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A novel by Troy Denning (2008, Del Rey)
Book 9 in The Legacy of the Force
37 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Jaina confronts her brother in the hope of ending his Sith reign, using the help of the Mandalorians and Luke's extraordinary Force powers.



Read April 15th to 22nd, 2009  
    Good, but not great, and it certainly didn't live up to expectations as the final book in a nine book series. Was this a paperback novel (I have a hardcover version), because it certainly felt like it. Jaina's fight with Jacen at the beginning of the book was well done, but his defeat at the end was lackluster. Typical of this series, too, is that the ending for all is bittersweet.

The book has only three points of view, I think, and Jaina's is really the only important one. As the book starts, she is on a reconnaissance mission with Boba Fett at one of the Verpine colony asteroids, while the Imperials, unharnessed by the death of Pellaeon in Revelation, invade, intent on acquiring Verpine technology by force. This sets the stage for everything that follows.

I was surprised to see Jaina and Jacen's conflict occur so early in the book. Although it was obvious that she couldn't kill him until the end, at times during the fight I wondered if she would end up killing him, anyway. When Jaina asks the Jedi Council for permission to go after Jacen, because she wants to do things by the book this time, I wondered when the authors would give up on these plot devices. Even the Jedi Masters had trouble believing this was Jaina asking, and I wondered what else they would decide to do if they refused her. There goes her training with Fett! Luke's claim that he would turn to the Dark Side if he killed Jacen is probably the hardest thing for me to swallow in this novel. If the Jedi had destroyed Caedus' fighter in the last book, instead of trying to capture it, how would Luke have gone Dark? They have had innumerable chances to kill him, but the Jedi have not even tried. The one time they faced Jacen directly, they were only trying to plant a tracer on his cloak, so it was just a feint.

Having said that, Luke is obviously the most powerful person ever to have roamed the galaxy. He has mastered all of the Force techniques we know of, including Shatterpoint, and transferring his aura and spirit to Jaina, sort of like a personalized battle meditation. I think this is very dangerous. Luke has grown immensely powerful during this series, it's a wonder there are things he still can't do. I worry about the future of Star Wars books, now.

Jaina's descent to the Verpine asteroid was standard stuff, and I wonder that nobody has learned not to put Han, Leia and Luke all on the same ship, yet. Any sense of danger is muted by the fact that they can't kill the three people central to the Original Trilogy. And unless the Dark Horse Comics Legacy series is to be removed from Star Wars continuity, or Luke gets married again, they can't kill Ben, either, as there is a Skywalker in that series.

I liked Jacen's confusion at who he was fighting in the asteroid. His is the second point of view. He managed to wound Mirta Gev pretty early on, killing her husband and the other Mandalorians with her. But the Mandalorians almost ruined Jaina's mission, and perhaps they did. They killed lots of Moffs, but there were enough left over to still rule the Empire. Jaina used a sharpshooter gun to wound Jacen, but it took a lightsaber strike to sever his arm. Throughout the rest of the book, it was unclear, except in a couple of spots, if that left any scars on Jacen, his personality or his command. Luke disguised Jaina in his own aura, so that Jacen thought he was facing Luke, even when Jaina appeared directly in front of him.

Earlier in the novel, Ben met up with his old friend Shevu from intelligence, who confirms that Jacen is on the Verpine asteroid. But meeting him is a trap, and both Shevu and Ben are captured by Tahiri. I still can't stand Tahiri any more, and I really can't stand the way she is used in this series. Why did she become a Sith? I still don't know. I see no motivation at all. It looks like she was promised that Anakin could be brought back from the dead by changing the past, like Anakin was told he could prevent Padmé's death in Revenge of the Sith. I didn't believe Anakin's turn to the Dark Side because of that, and Tahiri's is much, much weaker. Shouldn't she have found someone in her life by now, anyway? I still think she should have stayed with the Yuuzhan Vong for a while longer. Tahiri tortures Shevu to death, though she is appalled by it, and Ben sparks her into a rage, after which he overpowers her and escapes. At one point, she tries to seduce him! Sex has always been a part of Denning's novels, but here it was just plain weird. I was wondering how deep into porn he would go (it did manage to stay clean, though). Even when she is told point-blank by Jacen how he manipulated her, she still tries to blow up the Jedi base of operations near the end, which doesn't make sense, from any motivational point of view.

