The New Jedi Order was my first passion in Star Wars literature. Soon after seeing the movies for the first time, I got caught up in this ongoing story about Jedi fighting aliens. About ten years later I’m re-reading the series with a fresh perspective.
What to say about Rebirth? It is a curious mix of hugely significant events (Ben Skywalker's birth, Anakin and Tahiri's first kiss) and others that seem to exist in a vacuum (Kyp's plot, the Givin.)
One thing I found interesting about Ben's birth was that Mara calls herself selfish for wanting to fight her disease alone. This is a nice follow-up to her earlier insistence on going it alone, and I definitely wasn't paying that much attention to her character development the last time I read these. On the other hand, seeing Ben and Tahiri in the same book for the first time makes their later interactions in the EU extremely awkward.
Rebirth doesn't have much in common with Conquest, and again one of the major surprises for me on the second go-around was how quickly the Yavin IV plot was over. By now in Rebirth, the Jedi have established a new home base in the Maw (another way the Kevin J. Anderson books continue to influence the EU.)
Nen Yim has her own plotline in Rebirth, and its creepiness really made me understand her frustration and drive. Onimi comes into his own as a thoroughly hateable villain-behind-the-villain, in this case a lecherous Master Shaper.
While I'm not the Jaina expert, it seems like this is the book that kicked off the discussions about Jaina's romantic relationships - would she end up with Kyp Durron or Jag Fel? I found Kyp to be unremarkable even when attempting to be charismatic.
Rebirth was slow going for me, especially since it starts out with Luke
and Mara walking on a beach. I tend to side with Skywalkers, but I can
understand where their critics are coming from when they ask why the
leaders of the Jedi are vacationing during a war. Over all, the book was simply unremarkable, and hard to pin down because of it. I suppose this was the calm before the storm that is Star By Star.