Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
Review by Shadow Chaser
The start of a new 9-book series starting two years after the events of Legacy of the Force: Invincible, Fate of the Jedi: Outcast really packs a punch, both emotionally and intellectually.
As I had said in my last review, I wished Jacen had been alive and while have my misgivings on killing Jacen at the end, this whole new set of stories revives my hope in a somewhat good way. I do not praise the plotline, but I do praise the writing style and quality and yes, Aaron Allston levity in the midst of what is a really dark situation for the Jedi Order and for our heroes of the Galactic Alliance.
Allston brings a dose of humor that is much needed as Luke Skywalker is outcast for ten years from the Jedi Order; forbidden from having any sort of contact or influence within Jedi matters. Together they begin the search into why Jacen descended into Sithhood and hope to at least bring their findings back to prevent more Jedi from facing the same fate. Meanwhile, the rest of the Jedi have their hands full when Valin Horn mentally breaks and goes on a destructive rampage, declaring that everyone he used to know are now fakes.
Valin's fate is a grim and sharp reminder that all of the current leaders of the Galactic Alliance are former Imperials, enemies that we had come to love and hate when we were pouring through the books pre-New Jedi Order. Another reminder of a reflection of the world we live in, especially in regards to post-9/11, is the restrictions that Chief of State Natasi Daala imposes on the Jedi Order. Carefully monitored by state-appointed minders, the Jedi are seemingly stripped of their civil liberties and freedom at a certain cost, reminding us of a pre-New Republic era when Emperor Palpatine was in charge and stripped non-humans of their rights.
I sense another Rebellion starting to form, hopefully.
On a third front, Han and Leia, having escaped Courscant to help Lando with a business venture before all of the political meltdown was happening, go to of all the places, Kessel. I have to admit, I was pleasantly surprised that Allston included so much Jedi Academy lore, especially mentioning the little bits from Han's perspective about his time spent down in the mines with Kyp Durron and you can definitely feel the little presence of Daala just overshadowing what they were doing there. I'm not going to spoil the rest of Kessel, but needless to say, anyone remember Wedge freeing prisoners on Kessel for the fateful Courscant mission? You'll get a nice surprise regarding that too and its definitely not in a bad way.
On Luke's end, he and Ben travel to Dorin to talk to of all species, Plo Kloon's species. That was a tie-in that I had never expected since I stopped watching Clone Wars on CartoonNetwork half way through the season. It was very good to see that Allston and the other authors were starting to wrap Old Republic storylines and Jedi into the New Jedi Order era. On Dorin, Force-based philosophy is exchanged and is most definitely a refreshing view on how others view the Force. The moral part of the story is written in this chunk and is a bit high-handed and lofty to my tastes, but this was where it tickled me intellectually (along with the political aspect of the Jedi and Daala, but that's my inner and outer journalist squeeing in a fangirl moment).
There is so much I want to talk about on the Jedi end of things, but to do so would ruin the novel for readers. I must say that while it has been an overall positive review, there are a couple of bad parts. Allston doesn't hesitate to throw around the phrase, "who's who of [blank, blank]" and the names thrown in the book does read like a who's who cast list. For a reader just getting into the Fate of the Jedi series or having never really picked up the books before New Jedi Order, most of the names will not be as familiar to them as some of the other names. There, some of the empathy, especially for Corran and Mirax Horn, goes straight out the door.
Then there are the obscure Jedi and especially the references to the whole back plot triangle revolving around Daala-Kyp-Han-and-the-elephant-in-the-room-named-Sun-Crusher. Though the Sun Crusher is not explicitly named, readers who weren't terribly familiar with the Jedi Academy Trilogy would not understand the significance of why Daala is trying to restrict the Jedi nor understand that she may have a little hint of vengeance in her plans for Luke and the others. One of my friends never read any of the books published pre-NJO, and I can see him getting confused with Fate of the Jedi once he starts the series.
It is good to read up on characters we miss, especially some of the Rogues that appear in here (not just Wedge or Tycho anymore!), but also on other characters. But I fear if there is anymore name dropping for readers not familiar, it'll ruin the whole plot of the story. I look forward to the next installment of Fate of the Jedi, Omen.
Oh and by the way, my deepest sympathies out to Corran and Mirax…those two definitely need hugs.
Disclaimer: The opinions and observations noted are the property of the author. Neither Wookieehut nor any associates makes any claims or lucre from the posting of this report or review. This webpage is presented by Wookieehut.com.