01/01/2011. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books/Lucas Books. 250 page hardback. Price: $27.00 (US), $32.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-50912-3. pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books/Lucas Books. 291 page paperback. Price: $ 7.99 (US), $ 9.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-50913-0.
check out websites: www.delreybooks.com, www.starwars.com and www.christiegolden.com
After the long, grim and casualty-filled war against the Force-immune Vuuzhan Vong sapped enthusiasm for the series, the recent tie-in novels in the ‘Star Wars’ series took a different turn with the ‘Legacy Of The Force’ sequence, returning to the more familiar territory of a Jedi falling to the dark side of the Force. The nine book series in which Han and Leia’s son, Jacen Solo, became Darth Caedus and his eventual demise breathed new life into the expanded ‘Star Wars’ universe and opened many interesting sub-plots ripe for exploration.
As we come to ‘Omen’, the second book of the ‘Fate Of The Jedi’ sequence, the galaxy and its heroes are still picking up the pieces of Jacen’s fall from grace and his brief but violent reign of terror. Echoes of his Force presence remain and huge questions surround how exactly he came to be seduced so utterly by the dark side. In ‘Outcast’, book one by Aaron Allstone, young Jedi began to go mad, believing everyone around them to be imposters.
Fresh from the pain of what a mad Jedi can do, new Chief of State Natasi Daala takes this new development as an excuse to pursue a campaign to reduce the power of the Jedi, including banishing Grand Master Luke Skywalker from the capital world of Coruscant. Setting out with his son, Ben, Luke travels to the places Jacen went before his fall to the dark side, trying to work out what went wrong.
‘Omen’ is Christie Golden’s first foray into the world of ‘Star Wars’ tie-ins, having had a very successful career writing numerous novels set in the ‘Warcraft’ and ‘Star Trek: Voyager’ settings. This is a short book even for a tie-in at just 250 pages, but it serves a useful purpose in finally drawing a line under the frantic events of the ‘Legacy Of The Force’ series and beginning to set up a new conflict for the Jedi to face.
As Luke and Ben explore the world of the mysterious alien Aing-Tii to find more clues to Jacen’s behaviour, more young Jedi are going mad on Coruscant, increasing the friction between the Jedi Council and Daala’s government. At the same time, we are given a look at a new force for evil in the galaxy – a previously unheard of enclave of Sith, stranded for years on a distant planet, until the Sith training vessel Ship appears to help them.
The appearance of the Sith adds a nice touch of foreshadowing to what will obviously be an important conflict in the novels to come. I did feel their appearance was a bit forced though and the tiny period of time in which they appropriate a fleet of ships was disappointing – another chapter fleshing this period out would greatly enhance their threat to the Jedi.
Golden writes well and picks up the characters without much problems. The characterisation of the young Jedi who go crazy is handled especially well and young Sith Vestara promises to be an intriguing opponent for Luke Skywalker and company in books to come. Overall, this book is important in setting up a lot of future plotlines but as a stand-alone isn’t the most exciting or compelling. I look forward to seeing what Golden can achieve with one of the later books in the series once the action really gets going.
Tomas L. Martin
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