Set: 25 ABY
The Galactic Empire has ended the war with the New Republic, but the galaxy is far from peace. Unrest is spreading everywhere, and threatens to destroy the New Republic's tenuous reign.
Into this fragile moment comes Nom Anor, a mysterious and charismatic firebrand who is sowing seeds of mistrust and anger through his call for a simpler time. Little do his followers know the truth which hides behind his words.
When ExGal 4, a scientific outpost on Belkadan, discovers an odd comet-like object coming through the vast distance between the galaxies, astrophysicist Danni Quee takes it upon herself to investigate. She journeys to the Helska system, unaware of the danger which threatens the survival of the entire galaxy: the Yuuzhan Vong.
Jedi Masters Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade Skywalker, along with the Solo's and Chewbacca are thrust into the middle of the danger once more, forced to fight with all they have to save the galaxy.
But this time, the Force itself may not be enough.
NOTE – this review contains significant spoilers, and should not be read if you do not want to be so spoiled.
NOTE – for a brief overview of what the New Jedi Order series is, check out my article here.
The beginning of the New Jedi Order series immediately brought about a grimmer cast to the Star Wars universe that helped realize a linkage to our own world. Though some might enjoy the escapism to a world where good values always win, sometimes the realistic needs to take centre stage so as to help our enjoyment. This is one thing that I believe the New Jedi Order series helped create.
It is twenty-one years since the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star over Endor, and the New Republic is still in turmoil. With so many planets and peoples making up the New Republic, it was always going to happen, and conflicts arise like insects in summer.
Into this turmoil and conflict step the Yuuzhan Vong, a terrible race that are the antithesis of the New Republic, hating technology and at one with nature, believing any who rely on machines to be infidels and worthy of destruction and conquest.
And that is exactly the tone of this book. Conquest. The Yuuzhan Vong want the New Republic, and by the end of the book they’re not looking like they’re going to fail anytime soon. A set back is suffered, but they are so different and antagonistic that the New Republic do not know how to deal with them.
And neither do the Jedi.
Luke Skywalker is trying to hold his Jedi together, but they are almost as fractious as the New Republic is, with each Jedi sure he knows the way to bring the Jedi back to the glory and prominence it once held prior to the Emperor.
But the Yuuzhan Vong will be in their way, and are unlike anything the Jedi have fought before.
The cast of characters is substantial for this novel, with new and old characters coming together to form a cast that will suffer much over the next 19 novels. Characters like Danni Quee and Miko Reglia are introduced and help understand what is going on from another perspective.
This book’s climax however has nothing to do with the story being told and everything to do with the death of an old friend. Presumably to ensure that readers understood that no one was sacred anymore, Chewbacca is killed off towards the end of the book. It is a heroic death, one that if you don’t see it coming you will be taken off guard. Add to this the illness that is affecting Mara Jade, and one must wonder who will live to see the end of the NJO series.
SPOILER ALERT END
All in all I really enjoyed this book, and would definitely recommend it to any Star Wars fan. You’ll get sucked in and want to see what is going to come next. And I suggest you let yourself, because there is nothing quite like being sucked into a series that you know runs for at least 19 novels.
Review by Joshua S Hill
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