Review: Christie Golden’s Fate of the Jedi: Allies

Luke and Ben are forced to confront a group of Sith ships floating above Dathomir when all they really want to do is get back to business. Luke not only wants to exonerate himself, but thinks following Jacen’s path to darkness may give him the insight he needs to prevent another Jedi from falling to the Dark Side. But these Sith have some information that Luke might be interested in—information regarding Sith who may be succumbing to the same dementia plaguing young Jedi across worlds.

Could the very fate of the galaxy now depend on an alliance that goes against Ben’s training? Can Sith and Jedi really get along? Or has Luke doomed himself and the life of his son on an idealistic treaty that could turn traitorous at any moment? The good news is, Luke’s betting on treachery. And when betrayal is expected, it seems easier to spot, but only if you know where to look.

Allies is the fifth in the Fate of the Jedi series. At this point, I’ve been reading Star Wars books for about twelve years and have come to the conclusion that LucasBooks and its writers have a sense of humor. How else could we come across enemies such as Waru, Killiks, and now the succubus-like Abeloth? Surely the ludicrous nature of these “bad guys” lends some absurdity to the Expanded Universe that lightens the load between Galactic invasions and legitimate government takeovers (scarier than you might think).

It is, after all, a franchise that allows the estimable Princess Leia to grace the screen with a hairdo reminiscent of pastry and keep her dignity in tact; I don’t think one has to be reminded about the plausibility of space slugs living inside of asteroids (please, no pedantic fans—I really don’t want an explanation). Fans either go with these bizarre machinations or they don’t. Choosing not to deprives you of some real entertainment, which is why I hope to never see the day when I stop enjoying Star Wars books.

Above all other strange things happening in Allies, there is the basic premise to consider: Sith and Jedi form an alliance, however brief. I tend to agree with Luke when he laughs at Khai’s proposition and says, “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t sound like a very Sith thing to say” (p. 5). Luke isn’t nearly as wet behind the ears as he used to be, but don’t let that fool you. He has a steady stream of cynicism and an unflagging belief that he will inevitably be betrayed by the Lost Tribe of the Sith—all things he’s constantly reminding Ben of should the boy get any funny ideas. His pragmatism runs a little short though, as he continues to entrust them with vital information that they, of course, keep using against him. Luke set himself up quite nicely (did anyone else hear Vader’s voice in their mind, “All too easy.”), but given that without it we wouldn’t have much of a plot, I didn’t mind.

I also didn’t mind Tahiri’s trial. She’s a character I’ve had difficulty trying to understand and one that I feel over-inflates her importance to the Solo family. I find myself unable to connect to her emotional trauma or believe what she felt as a young teen was anything more than a crush. To have her now, years later, fantasize that she would have been married to Anakin if only he hadn’t died after that kiss, is one stretch of the imagination I can’t fathom. Fans of hers will probably find her testimonial scenes more emotional than I did. That I didn’t is a deficit entirely of my own. The process of the trial was interesting, though. Eramuth was quirky enough to keep me more involved than I would have been otherwise, despite my irrational desire to see him fail and Tahiri imprisoned for life or exiled. Even execution is too much for me.

Speaking of dead things, and to touch on one of the finer points of humor Allies had to offer: just when you may have forgotten about her, there’s a surprise waiting within the last chapters offering fans a glimpse into the fate of a once beloved character. Somewhere my 15-year old self is laughing hysterically. Finding out Abeloth’s true identity proves you can’t take Star Wars seriously, especially when Luke’s shock at this revelation is compared to him finding out Darth Vader is his father. If that doesn’t make you laugh, then I don’t think you should be reading this book (or this series).

Fate of the Jedi has been most fascinating for Luke and Ben’s storyline. I’ll admit: as outrageous as Abeloth was, she kept me entertained. Jaina and Jag, however, are a different story. Because I’ve been told the Legacy comics have made a few outcomes impossible, I’ve been consistently disappointed with the lack of tension this knowledge creates for their relationship. Continuity has subverted Jaina’s dramatic declaration; the news felt weaker than it could have been. I should make allowances for canon since knowing is inexcusable for expecting a different result, but I’m still disappointed.

