It’s highly entertaining to me that while I was reading the first EU book in over 10 years, LFL announces that all of the EU is now referred to as “Legends” and no longer canon. It kind of seems like a waste of my time to try to fulfill my resolution of reading one EU book per year. Should I forget about the previous books and move forward as LFL moves forward with novels? Or should I continue to read the books of the past?
Aw, shucks that’s a hard decision!
I’m kidding. Of course I’ll read EU books before they were “Legends”. As long as they’re good.
But, you know, I don’t read EU books. I’ve discussed it many times on my blog, but this past experience was a heavy reminder of why I don’t read them.
Because this one sucked. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh. I hate to say any author’s hard work “sucked” because they put a lot of time and effort into it…but LFL: Please don’t let Tim Lebbon write anymore Star Wars novels!
I chose Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void because they had a sample of the first chapter in a Star Wars Insider last year. I really, really liked the chapter and figured the rest of the book would be the same. Plus, it’s about Jedi, my favorite! Originally it was a comic book that was adapted to a novel, so I’m hoping that explains away the reasons I didn’t like it, but I don’t believe that’s the case.
In a nutshell: This is not exactly an “origin” story of the Jedi, per se, like I was hoping for. Instead, it was more of a sampling of the history of the Jedi, more than 25,000 BBY. They live on a planet called Tython where there are nine temples. In order to become a Je’daii, you need to travel between each of the temples to gain a well-rounded skill set to become a Master. I had to look some of that up on Wookiepedia because all I remember was that there was a lot of traveling and temples.
The story focuses on a young Je’daii Ranger named Lanoree Brock, who is tasked with the mission to stop her brother, Dalien Brock (who was thought to be dead), from activating a hypergate.
The story goes between flashbacks of growing up with Dalien and trying to force him into being a Je’daii like herself and the real time of her mission to find him. While on her mission, she meets up with a Twi’lek named Tre Sana who helps her.
Yup. That’s the gist of it. Lots of plot. 😉
- Lanoree actually kills her brother at the end of the novel. I know, strange that this is a pro. But the whole novel is leading up to this climatic confrontation and you think she is going to “save” him from himself. Possibly see him regret his actions and become a better person. But nope, he remains foolhardy (I say foolhardy because he wasn’t necessarily “evil”) until the end of the novel where she has to kill him.
- We get to see the Jedi as an organization years and years before the Prequels. Before they had lightsabers, they had swords. They did everything lightsabers do, but were swords instead. Not much detail on how they made the swords to have the exact same properties as lightsabers, though.
- The novel was centered around a female protagonist. Lanoree is practically a robot and it’s hard to feel supportive for her, but at least the main character is a female. She is a Je’daii who can kick some serious butt and leads the story. I always like to see books that are written entirely from a female perspective.
- I learned that Sith were a species before they were the antithesis of the Jedi. It was really confusing at first to be reading about Lanoree walking by Sith and not freaking out.
- My main problem with this novel was that I never felt attachment to any of the characters. Lanoree is not a very likeable character and her brother is just annoying, not really evil. The closest I felt for any character was Tre Sana, but even he was kind of wooden and non-likeable. I like feeling for characters, rooting for them, and when I put the book down, I want to feel like they were my friends and I have invested my emotions into them. I want to feel sad when someone dies (or almost dies? It wasn’t entirely clear) as was the case with Tre Sana. Instead, I felt nothing when he died and thought the way it was written was very strange.
- The juxtaposition between flashbacks and real time also created a very jarring novel. I’ve read that style before, and I know it can be done well, but in this case, it made it a lot harder to read. Lebbon seemed to want to write a fantasy novel during the flashbacks and a science fiction novel in real time. It seemed like he was trying to mix two genres together and I wasn’t having it. They never really matched up. Tython and the Je’daii were the fantasy realm, whereas Lanoree’s mission with Tre Sana was sci-fi. When Lanoree and Dalien were traveling to the different temples together (flashback) they encountered fantastical beasts, complete with beasts that could withstand the Force. That’s fine if beasts can withstand the Force, I remember reading of such in Heir to the Empire, but by the time we got to them, it felt like the author was running out of ideas for suspense.
- I never understood the connection Lanoree felt for her brother. There were never any flashbacks that gave us the siblings being in tune with each other and completely loving each other. Each flashback had a sullen, hateful Dalien, and a Lanoree who tried to push her ideals and training of the Force down his throat. So where was this supposed connection and love coming from? Was it just the whole “blood is thicker than water” thing?
- The writing was horrible and there was very little actual plot. I felt like I was reading an airport novel. It consistently left chapters on bad cliffhangers that didn’t make me want to turn the page. The dialogue was bland, and though there was a lot of action packed into the pages…it felt like nothing really happened.
Okay, there was more than just these points, but I feel like I would end up complaining way too much. I think I had high hopes for this book since I liked the excerpt from Insider so much. It’s never good when you have high hopes, because then you are bound to be disappointed.
I gave this book 2/5 stars on Goodreads because it wasn’t HORRIBLE. But it was forgettable and it sums up why I stopped reading EU books in the first place. When you get a bad Star Wars EU book, it’s pretty bad.
However, I’ve had some suggestions from Mei-Mei recommending Choices of One and Null recommended Darth Plagueis, and I’ve heard good things about both. Maybe I should just start at the beginning and read the Thrawn Trilogy again…I think it’s been enough time to revisit them.
Anyone have any other suggestions?