September 24, 2006

Edge of Victory

Books 7 and 8 in the New Jedi Order series are a duology called "Edge of Victory" by Greg Keyes. The first of the two books, "Conquest", is the better of the two. At this stage of the war, the invading Yuuzhan Vong have paused to regroup and put a bounty on all the Jedi in the galaxy, hoping for collaborators to turn them in and save the Vong the trouble.

Luke catches wind of a plan to take the students at the Jedi academy (now located near the old rebel base from "A New Hope") and sends some reinforcements. Anakin, the youngest and most powerful of Han and Leia's Jedi kids, also goes on his own and ends up one of the only survivors on the world besieged by both collaborators and the Vong. Anakin's friend and new love interest, another teenager named Tahiri, is captured and subject to brutal genetic experiments while Anakin rushes to find her.

There aren't too many subplots in this one, and for once (true for both books) we don't have a situation where all of the major characters miraculously end up on the same planet at the end. So most of the focus is on the development of Anakin, and I have to say that so far, this is the best book of the whole NJO lot, a really refreshing change from what has come before. Anakin's journey is really good, and a lot of neat revelations about Anakin, the Force, and the Vong are mixed in along the way. Though it is the first of a two-book set, it stands alone just fine.

The second book is "Rebirth", and it has a lot more plots going on. It's a very different book from the first one and more middle-of-the-road in terms of quality. This book has at least three major plots going on, jumping between them all the time, often disconcertingly. The Anakin/Tahiri story continues, but it isn't nearly as good as the first book. The major plot development here is that Luke and Mara give birth to a child (well, just Mara) after Mara has another bout with the Vong disease she picked up several books ago.

The new child is, of course, extremely strong in the force, bonded tightly with Luke and Mara, and is named Ben. Not much of a surprise there, but a good pick of a name nevertheless (that's our newborn's name ... or my young apprentice, as I call him).

Posted by Observer at September 24, 2006 02:50 PM

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