Allies finished with a couple of cliffhangers that genuinely surprised me. Of course, with Abeloth gone (or so I think) and the crazy Jedi healed, one has to wonder what else Fate of the Jedi has in store for us as it draws near the end. Despite bringing order to the seat of government, Daala’s become unhinged and the threat she poses to the sanctity of the Alliance must inevitably be resolved. Luke still needs to uncover as much of Jacen’s past as he can—helping the Jedi become sane again was incidental; ultimately he knows he can’t go back until he does. This is a pivotal installment in the series. There are some resolutions, but Golden is doing a fine job of building toward the finale.

The Jawas bid you read more book reviews at Erika’s blog: Jawas Read, Too!

34 Replies to “Review: Christie Golden’s Fate of the Jedi: Allies

  1. I got the impression that Abeloth had absorbed said person as opposed to was that person. Like she tried to do to Dyon. I think Luke just initially thought that was the case. Otherwise, how could she be ancient? More answers or at least background in the next book I think/hope.

  2. I started feeling the same way since the text does begin connecting those dots for us. However, I still thought the choice (in this case, if it’s true that Abeloth was just giving off an impression) of person Abeloth used to fool Luke was still comical. :)

    Her/it’s storyline ended faster than I would have imagined, but I’m with you: if there’s more to be heard, I really hope it’s in the next book.

  3. Yes, if they do a ‘complete’ explanation in Vortex and that includes how she possibly/likely had an influence on Jacen then cool. Then presumably the focus will be on the Tribe and Daala/Jedi issue.

    I like tying up loose ends so the bit about who abeloth appears as was ok for me, but I must admit I would like to hear the why’s and how’s.

  4. Warning: I’m being very opinion-driven and selfish in this comment, and I realize that. ;)

    Now that the relief has worn off from Golden not being… Who’s she’s not, I’m pretty meh about the whole book. Low side of average is nothing new for SW books (I grade on a curve) but… Meh. Also, how far are we into these books? I think we can all agree we’ve seen the OT and don’t need them Ric Oled to us constantly. (The Abeloth ghost puppet… Well, okay, maybe some folks skipped those books. But my patience for exposition of the EU past is pretty slim.)

    I am completely sick of Jaina’s love life. I’ve been putting up with it in kind of a resigned tolerance since the NJO – lots of folks need their crazy shipper phase – but right now I really don’t care if Jaina marries Jag, doesn’t marry Jag, kills and eats Jag… If they both vanish into the ether, I couldn’t care less. (Same goes for Tahiri. It’s my YJK/NJO/Solo brat apathy talking again, but enough. My patience is being seriously strained by this plotline.)

    As for what I did like – The Ben and Vestara subplot entertained me. (Not as a shipper. As totally unshocked as I was to see a B/V fic within a week of this release, that’s not my thing.) It’s nice to see him finally interacting with someone HIS OWN DAMN AGE. I’m glad that they never gave him the kind of coincidence-laden friend posse that helped doom the Solo kids to constant lameness, but his lack of actual friends has bugged me. So seeing him being a teenager with someone his own age – even if she is a Sith with a creepy father – is a good.

  5. The plot thickens… too much. I get it we need story but it just seems like there’s too much of it going around. It’s like an illness with this series. At first it was great Jedi going crazy but then EVERY Jedi was going crazy and not just the ones that were locked up for it. At least “crazy-Jedi” portion of the story seems to be getting wrapped up.

    Then there’s the Ben/ Vestara thing. I think its great that Ben is finally dabbling in a quasi-romance with a Sith girl but at the same time it’s just too obvious. And if she turns from the dark the dark side I’m pretty sure I’ll lose faith in the EU.

    Also Jaina Solo needs to hurry up and get killed off or get hitched. The whole “Sword of the Jedi” excuse is getting old. She’s being played out like she’s some defenseless little girl. I sometimes feel as if we’re still supposed to think of her as a teenager when she clearly is not.

