Ruin: Dark Tide II by Michael A Stackpole (Star Wars: New Jedi Order: Book 3)

Set: 25 ABY

The alien Yuuzhan Vong have launched an attack on the worlds of the Outer Rim. They are merciless, without regard for life—and they stand utterly outside the Force. Their ever-changing tactics stump the New Republic military. Even the Jedi, once the greatest guardians of peace in the galaxy, are rendered helpless by this impervious foe—and their solidarity has begun to unravel.

While Luke struggles to keep the Jedi together, Knights Jacen Solo and Corran Horn set off on a reconnaissance mission to the planet Garqi, an occupied world. There, at last, they uncover a secret that might be used to undermine the enemy—if only they can stay alive long enough to use it!

Ruin, the second in Michael A Stackpole’s Dark Tide duology, takes a bit more of a sombre and slower turn than its predecessor. Similar to the first NJO book, Vector Prime, we’re introduced into the mind of one of the Yuuzhan Vong, Shedao Shai, who is leading the latest attack on the New Republic.

Though he is definitely strong in his culture, and at the top of the food chain, we still see him motivated by other aspects. First off is the desire he has to reclaim the bones of his ancestor, currently in the possession of the scientists Corran and Ganner rescued in Onslaught, which eventually leads to his hatred of Corran Horn directly. The knowledge of Corran comes, however, through senator Elegos A’Kla, who gives himself over to the Yuuzhan Vong commander in an attempt to learn about them and seek a possible peace between the New Republic and the Yuuzhan Vong.

Anakin Solo joins his uncle Luke as they go hunting for a rogue Jedi named Daeshara’cor, a Twilek who believes that the superweapons that have appeared in the Star Wars universe over the past thirty years are the answer to destroying the Yuuzhan Vong. As the book is split into two sections – the prelude and the battle – this chase story is quickly over, but so well written as to not leave you disappointed at the apparent ease with which it took place. Additionally, the lessons learned for Anakin and Daeshara’cor come into play later in the book.

The Yuuzhan Vong are headed for Ithor, a planet full of pacifists who are at one with the Mother Jungle that gave them life. Thankfully for the book they aren’t the type of pacifist who will just sit and let themselves be killed, and the Jedi are allowed onto the planet in an attempt to protect it and the people.

Corran Horn once again continues to play a major role in the Star Wars universe, and buys the evacuating people of Ithor an additional week. The battle of Ithor is vicious, but thanks to the reintroduction of Admiral Gilad Pellaeon in charge of the Imperial Remnant fleet, the New Republic have a chance.

We’re once again let into the minds of the Rogue Squadron pilots, and get to see the battle not only form the bridges of the New Republic and Imperial Remnant lead ships, but also from within the cockpits of the men and women fighting the battle. It is a technique that Stackpole is brilliant at, showing us both angles of a fight (as well as the opponents) and leads to some exciting reading.

One of the interesting aspects of the New Jedi Order series is the revulsion with which the Jedi are treated by the majority of the New Republic. They have their defendants, but they are few and far between, and tainted by being long associated with the Jedi. It leaves them with very little support, either material or emotional, and creates conflicts not just with the Jedi but within the Jedi that make for great reading.

All in all the Dark Tide duology by Stackpole is definitely worth the read, and should definitely be on any Star Wars fans bookshelf.

7/10 Should definitely be on any Star Wars fans bookshelf.

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