01/01/2012. Contributed by Tomas L. Martin
pub: Del Rey/Ballantine Books/Lucas Books. 345 page hardback. Price: $27.00 (US), $32.00 (CAN). ISBN: 978-0-345-50914-7).
check out websites: www.delreybooks.com and www.starwars.com andwww.christiegolden.com
We’re halfway through the ‘Fate Of The Jedi’ sequence of ‘Star Wars’ tie-in novels, set some 40 years after the events of ‘Return Of The Jedi’. Whilst the previous ‘ Legacy Of The Force’ sequence concentrated on Jacen Solo’s fall to the dark side, this series so far has been much broader, encompassing complicated galactic politics, the introduction of a race of forgotten Sith and the twisted, evil dark side being Abeloth, who can control and take over the weak-willed and feed off their energy.
Add to that mix interstellar journalism, a murder trial and slavery riots as Christie Golden does in ‘Allies’ and you have a powerful new dynamic to explore in the universe we have all known and loved since 1977. The expansion of timid Chief of Staff Wyn Dorvan, Imperial Head of State Jagged Fel, Han and Leia’s adopted daughter, Amelia, and the journalists introduced in this volume add new dynamic characters to the mythos.
Luke Skywalker is still exiled from galactic capital Coruscant and he and his son, Ben, do the unthinkable and join forces with the Sith to hunt down and defeat Abeloth, who has been corrupting many parts of the galaxy with her dark side powers. Ben is confronted by the prospect of falling in love with one of the enemy, the Sith-trained but conflicted Vestara Khai, whose father leads some of the Sith forces.
Meanwhile, race riots and slavery demonstrations are breaking out all across the galaxy, as Chief of State Natasi Daala struggles to keep her control of the Galactic Alliance. Frustrated by their defiance, Daala sends Mandalorian mercenaries to crush the rebellions and the Jedi, causing herself terrible bad press when a young talented journalist catches them in the act. When the Sith damage a holy artefact on the slave world of Klatooine, another rebellion is begun against their Hutt masters.
I’m really enjoying this set of tie-in novels. The complexity of galactic politics and the struggles of Natasi Daala to control her demons as she mismanages a Republic is really interesting and the various conspiracies swirling around Coruscant are fascinating sub-plots to the entertaining main quest of defeating the monster that is Abeloth.
Christie Golden’s first foray into the ‘Star Wars’ universe in ‘Omen’ felt a bit forced at times, with too many lines from the films dropped into the dialogue. She seems to have relaxed into it with this second book and her use of previously bit-part or non-existent characters is excellent in expanding the universe. The news journalists are a really nice touch and the competition between them is excellent, as is the depiction of rogue Jedi Tahiri Veila’s murder trial. There’s a lot of juggling balls to be kept up in the air at this point in a sequence and I felt Golden did it very well.
Tomas L. Martin
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