  6. Oh yeah. Nice review Erika. It had a fair amount of objectivity in it.

  7. @The Exalted: I think Vortex will largely focus on Daala and what’s going on with the Lost Tribe of the Sith, too.

    @Dunc: Hahaha thank you for prefacing that comment for me. I’m pretty much leaving myself open to opinions here, though, so have at it! :) At this point, I’d just rather have adult conversations, even if they’re disagreements, than some of the blatantly “I HATE THE EU” snark that’s around more often than not. Politeness (not to mention, leaving out the much abused phrase, “I’m sorry, but…”) goes a very long way.

    I am not a fan of Jaina/Jag. Never was, never will be (I find them both terribly boring). That was made worse by *knowing* they’re supposed to be together. At least with Mara/Luke we weren’t explicitly told years ahead of time by having Ben in some comic off on his own when his parents weren’t even dating yet.

    The Ben and Vestara subplot was interesting. I really wanted to see more of a battle of conscience on her part, though, but I agree: it was most interesting because he’s interacting with someone his own age, finally. If she turns out to be malleable enough for a switch to the Jedi side (I think I was the only one who thought Ben attempting to convince her of this was cute at the end; the Luke in him came out), then okay—the authors will have work toward a convincing turn—but at the moment, she, like Sith always do, seems fairly predictable in that area. It’s a doomed friendship/working relationship to say the least. Many unfulfilling things beyond accomplishing their immediate goals.

    I am very tired of these books constantly referencing the OT/PT, but I try to remember that there are people out there (despite my heavily biased view) that have not read Star Wars books and will pick these up as their entrance drug to the EU and so, they would probably like the references. In fact, I’ve read some very recent reviews of someone who is doing exactly this and just finished Omen…

    So while it really, really bothers me and I feel insulted a little in my fannish pride, I’ve learned to glaze over those parts, plentiful and painful though they’ve become.

    Dunc, I really, really, really don’t like Tahiri. Is it just me, or does it seem like she’s stopped growing as a character the moment Anakin kissed her?

    @Kizzik: Thank you! :)

    I went about 100 pages into the book before another Jedi (poor Dyon… he grew on me so much in the Backlash) went crazy and thought, “Well, what else did I expect?” I’m glad the Jedi are no longer going crazy. At least the series is evolving enough that way, but it was getting too commonplace for Jedi to randomly start losing it. The repetitious narrative to describe their POV was also getting a bit long in the tooth.

    Like I mentioned to Dunc a little earlier in this comment thread, I do think Vestara’s a little too predictable as a Sith and so that takes away some of the tension their relationship (friendship/romance/whatever) could have. If she turns, it would have to be very convincing and probably lengthy.

    As for Jaina… she does hide behind the euphemism, but I’m not sure why it’s so particularly important anymore who or what the ‘Sword of the Jedi’ is. It’s an excuse for her to show initiative and get moving, but a bit too D&D for my tastes (I like D&D, but erm, not in this area.

  8. @Erika: Sometimes it’s fun to throw off the objectivity. (It’s not exactly my natural state, but I try and cap it off in top-level posts)

    Tahiri went from ‘tiresomely unoffensive’ to ‘GTFO’ for me sometime during the NJO. Though I haven’t had much hope for the Solo kids and pals… Ever. KJA got ’em too early, Anakin was the most unscathed and… Well. That whole generation is a lost cause, as far as I’m concerned. At least Ben is benefiting from the lessons they learned along the way.

    But on the other hand, I’ve long since learned that expecting perfection in SW novels is a lost cause. The really good books are rare, your favorite characters are going to get miswritten more often than not, and a large percentage of plot points are going to make your eyes roll. It’s licensed fiction: Embrace the pain.

