Rating: 3 out of 5
Mr Soule seems to belong into the school of new Star Wars writers who have given character complexity a pass in favour of sweeping action and Jedi-are-the-best passages. While I enjoyed this, the book would have been significantly better had there been a little more introspection and forward planning over “everything we do is so light and bright and good”.
The Jedi characters, therefore, were a bit of a disappointment. Without being sure what the author’s parameters were for the book, it looked like he had to base it as far out of the “known” Phantom Menace times and later, while retaining numerous characters that would still appear in the films. This makes for poor compromises, where Yoda is mentioned but doesn’t appear because he’s taken some time off. I would much rather this have taken place a few centuries earlier, because it’s not the characters who are the link that the author forcibly constructed but rather the organizations and the setting.
Another item, which did not quite compute, was Chancellor Soh. She is hailed to be the best of the politicians, an unequalled Chancellor whose far-reaching policies drive the Republic forward. Yet, as that policy, we are given “the Great Works” which, in essence, means building lots of big things (think pyramids). The Republic’s electoral part has never really been part of the series, but I’d struggle to see how the vast majority of the galactic populace would think those are necessary or good compared to things that would visibly improve their lives.
I did like the action that the plot centered around; from a simplistic start we get a story that is more complex than one would originally give credit for. This led to some unexpected results in the way things turned out, obviously making way for a (series of) book(s) to follow this. As, on the balance, I liked this, I will be taking a look at those.