Oh hi there James Luceno! I was very interested to read Luceno in Legends, having only read him in canon so far and I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed! His writing was it’s usual classy style and I think he handled some tricky situations very well. For an author who has been accused of being quite ‘wordy’ by some, I actually thought this was an extremely pacey duology with some rip-roaring space battles which held my interest for the duration (no mean feat with my attention span for space battles!) One of my favourite parts of both books was the epic battle when a giant ‘space snake’ horror created by the Yuuzhan Vong attacked the Jubilee Wheel space station. It was such a thrilling scene and one I will remember for a long time!
On with the story – Han is back! I was a little worried as he’s not in a good place at all and grieving Han is not a nice Han to be around. This is the aforementioned ‘tricky situation’ that Luceno deals with and for the most part, handles it quite well. He basically sends Han off on a swashbuckling adventure, having him meet a new alien ally and throwing him headfirst into the action, leaving little spare time for moping and Anakin-blaming.
I also really enjoyed all the effort to continuity that Luceno threw it, whether it was reflections on Han’s part to his time in A.C Crispin’s magical trilogy, or even to the Centerpoint crisis. Luceno is a master of weaving all elements of Star Wars (whether it’s films or novels) into what he’s writing to create a coherent and believable story which I very much like!
He also really ‘gets’ Han – something which particularly resonated with me when C-3PO describes Han as ‘the most human of humans’. I think this is a perfect description of Han and this is how he is portrayed in the novel – flawed, rash and very human. Sure he is hurting, and that makes him lash out – particularly at Leia. I can’t say I enjoyed the scenes where he is being a less than stellar husband to Leia, but she does handle it well and I guess it would be unrealistic if their relationship wasn’t severely tested by the death of a beloved friend at the hands of a vicious enemy.
Whilst Jaina takes a slight back seat in these novels (wah), we do get to spend a fair amount of time with Jacen and Anakin, who continue to delight me! Jacen is developing into one of the most complex and fascinating characters in the series. I love his struggle with the concept of the Jedi and the nature of the force. He is clearly thoughtful and concerned about the level of power the Jedi wield and, in fact, asks some pertinent questions about the role of the Jedi which I still can’t help but compare to the sequel trilogy and whether Luke is going to get asked the same questions by his nephew as he did in these Legends!
Luceno also writes Leia at her very best. Having taken a step back from politics, she has rolled up her sleeves and is getting stuck in with the relief effort, helping stranded refugees attempting to flee the shadow of the Vong. This is the Leia I adore, blood and dust covered Leia who is mucking in to help the people in need whilst under fire on all sides! Plus, her speech to the Hapes Consortium gave me CHILLS!
In fact, I am going to finish the review of this duology with a quote from that speech which I think sums it up perfectly:
“…so grim is this shadow, so monstrous and far reaching, it may well have the power to extinguish all light…”