  9. @Dunc: Hahaha it is fun and definitely lets off steam! Let me put it this way: what I meant was all too often abusing the EU crosses into abuse of authors or fans whose opinions differ. Folks can rail on a series, but I draw the line when it becomes insulting to authors or other fans…

    I think you touch on some of the same sentiment I mentioned in the review. Weird stuff happens in the EU. Fans can either have fun and roll with it (at least tolerate it) or let it bother them. It’s all one big crazy fun mess to me. :)

  10. @Erika: Yeah, I remember my KJA days. How I loathed that man when I was 17. Now I’m old and jaded – but still have one hell of a low water mark. ;)

  11. I never realised some people’s hatred of the solo kids. I always loved them. Though I admit Jaina has become somewhat one dimensional these days. Sword of the Jedi has no meaning anymore. Drop it!

    In a nod to the solo kid bashing, the corellian trilogy…. OMG. Thank the maker they decided to get serious and make the NJO.

    Over all I think most SW books are good and sometimes great, with the odd one a bit poor. The only thing I feel fairly strongly about is Tim Zahn’s fall from grace since the Thrawn books. The one about the rogue storm troopers and Mara was pretty poor. Oh and the occasional need to go back to the early new republic days book. Done. To. Death.

  12. Oh, it’s not hate. (Or bashing. Seriously?) They’re only minor irritations. I got kind of fed up, but it’s my own thing and I admitted it and let loose a little.

    (Although the Corellian Trilogy… Yeah. That kind of thing is why they never had much of a chance – part of me still sees them as those annoying little interlopers wasting page space. The NJO didn’t do all that much to change that, particularly with Anakin gone.)

    And at least it makes SENSE that they’re in these books, even for Tahiri. I may not be all that interested, but this is where they belong, as family members and Jedi.

  13. Oh I loved them in the NJO, I liked the introduction of new characters. Betrayal, my favourite book of the series was a great ‘Jacen’ book. I loved his character and fall to the darkside.

    I’m not really sure why it didn’t make sense for them to be in it? Actually my major SW character bugbear. Kyle Katarn. Why is he only ever briefly in it. Is there some sort of licensing issue?! He’s in nearly every FOTJ book for three sentences.

  14. I said they DO make sense. Unlike, say, Boba Fett in most of LOTF. ;)

    LOTF actually got some use out of Jacen and his innate failiness. (He was the worst of them, IMO. My frustration with Jaina is mostly due to the silly romance runaround and super-vague ‘Sword of the Jedi’ crap.) I think that they could have gotten a lot more mileage out of Lumiya if they wanted Jacen around to fail another day, but that’s whole ‘nother conversation…

    Kyle Katarn popping up, as far as I can tell, happened because a handful of people started bitching about him never being around on the forums around the mid-NJO. I don’t get it… He’s such a Poochie.

  15. @The Exalted: I don’t hate the Solo kids. And I agree with Dunc, we weren’t bashing. ;)

    The phrase “Sword of the Jedi” has lost all meaning for me. I really don’t know why they keep using it, or to what ends they want to keep it. Or why it’s attached to Jaina…

    Anyway, most books I like. :)

  16. Sorry guys, I guess I was just a bit surprised at the solo kids are a bit lame talk. I never saw them that way.

    Dunc, I was one of those people, he’s cool! I have the three book series that novelizes the jedi knight game series as part of my book collection. I want to see him do more. Bit like Jaden Korr in crosscurrent.

    Sword of the Jedi seems to be there because no one has a clue what to do with Jaina. Don’t know why as surely there is potential for a good Jedi character. I liked her in LOTF. I am also a shameless boba and mando fanboy so loved all the mando stuff in the series.

    I can see that KT got a bit overkill with the mando love but I actually think they have gone to far the other way in ‘re-addressing the balance’.

    Boba for GA chief of state! ;)

  17. I too am tired to death of the Sword of the Jedi thing, not because it keeps getting brought up, but because I don’t think that the very idea has ever been adequately explained. What does the title really mean? Why Jaina of all people? Why not Kyp, or soembody else more fully dedicated to decisive action in the Order’s favor? Jaina even spent the first couple of books after receiving the title being baffled by the very idea of it.

