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A novel by Karen Traviss (2006, Del Rey)
Book 2 in The Legacy of the Force
37 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Jacen takes on the role of anti-terrorist agent, while a dying Boba Fett searches for his daughter, who is hunting Han Solo.



Read December 17th to 26th, 2007  
    I'm still trying to figure out what this book is about. It managed to nudge Jacen closer to the Dark Side of the Force, making everybody more uneasy about him, including Ben Skywalker. It finally got rid of Thrackan Sal-Solo, which makes me wonder if Jacen's senses about killing him in Betrayal were really that clear. It also gave us a little more information about what happened to Boba Fett since we last saw him (briefly) in The Unifying Force. But what was the purpose of the novel?

I sense a trend here, with nine tassels from the item in Betrayal. Two of them have been fulfilled by the end of this book, and the third is foreshadowed for Tempest (I hope this doesn't occur). Jacen is now consciously turning himself into a Sith, and is determined to avoid the mistakes his grandfather made. This means he is now "time-walking", like he did in the Dark Nest trilogy, but it is much more obvious in this novel, as he visits the Jedi Temple and witnesses Anakin Skywalker's slaughter of younglings, and the denial of his Master title. He seeks advice from Lumiya, but she doesn't really say anything worth mentioning.

The critical events in this novel where the war with Corellia is concerned is a set of terrorist attacks in the Galactic City on Coruscant. Jacen's relationship with the World Brain of the Yuuzhan Vong sets up an interesting twist in the return of the government to Coruscant. Jacen bonded with the World Brain, and apparently still communicates with it, so it can tell him of things that are happening on the world. Mara is offered the role of leading the new secret police, but turns it down. Jacen takes up the role instead. Unfortunately for the Skywalkers, he drags Ben along with him.

Ben loves it, because he is finally being given some responsibility, and being treated like an adult. Between him and Jacen, they route out several Corellian terrorist cells in the unique Jedi way. Their team of assault soldiers like their ability to sense threats and deal with them without even seeing the people inside the buildings. But Jacen seems to be enjoying his job too much, and even the officers see the parallels between him and Darth Vader, or between his teams and the stormtroopers. Several times, people comment that they simply have to change the color of the uniforms from black to white and the Galactic Alliance appears to have changed into the Empire.

Ben starts to feel uneasy when Jacen kills a female bounty hunter by probing into her mind for information. I don't see how he could fail to note that she was Boba Fett's daughter, especially since that must have been foremost on her mind, before she died. Ben, for his part, tries to figure out where the prejudice is coming from. Why would Corellians feel so prideful of their homeworld if they live on Coruscant; some of them were even born on Coruscant and had never been to Corellia. He tries to befriend a young Corellian, but ends up raiding the boy's work after the guy nearly shoots a security officer in a riot. He feels uneasy about the whole thing, but there is such a rift between him and Luke (and to a lesser extent Mara) that he can't talk to his parents about it, at least until the very end of the book. At that point, Ben has killed for the first time. This is something that was missing from the Jedi Apprentice novels. I like that Ben feels terrible about killing, especially since the second person was likely unarmed, and that he breaks down in front of his parents regarding it. I hope this continues.

For Luke's part, he recognizes that Lumiya has returned, and that Jacen is turning to the Dark Side of the Force, but doesn't connect the two. When Luke last met Lumiya, he wasn't trained in the Force -how does he recognize her aura now? Despite this, the Jedi Council considers giving Jacen the status of Master. I don't understand why Luke doesn't mention it, especially since the Council doesn't like the public display of two Jedi busting down doors to arrest citizens. I also don't understand why Luke doesn't confront Jacen. At the very least, he could convince Mara, and the two of them, with Jaina, could confront him. I don't know what good it would do, since Jacen is committed to the path of the Sith, but it is frustrating not to have some sort of communication between them.

