Fantasy Realms

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Monday, August 29, 2005

Star Wars: Joiner King

Title: Star Wars: Dark Nest 1 - The Joiner King
Author: Troy Denning
Pages: 443
Rating: @@@@ (out of five)
Price: $6.99

Summary: Much has happened in the five years since the defeat of the Yuuzhan Vong. Jacen Solo has gone on a personal quest to know the Force. His twin sister Jaina is helping the Vong adjust to life on Zonoma Sekot. The Skywalker family is busy with Jedi duties, and the Solo couple is off searching for habitable planets. Suddenly, a group of Jedi Knights including the Solo twins begin to feel a call for help through the Force, and five of them up and leave, followed by Han, Leia, and the Skywalkers. Near the border of the Unknown Regions they find a Colony of intelligent insects. Soon, the Knights are in danger of becoming Joiners (or bughuggers, in Han’s words) and their not-really-old-yet relatives are in danger of becoming bug juice. No one knows the true intentions of the Colony – not even the Colony themselves. A Jedi falls, a fallen Jedi returns, and a costly mission returns to the surface of everyone’s mind.

Review: Wow. After months of waiting, that’s all I can say. In the time since Episode III’s release, I’ve been devouring all the prequel-time novels, and rereading a good deal of the rest. Now I’ve been rewarded with an action filled, Force-twisting, intricate tale that makes me think I reread the wrong books. If you’re a Star Wars fan, you may want to read/reread Tatooine Ghost and Star by Star – both by Troy Denning – to refresh your knowledge enough so that you won’t be lost, as I was.
I don’t like bugs. Not at all. That made this book slightly harder to read, but I understood the main principle of collective conscious. I think Denning made this book even creepier by making the Joiners have bug-like habits and thoughts. I loved it, though, and I really can’t wait to see the rest of the trilogy. He’s woven enough hints into his other Star Wars books that you could almost piece together the basic plot, but not quite. I was also astounded by the technical description, but that’s just my normal problem with the Star Wars books – instead of green meadows and mountains, it’s stars and ship diagrams. As a bonus, you get the short story Ylesia, previously only available in ebook format.
The ending was particularly clever, rounding off just enough loose ends so that it can be an ending, but leaving lots and lots of subplots that you want to see resolved. A must-read for any SW fan, but not a good book to start the series with. For that, I’d recommend The Truce at Bakura by Kathy Tyers. Or better yet, the children’s series Jedi Apprentice by Jude Watson.

As you may see, I'm just getting used to the basics of this. So bear with me, and the layout, format, etc will get better (I hope).


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