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.