EU Retrospective: Fate of the Jedi Part 2

Well.  It’s done.  I’ve finished reading these books and I’m ridiculously relieved to be through with Fate of the Jedi.  To be completely honest, even though there are a lot of things in Legacy of the Force that upset me, I’d rather read a series like that than this one.  I hated the character derailment that some of them were subjected to but I prefer that series as a whole to reading about anything with Abeloth ever again.  No more tentacles please.  There were a lot more high points in that series than this one.  To top it off, I just never felt as invested in these books.  There was both too much and too little going on.  I know that sounds impossible but I don’t know how else to describe it.   Basically, the majority of the series made me do this:

At least there was Mercy Kill waiting for me at the end.  Observe my Wraith Squadron related tears of joy.

Warning: There are some NSFW words on some of these gifs

Vortex
My sentiment about having to read this book again can be summed up in one word: Ugh.

This book is bad.  It’s not Jedi bug sex bad because I didn’t cringe and resort to drinking but it is bad.  I literally just finished it and tossed it down and said “Stupid.  So stupid.”  Was half the galaxy replaced by Skrulls?  Honestly, I’m running out of reasons for why so many people acted the way they did.  Everyone makes bad decisions that in turn make me want to bash my head against a wall.  I can’t even rage like I usually do.  It’s just all so gosh darn frustrating.  We’ll go down the list.

First and foremost is everything involving Kenth Hamner.  I have yet to understand why “The Villainization of Kenth Hamner” had to occur and I think it’s ridiculous.  While I don’t think that he (or anyone in the order really) is looking at the situation from an entirely rational point of view, I also don’t think that anything that happened with his storyline was logical.  I especially disagree with how he dies.

That brings me to point two which is Saba.  I liked Saba when she was originally introduced.  I really did.  I feel like I’m not dealing with entirely the same character anymore.  It’s nice that she doesn’t take any pleasure in killing Kenth but it doesn’t change that she did and the last time I checked?  You don’t reward someone for that by making her the new Grand Master.  Seriously, Cilghal and Corran?  Seriously?  Kyp Durron or Kyle Katarn would’ve been better choices.  I’ll agree about wanting someone who’s more of a warrior in charge but I certainly don’t think that staging a kriffing COUP is going to help things.  There’s general distrust of the Jedi Order because they’re too powerful and act only as they see fit.  Clearly the best way to counter this is to remove the Chief of State from office.  EXCEPT NO.  NO IT IS NOT.

On the other side of the galaxy, we’ve got Skrull!Luke Skywalker.  Everything about this Luke feels wrong.  I don’t know what else to say except that this isn’t the Luke Skywalker we know from the films and previous books.  I’d also really like to know when his storyline went from ‘Retrace Jacen Solo’s Force Odyssey’ to ‘Retrace Luke Skywalker’s Love Life’.  Oh and hey!  We can throw in some Sith while we’re at it.  :|

Fourth, I still don’t get Abeloth.  If I could never read again about her tentacles and giant mouth that eats people or whatever, I’d be happy.  She is ridiculous.  Everything about this storyline is ridiculous and I want it to end.  I’m so done with all of this.

This next one doesn’t anger me as much as it annoys me.  I honestly don’t get the point of including this slave uprising storyline.  I know it gets used more later and does tie into the overarching story but it feels overall like wasted page space to me.  Sorry.

Finally, who thought this Barabel nest thing was a good idea especially when it comes to ending a book?  No, don’t answer that.  It was rhetorical.  On a scale from 1-10, this ranks an 8 on the Unnecessary Scale.

Conviction
The Horn siblings have yet to catch a break.  Everyone is just fine but noooooo, they have to still be barvy when they’re unfrozen from the carbonite.  On the other hand, at least they’re fixed by the end of the book.  I’ll take my small victories where I can get them.

As for the actual meat of the book, I first really have to question Del Rey’s decision to put “Chief of State Natasi Daala has been overthrown” on the back cover when that doesn’t happen until halfway through the book.  Again, I have to echo my previous sentiments about the stupidity of the Jedi staging a coup.  I honestly, don’t understand that logic.  Maybe that’s the secret: there is no logic!  Thank goodness I know that Wynn Dorvan’s going to end up in charge eventually.

I enjoyed the book as a whole partially because it actually kept me engaged as a reader and I wanted to keep turning the page.  The snark between Daala and Tahiri at the prison amused me greatly as did the banter between Jag and Jaina who are thankfully back together.  I also really like Seha Dorvald.  Can authors do more with her?  Please?  I’m 99% sure that Mr. Allston agrees with me on this.

This was definitely a return to the dynamic between Luke-Ben-Vestara that I previously appreciated way more than in some of the previous books.  Vestara breaks my heart just a little when she writes those letters to a fictional version of her father.  Honey, come to the light side of the Force and let us love you.  Rejecting your entire society is going to hurt a lot but you can be redeemed and then you and Ben can go have lots of wonderful adventures together.

