eiremauve: Icon of Eowyn from LotR (Disney: Belle Bookworm)
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I would like to put this here for posterity. For the record, I only read the first 6)!?) books in the Legacy of the Force series-I stopped when Mara got fridged and am still not sure how this series got approved, though admittedly people mistake grimdark for depth and of course repeating plots if what a lot of fanfic does. I will put them under an individual cut cause these got long.

"Ostensibly, the Mandalorians were here to help out Jaina Solo--Han and Leia's daughter, twin sister of Darth Caedus. She wanted to learn new tricks that would enable her to surprise and defeat her brother.
The first problem with this is that the basic logic of her decision felt flawed. Jaina's spent the previous four books of the series teamed up with two bounty hunters to track down and defeat a Dark Jedi. She doesn't need to look to Boba Fett to learn unconventional, non-Jedi ways of dealing with the bad guys.
The second problem is that Jaina is made into a very conventional Jedi Knight. The girl who spent a significant part of Yuuzhan Vong war playing the role of an alien Goddess, and spurned the entire Jedi Order to live inside the Killik Nest for half a trilogy, is presented as being unable to think outside the Jedi box.
Now, maybe this was psychological subtlety, and if it was, it was really good. Jacen remembers Jaina's "Goddess" role, even if Jaina doesn't. But this is another of those "slippery" characterization points--it lost much of the impact that it might have had if it was deiberate, because it wasn't clear if we were meant to take Jaina at face value or not.
The third problem, and perhaps the most serious, is that Jaina isn't given much to do except be impressed at the Mandalorians. She's shown as lacking their sense of community and their commando training, and even their swords and snubfighters are portrayed as being better than X-wings and lightsabers.
Not all the Mandalorian problems in this novel are to do with Jaina, though. The one that's provoked the most discussion has been the decision to radically rewrite their entire recent history. Their actions in the Clone Wars, the core motivations that drove Boba Fett to embark on his bounty-hunting career, and the events surrounding Fett's eventual accession as the leader of his people--all that has been changed, apparently on Karen Traviss's personal initiative, and most fans can't see any reason why.

In amongst all this, the solo mission Darth Caedus makes to save Tahiri was the only thing that felt truly heroic. Not for the first time in this series, I wanted the new Sith Lord to grow past his madness, and win the war. I'm pretty sure that wasn't what the author of this novel intended, but even if I was reading against the text, I did enjoy this part.

Being a good Jedi was good enough to redeem Kyp, Luke and Vader, as well as destroy Desaan, the Emperor reborn (twice!), Lomi, Welk, Brakiss and his entire Shadow Academy, stop Raynar and that's just the antagonists that I could remember right off the top of my head. Why is being a good Jedi suddenly not enough to stop Jacen? Sure, Jaina has spent many novels doing the whole emo-angst things over her boy toys, and obscene amounts of time in the flight simulator, but she's supposedly over that and now has the time to dedicate to becoming a stronger Jedi Knight. Why is it so important to stop being a Jedi (and BobaMando's are teaching her an "Ends Justify the Means" approach to doing things. They flat out tell her that she can worry about the state of her soul after she's stopped the bad guy--isn't doing just that what got Jacen where he's at? Yet that's neither here nor there at this point: we'll have to have the entire LotF in our hands before we'll be able to say if that was a good or bad story decision or not.

Now for the theme. The title, Revelation, ties into the Jedi learning for certain that Jacen has become a Sith Lord. Something that should have been painfully obvious after he decided to burn the Wookiee's home world. Yet reading deeper into the subtext of the novel, I got the feeling that more than that is trying to be revealed here. Frankly, there are certain things that when one reads the text, become startlingly self-evident (at least in view of the text):
• Mandalorians are the best at everything
• Jedi are evil Fundamentalists!

How can I claim this? Let's look at things one point at a time.

First up is the Mandalorians. Most of our interactions with the Mandos are through Jaina Solo, our erstwhile Jedi Knight. Our first glimpse at the awesomeness of the Mando is the fact that she's there at all. In the words of the text, Boba Fett has hunted down and killed more Jedi than any one else alive. Aurra Sing aside, once Jaina arrives at Mandalore, she spends the rest of the novel in her 'awe' mode; letting us know just how great and wonderful every action a Mando takes is. A Mando can indiscriminately beat Jaina Solo with a stick, why? Because he's a Mando! A Mando can take a Jedi in a fight, why? Because she's a Mando!

Now, I know that the Mandalorians are Karen Traviss' pet characters (one would have to not read this book to find out that fact), yet at some point, one must step back and say, "hey, that's enough; the Jedi are supposed to be the good guys here." Someone needs to be reminded that the current crop of Jedi spent YEARS fighting against an enemy that didn't exist in the Force, who used melee weapons, and constantly used weapons which stopped lightsabers and blasters. None of this stuff is new to Jedi, yet if this were the first EU novel someone read, you'd never know that certain Jedi have extensive experience with amphistaffs and Vonduun crab armor."

