||There was a really good story here,
unfortunately, the author couldn't quite get it out.
I have three main issues with this book.
The first is the author's writing style, which was very annoying. She
seems to use short, clipped sentences and three word paragraphs to try and
increase tension. It seems juvenile, and in order to get a sense of what
she was saying, I strung many sentences together at a time, which took
My second issue concerns the plot, and
the way the characters reacted to it. There were so many little things
that didn't make any sense. Han never changed the codes on the Falcon
-ever? I don't believe Lando is in such good shape to tread water for an
entire day, either. Would the fire created inside a Glotalphib actually
be hot enough, and sustainable enough to cause a metal floor to scorch?
Or lasers to boil a pond of water? Luke is not one to pick up irritable
habits, like Leia. He would not have to reassure himself that his
lightsaber was on his hip, especially in a physical manner.
I had more and more concerns as the
climax of the book drew nearer. Since when does one person's hatred or
fear fuel another person's Dark Side Force, not to mention pain from
across the galaxy? To top it all off, however, I dropped the rating of
this book by half a star when Wedge blew up a Star Destroyer with a
single short-range blaster shot! I know that those ships have a weak
spot, but it still takes a lot of firepower or missiles when the shields
are down before it can be exploited, as evidenced by the X-Wing video
With all the continuity-grabbing this
author did, I wonder why Han didn't remember the trick he used in the
Corporate Sector before Star's End to get out of a tractor beam
-stretching it and then suddenly changing direction. I actually enjoyed
most of the stuff mentioned from other books, except when it stopped the
plot to explain them. It treated so many of the previous books
consistently, which is to be commended.
My third complaint regards the ease
with which people accept information as true. This happens everywhere
throughout the book, from Han on Smuggler's Run to Wedge, Leia and Mon
Mothma with regards to Luke's (R2's) anonymous message. However, the accusation
about Han bombing the Senate Chamber has to be the worst case documented
in this book. The author only presented one view, and then Leia's. Why
were so many people swayed by such an obvious fake? As Leia points out,
anybody could have sent such a message. That evidence doesn't hold up to
any kind of law. We needed another voice of
reason. Instead, we got a threat to Leia's Presidency, which felt very
This is unfortunate, because I loved
Leia's reaction to the election of so many former Imperials. Leia
professes that this is not the old Imperial Senate, but proves through
her reactions that it really is. The New Republic doesn't
work by this point! Leia was being treated exactly the way she was
planning to treat the former Imperials. She was holding back progress as
much as they were, with her attitudes. No wonder the publishers decided
to shake things up with an alien invasion.
The stories in this book, which don't
converge until the very end, for the most part, were interwoven quite
well. I never had the sense that we would be left too long away from a
character, nor that the points of view switched too often or by rote.
The bombing creates nice sub-plots for
everybody from the Classic Trilogy, something that hasn't been done
often. R2D2 and C3PO get to be hilarious with their own adventure, after
R2 discovers that there are detonation devices in all the upgraded
X-Wings. There were many clichéd moments, with so much dialog taken from
the movies, but still, I rather enjoyed it, with the droids getting
imprisoned, then R2 helping Cole fix Luke's fighter (though I for
confused about the geometry -how did R2 look down into an X-Wing from
the ground?). After some private investigation of his own, R2 discovers
that the bombs were in the droids the Senators had at their sides, and
so sets off to Telti, where the droids were manufactured!
What I have the most trouble believing
in this book is the "fact" that millions of people on millions of
worlds, had these droids, enough to wipe of significant populations, all
in two years of construction. Surely they couldn't track down every Jawa
who had a droid of theirs, knowing exactly where they went, or that
nobody traded waith others from another planet.
As noted in my short review from the
first time I read this book, I found R2's journey through the droid
factory to be a little much, as well, especially when he deactivates the
signals at the last second, and it even appears that he did so after the
event was initialized!
Han got a lead about the Senate bombing
being related to Smuggler's Run, so he and Chewbacca got to have an
adventure of their own, as well. The storyline seems serious enough, but
after the droids, these two get the most humor of the story. It is
played for as many laughs as possible, with and without dialog, with
some simple shocked expressions that made it feel like a visual
Han and Chewie get to move into and out
of danger, but they get to do something useful when the discover Lando
has been taken prisoner by somebody he upset decades ago, Nandreeson.
The only reason Lando was on the Run was to warn Han about being set up,
but that message had to wait until the end of the book. I liked the
Nandreeson story, as well as the Glotalphib aliens. These are creatures
we have not seen before (or again, I think), being able to breathe fire
out of their snouts! I do think they were overwhelmed too easily,
Finally, there is the Force part of the
story. Luke goes in search of Brakiss, from a vision he had after the
Senate bombing. He is severely injured (by floating bubble-creatures!), but rescued by Brakiss' mother,
who sends him to Telti, where he confronts his former student. Luke
defeats Brakiss, but lets him go (something that will haunt him later,
in Shadow Academy). I liked seeing a backstory for this character, who
we grew to hate (in a good way) in the Young Jedi Knights series.
