EU Retrospective: Dark Nest

I thought that the book I was most dreading was The Crystal Star.  I was wrong.  It was actually the Dark Nest Trilogy.  At least Waru is so awful and ridiculous that you can laugh at it once you finish that one book and get over the trauma.  On the other hand, I had to deal with the Jedi Bug Sex for three books.  THREE.  I’d like to thank everyone who sympathized with my reading plight on Twitter.  These are some of the only Star Wars books that I haven’t read more than once.  I’m now recalling exactly why and exactly how bad they were that my 15-year-old self made that excellent call.  I’m also going to apologize right now for what will be by far the most negative post I will make for this project.  There was no livestream for these books (because I learned my lesson with Waru) but instead, you do get a lot of ridiculous facial expressions.  Enjoy?

The Joiner King
“Bugs!” Han groaned and shook his head. “Why did it have to be bugs?”
That basically sums up my feelings about this entire trilogy.  I got all of 103 pages into the book and was already cringing and wanting to run away.

I made it another 119 pages before I had to pour myself a very tall and very stiff drink.  Thank goodness for good tequila otherwise this experience could’ve gone very poorly.

These books are bad, guys.  They are really really bad.  As usual, Han seems to be the only one who gets what’s going on and just wants to get the heck out of there.  I wouldn’t even mind much of the book if the characterization train hadn’t gone so far off the rails that it was in a ravine.  The idea of the Myrkr missions still affecting them this severely so they can’t make connections with others is just ridiculous.  Jaina thinking about how that mind meld is what made her drift away from Jag is ridiculous and a disservice to her character.  When she and Jag parted way at the end of The Unifying Force, it was because she wanted to live her life a bit more before settling down not because they couldn’t connect properly or whatever stupid reason the book claimed.

Speaking of Jag, he certainly got the short end of the stick in these books and it starts right here.  And what the heck happened with Ben?  He’s a cute and smart kid but this whole hiding from the Force thing makes me sideeye and feel frustrated.  Actually, I take back what I said before.  Mara is also one of the few sane people in this book.  I just… what drugs was everyone on during these books?  Aside from that Joiner nonsense.  Just… what.

What I’d managed to block from my memory was how all of the sudden Artoo started leaking holographic recordings of Padme.

It’s okay if Luke and Leia don’t know who their mother is.  They haven’t known for 35 years in canon.  While I not so secretly yearn for a story where the entire Skywalker family grew up happy and together, this wasn’t necessary and it makes me cringe.

This is also the book that introduces the whole Jedi Bug Sex idea.  Jaina and Zekk waking up after some super intense cuddling that involved the bugs too?  Ugh.  Just….

Need I say more?

I did have two pages earmarked in the book.  The first was the chapter with Jacen and Tenel Ka which should really be no surprise to anyone.  The second is the page that contains this awful and cringe-worthy while simultaneously hilarious exchange between Jaina and Zekk: “Our boyfriend means business.” “Don’t know that it’s him. And it’s old boyfriend.” “Right. We’re so over him.”  I swear that I am not making this up.

The Unseen Queen
I had to take a nap and pour myself yet another drink before I could convince myself to start this book.  If I could get out of this horror, I would.  Note to self: Never agree to read books that I know are awful and will kill me inside.

The Padme plot device continues to be the stupidest thing ever.  It’s a very clumsy way of trying to create some sort of conflict between Luke and Mara.  It’s a clumsy way of giving Alema something to do besides be a creepy bughugger.  It’s a ridiculously clumsy excuse to basically regurgitate scenes from the Prequel films.  I hate it.  To be clear, I don’t hate that Luke and Leia know who their mother is but I hate how it was done.

I find it ridiculous that a year passed between the first two books.  I don’t care how stubborn Jaina Solo is.  I refuse to believe that her family would leave her with the bugs for a YEAR.  It’s ridiculous.  Speaking of a year, why Tenel Ka chose to slow down her pregnancy to try and hide it and who the father is is silly.  I would’ve thought that speeding it up like Etain did would have made much more sense.

Speaking on that particular part of the book, I spent the entire time Jacen was using Force Lightning to torture Ta’a Chume and take her completely out of the Hapan game of thrones shouting “WHAT THE $&#* ARE YOU DOING?  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?  STOP IT RIGHT NOW JACEN SOLO.”  This is yet another occurrence that I managed to block from my memory and now it just makes me angry.  I’m now convinced that he was kidnapped by the Skrulls and replaced while on his five year journey because Jacen Solo would never act like this, regardless of his new Force thoughts because of Vergere’s teachings.  This is my new head canon and I am sticking to it.  The bonus of all this?  He could escape from his Skrull captors and return to the civilized galaxy.  (Hey, it could happen!  Star Wars and Marvel are owned by the same people!)

