous
Corellia he grew up on is gone. Having isolated itself even during the
Imperial years, and worse since the Emperor died, the system has become
very poor, so that there is very little sustaining it. Their Drall tutor
(one of two other species that share the Corellian system, the other
being Selonians), Ebrihim, invites them to see an archaeological dig,
as apparently this is a new science to Corellians. I find it difficult
to believe they have no interest in their remote past, even if they have
such good records.
The author takes on the difficult task
of writing from the children's' point of view. Jacen and Jaina are nine
years old, Anakin is seven. They are all written as if they were five at
some points. Some of the things they do are definitely child-like, and
their opinions are very much as I would expect a five-year-old to think,
but I don't think they actually reason through as much as these kids do.
Through most of the book, the twins are Anakin's caretakers, while Anakin
actually finds a hidden room in the archaeological site. Having read the
book before, I know what it is, but for this first book in the trilogy,
it is left mysterious.
Unrest grows on Corellia. Han is taken
by a group of people called the Human League, but is then released.
Somebody recognized Han as trying to pose as their hidden leader, when
apparently nobody in the Human League had seen the hidden leader. That
could have been made more clear.
they finally start the trade conference, hardly any traders actually
show up. Mara Jade does, though, and gives Leia a message cube she was
delivered on her way to some trading stop. It contains a list of star
positions, and an image of a star going nova, a type of star that cannot
ever go nova. The message claims responsibility for blowing up the star,
and says more will follow if their unspecified demands are not met.
Then the interdiction field goes up,
and a system-wide jamming field also goes up. Thrackan Sal-Solo, Han's
cousin and near-lookalike (and whom Han remarks was evil as a child) claims that he blew up
the star, orders all aliens off Corellia, and takes on the title of
Diktat, leader of the Corellian system.
In the aftermath of this, riots start
among all species and on all five inhabited planets in the Corellian
system. Han decides to use Kalenda, who arrived on Corellia first, so
she steals a ship while Han creates a diversion. She manages to get out
of the system with the starburster information just before the
interdiction field goes up, and Han is then captured.
And this is where the book ends. I
don't know if the Force was actually used in this book, except for a
couple of isolated moments. Anakin uses it instinctively, and I think
they had high hopes for him in the future (whether they actually panned
out or not is open to debate, as he only really had a brilliant Force
moment in Star By Star). Luke can sense something is wrong with the
life-witch and the interdiction field. Jacen uses it to smooth out their
footprints after they leave the secret chamber. Somehow that doesn't
matter -it allow us to focus on the other characters. There is one lightsaber fight, a training exercise between Luke and Leia (why is the
lightsaber he gives her red?).
Although it is simply written, and
contains a lot of information that I wished had been glossed over a
little more, it did manage to ramp up the tension, and was very
interesting. It made me want to read the next book in the series, as
opposed to any of the nine books in the Legacy of the Force series. I
vaguely remember some events from the next book, and will continue
straight into it -why not!