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A novel by Aaron Allston (2011, Del Rey)
Book 7 in Fate of the Jedi
42 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Luke follows Abeloth to the world where he lost Callista, as the Jedi strike a blow against Daala, and the slave rebellion gains momentum.



Read August 3rd to 11th, 2012, in Hardcover  
    This was a book that moved the overall story forward, yet the event that should have had the most impact in shaking up the current Star Wars universe was surprisingly quiet and simple. I can only hope that the two final books in this series deal with some of the repercussions. The two other plots carried by this book were done well, but Luke's still lacks focus, aside from visiting more Force-sensitive populations, and I guess we won't get any closure until the final book.

Spoiler review:

Luke's original theme in this series was to figure out how Jacen turned to the Dark Side. That was abandoned when he found Abeloth in Abyss, which was fine by me, because the readers already knew why he turned -to save his daughter. Abeloth, however, has turned into a disappointment, and this story is no different. Luke, Ben and Vestara follow her to Nam Chorios, which is where he first encountered the drochs, and finally lost Callista, in Planet of Twilight. But what happens here? They learn a new Force technique, where memories can be removed (for therapeutic reasons), they help a family from a Force Storm, they go out to investigate a red herring, during which time their ship is shot down. So they have to rig the ship (an old TIE bomber) with a sail and other temporary measures, which slows them down. In the meantime, the Sith arrive, and they all find Abeloth together. Luke chats with Callista and uses the new technique to extract Callista from Abeloth once and for all, while Vestara uses a sentient crystal to channel a Force attack by the Sith, which damages all Force-users in range.

Did we learn anything new about any of the characters? Not really. Did Luke or Ben grow? No, though Vestara, at least, had some moments trying to justify why she likes Luke and Ben's light-side relationship better than her own with her father. Will she turn to the Light side in the end? Her relationship with Ben doesn't develop much, if at all, either.

Abeloth is very much weakened by the end of this story, so maybe this is a turning point for the Dark Side character. It obviously drives her to the Sith by the end. Maybe that will be their undoing.

The other wasted storyline belongs to Valin and Jysella Horn, who are revived from carbon freeze, fool the Jedi into thinking they are okay, and then traipse off to Nam Chorios at Abeloth's call. Valin fights Ben and loses, and by the end, the two are declared finally cured. Why bother, is my thought.

The storyline that changes the Galactic Alliance is the overthrow of Daala from the seat of power by the Jedi. The setup was very detailed, and I really liked the interactions of the characters involved, especially Han and Leia. Under Allston's guidance, Leia is picking up a bit of Han's humor, which is fun. And the humor, as always by this author, is very sarcastic and can be hilarious sometimes.

Kyp and other Jedi have been smuggled into the Senate building, where they have been tapping into communications, getting codes for weapons stores, and so on, in preparation for the big move. They are helped along by the Imperial plotters, who discredited the local police in their plan to get the Navy police inside and kill Daala. As the Imperials make their move, so do the Jedi, and the Senate chamber is sealed up, thinking it is under Yuuzhan Vong attack! While I think this is hilarious, I wonder when the protocol was enacted. Did we see this in Star By Star? After that, didn't the Vong pretty much destroy a lot of the seats of power, such that they would need to be reconstructed, or at least reprogrammed, such that this protocol wouldn't even be thought of?

So the Chief of State is now made up of a triumvirate, Saba, the head of the navy, and the Kuati senator Treen (the latter two were in the plot to kill Daala). I realize Saba thinks this is temporary, and she is uncomfortable in the role, which is good, but does nobody point out that it is a bad idea (or impractical at the very least) that one person be leading the Jedi Order and the Senate? Doesn't Saba have enough to do leading the Jedi? I suppose that doesn't mean much after Luke's plea bargain was overturned, and he is now Grand Master again.

The most interesting thing about this plot is the way Saba thinks running the galaxy is too easy, now that the Senate has stopped its committees in protest. The triumvirate thinks on a solution to a problem and makes a decision, which is carried out. Sounds more like an Empire, and it works better than the democracy.

Daala, meanwhile, is sentenced to the same prison as Tahiri, who has finally been convicted (and sentenced to death). But Daala has powerful friends, and she calls on Boba Fett, who blasts her out of prison. How she plans to take back power now is beyond me, but I shudder to think of how these authors will make the attempt, given the lack of logic put behind many of the decisions in this series and the previous one. Tahiri sees the escape and takes advantage of the turmoil to follow Daala out, and takes refuge in an abandoned apartment. This is finally a development I've been looking forward to.

The decision point for everybody to decide and take over the government came when Daala sent the Mandalorians to Klatooine to wipe out a conference of anti-slavery advocates, one of whom blew up an Alliance warship in Coruscant orbit. Han and Leia are sent to make peace there, after all the action on Coruscant quiets down. It almost feels like a different book, because the theme has changed, and the rest of the characters are only seen a little. I was jolted a little from the story to hear that Klatooine was not part of the Alliance -why, then, would Daala be sending Mandalorians to bomb them? Shouldn't the Hutts be very upset about that?

The Klatooinians insist that Tenel Ka come to make peace with them, as she is a Jedi and a politician. From then on, we almost only get this story from Allana's perspective, so the negotiations are not really important for the story -and that is unfortunate, because it could have been an interesting debate. As it is, we only get to see it from the sidelines. But Allana's point of view works, as she struggles watching her mother stride by her without showing emotion, and in her attempts to discover who was going to try and kill her mother.

For coincidentally (and I say that sarcastically), one of the Lost Tribe of the Sith has been tasked with killing Tenel Ka. He almost immediately recognizes that Allana is probably Tenel Ka's daughter, which is a nice change. Allana has been seeing a man of fire attacking her mother, and doesn't trust the adults to take her seriously, so she searches for the dark man herself. She even gives her security detail the slip to escape the tent-city's limits. The security is competent, for once, and immediately communicate their failure to Leia, who follows her adopted daughter to the Sith encampment. When Allana steals the remote control that would detonate C3PO, and the Dark Man goes to chase her, he comes up against Leia, who defeats him easily.

Even though much of the story had problems, it was still written very well, and was enjoyable. I just wish the authors would have their characters do logical things, or allow the various plots to come together to real conclusions, once in a while. I can't say this series has been great, but I think so far it's better than Legacy of the Force.


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