Friday, January 7, 2011

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi - Vortex by Troy Denning

Spoiler Level: High

We've crossed the halfway point in the Fate of the Jedi series, so things are finally kicking into high gear.

As far as Luke & Ben are concerned, they're still in the middle of their uneasy alliance with the Lost Tribe of the Sith.  You would have thought that since they've already discovered & killed Abeloth, an evil so strong that even the Sith would be willing to team up with Jedi to face her, that we'd be on the downswing.  But no, Abeloth doesn't have the decency to stay dead for even one book.  So it's back on the chase for her, with Ben Skywalker and his Sith would-be-girlfriend Vestara playing more of their mind games with each other.  By this point, Luke feels (and I'm right there with him) that there's no way Ben is going to be able to turn Vestara to the light.  Vestara is Sith born and bred, and she not only has no interest in being saved, she honestly believes Jedi morals to be pointless and counterproductive to survival.  Even Vestara is starting to realize that just as she'll never be turned to the light, she'll never be able to turn Ben to the dark side, so their relationship (such as it is) can only end in tragedy.  And to be honest, her constant betrayals are starting to become tiresome.

Things have also finally kicked into high gear on Coruscant.  The Jedi have decided they've been doing the wrong thing by allowing themselves to be pushed into a corner by Chief of State Daala, and that the needs of the oppressed in the Galaxy at large and the threat of Abeloth and the Lost Tribe of the Sith in specific require they put an end to it now.  Sadly the only one who disagrees is (acting) Grand Master Kenth Hamner, who believes in loyalty to the Alliance first and foremost.  It's an honorable belief, but it's also what caused the downfall of the Jedi in the Clone Wars, and it's good to see the rest of the Jedi Council recognizing that problem this time, even if they don't make the exact parallel on their own.  Not that Daala is as evil as Palpatine, but she's certainly not upholding the spirit of freedom that the Galactic Alliance and the Jedi are supposed to represent.  It hasn't happened yet, but events in this series seem to be moving to drive the Jedi off of Coruscant altogether.  They've already established their training center on Ossus, which we know will become the home of the Jedi in the Legacy comic books, and at this point it would make sense if that's what the "Fate of the Jedi" referrs to.

Tahiri's trial for the assassination of Imperial Grand Admiral Pellaeon continues to fascinate me.  I keep expecting her lawyer to pull some amazing Perry Mason move, but he's much more subtle than that, and Tahiri's misunderstanding his approach almost derails it completely.  But the trial has switched from the prosecution stage to the defense stage now, so hopefully we'll be getting to see more of the trial in future books.  I'd really enjoy a whole book focused on just the trial.  (Law & Order: Coruscant, anyone?)

And Jag and Jaina are back on again, I'm happy to say.  At one point in the book, someone makes the observation that the problem with their relationship is they keep trying to serve three masters-- the needs of the Jedi, the needs of the Empire, and the needs of their relationship.  They need to put their relationship first for it to really work.  I imagine they'll learn that themselves at some point and Jaina will end up leaving the Jedi Order to be with Jag full time, which is how we'll wind up with Imperial Knights.  I hope we get to see the details of how that unfolds.

Hopefully Jaina & Jag will do better than poor Luke.  His romantic interests keep meeting nasty ends.  Has he got any left at this point?  Whoever Kol & Nat's mother is, at this point she can't be Mara Jade, Shira Brie, Callista or Akanah.  Seriously, if Luke Skywalker falls in love with you, you need to run.

No more Fate of the Jedi books until May!  Man, I miss being able to just dive right into the next book!

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