Set over 25,000 years before the Skywalkers were playing leading roles on the galactic stage, Tim Lebbon adds to this new era in the Star Wars universe with the tale of Lanoree Brock, a Je’daii Ranger. She has been summoned by the Je’daii Council to embark on a mission to stop one man from trying to open a hypergate and incidentally destroy the entire Tythan star system. It is a mission of utmost importance. As if the mission wasn’t pressure enough, the Council reveals that she has been chosen for the job because the man is believed to be Dalien Brock, her brother thought to be dead for years.
This book doesn’t feel like the Star Wars of the films and nor should it. Technology and societies advance at rapid rates and so it is logical that the Jedi of 25,000 years ago aren’t wielding lightsabers and going through the same training program as those of the Old Republic. This world feels different and there’s a sense of discovery when visiting these planets and learning more about this system’s societies. At the same time, the book does still have that Star Wars feel to it and this is clearly just a far older and more primitive version of the galaxy far far away that we all know and love.
The plot is enjoyable and engaging as are the characters. Lebbon doesn’t use a large cast and the characters benefit from it. Lanoree is well rounded with her own strengths and weaknesses. She also has the distinction of being a female lead who isn’t around to be a love interest. It’s refreshing and more Expanded Universe authors should take note. Tre Sana is a Twi’lek who ends up aiding Lanoree on her mission. He goes through plenty of character development throughout the book and will likely leave readers wanting to know more about his back story and more about him in general. On the other side of the story is the antagonist, Dalien Brock, who is downright unsettling. He’s not quite like any other villain we’ve met due in part to his militant rejection of the Force. So much about him never feels quite right and it makes Dal stand out from the countless number of Sith who have filled that antagonist role.
As a whole, the book is a solidly enjoyable read. It might not be the best Star Wars book in existence but it’s definitely a nice addition to the Expanded Universe. Stylistically, Lebbon made a great choice by choosing to write the parallel storylines in different tenses. The tale of Lanoree and Dalien on their Great Journey is written in the present tense while the current story is written in past tense. It’s a simple and subtle yet effective way to differentiate between the two without resorting to something more obvious and clumsy like italics. Even though we know how the Great Journey ends, Lebbon does an excellent job of weaving the two tales in and out of one-another and keeping the readers engaged in both without making the past feel like a drag.
At the end of the day, I give Into the Void a 7/10 and suggest you give it a try.
Thank you to Random House for providing us with an advanced copy of the book for review purposes.