This book held my interest a lot more than the rest. It was
suspenseful, had action and a touch of romance. I still have
doubts about the abilities of these kids, and how they get into and out
of trouble -they shouldn't be running around the galaxy; no other kids
appear to be doing that. But they have been "special" since they
were born, so I have to forgive that in a Star Wars book.
Virtually all of the book takes place on Ryloth, the Twi'lek
homeworld, where the Diversity Alliance is headquartered. The young
Jedi decide they need to tell Lowie the truth about that organization,
after they learn about its illegal and anti-human dealings from both Tenel
Ka's grandmother (through her spies) and Lusa, an old friend from the horrid
novel The Crystal Star. Lusa was part
of the Alliance, but she was disillusioned and contacted Luke in fear.
They manage to infiltrate Ryloth, but are almost immediately
captured. Rabba finds them, and has them sent to the spice mines,
where they are expected to die.
Lowie has also become disillusioned with the Diversity Alliance,
and it's a relief to see that despite his actions in the last book, he
never officially joined the organization. When he sees Tenel Ka's
ship in the docking bay, he confronts Rabba, and then goes into a fury.
He slices into the computer, and finds out all sorts of information that
Nola Tarkona was hiding from casual members. He rescues the young
Jedi from the mines, and helps get them to the tunnels to the surface,
while he goes back to rescue his sister.
I loved the way Lowie worked, playing by the rules to get by
the guards, and then going behind the scenes whenever he could. He
convinces his sister of the evil nature of the Alliance by breaking open
a box labeled medical supplies, and finding weapons instead. They
escape together in Tenel Ka's ship.
Meanwhile, the Jedi have been separated. Tenel Ka and Jacen
(of course) travel several kilometers to the frigid night side of the planet,
while Jaina and Raynar go the other way, to the searing day side.
The authors seem to forget how large a planet is. The young
Jedi would have to have run more than just several kilometers to get away
from the temperate zone between the day and night sides of the planet.
They would have to travel days. Same thing with the rescue.
Luke and Zek find them without any problem, even though the temperate zone
encompasses the whole planet along a few longitudes.
I would have found it better off had Lowie and Sirra rescued
both parties, because they knew where to look.
Jaina and Raynar almost die from the heat, and are almost captured
by the Diversity Alliance again, but are rescued at the last minute by
Jacen and Tenel Ka continue their realistic romance on the cold
side, where they huddle together for warmth, and take comfort in each others'
company after an avalanche. It is truly a relationship that moves
at the speed of a real relationship. They take refuge in a cave inhabited
by one of Nola Tarkona's enemies, whom they rescue when Lowie finds them.
Together, they head for Coruscant, where Leia decides it is time
to ask the Senate about this new threat.
Passion is what I like in characters in this novel. Friendship
drove the Jedi to go to Lowie on Ryloth. Lowie is trapped, but is
not without resources. And when he discovers that his friends have
been betrayed, he gives in to his Wookie anger, and does all that he can
to save them. Time now for the conclusion!