The slave storyline finally seems to be having an effect here but I just don’t think it was worth all of the build up that it got.  On the other hand, it does mean that we get to briefly see Tenel Ka and Allana together which is always adorable.  Also, I’m growing rather fond of Javon.  He can stick around too.  The one thing that’s been driving me crazy in regards to Allana though is how inconsistent her hair color has been in this.  One book, they’re saying she has her natural red hair and the next she has it dyed dark for the disguise.

I’m also perfectly okay with admitting that Callista’s death didn’t affect me at all.

Ascension
Welcome to my conflicted feelings about this book.  There are a lot of them.  Overall, I enjoy the book.  I think it’s one of the stronger books in the series and I like Christie Golden as a writer for the most part.  I really do love the character of Vestara Khai now and would have loved to read the tale of her completely becoming a Jedi.  I also thought that the character dynamics between the Skywalkers, Jaina, and Vestara were fantastic.

Poor Wynn Dorvan.  He really cannot seem to catch a break.  Will someone give this man a medal already for being the best person in the galaxy?  I was also quite happy to see the return of Vitor Reige.  The galaxy needs a new Pellaeon so why not his bastard son?  Also, I enjoy getting to see Jag play the political game.

I just want to emphasize one last time that I liked the majority of this book.  While it did feel like it was two different books in one and I really question the wisdom of Luke’s “Let’s leave Coruscant!” tactic, it’s mostly an enjoyable read.

What I cannot stand and I hate with a burning passion is Chapter 19.  That would be the chapter where Vestara is crying in her room after being forced to kill her father and is writing a letter to an imaginary and kinder version of him.  Ben comes into her room uninvited and for some reason gets all suspicious and won’t accept “it’s personal” and uses the Force to slap Vestara.  Oh.  And then he ends up reading the letters despite her wishes, realizing how wrong he was, and then they cuddle.  Yeah.  I find everything about that situation to be incredibly problematic and just… no.  I remember seeing an interview with Golden where she hand waved it because he’s “a 16 year old boy.”  I’d like to counter and say that I don’t believe a 16 year old boy brought up in the Skywalker/Solo family would behave like that.  I kept waiting for Mara’s Force ghost to appear and smack him over the head.  Sadly, it didn’t happen.

The other part that I don’t like also has to deal with Vestara.  I’m not okay with these books giving the message that she can’t be redeemed.  It makes me incredibly uncomfortable and flies right in the face of everything that the Original Trilogy stood for.

This would also be a good time for me to mention that I think this entire series would’ve been better without Abeloth.  So.  Much.  Better.

Apocalypse
There’s a post been going around tumblr that sums up the post-RotJ Expanded Universe.  Not only is it hilarious but I have yet to see anything more accurate than the slide on Fate of the Jedi.

You have no idea how tempting it was to make that all this part of the post was.  Honestly, I don’t know what the hell happened in this series either and I’ve been reading it since Thursday.  What is Abeloth?  Why was she here?  WHAT HAPPENED?  Most importantly, THANK THE FORCE IS IT IS OVER.  Please take your weird plotline and your tentacles and never come back.

I have a similar problem with this book that I had with Invincible: It’s one big giant battle.  400 pages of video game fighting and for me?  That’s boring.  It doesn’t feel like a story.  I’m also having a similar problem to the very first chunk of books I read for this project: Sith Fatigue.  It’s a real illness people.  Raise awareness.  Only you can prevent it.

Hold on.  I forgot that the giant battle was interrupted with an Abeloth history information dump.  WHO DOESN’T LOVE A GOOD ONE OF THOSE?  And then we get it almost verbatim again several chapters later.

Oh joy.  And now we have a 9-year-old shooting people and killing them.  Yeesh.  I think that even the Solo twins were a bit older before they were out killing people.  If Allana makes it to adulthood without any major psychological issues, I’ll be shocked.

I think I already made my thoughts on ‘Vestara is a Sith and can never be redeemed!’ pretty clear but this book just amplifies them because… well…

Yeah, let’s just throw redemption out the window.  No big deal.  :|

AND TO TOP IT OFF.  Jaina and Jag’s wedding is the mostly hastily written after thought ever and it floors me that there’s not one mention of his family being there.  I just want to throw things now.

There really aren’t words for me to describe how done I am with this book and this series and not just in the literal sense.

There were a few things I liked in the book though.  I was happy to see the Horn siblings included and kick some serious butt during the Jedi Temple attack.  I was also bummed that Bazel Warv died because he’d been built up to be a really neat character over the course of the series.  All told, that wasn’t a bad death as far as deaths go because it actually meant something.  Wynn Dorvan is probably the best character to be introduced this series and I hope that nicer things start happening to him and Pocket soon.

The part I liked the most was the Imperial plotline.  I’m amused that apparently no one wants to be Head of State of the Empire.  I can but assume that Reige will toss it back to Jag like a hot potato at some point.  I’m disappointed that Jag didn’t stay Head of State though because the idea of Tahiri working as his Hand was strangely intriguing to me.  Too bad it wasn’t going to last.

Can you tell that I’m relieved to be done?  This book was overlong and the series was incredibly underwhelming as a whole.  And I am so sick of the word tentacle in my Star Wars books.  So have a gif of Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert sarcastically cheering.

