The bounty is out on Jacen and the other Jedi, and the Peace Brigade are really coming into their own as a serious new threat to Luke and his Jedi. It creates some fascinating drama as people are throwing in their lot with the Yuuzhan Vong and handing Jedi over to them. I don’t believe for one moment that the Vong will actually spare these hapless idiots – but it is interesting to watch the Peace Brigaders try and justify their actions!
There are some great exchanges between Han and Jacen in these two books. It’s always interesting to see Han in the Dad role. Plus he was the perfect person to give Jacen a little shake, I do enjoy Jacen’s musing on his place within the Jedi and the war, bit not when it gets too paralysing for him to act!
However, whilst all drama that is going on in the background, Anakin is very much front and centre of this duology and it has solidified him as one of my favourite Legends characters so far! In fact, I think these two books have been my favourite of the New Jedi Order so far. Anakin is such a great hero to follow on his adventures and I loved getting inside his head. He has grown so much in this series and it’s been wonderful to watch. He is a natural leader but he’s starting to realise the burden of responsibility that all leaders must bear. Also his deepening understanding of the Yuuzhan Vong is just another string to his bow and I think he will be a real thorn in the side of the Vong during this war. I also got to meet Tahiri properly in this duology which is cool, she seems like a sweet girl and a breath of fresh air in this quite sombre series (despite everything she goes through in these books!). Her and Anakin are completely adorable together, I love that their relationship is based off a strong friendship, and it’s highly entertaining to watch them work out their feelings for each other!
I enjoyed being back on Yavin 4, it’s so reminiscent of the drama in the forests of Mrkyr from the Thrawn trilogy. I also liked that the action kept focusing on Anakin and the crisis unfolding on the moon, rather than distracting me with events from elsewhere! I wanted to be with Anakin in the thick of things as he really is the star of these books and this is where Greg Keyes keeps us.
The New Jedi Order is a great series for getting to spend lots of time with different characters. Because it is such a massive series it has the luxury of ditching a character for a book or two and then another author can pick them up again. That way, we get to spend decent time with each character (well, almost – I still feel we’ve had too little of Jaina since Dark Tide but I digress…).
Also, we don’t get to see any action through Luke’s eyes which is clever. Not only is it difficult for authors to do him well, but it also gives him a certain gravitas and mystery! We do still see lots of him through Mara, the person closest to him, so we get to share some of his worries through her and he doesn’t feel like a stranger in this series.
Anyways, back to Yavin 4. The alliance between Anakin and Vua Rapuung was SO interesting, it was such a pleasant shock to have a Vong defect (so to speak) and there was a great tension between the two. I love learning more about the Vong (we aren’t supposed to call them that you know…it’s insulting!) and their culture and hierarchy is fascinating. It does make them slightly less of a ‘big bad villain’ instead they are becoming a slightly more understandable opponent.
I do need to take a minute to talk about the Jaina/Kyp interactions in these books. It was great to see someone finally directly challenge Kyp and get to see him defend himself. I am so angry that he manipulated Jaina but I also can’t deny that such a heavy strike against the Yuuzhan Vong was quite possibly worth it. I do find I actually agree with a lot of his sentiments, I am finding the Jedi’s (mainly Luke’s) passivity frustrating and we’ve really not seen Luke in action since Belkadan. So I’ll finish here with a fitting quote from Kyp, which I think Luke needs to sit up and pay attention to; “…we are the New Jedi Order, and this is our war…”