Thursday, February 24, 2011

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Backlash, a Review+

Backlash is the fourth volume of the Fate of the Jedi series. As such, some of this will be spoilerish for the first three books, so use that how you will.

Luke Skywalker and Ben, his teenage son, are still in exile. Luke, banned by the Galactic Alliance from entering established Jedi places, such as the Temple, is chasing a young Sith girl across the galaxy. He and Ben have tracked her to forests of Dathomir, home to rancors and Nightsisters. There they land and intensify their search for the Sith, intent on capturing her and learning all they can about the mysterious group.

Meanwhile, Jedi are continuing to go crazy on Coruscant and no one knows why. The relations between the GA and the Jedi are at a breaking point, Daala's image as Chief of State is crumbling, and the backstabbing moffs are hungry for power. Political corruption and fighting is the Coruscant way.

Like the previous books in this series, the story is split among several different perspectives, offering insights from the Jedi, from the Sith, from the GA, from the Moffs, and from others, as well. This multiple POV style is fun to read and follow, and it helps add to how grey and vague politics and religion are.

As for the plot, Backlash took steps forward with the inevitable Jedi/Sith confrontation, but the problem with the Jedi going crazy didn't really go anywhere, and only minor advancements happened with the GA/Jedi relations. Still, the story was fun and entertaining, especially all the Dathomir stuff and experiencing their culture.

Thematically, going into a modern STAR WARS book I expect to be faced with the subtle differences between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force. Allston did a great job at blurring the lines of truth and the way Ben sees something as opposed to Vestara. I'm particularly interested to see where their relationship goes.

Overall, I'm enjoying the Fate of the Jedi series. The Lost Tribe of the Sith is interesting, and I'm enjoying Luke & Ben's bonding time. Plus, I have no idea what's causing the Jedi to go barvy, so that's keeping me entertained, too. In the end, Backlash doesn't offer many surprises and it's about what you expect out of a STAR WARS EU novel, but it's still a fun read.

In light of my review of Terry Brooks' Bearers of the Black Staff, where I stated that I was frustrated because I felt like Brooks didn't push himself enough, I'm left pondering the same thoughts for the STAR WARS Expanded Universe.  However, my feelings are vastly different here.  Maybe it's that the burning love in my heart is greater for STAR WARS than Shannara.  Maybe it's because the EU books have Jedi in them.

Truly, though, I think it's that the EU books do actually propel the advancing STAR WARS timeline forward by (usually) offering enough new things to make the books worthwhile.  Sure, each book has a repetitive feel to it.  Luke and the Jedi encounter some sort of brewing evil that's once again threatening the entire galaxy; Han & Leia are caught up in the brewing evil somehow or involved in the political games back on Coruscant; C3PO & R2D2 tweetle and talk; all of the main characters miraculously survive tremendously dangerous situations time and time again, giving the reader a sense of security for the beloved characters.  Still, from time to time, a book or series comes along (I'm looking at you Vector Prime) that shakes up the galaxy, and maybe it's these things I'm looking for.

Whatever it is, I enjoy reading in the STAR WARS EU.  Almost all of my EU reading has been post-Yavin, though I do think I'd enjoy some of the Old Republic stuff.  Overall, I have fun spending time with these characters, and I look forward to reading each subsequent book.

No comments: