Nov 27, 2012

[Books] Star Wars: Sacrifice (Legacy of the Force Book 5)

My first encounter with author Karen Traviss was less than ideal, since I didn't appreciate her novel Order 66 and her handling of Mandalorian culture. This was further aggravated by the fact that her involvement in Mandalorian lore meant that she became the natural choice to handling stories involving the infamous Boba Fett, a fan favorite among the many Star Wars characters out there.

But it's not fair to let such first impressions last so much and with every new book that I read, I do my best to give the author a clean slate. It's only fair to do so for any creative work. No one wants to be eternally judged for a single piece of work after all.

The involvement of the Mandalorians in the Legacy of the Force series of books has certainly been an interesting one. Who doesn't want to see this one great people find a way to rish up from the ashes of all their past struggles and barely surviving the Yuuzhan Vong War. And thus the role of Karen Traviss in writing some of the books of this series, including this key book.


Synopsis: Star Wars: Sacrifice is the fifth book in the Legacy of the Force book series. As stressed thus far, this novel was written by Karen Travis, who also wrote the second book in this series, Bloodlines.

Mara Jade Skywalker, wife to Luke and mother to Ben, continues to worry about the disappearance of their son. In the previous book, Exile, Ben had been sent on a secret mission to Ziost by Jacen Solo. Thankfully he has survived this ordeal, and in the process has liberated a Sith Meditation Sphere that appears to be some sort of sentient ship. Ben eventually reports back to Jacen, surrenders the ship and makes his way back to Corsucant to assure his parents that he's still alive

Meanwhile Boba Fett, also leader of the Mandalorians, does his best to keep his people neutral in this war. While he is open to them taking on mercenary contracts on an individual basis, for now the Mandalorians as a people are staying out of the civil war that threatens to tear the Galactic Alliance apart. He continues to seek out a cure to his condition lest he die within the year, and this hunt leads him on the trail of a clone that appears to have survived the Clone Wars. On top of all that. there is a new discovery waiting for them on Mandalore which may change their fortunes very soon.

Spoiler Alert: The following analysis will state the obvious.

Now with a title like Sacrifice, Mara Jade on the cover and a significant chunk of the book told from her perspective, you obviously know where this is going. Ever since Lumiya came into Jacen Solo's life with the promise of the great power of a Sith Lord, a critical piece to fulfilling his dark destiny has been finding a way to "immortalize his love" - something which has always been interpreted as killing someone close to Jacen. The popular candidates have always been Ben, his apprentice, or perhaps his wife and daughter hidden on Hapes. But this book takes us on a completely different track, so much so that we clearly know where things are headed just a few chapters into the book. Mara has sworn to forego all else in favor of her personal vendetta against Lumiya and thus it's quite the recipe for disaster.

Outside of Mara's little hunt, we also get to follow Boba Fett around a lot more. Again on a somewhat spoilery note, this is the book that we finally address his degenerative disease and finally restore Boba Fett to his full menacing glory. We all knew it was only a matter of time and of course given this is pretty much the halfway point in the overall story, they had to fix things sooner rather than later. Of course the manner in which this was addressed was still a bit of a surprise, which is a good thing. Plus there are even more questions opened up once Boba Fett gets his cure.

This is also the book where Ben Skywalker starts to get a clue that he may be on the wrong side of the fence. It somewhat amazes me how he has so resolutely stuck by Jacen's side throughout all the different controversies involving him. But then he is still a a rather young teenager and thus such mistakes can be relatively understandable, although not necessarily easy to forgive. But at the same time, it's also when a lot of the different characters decide to stop pussy-footing around Jacen and start holding accountable for his actions. This may be too little too late, but it's certainly a start.

The book really bounces between Mara and Boba Fett for the most part, and thus the story feels a lot omre focused. Sure we have the whole bit involving Surpreme Chancellor Cal Omas, but even that seems to be a very minor point compared to everything else going on with the key characters.

If anything, this book seems to stress the sort of patterns that the Sith fall into time and time again. From trying to create more and more galactic conflict to even destabilizing key governments from within, one can argue that either the Sith have a very consistent handbook for taing down the good guys or the very nature of Star Wars politics is inherently prone to the same kind of political tactics. Then again, I can't imagine how solid any interplanetary government can be given so many different races spread across so many far and distant worlds.

Star Wars: Sacrifice is certainly a key book in the Legacy of the Force series. One could say that it's an essential turning point or perhaps it's more the realization of so many plot points as we continue down the same path. It rates a good 4 developments by the Mandalorians that may change the flow of the war our of a possible 5.


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