    At this point I will accept just about anything that is an attempt to give the remaining Solo kid some more character and depth, but the raging indecisiveness and impulsive stubbornness that the writers seem to have settled on does nothing for advancing her. I really don’t get how so many writers can so utterly fail to define and develop a character over the course of so many books. There has to be a content bible for the franchise, something that lists all of the existing characters and gives some history and traits for them. Is the page for Jaina just blank? I know that there has to be conversation between the writers on these big series, so why has nobody set down a behavioral baseline for her yet?

    I wonder if it doesn’t have to do with the fact that we were introduced to Jacen and Jaina (as young adults, anyway) in the Young Jedi Knights books. Not because I want to pin all of this on KJA, (a scapegoat would be nice, but I know it likely isn’t his fault) but because it was conceived of as a series for young readers. Thus we can go to the assumption that children don’t care about characterization. That rather than fully realized and emotional characters, it is better to have caricatures who feature broad, identifiable traits that advance and underline the morality of the books. And this isn’t necessarily the wrong way to go about things, I guess. It sells kids short as readers, but a lot of kids also only read because they have to.

    My point is that this is what KJA and Rebecca Moesta did in the Young Jedi Knights books. It probably wasn’t really an intentional thing, and it may not even have been their decision to make, but they had the opportunity to define who the Solo children would be as adults and they chose to only paint in broad strokes. They gave all of the characters a basic personality TYPE, and then handed out skills and emotions on a rotational basis depending on who was in a given scene. As such, when we got to Vector Prime, we had these newly adult characters who weren’t really characters in the way that you need in a novel that is ostensibly for adults.

    But what about now? I don’t really know why these characters never really grew when other writers got a hold of them. Certainly there were some books where they were better than in others, but that’s more on the writer than anything. I think that ultimately, Jacen and Jaina just sort of got lost in the long and over-busy shuffle of the NJO, and by the time that it ended they had been portrayed in a certain way for so long that changing them (likely for the better) had become a bit unjustifiable, because a lot of the fan-base would start to pitch a fit.

    So I guess it’s sort of everyone’s fault. At least a little bit.

    Oh, and @Exalted: Given that the GA Senate thought that Daala was a great candidate, I’m sure that the Fett would have no trouble getting elected. And where is the GA Senate in all of this Daala/Jedi nonsense anyway? They’re being awfully quiet for a political body.

  18. Oh, and I meant to put this in my previous mega-post (god, it didn’t feel that long when I wrote it), but you did a lovely job on the review Erika. Nice and even, and I appreciated your putting it in the perspective of the larger EU.

    That said, I’m thirding on the love for KT’s Mando stuff, even though I initially protseted what I called the “Klingon-ification” of the Mandolorians. I understand that she was never one of the most popular writers to grace the EU, but I always appreciated her ability to tell a dedicated story while keeping it in the context of the larger galaxy. She may not have written books that were for everyone, but at the very least they provided us with a different, more military sci-fi aspect (never would have expected that in something called Star Wars) that was a welcome change of pace for some fans.

  19. @Doyle: I don’t think “Sword of the Jedi” has ever been explained more than in innuendos that come across as more vague than explicit. For something that’s going to keep being promoted as important or a staple to Jaina’s character, I too would like a better one.

    As far as blaming her characterization on a series that was written for a younger audience, I disagree. Good authors can extrapolate from those characters what is childish or what is now innately a deeper structure of their personality. For Jacen, they went for compassion (to animals, to nature, etc…) that we saw in the extremes in LOTF when he really thought he was doing good, but was actually very misguided.

    But you touch on something that is very important when we’re talking about the EU: fans will always pitch a fit, no matter what road authors or editors take.

    I’m not sure if there’s any blame to place on any one person or persons for some of the dissatisfaction a lot of fans feel with the Solo children. Part of what makes them so weird is us having seen them as children first. It’s very difficult to write someone from childhood into adulthood and not have readers cling to their first memories of them, which were as children, regardless if they’re good or bad memories. Until them, there had never really been children roaming around the movies to give us an idea of what we’d actually like to see or what we wouldn’t. I can’t say I really enjoyed all the children being endowed with inordinately disproportional Force abilities that gave them ridiculous story lines like with the Corellian Trilogy or JAT.

