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A novel by Paul S. Kemp (2010, Del Rey)
41 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

A Jedi investigates a moon where an Imperial facility was experimenting with the Force and a damaged 5000 year old Sith cruiser suddenly appears in orbit.



Read April 26th to May 8th, 2016, in hardcover  

I’m not overly fond of people treading with the Dark Side, in depression, searching for themselves, and as such, I never got into the two Jedi main characters, especially since very little is actually resolved. I think the story was written well enough, as I liked the carefree salvager, but the plot didn’t do much for me.

Spoiler review:

I’m not a fan of the old republic era way of dealing with the Sith, based on magic and talismans, so the plot of the cruiser’s appearance and purpose was hard for me to get into. However, despite the Lingan, which focuses Dark Side energy, the story of a Jedi Master turning to the Dark Side to destroy his evil Padawan was compelling, because he didn’t care that he had turned, he knew he was going to die, and he sacrificed his soul and body to make sure the 5000 year time traveling Sith couldn’t rise to power in the current era.

What I did enjoy about this book was the way it integrated a whole bunch of other elements from the book and comic series. One of my favorite parts was when the Devastator crashed into Omen, causing it’s hyperspace jump to be affected, and causing the events of Precipice and the Lost Tribe of the Sith (never mind the marginal stories that were put out in relation to that in Fate of the Jedi). Khedryn escaped from the Empire of the Hand, from Vision of the Future, and was an original descendant of Outbound Flight, which was visited by Luke and Mara in Survivor’s Quest.

Jaden himself was on the mission to destroy Centerpoint Station, commanded by Jacen Solo in Fury, and apparently he spaced some innocent people on Jacen’s order because they wouldn’t let him in. So now he has major doubts about himself, his role in the Force, and even which side he’s on. Sometimes Force lightning seeps from his fingers, which is of course a bad sign.

So essentially he is out on a mission to find himself. By the end of the book, he’s still looking, though at least Relin, the Jedi from the past, helps him out with that, something I guess Luke and his former master Kyle Katarn couldn’t do. He is drawn to the moon by a Force vision, and due to the complexities to getting to the Unknown regions (which by now should really be renamed), and the arrival of the Sith warship, takes quite some time. I liked the way Khedryn didn’t trust him, then found him to be tolerable, and then even managed to save Jaden in the end. The book was more a life journey for the salvager, rather than the Jedi.

So what did they eventually find on the moon? Apparently the Imperials (through the Empire of the Hand) was experimenting at cloning Jedi and Sith, but combining their DNA. Why? Jedi can become Sith who can become Jedi. Is there something in a person’s DNA that predisposes them toward the dark or the light? If so, would the Jedi use that to ensure they don’t train people who are likely to become Sith? The whole notion seems laughable to me. Of course Jaden finds one of them, and fights him. He appears to be insane, just like the other clones from Thrawn’s era. I really didn’t like the way the author kept saying that the Dark Side was stronger, both for Jaden’s fight and Relin’s.

There is a completely unnecessary feature of this book which is the Anzat Kell, searching for enlightenment through drinking the “soup” of a Jedi, specifically Jaden. In the end, just before Khedryn kills him, he discovers it, but we are never privy to what he finds. This in itself isn’t a problem; it’s the whole notion that I found could have been removed completely. Kell is working for Darth Krayt, who appears in the Fate of the Jedi series, and whom Luke battles briefly in Apocalypse, but that seems unnecessary also, as all he does is follow Jaden, almost kill Khedryn, which pretty much guarantees that Khedryn will come around to kill him in the end, which does occur.

By the end, the cloned Jedi/Sith escape the planet on Kell’s cruiser. I guess the follow-up book will deal with that?

As for Relin, he feels that he must turn to the Dark Side in order to defeat his fallen former Padawan, the Sith Saes. Relin lost a second Padawan to Saes, this one a fun-loving alien who smashed his ship into the dreadnaught’s bridge, doing significant damage, but not enough to disable the ship. I guess Super Star Destroyers such as the one in Return of the Jedi are made of weaker stuff. Relin runs around the ship, and eventually damages the hyperdrive, but not completely. He also loses an arm to Saes in a battle that should have seen them both killed when the hyperdrive activated.

That is the catalyst for the entire plot, though, as the ship travels so fast and so far, without entering hyperspace, that it travels to the Unknown Regions 5000 years later. By the effects of relativity, they have only seen a short time on the ship. Relin uses Marr and Khedryn to get back on board, where it’s clear that he never plans to return. Marr helps him get into the cargo bay, but is seriously wounded as a result. Then Relin uses the power of the Dark Side, along with the Lingin, to finally defeat his former Padawan. The scenes were alternately boring, as we get a taste of the Dark Side, and emotionally powerful, as Relin becomes saddened that he must turn to the Dark Side in order to destroy the ship. Mostly, though, I hated it, because of its claim that the Dark Side was stronger, and due to the external influence of the Lingan, which must be like a drug for the Sith.

Not the best Star Wars book, it ended up being typical of both Old Republic and Fate of the Jedi styles, both of which I’m not overly fond of, though I’ve found some of the stories, at least, to be interesting. Here, I had some trouble, and I wonder if a sequel can make this one look better in retrospect.


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