Saturday, March 15, 2008

"Revelation", by Karen Traviss (Arrow Books)

The Penultimate Volume of The Legacy Of The Force Series picks things up nicely

So, with only one book to go, we see Jacen Solo tumbling further (some would say completely) into the Dark Side, powers growing as he gives himself over to his new role as Sith Lord (there are a couple of impressive Force-displays); and Luke and the other "good-guys" presented with the choice of either supporting the Galactic Alliance (which is exhibiting more and more Empire-like tendencies and traits), or do they join, once again, the side of rebellion. Ok, so the choice is obvious, but they manage to remain irritatingly unbias, favouring neither side (especially Han and Leia, as they are wanted criminals - again).

The most important part of "Revelation" is that Ben Skywalker discovers the truth behind his mother's death, thereby cementing his place firmly in opposition to Jacen, his former teacher and most trusted friend. Though, as this is dealt with relatively quickly, Ben doesn't play much of a part in the chaotic third act of the novel. Han and Leia don't really play much of a part either - each only appearing shortly at the beginning and end of the novel. It's clear that the series is meant as a transitionary period in which we'll see the new generation of Skywalkers and Solos taking centre stage. A passing of the torch/lightsaber.

Revelation manages to avoid the slight drop off of previous volumes in the series. Since the opening two volumes, the series has suffered because each instalment can only do so much and, inevitably, some feel like fillers. With this penultimate volume, Karen Traviss has managed to avoid this very well. Her writing is (as always) tight and pulls you along with the story, focussing mainly on two different groups: Jaina Solo and Boba Fett (who continues to be the most interesting character in the series), and also Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus and his co-Chief Of State Niathal. Fett's return and also the time spent developing the Mandalorians is a welcome addition to the story, as are the revelations of his early, post-Revenge Of The Sith life.

There is one thing, though: referencing Naboo a lot will not make its importance in Episodes I-III more plausible (four times in first 30 pages).

As mentioned, the third act of the novel is chaotic - but in a good way. Jacen shows even more how brutal he can be, and also reveals his "true" identity to everyone. Let's hope "Invincible", the final instalment, by Troy Denning manages to surpass everyone's hopes, and keep this level of quality (I actually forgot to take notes while reviewing this, I was enjoying it so much).

Longer than the previous three instalments, Revelation feels like a novel in itself, rather than just number eight-of-nine. Bodes very well for the finale.

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