Greg Keyes’ The Final Prophecy is the second to last volume of series The New Jedi Order. The war finally progresses in favour of the Galactic Alliance. A number of offenses against spread out Vong fleets go well and people start to consider they might be able to win the war eventually. Command starts a big attack on an important system when the enemy takes out the Holonet — Yuuzhan Vong shapers have finally adapted to technological warfare. Without the comfort of instantaneous communication, Alliance fleets have trouble coordinating, which leaves one commandeered by Wedge Antilles alone in a fight against superior forces.
Meanwhile, the Prophet aka Nom Anor contacts Tahiri with a request: he and heretic shaper Nen Yim want to be rescued from Yuuzhan’tar and brought to Zenoma Sekot which he views as salvation of the Yuuzhan Vong people. Corran and Tahiri go and pick them up. Due to some intrigue, Priest Harrar also tags along. During their travel, the Jedi try to assess wether or not their passengers can be trusted. They talk a lot with Nen Yim and Harrar, and finally some mutual understanding emerges. But Nom Anor has, of course, his very own idea of how the visit on the living should turn out.
The Final Prophecy is nicely written. Keyes focuses quite rigorously on two plot lines and tells them at a high pace. Long-time opponents in one tiny ship, talking about philosophy and religion is a nice touch that imparts new knowledge and connections to both characters and reader. On its own, that part might have been boring, but it is nicely balanced by the more action-packed events around Wedge and Jaina. All in all, the novel is certainly entertaining and worth a read.
Troy Denning’s Star by Star is the ninth volume in the long series The New Jedi Order and with over six hundred pages almost double the length of most its predecessors. It also marks the end of the often complained about pattern of engagement, defeat, retreat and betrayel earlier volumes fell victim to. If not the New Republic at least the Jedi finally strike back in force. With the support of their Jedi friends, the Solo kids embark on a mission behind enemy lines in order to eliminate the voxyn production facility. The nasty creatures shaped there are vicious, force aware hunters quite a number of Jedi fall prey to. The book’s focus is centered on the struggles of this dozen-or-so while their mission becomes more and more desperate.
Meanwhile, the New Republic navy can deliver the Vong invaders a number of defeats thanks to new technology and tactics. It is handicapped by the goverments decay, though. Even without enemy infiltration the senate is about to enter a schism over the Jedi question. The Jedi themselves can only sit and watch due to their controversity while they evade forces eager to hand Jedi over to the Yuuzhang Vong — and struggle with their own internal conflicts regarding the philosphy of force use in the face of certain defeat. Read more »
In Edge of Victory II: Rebirth, Keyes juggles five plot lines. Anakin, Tahiri and Corran go on a supply mission for the Errant Venture but are, of course, drawn into some Yuuzhan Vong plot. Jaina heads out in order to find allies for Kyp Durron who has located a Vong super weapon. Jacen helps his parents creating a refuge for Jedi; he gets second thoughts when they start pirating ships supplying the Yuuzhan Vong. Luka and Mara leave Coruscant, forestalling an arrest warrant. They head for the Errant Venture since their child is due. Last but not least, a Vong shaper introduced in Conquest struggles with her exile and questions her case’s dogmas.
I do not know why they sold Conquest and Rebirth as a duology; they do not have that much in common. In Conquest, the big plot around Anakin is concluded and only one minor line is really continued in Rebirth. Here, instead of focusing on only one story, Keyes spreads barely 300 pages over multiple plots. He actually manages to get away with it since the individual plots are small adventures rather than wannabe epics. Keyes writing is, again, to my liking although I liked the more focused style more. I guess you just cannot tell the tale of a galaxy-spanning war with as many characters as in The New Jedi Order without losing focus. Therefore, I think the respective authors should have taken more space, that is more pages, to give each plot line its time and credit.
Edge of Victory I: Conquest by Greg Keyes is the seventh volume in the New Jedi Order series, not counting short story Recovery by Troy Denning. After the ultimatum issued by the Yuuzhan Vong in Balance Point , galaxy is slowly turning on the Jedi. Politicians distance themselves from the suddenly inconvient allies even more than before and the Peace Brigade openly hunts Jedi down to turn them over. The Academy on Yavin, cut off from Republic space by the intruders, is an obvious target and indeed discovered before long. Since the New Republic refuses to act and Luke Skywalker does not yet want to openly break with the state he helped form, nobody but his nephew Anakin and old ally Karrde take off for Yavin. Their timing of arrival could not have been tighter.
I liked Conquest a lot. Keyes largely focuses on telling the story of Anakin and his friend Tahiri. Anakin is tried once again and has to adapt his attitude and skillset in order to fight the Yuuzhan Vong effectively without turning Dark. This conflict is, in my opinion, well told; I want to read more about him on his search for balance. Along the road, we get to know much about the Vongs’ culture which appears well considered. The larger picture is not ignored like in Balance Point but driven forward in such a way that it does not disturb the main plot. Because the Vong have stopped invading for now, the break I have hoped for in this series has come. Furthermore, I cannot remember anything about Keyes’ style to complain about. All in all, Conquest is a recommendable book and certainly belongs to the better in this series up to now.