This marks my third and final review of a Star Wars Expanded Universe novel series. Here we can see the culmination of Jacen Solo’s tragic character arc that began in Dark Nest, along with new character conceptions and plots that certainly aren’t like the characters and stories we remember from the old days (and I apologize for how jaded that just sounded, but that’s how hard I’ve been taking these developments).
So here now is Star Wars: Legacy of the Force!
Betrayal, by Aaron Allston
After fighting two hellish wars, peace has finally come to the galaxy… except for some reason the Galactic Alliance decides to become a bully and provoke Corellia into a civil war (but hey, it’s not called Star Peace, now is it?). Han also decides he’s Corellian now and turns against his brother-in-law, Luke freaking Skywalker (why, exactly?). Also, Jacen goes investigating the cause of this war, discovers a Sith Lord named Lumiya behind it, and then decides that he’ll become her apprentice because he can be strong enough to bring peace to the galaxy (a vision with no basis in reality whatsoever). In other news, Wedge Antilles is awesome, delivering incredibly sharp insults to both sides of the conflict.
Bloodlines, by Karen Traviss
Jacen takes over a new secret police force and terrorizes innocent citizens to prove himself worthy of Sith Lordship. Mara Jade, for some reason, has no problem letting her son help Jacen out. Luke debates if Jacen’s turning evil or not without actually confronting him. Also, Jacen ends up killing Boba Fett‘s daughter, so Fett decides not to take revenge on Jacen just yet because that’s just what all his fans would have wanted to see.
Tempest, by Troy Denning
Remember that daughter Allana that Jacen and Tenel Ka secretly had in the last series? Well, Jacen decides to be a halfway decent secret father and go visit the two of them. He then proclaims that his parents are dead to him and decides that he’ll sacrifice them in his quest for Sith Lordship. Apparently, the “rules” for becoming a Sith say you have to kill the thing you love to become powerful, although it’s really more of a way to establish a once compassionate character as a heartless villain.
Exile, by Aaron Allston
Jacen spends an entire book arguing with himself if he’s truly evil and is this all the right path (despite the readers loudly telling him no). He also sends his cousin, Ben Skywalker, out on a mission to retrieve a Plot-Advancing Amulet from the ancient Sith world of Ziost, whereupon Ben slowly comes to reject his crazy cousin’s visions and prove himself to be a very moral Jedi (although the next two books kind of screw around with this character development). And then there’s Wedge Antilles, who awesomely calls Jacen out on his new turn for idiocy and evil.
Sacrifice, by Karen Traviss
After a lethargic pace thus far, things finally heat up as Jacen takes over the government in a fairly quick coup d’etat, sends his young cousin off on his first assassination, and then declares himself “Darth Caedus” after killing Mara Jade as his “Sith sacrifice.” Luke kills Lumiya after thinking she killed Mara, then drops into a severe depression that will last for two more books. Also, the Mandalorians show up, only to contribute nothing except commentary.
Inferno, by Troy Denning
Jacen Solo Darth Caedus tries to further alienate himself from the galaxy by holding a bunch of Jedi students hostage, having the former Chief of State killed, torturing his cousin Ben, and setting the Wookiee homeworld on fire. By several unexplained flukes, neither Luke Skywalker nor any of the other heroes are ever able to simply walk up and destroy this hideous character.
Fury, by Aaron Allston
Caedus tries to force Tenel Ka to commit the Hapans to war by stealing their daughter Allana. Unsurprisingly, this doesn’t work. Tenel Ka teams up with the Jedi to sneak onto Jacen’s ship and steal back Allana, and then destroy a Corellian superweapon just to rub more salt into the Sith Lord’s wound. Also, Wedge Antilles and Kyle Katarn make a few cameos just to lend their awesome presence to the whole spectacle.
Revelation, by Karen Traviss
Jaina goes to Boba Fett for training on how to fight and kill her brother, rather than to Luke Skywalker or any of the other qualified Jedi Masters she knows. Fett decides he’ll get his long-put-off revenge by doing this, which leads to Jaina spending the whole book thinking that Mandalorians are so much cooler than Jedi. Also, Caedus goes to Fondor to nuke it into submission, then watches in surprise as half his fleet starts a mutiny, gets his ass kicked by Mandalorians, and then runs home with his tail between his legs.
Invincible, by Troy Denning
After being so utterly hammered in the last book, Caedus actually starts to become an effective villain. Then his sister stabs him through the heart when it looks like he might start to show remorse for what he’s done. War ends, his daughter Allana gets adopted by Han and Leia, Jaina mourns for her dead twin, and a crazy, incompetent female admiral with an eye patch gets elected Chief of State. The End.
Final Verdict: I was initially very reluctant to start seeing this series after the travesty of Dark Nest. When I did get around to reading it, I found all my fears proven true, if not exceeded. It’s not that I truly despise them for their attempt to recast Jacen Solo as a villain, but that there were so many better ways of doing so and I could think of plenty of other characters they could have turned into more effective and interesting villains. And not only that, but the authors basically copied Anakin Skywalker’s fall from the prequels, so it’s not even that creative. Karen Traviss also has a tendency to write up the Mandalorians and other soldiers as amazingly epic, while casting the Jedi as arrogant, aloof, and incompetent. Still, this series did have one redeeming grace…
Wedge Antilles is awesome. He gets five out of five stars, now and forever.
Bibliography: Allston, Aaron. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Betrayal. New York: Del Rey, 2006.
Traviss, Karen. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines. New York: Del Rey, 2006.
Denning, Troy. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Tempest. New York: Del Rey, 2006.
Allston, Aaron. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Exile. New York: Del Rey, 2007.
Traviss, Karen. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice. New York: Del Rey, 2007.
Denning, Troy. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Inferno. New York: Del Rey, 2007.
Allston, Aaron. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Fury. New York: Del Rey, 2007.
Traviss, Karen. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Revelation. New York: Del Rey, 2008.
Denning, Troy. Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Invincible. New York: Del Rey, 2008.