Jan 29, 2013

[Books] Star Wars: Invincible (Legacy of the Force Book 9)

After 9 books handled by three different authors, we're finally at the end of this little adventure. And it has been an interesting journey, to say the least. A certainly a good addition to the diverse realm that is the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

And while I've had my occasional complaints with some of the books here and there, on the whole this was certainly an interesting direction to take the various Star Wars characters, especially in the aftermath of the New Jedi Order books that covered the Yuuzhan Vong War.

Beyond the fall of Jacen Solo and his becoming the Sith Lord Darth Caedus, the book also revisited Boba Fett and explored more of the modern Mandalorians after the events of the war. And while I didn't always agree with how exactly this aspect of the story was handled, it was still nice to read about. This was certainly one way to keep the fans interested in the story beyond the Jacen events.

Reviewing the last book in a series especially one as lengthy as this one, inevitably factors in the whole series before it. But I'd like to think that this book decently did the rest of the series justice in an effort to tie up all the lose ends.

Synopsis: Star Wars: Invincible is the ninth book in the Legacy of the Force series of novels. It was written by Troy Denning, who also started this whole series to begin with.

Jaina Solo has been training with Boba Fett and his Mandalorians for some time now, but things come to a head when the Imperial Remnant attack the Verpine world of Nickel One. Boba Fett and Jaina happened to be on the planet at the time of the invasion and they do their best to help the Verpines in line with the treaty between them and Mandalore. But eventually Fett orders Jaina to escape on her own and return to the Jedi Coalition, hidden in the Mists of the Hapes Cluster.

She finds that the Jedi Council is determined to locate Darth Caedus. Thus they send Ben Skywalker to try and meet up with his old colleague Lon Shevu. He is accompanied by Leia and Jaina given the meeting is on Coruscant itself. And despite their best efforts, it turns out that GAG had already been monitoring Shevu for suspicions of treason. Ben eventually gets captured in the hopes of letting Leia and Jaina escape. Thus things seem to be off to a bad start with Ben prisoner and their only clue to Jacen's location pointing back to Nickel One. And of course Jaina has to face the reality that perhaps her role as Sword of the Jedi truly means that she will have to kill her twin brother.

Of all the characters, the one that I felt did the most "growing up" in the series was naturally Ben Skywalker. And I don't just mean in terms of basic maturity, but more in line with the overall development of his character compared to the others. Sure Jaina managed to come to terms with her role in these events and her responsibility as Sword of the Jedi. But for Ben, he didn't just have to grow up, but he learned the skills of a policeman along with the burden of dealing with the burden of his mother's death. And that's a lot for anyone to deal with when you get down to it.

Jacen's defeat was pretty much inevitable. And I'm not just saying that it's because he was the bad guy in this story. It was more because he was blatantly painted as the tragic hero, the one who had to fall and was doomed to fail. There was even the last-minute effort at redemption for him, which was nice but not quite as effective as hoped, at least from my perspective. It seemed a tad too trite - a classic case of too little being too late.

And the Mandalorians, well, I just hope that they don't become forgotten in the long run.They certainly had a good thing going and regardless of Boba Fett's involvement in the future, I'd like to see them more active in the Expanded Universe from this point on.

And as for that controversial bit at the very end? Ugh, yeah I felt that was pretty stupid bit of deus ex machina that felt like a cheap shot instead of a masterstroke leading to the next major story arc in the Fate of the Jedi series. We could have done so much better there.

Star Wars: Invincible and the whole Legacy of the Force series was something like a long and drawn-out soap opera, but it was still a rather fun adventure. The book (and to some extent the series as a whole) get 4 attempts by Luke Skywalker to confuse Jacen Solo (and quite masterfully so) out of a possible 5.

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