||It is a telling sign when I have trouble remembering
what the story was about only a short time after having finished the
book. Very little of it actually interested me, as too much centered
again on the Killiks.
The fight on a single planet of the Killiks takes most
of the book. Jaina leads millions of bugs against the Chiss, which are
trying to deploy a secret weapon. Later, Leia finds out that the weapon
is a bug parasite, which would wipe out the Killiks within a year. As
with Alpha-red, the biological weapon the Chiss wanted to use against
the Yuuzhan Vong, the Jedi cannot condone specicide, so Leia, Jaina and
Zek spend a lot of energy trying to destroy the things. I thought the
Chiss were smart enough to learn from their mistakes. The prologue shows
a bomb that has been misfired. To prevent this, they should have armed
them immediately when they were under attack, to allow them to detonate
on impact. I also don't see how two proton torpedoes could incinerate an
entire ship and its four huge bombs, leaving no trace of the parasites
On the Republic front, again because of Han and Leia,
the Jedi thwart a plot of the Killiks to take over the worlds of the
insect species of the Galactic Alliance. The Killiks take over the
planet that grows bacta, but it is unclear whether that is actually
important, except that it creates another bacta shortage.
After struggling with what to do with the Jedi Order,
Luke finally takes over as its leader, though he is very reluctant to do
so, and gives the Masters every opportunity to unite against this. He
develops a plan to destroy the Colony, while keeping the Killiks alive
as individual hives.
The battle between Luke and Raynar Thul, then Lomi Plo,
was by far the best part of this book. Luke has eliminated all methods
that Lomi Plo could use against him, as she used his doubts in
Unseen Queen, and his fear of losing Mara earlier in the book. His
battle with Raynar was very enjoyable, and felt perfectly scripted.
Then, when Raynar is defeated, Lomi Plo shows up, and he meets her head
to head, and then, because he uses the strength of the Light Side,
without doubt, he easily defeats her.
Leia gets to do battle with Alema Rar. The two Jedi
are just about even in power and strength, but Alema's anger makes her
impatient, which allows Leia to defeat her. It is not clear whether or
not the Dark Jedi lived, as she was eaten by a jungle monster. If Jacen
can survive a lightsaber passing through him (Qui-Gon, of course, died
of a similar wound in The Phantom Menace), then Alema might also live.
This author really likes to put the characters in the
messiest situations possible. I wonder how he thinks of these things.
The space battle, paired with the ground battle, and Luke's fight, all
together, were some of the messiest stuff I've seen, but quite enjoyable
as a whole, though he goes perhaps into too much detail.
There is also the matter of the material stolen from
Revenge of the Sith. Luke is really afraid of how his father might have
killed Padmé, but Jacen shows him that he must watch all of R2D2's
hidden files. I said in my review of The Unseen Queen that Jacen was
well on the road to the Dark Side. Here, Luke and Mara can't even tell
that he is lying to them. Also, he didn't see the Dark menace in
Anakin's words to Padmé that he would find a way to save her from death,
at any cost. He only saw a man trying to save the woman he loved and
their baby. Very telling..., and I worry about him.
In all, this book was rather disappointing, in that it
didn't deal much with the Galactic Alliance at all. I suppose it is
understandable, because the crisis had to be resolved, but I got way
more than enough ground battles in the Clone Wars novels, and didn't
need more here. It was nice to see Admiral Pellaeon again, but Jag Fel
was useless. Saba was mostly in the background, but was amazing in every
page she appeared. What we finally get out of this series, though, is
Luke reforming the Jedi Council, separating the Jedi from the
government, but committing the Jedi to the Galactic Alliance. And Leia
gets to build a new lightsaber.