Wookiee Hut Book Reviews presents:
Legacy of the Force — Invincible
Review by Shadow Chaser

Author: Troy Denning

SPOILERS: For Star by Star and for Invincible

I'll have to admit, I picked up the Legacy of the Force series with some trepidation and fear. I was a fan of New Jedi Order until the events of Star by Star when they killed Anakin Solo. The little innocent part of me died when it was decided that Star Wars characters are not all that invincible and they can die. Good guys can die just as easily as the bad guys. I still faithfully finished NJO and really loved the dynamics between the living characters, especially the last fight between Jacen and Onimi.

Then came the Dark Nest Trilogy. More to do with foreign aliens and bugger like things that reminded me a little too much of Ender's Game, but it was better than the Vong, I supposed. At least there were Dark Jedi in the novels which I thought was much better than non-Force wielding psychopathic aliens hell-bent on destroying the galaxy for a very ambiguous reason. This was Star Wars returning to its roots of Dark Jedi and a clash of light versus dark.

Then came Legacy of the Force. Now my Force-attuned senses picked up on "Force" part of the title. Was this truly the return to the titanic battle of Light side versus Dark side? Yes it was, and it featured the growing Sith on Korriban and the turn of Jacen Solo from happy-go-lucky fourteen-year-old kid to family-killing Sith Lord; a trial all Skywalkers seem to go through (how ironic).

I really, really enjoyed Legacy of the Force. I was sad to see Jacen turn and kill Mara in the process, but the last few pages of Invincible made me hate what the editors have decided for Jacen's fate.

One word: redemption.

Throughout Legacy of the Force, I felt Jacen was walking Ulic Qel-Droma's path of the dark side and thus since Ulic was redeemed at the end by Nomi Sunrider, I felt that Jacen could be redeemed. Either by his cousin Ben (who completely rocks in this series and has become my one of my three favorite characters in Star Wars) or by his own twin sister Jaina. When Jaina landed the killing blow at the last few pages my faith in Star Wars' concept of redemption and return to light was shattered. I was boggled at how far the editors and author could take it and it felt like to me a betrayal of what George Lucas' whole idea of Star Wars was the redemption and forgiveness of sins.

However this isn't a completely negative review of the book at all. There is definitely a nice setup for the events of the Legacy comics which I had been following on the fringe (i.e. my good friend has been telling me about each particular plot point while I've been telling him about Legacy of the Force) and will probably pick up soon to read. The round robin of authors writing this series definitely grasped the characters they voice. Troy Denning is especially gifted with injecting a bit of dark humor along with moments of tenderness and all-out fights in his books.

It was very poignant to read one of fourteen-year-old/fifteen-year-old Jacen Solo's stupid jokes that were lifted from the Young Jedi Knights novels which were coincidentally the first Star Wars books I got my hands on (before tackling Zahn's Heir to the Empire Trilogy). Luke even mentions to Jaina at one point how he keeps "hearing" Jacen's jokes run through his head. Most of the Star Wars authors in NJO ignored the YJK series it seemed but Denning definitely plays it up which is a nice treat for fans of the whole Jacen/Tenel Ka ship and Jaina/Zekk ship.

Anyways, moving on to the other characters. For some odd reason I've never liked what was decided for Tahiri's path to become a whiny, bitchy, needy little girl who just seem to not be able to let go of Anakin Solo. Granted Jacen had a hand in that, but it just seemed a little too excessive. However, Denning seems to write her a little too hard between little girl and adult woman, especially when she deals with Ben in that particular interrogation scene. At least she finally gets in her head to leave the Skywalker/Solo family alone at the end.

And speaking of Ben Skywalker ... what more could I say about Luke's kid? Already a Jedi Knight at age fourteen? This whole series was definitely Ben and Jacen's story and while it seems like the editors and authors made Ben seem like an Anakin Solo substitute, the kid definitely has his own personality and morals; slightly twisted in the beginning, but otherwise definitely Luke and Mara's kid.

In the final word, Invincible definitely finishes up some plot lines, but it leaves so much hanging. For one thing, I would have really liked to see more of the political dilemma faced between the GAG and the others opposed to it and more of the aftermath, especially with Admiral Daala (holy smokes she is still alive! Where's Callista?) as the new Chief of State.

I look forward to reading Millennium Falcon due out at the end of the year, but a part of me that always believes Star Wars is about redemption will now write a fanfic with Jacen still alive.

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Shadow Chaser is surprised at how much she is defending Jacen even though he is not one of her favorite characters. She believes Jacen is meant for greater things along with one of her three favorite characters, Jaina Solo.

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