At one point, Jacen asks Luke how what he is doing -without killing anybody- is different from getting in a starfighter and killing people. Luke doesn't answer. Does this mean the author has no answer, or can't see a difference? They are talking about Ben here, and the true answer is that Ben doesn't understand what he is doing, not fully, anyway. He is taking away the freedom of people who may not be the best citizens and may in fact be criminals, but not necessarily the ones who are causing the terrorism. The typical comment that people who are not guilty have nothing to hide is very false, as everybody has things they would hide. It doesn't make them criminals to have something they would not want made public. In a fight using a Jedi starfighter, typically the enemy is a soldier in another starfighter who has taken up arms against a cause the Jedi have decided is unjust -rightly or wrongly. This is an incomplete answer, and it doesn't address the issue of terrorism, which is described perfectly by the author as being so effective because of the perception of civil liberties. But to deport or arrest every Corellian on Coruscant must be seen as unacceptable by anyone.

Finally, Jacen's "revelation" that he must eliminate all of his attachments, like Tenel Ka and their daughter Allanah, begs the question about why he wants to create this government of Order by becoming a Sith Lord. Why should he care if the galaxy is full of war or peace? He says that he has never known peace in his life, but that's untrue. Unless he has a personal stake in the galactic civilization, why should he care? Order for the sake of order is not a reason to do anything. If he ends up killing the two people he truly cares about, the two people he wants to make the galaxy a safer place for, then what is his reason for creating Order, anymore? Suddenly it becomes about power, or about selfishness, in that he wants to impose his view of order on everyone. Suddenly I don't like where this series is going, anymore.

The other plotline deals with Boba Fett, who is dying. But there is hope in the work of some Kaminoan scientists who have disappeared over the years. He tracks down Taun We (from Attack of the Clones) and gathers her data. He also hears about a clone who claims to be from the time of the Clone Wars, which is impossible unless research on reversing the aging process has been completed, a study of a long-dead Kaminoan scientist. This clone is obviously one of those showcased in Triple Zero, especially since Skirata is named personally.

Fett is searching for his daughter, and finds the route to her through a woman named Mirta Gev, who was obviously his grand-daughter from the moment she showed up, though Fett didn't realize it until she told him at the end of the book. He uses the fact that Thrackan Sal-Solo has hired her to kill Han Solo to try and find his daughter. Unfortunately, she was killed by Jacen, so tailing Han didn't do him much good in that respect. Sal-Solo tries to hire Boba Fett to defend Centerpoint Station against the Galactic Alliance, but Fett declines. Instead, when he finds out Jacen has his daughter locked up, he is hired to kill Sal-Solo. Fett, Solo and Gev go into Sal-Solo's office and kill him. I really wonder, now, what was the point of Jacen's claim that if he didn't kill Sal-Solo when he had him on Centerpoint Station that war would certainly follow. Of course, it was Sal-Solo who initiated the sabotage of the conference in Betrayal, but Lumiya would have found a way to do that anyway. Sal-Solo was a puppet, nothing more.

Jacen delivers Fett's daughter to Corellian space, and ends up alienating both his parents. Fortunately for him, he is ready for that, and ready to bear the burden of alienating everybody in order to become a Sith Lord. It's about time he balanced the true cost of what he is doing against WHY he is really doing it. Hopefully Luke can do that for him before the series is over.

I sigh when I come across the inconsistency of characters between the first two novels in this series. I really liked the first hundred pages or more of this book. Actually, the whole book was well written, but it became apparent soon after that it didn't really have a purpose. For that reason, the Fett story was more interesting to me. But how likely are we to see Fett again before the next book this author writes for the series, Sacrifice? Presumably he will track down this clone, if he appears. I think we'll see Wedge and Syal in the next Allston book, Exile, but not before. And in Denning's novels, we're likely to see impossible odds that the characters must battle through to be victorious. But we can't see all of these in all the novels, because each author has their own personal preferences that seem to be exclusive to them. Somehow, the New Jedi Order didn't have that, except in minor cases. I really hope this series can deliver on Jacen's turn to the Dark Side, and make it believable.

The real reason for the rating on this book is simply that it had no actual plot -nothing that started, had a middle and something of a conclusion. Betrayal did have this, as things were resolved, on a small scale. Here, Fett gets a small conclusion, but the big story does not. I don't see the point, no matter how well written the book was.


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