Saturday, May 28

Star Wars: Conviction by Aaron Allston

**I will avoid spoilers for Conviction however there may be spoilers for earlier series, especially the Legacy of the Force series**

The end is coming into sight in this 9 book series and here in Conviction, book seven in the Fate of Jedi series, events seem to be occurring with both a great amount of energy, and yet just enough mystery to justify two more books.  Conviction comes hot off the heels of Vortex, which I thought was the strongest book of the series so far.

Luke Skywalker, exiled in Outcast started the series searching for clues regarding his nephew Jacen’s  descent to the Dark Side but turned to investing a creature called Abeloth, a being who is strong in the dark side of the force.  Luke is accompanied by his son, Ben, a Sith apprentice.  Oh, and he’s trying to simultaneously evade being killed by a planet full of Sith.  Meanwhile, the Jedi on Coruscant are dealing with Daala, who is trying to limit the power of the Jedi, if not disband them completely.

In pursuit of Abeloth, Luke visits Nam Chorios, a planet featured in Planet of Twilight.  Use of the force on this planet is extremely dangerous, as it causes fierce storms to rage elsewhere on the planet.  On Coruscant the Jedi put into place motions that they hope will remove Daala from a position of leadership.  A court case, involving former Jedi Tahiri continues as well and though I won’t tell you how it turns out, an end to her case finally arrives.

Being part of a 9 book series, it’s hard to review this book as an individual, as many of its weaknesses are weaknesses of the whole series, and its strengths are also in the other books, but I’ll try my best.

Being such a large series, there are many plots weaving back and forth.  Each book does something to progress them, some better than others.  I’ll start with Tahiri.  For many of the past books I found the progression of the court case intriguing.  Though not as tense and taught as a court room drama, I though the authors had handled it well.  Conviction is the first book it which I was truly disappointed with the presentation of it.  I didn’t sense the same intrigue or urgency, and this plot thread took a back seat to the threads on slavery, which have also been present throughout the series.  So far, I have found the slavery thread to be the weakest thread in the series, and it didn’t get any better here.  The Solos end up on a planet in which droids are trying gain freedom from their ‘slavery.’  At first I thought the slavery thread was present to mirror the actualities of human trafficking in today’s world, but with the inclusion of droids trying to gain independence, I felt the thread lost any seriousness it tried to have.

Luke’s adventures were also less than exciting in this novel.  There is very little actual progression in his story line, yet it dominates a large portion of the story.  Much of what happened didn’t seem to add anything considerable, and a lot of it seemed like an excuse to visit Nam Chorios (actually I’ve felt like several locations/events in the series didn’t have much of a purpose beyond “Let’s try to find the most underused planets/characters in the Star Wars history and display them as much as possible for no reason other than to use them.”  **MINOR SPOILER for Fate of the Jedi** -- I do realize they chose this planet because Abeloth had absorbed much of Callista into her, and Callista was on Nam Chorios in Planet of Twilight, but I also found the inclusion of Callista to be a bit overdone, though it was extremely interesting when she first appeared. **END SPOILDER**

The most interesting thread in this novel was the attempt to overthrow Daala.  The fragmentation that the GA and the Jedi experience feels, at times, reminiscent of the Clone Wars.  Lines in the sand are drawn, and neither side wants to back down.  However, unlike the stiff cooperation in The Clone Wars, there is open hostility here, and on the whole, I felt it played out well.

I’m not quite sure where I think this book stands in the series.  It is one of the weakest so far, as there is very little substantial progression of the plot, but there were also some great moments that I enjoyed for a short time.

3/5 stars

Previously I reviewed Star Wars books Deceived and Red Harvest

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