Monday, July 24, 2006

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force, Betrayal by Aaron Allston

Review by Brother OMi aka Dan Tres OMi..

The story takes place several years after the conclusion of the Yuuzhan Vong war. The Galactic Alliance (as seen in the Dark Nest series) is near the tipping point. Several planets are on the verge of seperating and the Chief of state, Cal Omas, is bearly holding things together. The New Jedi Order under Luke Skywalker, the Jedi Grand Master (see the Dark Nest series), seems to be maintaining its presence throughout the galaxy. Of course, there is much animosity towards the Galactic Alliance and the NJO because of the actions taken and percieved to have taken during the Yuuzhan Vong conflict. This is the backdrop for the Legacy of the Force storyline. The reader can see how any move by any one of even small importance can tip the scales and plunge the galaxy into chaos.

The story centers on Jacen Solo with a nice emphasis on Luke and Mara Jade's son, Ben Skywalker who is now 13 standard years old. Jacen, whose relationship with Luke is rather strained, continues to train Ben as his padawan. It is a perfect fit since Jacen does not place any restraints on Ben and coupled with his philosophy of the Force, gives Ben the benefit of the doubt and allows him to take his lead. Ben's character is wonderful. He is less worried about impressing his parents or living up to their name. He just doesn't want anyone to consider him a child. He is not portrayed as an all powerful chosen one either but his maturity in the Force shows. Allston does a wonderful job on Jacen and Ben.

What I have always liked about Allston is his focus on military matters. So yes, those of you who remember him from Enemy Lines I and II in the Yuuzhan Vong series will see much more action on that level. So the reader will find battles between capital ships, clever stunts pulled off by seasoned pilots, and even some tricks by Wedge Antilles and others. DId i mention that Wedge Antilles makes an appearance?

Allston does not leave out the political intrigue. The politics in this book are harrowing. Diplomacy is employed by both sides as the Galactic Alliance (GA) tries to maintain peace while the Correllians continue to scheme, build up their military, and entice others into joining their cause while shaking hands with the GA. This reminds me of how the Japanese continued to negotiate with the US while invading other countries before 1941. The GA knows what is going on (like the US did with Magic) but tries to settle everything at the negotiating table.

What makes the political intrigue even more crazy is the fact that there are members of the GA military who are Correllians. Their loyalties are questioned. One such individual is Syal Antilles, the daughter of Wedge. She joins the GA using a changed name and quickly becomes an ace. Wedge is back on Correllia but is kidnapped by the GA and escapes. This adds more to the game.

New Jedi Knights are introduced and several more are brought back. it is good to see Corran Horn again. Some Republic era jedi are mentioned as well. THe end is a suprising twist as a Jedi is murdered by another murder. We also see someone turn to the dark side (and it isn't a minor jedi either).

My beefs?

Okay, the Millenium Falcon doesn't make another near death escape from a Star Destroyer (well actually it does but from several fighters). I just feel that Han Solo can't be that lucky. I also feel like dude is just too old to be running around. I could see if he is a jedi since they last longer and maintain much of their strength through the force. Please, someone retire Solo.

I enjoy Gilad Pellaeon. I really do, but he is cutting close to 80 years old. I mean, if they killed him off here, i would have dug that but come on. As much as I like Wedge, he has to be close to 90. He has fought since the Rebellion and I am sure he just wants to retire.

No Kyp Durron? I feel that Durron is a great character who was never fully developed. He was just background in the Dark Nest series where as during the Vong war, he was considered a rival to Luke. It would have been great to bring him back to the fold.

Thrackan Sal-Solo, even though he is not the main villain (obviously he is under someone's influence), is such a sucker. Even during the Centerpoint Crisis, he was not a formidable opponent. In the GA, he is considered a sham yet in the Correllian system he is like Jesus Christ (okay, poor analogy but you catch my drift... actually not a bad analogy come to think of it). Allston doesn't explain how he came back to hold power after the Ylesia debacle where the Vong pretty much punked him.

The book is a must read, however. Allston wrote, in my humble opinion, two out of three books of the Vong series. When discussing the force, this book is second only to The Rise of Vader book.