    We’d seen most every other adult character already on screen. We had a model of comparison. I’m not sure what would have made a better model for the Solo kids. Whether it would have been defining them more strongly as children as we would later see them as adults, or having one author write each child miraculously in a way that just seems right.

    I do understand your frustration! I just don’t know where the problems started for me. Or if there’s even a solution that will please the majority of fans. I think what we all want is a little consistency for Jaina, but nothing like the type we’ve been seeing. Her life has been consumed by her romantic life and that whole “Sword of the Jedi” thing that I thought panned out and was done and over with once Jacen was gone, but I guess not.

  20. @ Doyle: Great point about the senate. They have gone completely missing. Not even mentioned. Surely Daala has to answer to them?

    I actually think the writers did a great job with Jacen, from his moral issues with killing in NJO to becoming a maverick ‘grey jedi’ in the killik trilogy, to his fall to the dark side in LOTF. About Jaina, I agree completely. I also think Jag Fell has been somewhat ruined. Chief of State of the Empire, but also running around with crush gaunts and beskar’gam chasing rogue jedi… Hmm.

    I would also say that though the point is well made about almost all of the characters having a grounding in the films, a great exception to this rule would be Corran Horn. I think he is a well defined character who has featured in a lot of books (though not as much recently) and seems very believable. Mara Jade Skywalker also springs to mind as a great ‘made up’ character as is Ben Skywalker.

    It can be done, I just think Jaina has fallen by the wayside. I guess it’s obvious but not everyone is going to like every character because they have different personalities. Hence why some love mando’s in general and Boba and clan Skirata in particular. And some people would rather kiss a wookiee than read about them ;)

  21. Exalted: Well, Corran and Mara were originally written by Stackpole and Zahn: They had way better grounding. Ben… We’ll see.

    Though Mara is a good example of this. She’s been mischaracterized up and down the EU, in ways big and small, from her first non-Zahn appearance to her last. The difference between her and the Solo kids is we had a good baseline: The Zahn books. Who stands in that place for the Solo kids? Anderson/Moesta and their laundry lists of character traits? The NJO, which had the printed equivalent of ADD? Beats me.

    The multi-author take has not been all that great for forming solid characterizations. Jacen did work okay in LOTF, but he wasn’t a particularly subtle character. Ben has been good, but they’re pretty much writing him as Luke The Younger With Snark. I don’t feel the format really allows the authors to paint as full an original character as Zahn and Stackpole were able to do in their respective series’.

    I haven’t read anything SW of Traviss aside from her LOTF contributions. (And I don’t care to: PT military fiction holds no appeal for me.) But if she did manage to create solid original characters in RC, maybe that’s just another argument in favor of standalone series and trilogies. One, thankfully, that the PTB have noticed.

  22. Yeh thats not a bad thing, to go back to a smaller format for a while. But I’ll stand by my love of the bigger story arcs. You never knew if a main character was going to bite the bullet after they killed a few. I honestly thought they had killed Luke off in LOTF, in the space battle after Jacen captures Ben.

    I woke my GF up to tell her I was so distraught!
    That’s got to be good publishing ;)

  23. @Doyle: Thank you for the compliment! :)

    I really liked the Mandos, too. It doesn’t matter that some fans don’t like them (and by extension, which makes little sense to me, Karen Traviss) or to what extent. It’s kind of hard to be vocal about what you like in the EU without having other fans feel the need to tell you either how wrong you and your tastes are, or how much they *don’t* like what you happen to. I have to say, I’ve been impressed with the comments here! Everyone’s being pretty fair and respectful. :)

    Despite having to cut the IC books short, she had a good run I think. Although honestly, I’m a bit wary of someone else picking up the last book to write…

    @The Exalted: I didn’t mean to imply making a character from scratch couldn’t be done (or that it hasn’t been done well before), but writing *children* is, in my opinion, different and why I think we’ve been seeing problems when multiple authors attempt to tackle a character that has so far only been known as a child, not as an adult. Even then, mischaracterization happens, but I meant that it’s inordinately more difficult, in my opinion, with a character that started as a child and then grew up.

