Nov 1, 2011

[Books] Star Wars: Force Heretic III: Reunion (The New Jedi Order Book 17)

I had been generally complaining about the Force Heretic trilogy of books since I started on the first book in this series. A lot of my discussions focused on how the story seemed to lack substance and the real meat of things had been somehow stretched across the three titles in the hopes of coming up with a longer story. Great for book sales for bad for readers, to be sure.

The only thing that could hope to save this trilogy would have been making sure the ending was satisfying. I know the story goals for this trilogy did not include the end of the way - that's still something further down the road. But it did set out to address a major mystery in the form of Zonoma Sekot - the living planet that had been alluded to in so many prior titles and somehow promised to guarantee the end of the war. And it's not even about completely destroying the enemy somehow - just finding a way to definitively neutralize the Yuuzhan Vong threat and bring an end to the conflict.

And after all that build up, I can't say that I was entirely happy with how things turned out. It wasn't necessarily bad per se, but at the very least I had been hoping for more closure or something. And that totally wasn't what happened at the end of this particular arc.

Star Wars: Force Heretic III: Reunion is the third book in this particular arc within the New Jedi Order sequence of titles. It was written by Sean Williams and Shane Dix.

This is an unofficial map which represents the...Image via WikipediaAfter the whole debacle at Bakura, the Solos end up further in the Outer Rim territories in their continuing quest to reconnect with the other planets in the Galactic Alliance that had fallen out of contact because of the way. Their last tip had led them to Ondax in order to find another contact from the mysterious Ryn network, but thus far their search has yielded no positive results. Eventually their mission evolves into an effort to protect key communications bases that handle all signals going in and out of the Outer Rim.

And in the seemingly larger arc of the novel, Luke, Mara and the rest of the Jade Shadow team eventually complete their search for the sentient planet Zonoma Sekot. The planet is just as wondrous as could be expected given how it had been described in past books and thus it seems that the potential for finding a solution to this vile war is just within reach.

And lastly, Nom Anor continues his slow return to power by posing as The Prophet Yu'shaa, the new leader of the Shamed One heresy that continues to spread throughout Yuuzhan Vong society. With the aid of Ngaaluh of the Deception Sect, he now has the ability to spy directly into the court of Supreme Overload Shimrra. However some of his other lieutenants seem less than enamored with how Nom Anor has chosen to steer this campaign against the established order of things.

This trilogy has been all about the quest to find Zonoma Sekot. Ever since Vergere first introduced the stories of the living planet so many books ago, we knew that sooner or later we'd reach this point. But the discovery itself turned out to be a bit of let-down since we still don't know what the planet is supposed to do. Yes, we recognize the planet does seem to have the potential to do great things with is living ships and its ability to control its plant life quite significantly. This has always been a critical piece of the larger plot and yet we don't know how we're supposed to benefit from having the living planet involved in this conflict.

The Solo Family storyline was also a major disappointment. It was weird enough that they had set out on a mission to reconnect with far-flung planets that were part of the Galactic Alliance, but when their mission practically only involved three major systems and then the communication bases at the end, it seemed more like a weird babysitting mission or something. Just a way to keep the Solos busy while the other characters were busy with the more important stuff.

And no, the big reveal about the issue with the communication stations didn't seem like all that big a reveal. Nor did it appear to be an event that felt logically connected to all the others. It did not feel like this was the true reason they had needed to venture into the Outer Rim. And thus the payoff was quaint and yet not all that important.

I suppose the only really interesting bit in that side plot was the continue revelations about the Ryn Network and of course the final resolution of Tahiri's internal struggle.

Space combat was present, but not all that detailed. The author team clearly aren't all that confident or skilled with really describing the nuances of ship-to-shop combat that is a bit of a hallmark of the Star Wars books. It's not that the scenes were bad - just not as descriptive as I would have liked.

Star Wars Force Heretic III: Reunion is a decent enough book for the most part, but it just didn't feel all that essential to the meta plot. The same practically goes for the whole trilogy, but that's my perspective anyway. The book still gets by with 3 seemingly never ending moments on the surface of Esfandia out of a possible 5.

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