In Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Star Wars: The Last Jedi written by Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff

Published by Ballantine Books, February 2013. Paperback at $7.99, 460 pages.

The cover: Jax Pavan stares at an activated Sith holocron in his left hand. In his right hand his lightsaber is activated. Before him is a giant image of Darth Vader. Gene Mollica did this great cover that I’d buy if it were a poster. Overall grade: A+

The premise: From the back cover, “Order 66 has all but exterminated the Jedi. The few remaining have been driven into exhile or hiding. But not Jax Pavan, who’s been steadily striking blows against the Empire as a lone guerrilla fighter and a valued partner of Whiplash, a secret Coruscant-based resistance group. Now he’s transporting a valued Whiplash leader, targeted for assassination, from Coruscant to safety on a distant world. It’s a risky move under any circumstances, but Jax and his trusted crew are prepared to pit their combat skills and their vessel’s firepower against all Imperial threats–except one Jax fears most: Darth Vader. And Jax knows that Vader will stop at nothing until the last Jedi has fallen.” I’m a big Star Wars fan, particularly of the Jedi. I didn’t care much for the prequels, but if you tell me there’s a book that’s set between Episodes III and IV, I have to check it out. And there’s Darth Vader? Oh, yeah–I’m in! Overall grade: A

The characters: This is the fourth book featuring Jax, but you can jump into this book without reading any of the earlier volumes of the Coruscant Nights. Jax is a Jedi carrying a lot of guilt: people have died because of the Empire’s attempts to kill him. Just when he thinks things can’t go any worse, they do on Page 48. The focus of the book for him is can he complete his mission, as a Jedi would, or will he succumb to his emotions and go after Vader? With him is his loyal protocol droid I-Five, who has a wonderfully sarcastic tone without being mean. Plus, the droid gets quite a few upgrades as the book goes on. There’s also Den Dhur, the Sullustan who provides some comic interplay with I-Five. And I absolutely loved the group of females who appeared in Chapter 34–more of them, please! The antagonist of this piece is Vader, and there’s a lot of build up to his possible appearances, since Jax knows he’s gunning for him, and when he does appear it’s gold! Vader is diabolic, since Jax can’t understand his motivations for certain actions, and that makes the Sith all the more evil. When the two do battle, in the end, it’s great! Overall grade: A

The settings: We go to five specific locations: Coruscant, seeing plenty of new places we haven’t been to before; Toprawa, the rocky base of an important group of people; Mandalore, which ties in to a very recent episode of Clone Wars; Dathomir, whose inhabitants should be known to you if you watch the current Star Wars series on television; and a place named Kantarus Station, which is the endgame of this book. I got new sights from familiar locales, as well as new places to explore. The final setting was great! Overall grade: A+

The action: Great opening sequence, especially in Chapter Three. Part Two contributes nothing to the plot that was Part One began, though there were some moments of action, but were used only to re-establish the individual that appeared on Page 194 as important. Now, Part Three–Wow! That was what you were paying for and it delivered! A half-cracked scheme from two different teams, add a pumped up Jedi and a vengeful Sith Lord, shake well, and partake! I never thought I would say this, but the action in Part Two, was was the whole of Part Two, was unnecessary. Overall grade: B

The conclusion: I loved the ending and felt ready for more! If only…Overall grade: A+

The final line: All the categories I’ve focused on, I enjoyed. But I have to say, again, I found Part Two unnecessary and the “plot” on Coruscant superfluous. Great beginning, great ending, but padded. Overall grade: B

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