Mercy Kill

Do you see this?  This is the face of a woman thrilled beyond belief to be reading this book.  Bless you Mr. Allston and bless you Del Rey for finally letting him write another X-Wing novel.  The Wraiths mean so freaking much to me and having a chance to read another book about them thrills me beyond belief each time I pick it up.

Mercy Kill has the distinction of being one of the few books that makes me want to bounce back and forth between wanting to cry because it’s so good and cry because something gut wrenchingly sad just happened.  The first chapter put such a wide smile on my face because of how perfect it was.  This book just makes me so happy.  I can’t handle it.

Oh.  You wanted me to talk about the book itself and not just gush over it?  Okay, I guess I can do that.  There’s nothing that I don’t like about this book. I love that we FINALLY got a book that really deals with the fall out from the Vong War.  And Mr. Allston used a Vong character!  I can’t believe it took ten years for us to get a book like this.  The book is also wonderful because you don’t need to have read the previous two megaseries for it to make sense.  Allston gives us all of the context we need within the text.  This is the sort book that I love and that I think we need more of in the post-NJO timeline.  Every conflict and every mission doesn’t need to be galaxy shattering.  Dealing with Thraal was important but a contained story.  AND EVERYTHING ABOUT IT WORKS.

I adore all of the next generation Wraiths we get here.  Myri Antilles is clearly one of my favorites and I love that we really got to see her come into her own here.  Watch out, Piggy.  The title of Wraith Leader might return to an Antilles one day.  I loved the additions of Jesmin Tainer and Wran Narcassan.  I just want to see more of them both.  I love Wran’s hip cloak.  And as for Jesmin… The Tainer family breaks my heart.  She needs more nice things to happen to her and I want to see more of her and Myri being best friends.

Obviously, Chapter Seventeen gets me every time.  I recall being apprehensive when they first announced the book’s title and rightly so.  Runt.  Piggy.  :(  Give me a minute, I need to sob into this stuff version of Runt that I made for the Gender Swapped Wraith Squadron group.

There’s so much in this book that I want to call out individually but we’d be here for at least a thousand words.  The Science Denying Aqualish cracks me up every single time.  I love Wedge’s brief cameo.  Lara Notsil’s two page appearance made me smile so much.  “You will not recruit my children!”  Piggy dancing for the crowds never fails to be excellent.  Face Loran: master strategist and actor is easily one of my favorite Wraiths and I love how he takes down Thraal and Maddeus so neatly.  The entire mission is brilliantly done in the typical out-of-the-box Wraith style.

I just really love this book and am ridiculously thankfully that I had this glorious bright star to look forward to at the end of this crazy journey.

In conclusion, this is the face of a woman finally freed from a 7 month long reading project and only has a thin grip on her sanity anymore.  A more formal conclusion post will come later but until then, I shall frolic joyously.  Or collapse into a puddle.  I’m not really the frolicking type.

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4 Responses to EU Retrospective: Fate of the Jedi Part 2

  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. Ian Miller says:

    I am all admiration. No, really. I've read I think about 60-75% of the EU, and there's a reason I haven't read the others.

    I especially didn't read a lot of Denning - Tempest was okay, but I couldn't get past page 3 of Inferno, and while Invincible isn't horribly awful (okay, it is, but for some reason I can sort of get on board with it...except where it comes to Tahiri) it wasn't good enough for me. So I just skipped his first two books in FotJ (which wasn't hard, since even the Allston books were giving me the sleepies).

    (Side note: for some reason, I don't mind the coup - mostly I think because I was just that fed up with the inaction and stupidity of all the character that it was cool to see the heros actually doing something and being funny and smart about it.)

    But Apocalypse...It really is just two major battles for 400+ pages. At least Invincible was only about 270 pages long. And it wasn't just the one time that Denning wasted page space by repeating information he'd given a couple of chapters ago - the whole book is just redundant exposition after redundant exposition (with a lot of violence and stupidity like Allana killing folk stuffed in between).

    Mercy Kill is Mercy Kill: pure awesome. People complained about the villain being less cool or interesting or whatever, and I was like...the villain wasn't the point. The point was the Wraiths! And the worldbuilding of how the galaxy is actually doing after all this crazy idiocy for the past ten years. And no bugs or tentacles or Sith.

    Thanks for providing this excellent resource for anyone who wants to explain what the EU literature is. I anticipate linking it in the future, when the sequels start making people say "Hey, what's the deal with all those Star Wars books from the 90s, anyway?" :)

  3. Katana says:

    Huzzah, Bria! I salute you!

    The one thing I really love FotJ for - is Ben. Ben is fantastic (except for that one, terribly OOC scene that has to be Vestara hallucinating. Because she's writing to a kind and loving father, so she might as well get slapped around by Ben, because that's just as real.)

    I liked the whole Force-psychosis thing, I thought it was brilliant! And then it kind of petered out and went, well, nowhere really. LotF ruined Tahiri for me, and I don't think anything is ever going to make me change my mind.

    Apocalypse, it left me with only two words, echoing in my head - goo fountains. GOO FOUNTAINS. That is all.

    As for Mercy Kill? <3<3<3<3

  4. Pingback: Tosche Station Radio #57: In With The New | Tosche StationTosche Station

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