Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Skywalkers Find New and Old Friends in Reunion

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.

Finally, I'm done with the Force Heretic trilogy! In the end I'm left with a positive feeling about Reunion, perhaps because the Zonama Sekot plot is hugely consequential, but not much more. The book really shows how this trilogy is Tahiri's and Jaina's story, and their bonding is just wonderful even though Jag is still a bit wary.

I love the scenes where Tahiri and Riina learn that they need to combine in order to save them both. It's a creepy idea, two completely separate personalities forming a new being, but it also makes Tahiri really unique. The scene where she tricks the Yuuzhan Vong commander is a perfect way to truly test whether she's loyal to the New Republic, and Jag gets his own moment of truth alongside her. Jaina does a fine job of capturing a traitor with an almost casual wave of the Force. Saba, too, gets a moving conclusion to the horrific deaths at her home planet, the arc that started the Force Heretic series in the first place.

The Sekot plot is lovely, because we get to see elegant living airships and the return of Vergere and Anakin Skywalker (sortof) and a lot of mentions of Obi-Wan. I can see how adding the prequel elements might have felt as out of place here to some people as flow-walking did to me in the later series, but to me it felt fine: Rogue Planet did a good job of setting up the Zonama Sekot Anakin and Obi-Wan encountered, and Anakin and Luke are appropriately awed.

Jason's indecision continues to be important, and it's interesting to see that, while he tells Zonama Sekot not to go to war and Luke asks for its help, it listens to Luke while taking Jacen's words into account.

The entire series has discussed whether the very presence of Jedi causes violence to break out. Are weapons for offense or defense? If people say they will only use a weapon for defense, how soon does that vow break down into exceptions, eventually excuses, and one finds the defenders defending the usefulness of attack? Jabitha notes that the first time the Yuuzhan Vong went to war with Zonama Sekot, both sides were acting defensively. 

The other plot lines also deal with encountering a strange alien species, but isn't as directly related to the course of the war. Along with Han, Leia and company encountering the fragile Brrbrlpp (best. name. ever.), the other major plot is about Nom Anor continuing in his role as the Prophet. The scene of Ngaaluh's discovery was vivid and tense - poor Ngaaluh! Shoon-mi's treachery made me like Kunra even more; he just does the impassive bodyguard thing so well.

I've been wondering whatever happened to Seef, the intendant who was sentenced to mate with Tsavong Lah after she saw him naked. (I don't know.) According to Wookieepedia, there was never any more written about her. That's one story I'd be interested to see: a child growing up in the years after the war, knowing that he or she was the offspring of one of the New Republic's worst enemies.

I would still like several short stories and possibly a movie about Tahiri, but overall, there was nothing revelatory about re-reading Force Heretic. I still enjoy what I enjoyed when I first read it, and that's all there is to it.

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