The art was too ambiguous for my tastes, with lots of angular
shapes, and dull colours. The story was intense, and pretty well
thought out, even though I thought all the characters had more power than
should ever be possible.
It turns out that after Grand Admiral Thrawn was killed, the
Imperial warlords joined together, and retook Coruscant. The planet
could have been devastated, with ships crashing all over it, including
a stolen Star Destroyer, commanded by Luke.
Luke manages to single-handedly destroy an ATAT walker with the
Force, which I thought was silly. But then he is captured by a Force
storm, and brought to the new Imperial throne world, Byss, where he is
introduced to the Emperor, who has passed from one cloned body to the next.
Luke decides to join him, and learn the secrets of the dark side from within.
Meanwhile, Leia senses that Luke is in grave danger, so she and
Han take the Falcon to Nar Shadda, where Han became a smuggler when he
was young. There, they meet old friends, and old enemies, including
Boba Fett, who has resumed a normal life after escaping from the Sarlacc
on Tatooine. They manage to escape, and Sala Zend helps her old boyfriend
get to Byss, where her ship is impounded.
Boba Fett reaches Byss first, but he does not have a docking
permit, so he crashes into the planetary shield.
The Emperor has launched a massive assault on Mon Calamari, using
his new World Devastators, which consume all manner of materials, bring
them immediately to a recycling chamber, and create robotic fighter ships.
This is the silliest concept I can see in the whole book. There is
no way a ship like that could produce the high quality and precision parts
to make a ship that would be able to fly, not to mention fight on its own.
And it can eat up a couple of Star Destroyers, several times its
size, and store all that material somewhere. No thanks.
But Luke is in charge of the Devastator fleet, and he is sabotaging
the efforts. He thinks he is sabotaging the new Emperor's plans,
but in reality, his work is not impeding those plans in the least.
The Emperor is willing to sacrifice all those lives and equipment, and
even major battles, in order to win his slave. For even though Luke
is doing good for the galaxy, he is falling deeper and deeper to the Dark
When Leia arrives, he gives her R2D2, who has all the Emperor's
battle plans and access codes, but he cannot accompany them back.
The Emperor interrogates Leia, and it looks like she is about to fall to
the dark side, because she is so angry. But she manages to escape,
even with the Emperor's holocron, a device with a semi-sentient library
inside it, which tells of ancient Jedi teachings and battles. A really,
really cool idea.
So R2D2 is able to destroy all the Word Devastators, but Luke
reappears on the Emperor's new, bigger Star Destroyer, his new flagship.
Leia manages to board it somehow, and the Emperor welcomes her. But
she feels that Luke is willing to come back to the Light Side, and her
love for him does indeed bring him back. The Emperor is so enraged,
that he creates a Force storm that destroys him and his ship.
Somewhere in there, we find out that Leia is pregnant with her
third child, and she and Han come across an old, withered Jedi named Vima
da Boda, who gives Leia her old lightsaber, and gives her some sort of
cryptic predictions. We also discover how the Emperor survived the
Battle of Endor. He had dozens of clones on Byss, and his Dark Side
spirit was able to move from his old body at Endor, to one of those clones.
Apparently, he had done this many times before Endor, also. Luke
destroys all the clones, but misses one, into which the Emperor takes refuge,
taking control of Luke again, before they board the new Super Star Destroyer.
I think the Emperor has way too much power here. He never
showed so much in Jedi, and there is no reason to think that he should
be hiding it there. His ability to transfer from body to body, and
even to the one in Leia's womb, is a neat idea, but to travel thousands
of light years to move to a clone is pushing it.
Leia seems to have much more power here than she does in any
of the other books or comics. I think Leia was the one who suffered
the most from the art and style of the book, too. Although I couldn't
recognize Han lots of times, either.
And as we know from the second book, Luke missed a clone...
But this was a riveting book when there were not too many Star
Wars books out, and it was really interesting to see how one could try
and fail to infiltrate the Dark Side of the Force. I think the Force
is hard to build a story upon, so it should be left to the sidelines, implied,
not shown. Otherwise, it can get out of hand.