September 15, 2006

Balance Point

Book 6 in the New Jedi Order series is Kathy Tyers' "Balance Point". Tyers did a pretty good job, I thought, with the immediately-after-Jedi "The Truce at Bakura", which I liked well enough to put in the top third of the Star Wars novelizations, so I was hopeful.

Unfortunately, I'm seeing a trend in these NJO books, like I complained about in my review of the previous entry. All the main characters somehow manage to converge on a single planet. Combat and evacuations ensue. After about the 5th or 6th emergency planetary evacuation under fire, that plot device is wearing extremely thin.

There is some character development here, and the overall plot advances in two key places incrementally. At this point, though, I'd rather just read a detailed timeline of key plot advancements than have to wade through another one of these books just to find out what's going on. In fairness, my 17-year-old has absolutely devoured this series and can't wait to talk about it. So I guess I'm doomed to read at least a few more. At least they read quickly.

I suppose I should mention something a little more specific or this will just sound like every other NJO book review from this point forward. Ok, the Han/Leia relationship is advancing realistically, given events in the previous few books, but neither of them is given much to do. Anakin (one of Han and Leia's three kids, aside from the twins, Jacen and Jaina) is probably the most fun character to follow, and Tyers does a good job with him.

Jacen is pretty scared to use the force, afraid of the dark side, so he more or less gives it up until events conspire to make him change his mind. Luke and Mara play a big role in this book, but their storyline just isn't all that compelling.

And then the bad guys, the Vong. For a good story, you need a good villain, and no author has really done a good job of imbuing them with enough personality to hate them. They're just not evil enough. One problem is that in the Star Wars Universe, there's really nothing to compare to dark side Sith when it comes to evil, entertaining villains. I would rather have seen the galaxy invaded by some force under the influence of an ancient Sith cult than these bioweapon creatures.

Posted by Observer at September 15, 2006 07:50 PM

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