Sep 28, 2008

[Books] Star Wars: Vector Prime (The New Jedi Order Book 1)

Star Wars: Vector Prime (The New Jedi Order Book 1)The Star Wars Expanded Universe has been been explored in the many, many books written thus far. As fans waited for the possibility of additional films after the original trilogy, the writing world helped blaze the trail for filling up the space before, between and after the original films and that certainly kept all of us busy.

I've always appreciated the Star Wars novels given how concern for overall continuity has always been evident and the various novels can be mapped out efficiently so you know which book goes where and thus a sort of logical progression of characters and events can be attained if you read the appropriate books in the right order.

As much as there's always been a loose arrangement of titles and control over the entire continuity, things were taken to the next level when The New Jedi Order series was conceptualized and mapped out - almost 19 novels plus additional short stories and comic books all developing a single overall plot. Previously the Star Wars novels have remained within the trilogy format for the most part and this was something beyond everything else.

Vector Prime was the book that kicked off the entire New Jedi Order series by introducing the Yuuhzan Vong - an extragalactic race that has entered the Star Wars universe with the intentions of conquering it. They are unlike any other species encountered in the history of the Star Wars Expanded Universe given their use of purely organic technology for all aspects of their lives including space travel and combat and at the same time appear to be totally absent from the Force. They are neither light nor dark, they are simply absent from the Force and thus cannot be affected by it.

The Skywalkers and Solos early in the Yuuzhan ...Image via WikipediaThe invasion starts on multiple fronts - an advance agent named Nom Anor has stirred up interplanetary aggression between two worlds, forcing Ambassador Leia Organa Solo to get involved to try and negotiate for peace while at the edge of the Galaxy a group of scientists observe a celestial object enter the galaxy and collide with the world of Helska 4. Luke Skywalker is trying to recreate the Jedi Council while the Jedi themselves have begun to splinter into two groups based on their personal beliefs about how the Force should be used. This is that stage that everything begins.

While the entire New Jedi Order series has been received with mixed sentiments, personally I thought it was a great move on the part of the writers and a very daring one at that. Not only did they decide to take things to a more extreme level by creating a race as starkly different like the Yuuzhan Vong, they also opted to revisit many of the characters introduced in all the other prior Expanded Universe books and development them further as opposed to simply creating more and more characters to further clutter the Universe.

At the same time, the darker, grimmer tone started in the series certainly helped bring the entire Expanded Universe into a new level of maturity given many of the earlier books have always had the slight sense of magical whimsy that comes from overly romanticizing the entire Star Wars Universe. One of the clearest signs of this is the willingness of the writers to finally allow major characters to die given how many of them have lasted a few decades since the events of the original trilogy practically unscathed despite the various adventures, dangers and conflicts they've become involved in.

This title was a pretty strong beginning for the series and does a fair job of introducing these new villains without revealing everything right off the bat, thus making the reader remain in that same relative sense of confusion, mystery and curiosity the the characters themselves are facing as the invasion begins.

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