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A novel by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta (1996, Boulevard Books)
Book 6 of Young Jedi Knights: Rise of the Shadow Academy
23 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

The Shadow Academy attacks Luke's Jedi Academy.



2 stars

Read April 22nd to 23rd, 1997  
    This was pretty good, for a novel of only 100 pages.  The entire novel was one complete battle, and would have been good as a climax to any book of several hundred pages.  Many of the instances were well done, though many again felt pretty forced.  All in all though, it was a good end to a very unsteady series. 

The Emperor's Royal Guards posing as Emperor was very well done.  Everybody thinks they know better than Palpatine did.  But nobody can get it right, because people don't want to be ruled by terror, even if it is partly honourable.

The book picks up exactly where Darkest Knight ended.  We started the series on Yavin 4, then moved to Tenel Ka's home on Dathomir, to Jacen and Jaina's home planet of Coruscant, on to Tenel Ka's other home on Hapes, then to Kashyyk, for Lowie.  Now we conclude back where we started. 

Essentially there were four battles.  On the ground, the Jedi fought bravely and basically hand to hand, using the forest as their ally.  Tenel Ka fought Tamith Kai on some sort of troop platform, but flung her lightsaber at a low-flying TIE bomber, which then crashed into the platform -lucky for her.  She suffered some scrapes and bruises, but the Imperial troops were not so lucky. 

Jacen and Peckum went into orbit to try and get above the Shadow Acedemy's jamming, to send a distress signal.  They never made it, because they were shot down.  They had been saved from total destruction, though, by the stormtrooper who had lived on Yavin 4 until the first book in this series.  He, in turn, is shot down again.  He manages to land his ship on the opposite side of the moon, to live the rest of his life there!

Jaina steals a TIE fighter, and shoots down many other TIEs before they turn on her.  She is saved by the New Republic reinforcements, but they are immediately attacked by a newly arrived Imperial fleet.  For some inexplicable reason, the New Republic fighters can't fire on the Star Destroyers because the Imperials are using New Republic computer cores stolen in the last book.  Complete nonsense -other ships have fired upon friendlies before -as is their solution: that Ackbar can reprogram all the computers to shut down.  Again, impossible.  Nobody can have that much power.  Plus, they would need access to the computers, something the Imperials would not let them do. 

Lowie does some fighting in his little skyhopper, and gets shot down, but doesn't suffer much damage.  He manages to rescue Tenel Ka, as well.

Brakiss confronts Luke, but leaves when he is beaten in a lightsaber duel.  He activates his jet packs, and heads back to the Shadow Academy.  I don't know what purpose this served.  Did Brakiss actually think he could defeat the Jedi Master?  There is a reference to The New Rebellion there, though, that I missed the first time around. 

Brakiss confronts the Emperor, to discover that it is a group of Royal Guards who are playing this out.  One manages to escape, setting the Shadow Academy to self destruct.  Brakiss goes up in flames. 

Finally Zek discovers that he has no stomach for the brutal killing he was supposed to be doing.  He doesn't do much fighting, and blocks off the front of the Great Temple, because he knows that it is going to explode.  Jaina tries to get him back to the light side, but I don't know how much she succeeds.  She realizes that he saved them all, however, by not letting them into the temple. 

Again, I don't know what purpose this served, except maybe to redeem Zek.  I'm sure there will be a reset button after this, though, and the temple will be rebuilt just like new.


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