|Mass market paperback, 305 pages|
Previously read November 2003
Reread September 2015
by Greg Keyes
Year Four of the Invasion (Month 12)
This is probably the best of the post-Traitor books in The New Jedi Order, though it's also the weakest of Greg Keyes's four contribution to the saga. Jaina ends up involved in some wacky space war escapades that feel like they're there to take up page count, but the core of the book is the adventures of Jedi Knights Corran Horn and Tahiri and Yuuzhan Vong Nom Anor, Nen Yim, and Harrar trying to get to Zonoma Sekot, which might hold the key to defeating the Yuuzhan Yong. All three Yuuzhan Vong characters have reason to be disaffected with the leadership of Supreme Overlord Shimrra, but different reasons. Keyes is as always great with characterization, and particularly his handling of the Yuuzhan Vong stands out: all three characters might be rebels, but none of them are "good guys" as a result, and they all come to their rebellion from different perspectives still influenced by their culture. His achievement is especially notable with Harrar, who had been a paper-thin villain in James Luceno's books, but little else, prior to this.
The problem is that the action feels inconsequential; some things happen that are of importance to The Unifying Force, but the stakes aren't very high. It's a shame that this was Keyes's last Star Wars book, as I thought he, Troy Denning, and Matt Stover were the big discoveries of The New Jedi Order. Denning and Stover went on to write many more Star Wars novels (as did, alas, Luceno), but Keyes moved on to original projects after this. Though these days he's writing tie-ins to properties like Interstellar, X-COM, Independence Day, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Elder Scrolls, so I feel like returning to Star Wars would be a step up.
Next Week: I wrap up this long odyssey through The New Jedi Order in The Unifying Force!