novel by William C. Dietz and Dave Dorman (1999, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 3 of Dark Forces
5 years after Star Wars: A New Hope
Kyle and Jan fight to release the Valley of the Jedi from the Dark
Force users who have captured it.
Read May 6th to 7th, 2001
A bunch of barely-connected threads, most of which do not even deal with the main character of this trilogy, cover this desperate book, whose only really saving grace is the fantastic artwork.
Dave Dorman is one of the best Star Wars artists. He has drawn dozens of book covers, so many posters, and now puts his art to an illustrated novel. And I absolutely loved his artwork here. The landscapes were so vividly drawn, and the people so real, that I wanted to rip the drawings out of the book and hang them up.
Unfortunately, the rest of the book does not even strive to match the artwork laid through its pages. The first half of the book is essentially giving us background on what happened in the
last book or two, with some not-so-interesting scenes as a scenic backdrop.
Jerec, the Dark Jedi, whom I have so much trouble believing in, let alone thinking of as dangerous, destroys the settlement of Fort Nowhere, the place that Kyle's father resettled the people of his home planet when the Imperials took over. The explanation given is so that no witnesses can see what they are about to do: ravage the Valley of the Jedi. Some settlers escape, however, and wait in anticipation until Kyle and Jan arrive.
Before that can happen, however, Kyle has to have the official go-ahead to save the Valley. There is a decent battle written where everybody gets in some surprised-looking faces, including Mon Mothma, Leia, Han, and Luke.
We get detailed backgrounds to any characters we meet, including their names, even as they die in the next paragraph. Luke, Kyle and Jan dogfight with a battle-damaged Imperial Star Destroyer, getting between it and its escorts, so that the SD would have to fire upon its escorts in order to destroy the two attacking vessels. Sorry, but I don't believe that. Space is big, which is how Luke got through the escorts to begin with. And a single missile-lock would have done the
trick of removing the Star Destroyer's attackers. Not that I would like to see the end of Luke, but Kyle... maybe, after this.
The young Dark Jedi whom Kyle spared in the last book gets a chance to return to the light side of the Force here. He is sent to the Valley, because the spirits of the trapped Jedi are screaming around, terrorizing the people who are trying to loot the place. He succeeds in calming down the spirits with the light side of the Force. He gets advice from the spirit that tutored Kyle in the last book, and when one Dark Jedi is about to kill Kyle, he intervenes, giving up his life for the man who spared him one time.
Kyle and Jan end up in the Valley, of course, and one of the villagers sacrifices himself to get them there. Kyle has to face several Dark Jedi in sequence, each one getting better and better. Each time, of course, he wins, but he receives more and more battle damage.
But by the next battle, he's feeling fine again!
He gets a vision which places him in the Jedi battle so long ago, and ends up stumbling upon Jerec just as the Dark Jedi is about to harness the Jedi spirits. Unbalanced, Jerec is killed, and the spirits go free.
Not that I cared, and that's also unfortunate. The writing was so stilted, with such short sentences that it made me feel like I was reading to a one-year-old. I couldn't wait to finish with it.
The other big problem with this book was continuity. It obviously takes place after the death of the Emperor, as Jerec and the New Republic (so named) repeatedly speak about what is left of the Empire, as if it was dying. Mon Mothma and Leia are aboard a roaming capital ship, not yet settled upon Coruscant. Yet Kyle is introduced to Leia Organa
Solo! By the time this book was written, The Courtship of Princess Leia had been published a long time ago. There were a few other problems, but that is the major one.
I know the story was about Kyle (even though he was absent from a good deal of it), but sending Luke away without going on this mission seemed really contrived. If he was not going to participate in the Jedi battle, then it would have been better to leave him out altogether. But to then have Kyle beat so many Jedi, when he is not even trained? Ridiculous. The dead Jedi Rahn (how did he escape the Emperor's purge?) could not teach him, and Luke didn't either.
Anyway, this was just a sad end to a very sad book. The trilogy seemed to start out so well, but, as usual, when the authors try to make the Force into either a more Fantasy element, or to rationalize it with science, they fail. It takes a rare and good author to be able to do that. And this guy is not the one.
I understand the new comic series Jedi vs. Sith will be set as a prelude to
this series now, giving us the exact details of what happened here. Good