Luke is then sent to Almania, where
Kueller waits for him. Kueller is angry that the New Republic allowed a
massacre to take place on Almania a couple of years ago; he believes it
to be ineffective, and wants to lead it himself- with an iron fist.
Although I agree about the ineffectiveness, the New Republic was busy
with the Black Fleet Crisis at the
Luke's X-Wing explodes above Almania's moon
Pydyr, so he is even more injured. Is this the only way the author could
have an even match between Luke and Kueller? The same thing
happened in Children of the Jedi. At this point in the timeline, I would
have loved to see a fully functional Luke in action. Thankfully the New
Jedi Order shows us some of that.
I don't know why the deaths on the
worlds where the droids exploded affected
the people the way they did. The idea that all Force-sensitives could
feel massive disturbances in the Force all the time seems foolish. I am
glad the author pointed out that some of Luke's students didn't feel it.
As I said in Star By Star, I think it's absurd that a Force catastrophe
could incapacitate people, making Leia collapse to the floor, or Luke
tumble over physically. Why didn't it cause Kueller to collapse? Not
because he was ready for it, and not because he was feeding off it,
The timing was also off a little on
some of the events. Kueller says he took the wealth from a planet that
was just destroyed days ago, to spend on his rebellion. The blast that
destroyed the droids in Smuggler's Run blew up before Leia got R2's
message (from "Luke") to turn off the droids, before she warned Wedge.
That is certain, for she felt the death, then checked her mail.
It is not possible that all of the fleet's droids were stolen, either.
Once Leia resigned her Presidency, I
thought we would get to see some more interesting politics, as Mon
Mothma took control and brought the Council to bear. Unfortunately, this
didn't happen. Instead, we follow Leia as she goes to try and rescue
Luke. She takes Wedge along for good measure, where he gets to blow up
droid-controlled Star Destroyers. I did like his tactics against the
droids, though; pretend friends are enemies, and they protected him. I
also loved the moment when Leia and Wedge are interrogating Cole! Never
get on the wrong side of those two!
The Thernbee that allows Luke to escape
seemed a little contrived. I feel that most large creatures now are all
sedate and misunderstood things. The rancor in
Jabba's Palace took runs
in the desert, the Wampa organized a band of protection on Hoth in
Darksaber, and now this giant has enough intelligence to guide Luke
In the anticlimactic ending, Han and
Mara Jade bring a ysalamiri to stop Kueller, who battles Luke and Leia.
I did like the way the Thernbee kept the ysalamiri alive in its stomach
long enough to disrupt Kueller and Luke, so that even though Han felt
helpless, he actually saved Luke's life!
Mara was barely in this book, and for
all of that time, she was completely out of character. Personally, I
think she was worried about Luke, a prelude to their relationship to
come. However, I kept wondering why Han or Mara didn't shoot Kueller.
Han might not have known his plan worked, but Mara should have.
Similarly, if Kueller was close enough to be about to kill Luke, the
Jedi Master should have been close enough to slice through his opponent
as well, especially when the remote was being activated.
Thankfully, Leia figured it out, but
too late. It's a good thing R2 was about to turn off the signal from
Telti at that moment. I really wonder what the fuss was about with Leia
shooting Kueller. They seemed concerned that she would turn down the
Dark path because of it, but that was the only way to save billions of
lives -worth the risk, if it was a risk (which I disagree).
There was really no resolution to this
book, either, other than Kueller being killed. We get about a sentence each
concerning R2, Cole, and the political situation. After all the time
spent setting the situations up, we should have at least heard an
apology to Han, and for Leia to face her attitude towards and from the
Imperials. This is sorely missing from the book.
I am surprised that nobody in the New
Jedi Order has mentioned the droid incidents in regards to the Yuuzhan
Vong, especially since droids are being removed from many societies in
anticipation of a Vong victory. Certainly some planets removed all
droids after this incident...
Finally, the entire beginning of the
book, regarding the Senate, had me amazed at how the imagination of
George Lucas eclipses so many of these authors. There was no way to link
this Senate chamber to the one that we saw in
Episode I. This, of course,
can be forgiven, since no details of that movie were available. However,
it was frustrating to see the author's description of Coruscant, since
that planet has been well-described in the past. The bar that Han visits
cannot be underground and still allow the Senate chamber to be visible.
I doubt anything is underground on Coruscant. There is definitely no space for a lawn around Coruscant, even for the Senate.
It sounded more like a description of Washington, D.C.
After all that, I did enjoy the story,
though it could have used a lot of work. The author's writing style did
nothing for me, with clipped sentences that made the chapters tedious,
and other sentences that read like "Han went to check on Lando, to see
if Lando was okay." repeating names so often, probably trying to avoid
confusion, but sewing it, instead.
There were a lot of strange plot notes,
and the ending lacked a resolution, however the individual stories were
interesting in their own right. Leia's political situation was very
absorbing until it fizzled out. Luke's search was mysterious until we
learned that Kueller was one of his students. Lando and Han got to have
their fun on the Run, and even R2 and C3PO got to travel the galaxy.
That is unusual in most books, and was greatly appreciated. They were
very well intertwined, but could have been so much more if they had been
As contrast to what I wrote below, this
is definitely not one of the best Star Wars books.