    I’m not sure how much sense that makes, so maybe I’ll think about it and come back when I can be a little more articulate? ;)

    @Dunc: Having read Karen Traviss’ other SW books, I think those are what actually made me crave stand alones or separate original series. I did feel she did a great job with them (I’ve read her non SW military SF and liked them, too) because the books revolved around the characters and not the fate of the galaxy (although this was a theme that involved them since, well, they’re clones…). It was a huge reprieve from some of the more repetitious drama happening post-ROTJ (at this point, it’s all going to be a bit repetitious, though).

  24. I think everyone, including Traviss herself, would have been happier if she’d stayed with her own series/standalones. Or at least kept the Mando/Fett stuff there. She wasn’t a bad writer, just one not particularly suited to dealing with a large, varied, and very outspoken fandom.

    Could we get any more off-topic? ;)

  25. @Erika: Fair point, I think my views of the the Solos would be different because I never read the young and junior jedi knights series’. I planned to, then binned them off as they were hard to find in the UK, and I tend not to read books aimed at younger readers.

    My biggest regret is Traviss not finishing off the series with IC2. I pray that GL (IMO) horrible mando wrecking hasn’t made writing the final book (who ever that is and when) an impossible task.

    I do think the EU desperately needs refocussing as I don’t think it can sustain another galactic war for some time. What ever happened to everybody’s fav mentalists, the Yuuzhan Vong anyway? ;)

  26. I’ve been wondering lately where we’re going to go from here. “Here” being the end of FotJ in this case. A lot of the LucasBooks guys seem to realize that they can’t keep doing Big Three adventures forever, but there still hasn’t been much effort to expand the character pool in a more replacementy direction. I keep reading these books and tracking the characters who are introduced, looking for people who are given stronger characterization and could maybe be interesting enough to read books about on their own. I mean, Ben will get his own standalones some day, certainly. And Jaina will probably get some as well. (though that would require somebody to try and develop her strongly enough to make her the main character for an entire novel) But who else is there really? Until they resolve some of the issues surrounding Jag I can’t see him keeping in the limelight much. Tahiri? Vestara? I guess? I like Dion from the last two books, but can they come up with interesting things for him to do? It isn’t the strongest pool of characters I’ve ever seen, but I guess they can make it work if they had too.

    Also @The Exalted: I got that too in LotF. I was sitting in the Miami Airport waiting for a ride in the middle of the night when I hit that section. And This ( ) is playing on my mp3 player, and the track ends just as Jaina makes her mental declaration that she had killed Luke, I mean, like down to the second. And, you know, it’s a silly kind of fear to have…but there was something about the setting and the music and the way that the line read that made me let out this huge old-lady-who-just-heard-a-swear-in-public gasp. I laughed it off after that, but I’ll admit that I had a knot in my gut until Luke showed up again.

  27. @The Exalted: I agree, the EU doesn’t need another huge war. Chances are though, they might throw one in anyway. ;)

    @Doyle: I can honestly say I haven’t got a clue where the EU is going to go from here. I think about the only thing I can guess from what we’ve been given is the kids (or rather, Ben?) will begin taking over as the main characters. Ben is already getting a large portion of the POV in FOTJ and earlier in LOTF. What they’ll do with Allana is up in the air, but I’m not invested in her very much, if at all at this point. I could do with less or no Tahiri, though. ;)

  28. Lol Doyle I’m glad I wasn’t the only one. I had a horrible feeling like I’d just been told one of my relatives had just died.

    I think the story arcs are surely going to cover the sith tribe more and probably/hopefully what the vong have been doing. I would love them to explore Darth Krayyt and his One Sith more but I think they are already tied up with a comic storyline.

