Onslaught: Dark Tide I by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: New Jedi Order: Book 2)

Set: 25 ABY

It is a perilous time for the New Republic. Just when unity is needed most, mistrust is on the rise. Even the Jedi feel the strain, as rogue elements rebel against Luke Skywalker's leadership. When alien invaders known as the Yuuzhan Vong strike without warning, the New Republic is thrown on the defensive.

Luke must wield all the awesome powers of a Jedi Master to defeat the gravest threat since Emperor Palpatine. As Leia Organa Solo and Gavin Darklighter lead desperate refugees in a fighting retreat from Yuuzhan Vong forces, Mara Jade Skywalker, Jedi apprentices Jacen and Anakin Solo, and Jedi Knight Corran Horn find themselves tested as never before by a faceless, implacable foe determined to smother the light of the New Republic forever beneath a shroud of darkest evil.

The second novel in the New Jedi Order series continues on where Vector Prime left off. Onslaught is the first in a duology written by Star Wars veteran Michael A. Stackpole.

Though the Yuuzhan Vong were thought to be destroyed at the end of Vector Prime, the New Republic soon finds itself fighting several battles in the Outer Rim, though the Senate does not believe much of the news that comes in, believing it to be a Jedi plot to acquire more control.

Luke Skywalker has sent his Jedi out on reconnaissance missions throughout the Outer Rim, and taken the most dangerous mission for himself, and his nephew Jacen Solo. Corran Horn and Ganner Rhysode take what is probably the second most dangerous mission, and both missions quickly require the Jedi to be on their guard if they’re going to survive.

Meanwhile Anakin Solo accompanies his aunt, Mara Jade Skywalker to Dantooine so that the Jedi Master can recuperate and rest as she fights the deadly virus the Yuuzhan Vong have infected her with. Naturally, the rest and recuperation doesn’t last long.

Lando Calrissian’s planet of Dubrillion is attacked and eventually conquered, forcing the people to evacuate. They naturally find themselves fleeing to Dantooine, where the Yuuzhan Vong quickly follow.

The resulting attack is both vicious and extremely well written. The combination of Anakin’s prowess compared to his brothers, the actions of New Republic senator Elegos A’Kla, the induction of Jaina Solo into Rogue Squadron now led by Colonel Gavin Darklighter, and the actions of Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa Solo make for a thrilling and compelling climax to the story.

Corran and Ganner’s mission makes up the ‘other’ half of the storyline, as they go about creating a situation that will need to be resolved in the following book. Additionally the relationship between the two Jedi Knights, both of which stand on opposite sides to the other in their views of what the Jedi should be doing, makes for a fascinating read, and really highlights Stackpole’s ability to write interpersonal relationships.

My personal favourite aspects to this book follow on from Michael A Stackpole’s previous work in the Star Wars expanded universe, the X-Wing books. Now with Gavin at command, Rogue Squadron is still an awesome read, no matter who is in charge. And whether we’re looking at the story from Gavin’s perspective and his job as commander of the squadron, his memories and his stories about Wedge and Tycho, or whether we’re reading in from Jain’s perspective as the newest member of the squadron and definitely the youngest, the scenes focusing in and around Rogue Squadron are always my favourite.

So I’d definitely pick up this book. It doesn’t live on the need to have read Vector Prime, though it would definitely help. It’s a great book in and of itself, and definitely worth a read if you like your Star Wars.

8/10 Definitely worth a read if you like your Star Wars.

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