by Kevin J. Anderson
Published by Bantam Publishing
Darin's Rating: 4 out of 4
Scott's Rating: 4 out of 4
This book is essentially the sequel to Children of the Jedi by Barbra Hambly.
Now that peace and order have been restored to the galaxy... (perhaps that should read, "Now that Disorder has been restored to the galaxy, and entropy allowed to try to catch up for lost time...") Durga the Hutt decides he needs something big and bad to boss people around with. Hmmm, what better than a Death Star? How about if we strip all the useless crew compartments and TIE fighter bays out of it and just build the big gun? Yeah...that's the ticket. You can figure out the rest :-)
Meanwhile, Luke and his new love Callista try to find a way to restore her Force sensitivity. Unfortunately, she finds she is still able to use the Force...the Dark Side, that is.
Finally, Admiral Dalla returns and attempts to unite the remnants of the Empire. She basically says to the warlords, "Let's unite to kick Rebel butt or I'll destroy you all." Captain Paellon from the Timothy Zahn Trilogy helps her in her hit and run assault against the Alliance.
Typical of Kevin J. Anderson, this story is fast paced (I read it in one night) and full of surprises that make you say "I can't BELIEVE he did that to that character!! I can't BELIEVE Lucasfilm (or is it Lucas Digital Ltd. now? -- I think that's just ILM and Skywalker Sound -- could be wrong though; it's happened before, regrettably) let him do that!! AAAHHHHHH!!" Then you have to live with it because he did it. That's one of the elements of a really good story--catching readers off guard. Lots of good characters in this story (but will they make it through it?) Hey, even Admiral Daala is in this one (remember that I'm a sucker for the babe-ish, once totally evil type of women) -- woo hoo!
While Darin attempts to regain control of his senses, I'll say that I enjoyed this book a lot. I like Anderson's fast paced style, his action sequences, and his sense of humor. In this book, I liked the fact that it was no holds barred as far as what happened to the characters. That is the sign of a good story; when you are afraid for what might happen to the character. I also liked seeing the second generation of Jedi Knights, from the Jedi Academy Trilogy, mature and grow in their Force abilites. We really need to see more of them. I also really liked the scenes showing the Death Star scientist being tortured by the Emperor. (Could this be an indication of what we'll see in the next novel?) I also enjoyed the retun to Hoth which was pretty exciting. Finally, the assault on the Jedi Academy, I believe, was one of the best action sequences in the Star Wars novels in a long time.
Luke has the worst time with the ladies. I think he's related to me... (I can hear a little green guy saying "The Jedi must learn PATIENCE!" -- put a sock in it Yoda -- the Jedi also has hormones). I sure hope things work out in the next book in this series (to be written by Barbara Hambly).
I agree with Darin that it's about time Luke either got hitched or became a hermit, one of the two. Also, the return of the Death Star has finally been done to death. To do another one or something similar might be reacted to violently. I was a bit disappointed in the final result of Durga's superweapon. Yes, it was funny, but I was really hoping for a little bit more action. I also though the luxury resort on the comet was kind of cheesy and that Callista's attempt to find herself could have been a little more fruitful.
Uhh... Haven't we done the Big, Bad Machine out to blow up a planet (or star, etc.) thing ONE too many times? Story lines are getting a little stale here people...
The Emperor's forms of torture. Ewwww! How would you like to be devoured alive? Yucko!