The end of the book, in typical Denning style, is a huge battle. The Jedi have moved to a spot in the Transitory Mists near Tenel Ka's homeworld of Hapes. Jacen follows the Dathomiri blood trail to Jaina, since some of his blood splattered across her face and neck when she severed his arm. Tenel Ka shows up to help the Jedi fight against his fleet, which carries the remaining Imperial Moffs, as well.

The Jedi fight in space, Zekk is lost (but presumed not dead), and Jaina boards the Anakin Solo. Luke, as is usual in this series, does a lot of nothing. Jaina finds Mirta Gev, not yet recovered from her torture sessions, but leaves her to go find Jacen. Jacen has just killed Tenel Ka's father, Prince Isolder, and wants to incinerate the body, so she finds him in the incinerator room, where all prisoners who have died from torture go. Why does Jacen kill Isolder? Because the authors have opened another large can of worms that I hope they never use again: the Imperials have perfected an airborne toxin that can kill people with specific genes. They used it against the warrior caste of Verpines, they poisoned Fett's world of Mandalore to him and Mirta Gev, and they used it to attack Tenel Ka. Jacen killed Isolder to prevent the Imperials from obtaining any of Alanna's DNA, and thus killing her, too. But he was too late. Most of the royal family was killed in that attack, but Tenel Ka and Allana escape. Only Tenel Ka tells everybody that Allana was killed, and has Han and Leia adopt her, to keep her safe.

Not only has this series mixed up the galaxy, it has killed so many of the most interesting characters, and has thrown all responsibility out the window. Tenel Ka was raised in the atmosphere Allana was being raised in. She knows there are dangers, but she survived, and now she doesn't want to give Allana even a fighting chance at being Queen of Hapes. I don't even understand these characters, any more.

And the final fight between the twins? Both have attained incredible power, so that Jacen can hold her at bay even when conflicted about the information that a deadly virus is on the way to Tenel Ka and Allana, he has one arm, and Jaina has stabbed him through the abdomen and leg with her lightsaber. Then she does kill him, and it is very much anticlimactic.

It is also tragic, because he doesn't want to fight her, wanting to send the message instead, and Jaina stops him from doing that. In the end, Jaina feels that he wasn't evil, because of the way he sent the message through a Force-thought, instead.

The epilog of the book  should have been a hundred pages instead of six. The aftermath of the war is not believable in any sense. With Jacen dead, everybody capitulates. Jag is put in charge of the Empire, to watch as the Moffs make amends instead of paying a price with their lives. Going from an unknown, except possibly in a twenty-five year old memory, Daala is suddenly elected Chancellor of the Galactic Alliance. How did she do this? How long has it really been since the war ended? We went from a galaxy in tatters, to Jacen being killed, the war ending, and a new chief of state being elected. Shouldn't it have been somebody from the Senate, somebody who was known to the delegates? How did she campaign? And Daala has promised everybody a galaxy of peace. And everybody has agreed, being so sick of war that they will do anything to get peace. We are led to believe that Darth Caedus' legacy will be that he achieved galactic peace, after all. Blah. Will the Corellians now sit back and lend their support to the Galactic Alliance's military, as they refused to do in Betrayal? Then was it all worth it? What was this series about, then?

The answer for me is no. Although most of the writing in this series was impressive, with great character studies, the plot and its execution were not something I wanted to read about, nor do I think the characters were treated fairly. There was a lot of boring stuff here, and the darkness was overpowering. Until we are told (instead of being shown) that the galaxy is united at the very end, there is little hope in this entire series. Not only that, but the most important plot pieces are brought about by magical convenience, as contrived as any plot could be, using technology or powers that I hope we never see again in the Star Wars Universe.

I think this series failed, and hope that the Fate of the Jedi gives us something better. Given that the same authors are involved, I am not hopeful. At least this book was entertaining, if not great, it still had some really good moments.


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