"Invincible saves its biggest surprise of all for the last few pages-- Admiral Daala, the one-eyed psychopath who attempted to destroy the Jedi Knights, the New Republic, and the Imperial Remnant-- a woman so deranged she would actually have sex with Grand Moff Tarkin-- is now the Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance.

And no, I'm not kidding.

This is so over-the-top ridiculous it makes it difficult to take anything from Legacy of the Force seriously. Denning seems to acknowledge this through Jaina:
"Daala?" Jaina gasped. She stared at the screen in disbelief for a moment, then finally snorted and looked back to her parents. "Very funny, guys, but I'm not really in the mood for practical jokes."

What makes this even harder to swallow is that outside of Jaina, no one seems to object. We're told that her appointment was agreed on almost universally, and even Han and Leia seem to be of the, "Let's give her a chance," mindset.

Now, this is probably just a setup for another prequel-rehash series in which the evil Jedi-hating Chief of State goes after the Order and rules with an iron fist, but it's kind of sad that this is the best reason I can come up with to explain this choice.
Now, this is probably just a setup for another prequel-rehash series in which the evil Jedi-hating Chief of State goes after the Order and rules with an iron fist, but it's kind of sad that this is the best reason I can come up with to explain this choice.
The biggest problem is that after eight books, the series didn't have a point, and after the ninth, it still doesn't. All that happened in this series was that Jacen became a Sith for like three months, Mara died, and then there was another major death that tore the Skywalker/Solo clan further asunder... But why? What was gained here? It's just tragedy for the sake of tragedy.

There is an attempt in Invincible's final pages to give the series meaning with Jaina's revelation that Jacen's fall to the dark side had succeeded in uniting the galaxy... against him!

There are two major problems with this though-- everyone saw that coming as far back as . It was obvious the galaxy would unite against Jacen. And more importantly, the galaxy was united in exactly the same way before LotF. At the end of the NJO, the Alliance, Imperial Remnant, Hapes Consortium, and Chiss Ascendancy were allies. Even after the Killik Conflict and the tension between these factions, the war was resolved fairly peacefully and all sides remained allies.

The only reason there was a real war in LotF and a galaxy that needed reuniting was because of Lumiya and Jacen, so this is absolute nonsense.

Fairly or unfairly, Invincible will carry the burden of LotF's failures because it is the final book in the series and the last word on the subject-- the last chance to repair some of the problems.

There are many good things about Invincible but even judging it as a stand alone book and ignoring the fact that it's climax of Legacy of the Force, the book falls short on its own terms."

"Even beyond the inane fall, Jacen's characterization between one novel and the next fluttered from one extreme of cackling madness to the other of cold-hearted, emotionless psychopathy. With little by way of connective issues. Even to start out with, he's a cold, emotionless robot-style character who I had trouble connecting with. He's ultimate decision to murder a young Jedi not withstanding, Jacen has trouble being a villain even from the beginning. A fact not helped by the jumping characterizations as he delved deeper into the Dark Side of the Force.

Though, she never dons the armor, she does spend a great deal of her time on screen gushing in totally unrepentant Mando-love. It's bad. It is literally a different characterization from every example of Jaina we had beforehand and what appeared in the final book of the series. One can only be thankful, that this is a mind-set which she lost once the next author took over. So, there is one good thing to Jaina taking such a small role in the first two-thirds of the series: she's only in awe of the Mandos for a single book.

The final character I feel the need to glance at here is Tahiri Veila. She's not a main character, even though she has only a few hundred pages less of screen time than Jaina. At the end of the NJO and the start of the Dark Nest Trilogy, Tahiri was a strong character. She was effectively over Anakin's death and had gotten on with her life. Yet when she became an active character in the LotF plot, she was a weak-willed, vile creature, willing to do anything to get a simple glance at Anakin again. This is so out of left field that I was left struggling to figure out just what had happened.
Thankfully, Invincible took a bit of time to try and rectify that situation. Of course they did it by having Tahiri hit on Ben (please remember that they're 28 and 14 respectively), and then having him forget about his man-love for Shevu as he watches Tahiri murder Shevu in a spat of shock (despite the medical droid telling her that it would happen). Really, it makes about that much sense in the narrative as well.

I always like hunting for a theme to a story. It's often fun, especially when chatting with Thrawn McEwok over the various themes that we have each found. Yet, the only thing I could think of for this, was a meta-theme which broke the fourth wall. The theme I found was: Lucas Books has ran out of new ideas. This relates back to the fact that the plot was a simple rehash of the Prequels and Anakin Skywalker's fall. A bad, Bollywood-style rehash.

So, this is what we're left with: poor characterizations, lackluster story lines and the melancholic feeling that nothings going to change."

Yikes. That is all.


eiremauve: Icon of Eowyn from LotR (Default)

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