  29. Yeah. I can’t say that I really see them taking the books any further than the cusp of the Legacy period. It has been explored and wrapped up, and I think that’s where they’ll probably leave it. That may be my personal feelings masquerading as hopeful logic though. For me, the comic has been an interesting experiment, but not one that has really panned out or developed in any meaningful way. Saying that something is extreme and gritty and game-changing does not make it any of those things, and I can’t say that Legacy has done anything to actually prove that those superlatives are more than hype.

    And I hadn’t really considered Allana, Erika. With as young as she is, I gues it really does limit what they can do with her right now, but in the future? I can see someone like Christie Golden (who seems to have an interest in exploring and developing little bits and pieces of the galaxy) doing a couple of books about her eventual return to Hapan politics and intrigue. And at this point I’d imagine that she’s at least partly compatible with some books for young readers. Don’t know that I really want that last one (I’m still sort of pegging a lot of Jacen and Jaina’s later problems on the YJK series) but I can see it working for kids.

    And while Ben is almost guaranteed center stage at some later point in the chronology, I’m worried about who they’re going to find to surround him with. The way that I look at it, by the end of FotJ Vestara is either dead, converted, or slipping away to the Outer Rim for a few years of villainous brooding. And while I like the character, I don’t really want to see her become that person that Ben saves from herself and falls in love with on his road to becoming Luke 2.0. Mara was never really much of a Sith and she was never really a villain either, but the path that Ben and Vestara are being put on seems a little too close to what we’ve been given before. And beyond Vestara, who? There are very few young Jedi characters and Ben has never really been allowed off on his own long enough to develop a circle of companions like Jacen and Jaina had. The franchise writers have done a good job of building him up, but at the end of the day he’s got a pretty wicked case of sidekick-itis.

    Personally I’d like to see a whole new set of characters get put into play. The time period doesn’t even really matter to me, I’m just convinced that there’s got to be someone else in this galaxy who is interesting enough to base a book on. I know that this does actually happen every once in a while, but would it hurt to try it more often? Or even in something that was more than a standalone novel? I may be alone here, but I would love for someone to pick up something like the Rogue Squadron series again. Actually, scratch that, I just want more Wraith Squadron stories.

  30. Oh, and a question: When I post on here lately, there is often a very substantial gap between when I make my post and when I can actually view it (like on the scale of a day or two). The time stamps on these comments appears to always be correct in terms of when I wrote and submitted them…they just don’t appear until much later. At first I thought that the site had gone to only posting moderated comments, but I can’t find mention of it. Is this happening to anyone else?

    Also, if this is just a fluke then I’d like to request the deletion of this post (whenever it may appear).

  31. Doyle: I let that post through because it’s been happening a lot lately (and not just to you.)

    A few weeks ago we had a new kind of spammer that was using duplicates of posted legitmate comments. I sent them to spam, and as a result it’s been catching a lot of real comments and sending them to spam. That’s where most of yours have been. They get delayed because I don’t get notifications on ‘spam,’ and thus they sit waiting until I check. (Which is a few times a day, usually.)

    That said, I do have some filters in place that occasionally send comments to moderation based on certain keywords (and known fandom troublemakers – No, you aren’t on it.) I do get notified of those – and most of them do go up, barring rudeness or gross stupidity of the ‘OMG CHARACTER X RULZ, CHARACTER Y DROOLZ’ variety.

  32. I thought the X-Wing series got a bit silly towards the end. But I did like the core characters Kell and his wife and Face etc?

    I think they should do more with some new or mentioned jedi knights and ben for sure. But I don’t have a problem with Vestara being redeemed, there ain’t any examples of a true sith being redeemed and kept on as a lasting living character as far as I can remember (Not counting Kip Durron here).

    Maybe they should do more with the unknown regions as well, plenty of shadowy adventure there! Btw, whatever happened to Luke’s new ability he learned from the Aing’t boys? I keep on expecting him to pull that off in a tense lightsaber fight!

    But I think the main thing would be the idea of focussing on one, two or three book stories that allow individual writers to develop and build on their own individual characters, such as Karen Traviss and Clan Skirata and say Michael Reaves and his Den Dur, I Five and the Pavans etc etc.

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