Wednesday, 17 June 2009

‘Omen (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi)’ – Christie Golden (Del Rey)


I wasn’t too keen on the opening book, ‘Outcast’, in the new ‘Fate of the Jedi’ sequence. Have a look at my Review to see what I thought. Despite all my misgivings though, I had to say at the end of the review that...

‘Having said that though, I’ll more than likely be back for the next book to see how that one goes. It is Star Wars after all... ;o)’

Star Wars has been such a big part of my life that it’s impossible for one dodgy book to put me off entirely and this means that I ended up coming back to give the next book a go. I’m glad I did, ‘Omen’ has many of the same problems that I found in ‘Outcast’ but ended up being a far more entertaining read...

The events of ‘Outcast’ have left the Galactic Alliance in crisis. The rise of Darth Cadeus means that the Jedi are viewed with suspicion and this is made worse by the psychosis that is striking down Jedi at random. Luke Skywalker’s exile from Coruscant is also a chance for him to find out the truth behind this illness and clear the Jedi’s name. His next port of call is the Kathol Rift and a race of aliens that are just as likely to kill him as offer their help...
However, the real danger to the alliance has yet to reveal itself. Five thousand years ago, a Sith star ship crashed and was marooned on a remote planet. The ensuing millennia have seen the Sith grown in numbers and they are now ready to take back a galaxy that is rightfully theirs. The only thing in their way is one Luke Skywalker...

The Star Wars universe is vast, full of alien races and the resulting stories that interaction (between races) brings. However, I’m sometimes left wondering if the sheer size of this universe works against itself in that whenever one threat is neutralised it’s easy to find another one lurking in some forgotten corner of the galaxy. It’s almost like pulling a rabbit out of a hat! We’ve had various Imperial weapons of mass destruction posing a threat to the Alliance (I’m looking at the Sun Crusher and at least two Death Star prototypes that I’m aware of) and the latest race to threaten galactic stability is a planet full of Sith that no-one has noticed in five thousand years. This stretched my willingness to suspend disbelief to its very limit...

Not only has another threat conveniently come to light but no-one even knew they were there. Not the Jedi who you would have thought would have learnt some serious lessons about Sith hiding in plain sight. Not the Galactic Alliance who you would have thought would have had information about the planets either within their jurisdiction or just outside it. Even the Imperial Remnant (who have had connections to the Sith in the past) were unaware of the Sith’s presence. I’m sorry but I just don’t buy it...

This is a real shame as this lost colony of Sith are drawn beautifully by Golden and she makes this very interesting reading for readers like me who want to find out more about how the Sith live and how this contrasts with the Jedi. There are obviously big things in store for the Sith Vestara and I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out...

One of the problems that I had with ‘Outcast’ was the lack of urgency to the plot, big things are afoot but there is never any doubt that Luke, Han and Leia will deal with it all and come out smiling. It’s a well established fact now that this is what these guys do, there’s no question of them failing and this is going to make things difficult if you want to write a Star Wars books where the readers can believe how serious the stakes are. While there is more of the same problem in ‘Omen’, Golden does balance things out a bit by placing more of an emphasis on the mystery behind what is going on. You may know that Han et al will get there in the end but their sense of helplessness, in the meantime, really freshened things up for me and made me want to keep reading. This detective approach is interspersed with moments of action in the true Star Wars manner with plenty of laser fire and close up confrontations with aliens that you wouldn’t want to get close to. A winning combination as far as I’m concerned!

‘Omen’ is still very much a ‘scene setting book’, in the same way that ‘Outcast’ was, but there are hints of so much more going on the background in a way that ‘Outcast’ didn’t manage. It feels like a more fleshed out book and the cliffhanger ending, on it’s own, has me wanting to see what happens next. Could my faith in Star Wars novels be wholly restored? It’s a little too early to tell but it’s starting to look that way...

Seven and Three Quarters out of Ten

P.S. If you're interested in finding out more about the lost tribe of the Sith then you need to go to www.starwars.com where they will be publishing a series of short stories telling you exactly what happened...

6 comments:

James said...

More Sith? They really are running out of ideas, aren't they??

Dave said...

Hey Graeme, thanks for another great review. :-) It's great when a reader can be objective about Star Wars (I can't, love it all)and your reviews are always good. :-)

Hagelrat said...

I really love that cover.

Graeme Flory said...

James - I don't mind the Sith as such, it just seems incredibly convenient that a whole planet of them can appear when needed...

Dave - Glad you liked the review! It looks like I'm in for the long haul on this series so there's more reviews to come :o)

Hagelrat - I love the cover as well, so much better than the last one...

logankstewart said...

I just finished this book last night and I'll probably be reviewing it tomorrow. I have to say, though, I was intrigued by the novel.

I, too, have read nearly every STAR WARS book after Heir to the Empire, and I've been mostly entertained by them. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Fate of the Jedi turns out. That said, I do wonder truly how massive the galaxy is. Granted, the Sith hiding planet is presumably in the Maw, a place with little travel, and I can understand how it's been unnoticed. Regardless, it does seem almost too convenient.

By the way, did you read the last series, Legacy of the Force?

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