I have to say that this book dragged for me and not just because I didn’t want to be reading it.  Whereas with the first book, I was able to read through it quickly despite making noises of disgust every few minutes, this one was a real struggle to get through.  There are also a handful of instances throughout all three books were sentences just don’t make sense because it’s factually incorrect or it just doesn’t make sense in the context.  It’s unlikely that editing could’ve saved these books but it might’ve been able to help them.

I also can’t stop laughing at how bewildered Luke is when Mara explains to him what’s been happening since he and Han have been out of contact.  It’s okay, Luke.  It sounds ridiculous and insane to me too.

The Swarm War

This is my thrilled face about starting this book.  Don’t I look ever so happy to start the book that fellow Tosche Station blogger Emily threw in a trashcan?

Right off the bat, this book rubs me the wrong way and that’s because of Luke’s grand speech about how everyone needs to decide if they’re going to be a Jedi Knight and put the order first or get the kriff out.  That’s not how this new Jedi Order is supposed to be.  The old Order failed for multiple reasons and you would think that they would’ve learned from their mistakes.  Personally, I find Galactic Alliance Jedi who are only Jedi and are all about the Jedi Order to be boring.  For me, a part of what made a lot of these Jedi characters interesting is that they had another part of their lives.  I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have to be at least somewhat dedicated to the Order if they want to be considered Jedi Knights but the idea that they’re supposed to be Order members first and foremost just rubs me the wrong way.  Everything about this just seems like a really bad idea.  I don’t like it.  At all.

Unfortunately, some of the more cringe worthy parts of the trilogy continue to be a theme here.  We get MORE creepy “we” moments from Jaina and Zekk and we get more Prequel Trilogy regurgitation.  Great.  Just what the doctor ordered.  I’m fairly sure I made this face every time it came up.

Hey you know what would be a great plotline for Jag Fel?  Have him basically be betrayed by his ex-girlfriend, shot down by his ex-girlfriend’s parents, his family disgraced in accordance to Chiss culture, and marooned on a planet for five years.  SAID NO ONE EVER.


Reading this book and actually the entire trilogy was just painful.  I’ll readily admit to speed reading quite a bit of it to try and make it end.  I’ll also swear that the only good things to come out of these books was Allana.  Everything else can bugger off because I’m now realizing that almost all of the plot lines and character changes that I’ve strongly disliked about the recent Expanded Universe got their start here.  Yes, I am bitter.

And on that dour note, that would be the Dark Nest Trilogy.  I highly do not recommend reading these books.  Next up is the Legacy of the Force series!  As always, you can follow my progress in real time on Twitter @chaosbria or the hashtag #WaruExpress.  It probably won’t be quite as entertaining as the past few days have been but I can promise that I shall be much more positive from here on out.

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8 Responses to EU Retrospective: Dark Nest

  1. Pingback: Look at your life, look at your choices: Bria’s Rereading the Expanded Universe (Woo Woo, All Aboard the Waru Express) | Tosche Station

  2. Brian says:

    Wow. Just reading this recap is giving me all sorts of EU related PTSD. I hadn't realized how much of this trilogy I had buried in the back of my brain and locked up so I wouldn't have to think about it.

  3. Lora says:

    Funny, I had forgotten a lot of this happening in those books. I do remember my brother asking me what else he should read (star wars vise) after NJO, and I told him he *could* read DN, but I didn't recommend it. And he never did.

    Yeah, there were a lot of things wrong with these books. The characterization had a lot of problems. Many (most) of the plots were strange or just way out there. And did I miss the memo that Leia had thrown away the red bladed saber Luke gave her and right away made a new (blue one)? Because that is what is basically written at the end of The Swarm War. (It made me angry; I loved the fact that Leia had a red bladed saber and not a traditional jedi color). Not to mention that whole leaving some of his students on Dagobah as punishment that Luke did... That was stupid and it's not Luke.

    I think I will read your reviews of Legacy just for the snark. I'm not likely to ever read them myself anyway.

    You're a really fast reader to be done with these already. You make me feel like a slow reader. :P
    (And you were 15 when these came out? Then you must be a few years younger than me).

  4. Ian Miller says:

    Yup. Everything I've hated in the EU (except maybe the fridging of Nelani) I blame directly on this trilogy, and particularly Troy Denning. And even the maybe is a result of the direction Denning set, so, yes, still probably his fault.

    And people wonder why I wasn't really into the post NJO EU books before the sequel trilogy hit me with all the crazy.

  5. Matt Cloutier says:

    I was reading these around the time I graduated from high school and actually had a copy of Unseen Queen in my yearbook photo... I was really stupid back then.

  6. Cobranaconda says:

    I remember hating on DN when they came out in Lit or something and getting flamed for not liking them. I'm glad history has proven to be on my side.

    It's a wonder to me how they still let Denning write anything after this, yet he's now up there with having the most SW books ever with Allston or something, which is disturbing.

  7. Katana says:

    You are a brave brave woman, Bria. I salute you. Hell, I give you a medal. A really awesome shiny one. With a cool presentation ceremony and everything.

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