Lit A Cynical Walk Through the NJO

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Cynical_Ben, Aug 17, 2013.

  1. LightsaberAccident Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2013
    star 1
    They could've made decent operatives for Freedom Flight in FotJ. But nooooooooo...
    darth fluffy and Revanfan1 like this.
  2. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Am I wrong in my interpretation that Reunion is the first time that Luke has seen Anakin Skywalker as a child? His thoughts on seeing Sekot in his form are highly suggestive of this.

    And yet he knew all about him in Tatooine Ghost. Not surprised.
  3. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    Was it? I know it was the first time Jacen saw him. Not sure about Luke. I think he was initially shocked to see his father's younger form but, IIRC, he automatically knew it was him.

    I think.
  4. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    When I first read Reunion when Jacen heard the girl on the planet say Anakin killed the Blood Carver I thought she meant his brother, not grandfather and I had already read Rogue Planet............
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  5. Revanfan1 Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2013
    star 5
    To be fair, Jacen thought this, too.
    Force Smuggler likes this.
  6. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Yeah threw me for a loop.
    I also thought the Ryn on Galantos was Anakin as well. Heck I thought Anakin was the one Force-calling everyone in DNT. Just never gave up on the belief that Anakin was still alive somehow.
    Shadow Trooper and Revanfan1 like this.
  7. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    I recall the theorizing that since Anakin was killed in a Voxyn cloning facility...

    Also some theories that the Slayers were related to Anakin due to their shorter stature.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  8. Force Smuggler Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 6
    Interesting. I would have liked to be on the boards back then to see some of the theories.
    Revanfan1 likes this.
  9. LightsaberAccident Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 26, 2013
    star 1
    Anakin's new home is in the Lake of Apparitions!
  10. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
    I apologize for the prolonged absence over the last few days, I did have a legitimate reason, though. After graduating on Saturday, I am officially a master of the art of communication with a specialization in professional writing. So, after setting my own bar pretty high, let’s dive back into the NJO with The Final Prophecy. Greg Keyes has been a mixed bag for me so far in the series, unfortunately, with Conquest being in my top three books and Rebirth being in the bottom three not occupied by the Force Heretic books. So where does his final book stand?

    Short, tl;dr option: Somewhere between them. This book has some of the same flashes of the sort of brilliance that made Conquest so good, but also some of the problems that made Rebirth such a speed bump. Fortunately, the good vastly outweighs the bad.

    We open with a prologue of Nom Anor feeding his followers what he assumes is just a lie based on vague information he never sees being fleshed out: that the Shamed Ones will be redeemed and restored to honor on a living world in Yuuzhan’tar’s orbit. The crowd goes wild, of course. Gee, Nom, can’t see that one blowing up in your face.

    We really open with Tahiri on Dagobah, because every Jedi has to go there at some point or else they’re out of Luke’s secret club. She winds up running into something that isn’t a Force-induced vision, fortunately, and winds up having a Shamed One die in her arms, but not before she vows to find the Prophet and tell him that the world that would redeem his people has been found. See, Nom, I told you it only took a dozen or so pages, two of which were blank. Hubris sucks, don’t it?

    Meanwhile, Wedge is busy being a General and hating life. He’s a great multitasker. While performing a feint action at Duro, the planet, he watches a small force of Duros, the species, basically do a pig-headed suicide dive into the Yuuzhan Vong task force as a protest for seemingly abandoning the planet. That’s the difference between Duros and Chiss: Duros are patriotic and stupid, Chiss are crafty and smart. That, and the whole nose thing.

    While that’s happening, Nen (remember me?) Yim wanders back into the spotlight as she’s given a piece of living construct to study, one not made of Yuuzhan Vong materials. A Sekotian fighter, obviously, one that manages to heal itself while under her study. She spends a lot of time pondering and plotting heresies and not much of actually doing anything, so we’ll come back when she’s doing something important.

    Jaina convinces the Duros pilot flying with Rogue Squadron we saw earlier in the series not to quit like his stupid comrades did, and Wedge meets up with the other admirals of the GA Navy, Bel Iblis, Sien Sovv and Kre’fey, proving that they have more competent officers in one room than the Yuuzhan Vong have in their entire race. They discuss their offensive plans and what they need to do to push toward the Core, Wedge’s feint allowing Bel Iblis to retake Fondor off-screen. Sure would have liked to see that. Oh well.

    Apparently, the capture of Coruscant, fiasco at Borleias, and fallout from Ebaq Nine have left the Yuuzhan Vong overextended and lacking in proper leadership. Sovv and the others, smelling blood, decide that now would be a great time to push Coreward, linking up with the Remnant as they do. Not a bad plan, considering that we know that Nom’s heresy is eating at their leadership in a way that the GA doesn’t know about yet. Of course, it happens to hinge on being able to consistently and near-instantly communicate across a pretty decent chunk of space. Good thing the HoloNet is working perfectly fine across the Rim thanks to the events of Reunion. I’m sure everything will work perfectly fine.

    Nen Yim is summoned to Shimrra to give her report, and we see just how paranoid Shimrra is about the prospect of a living world existing, insisting that it’s been destroyed. But he tells her to start making weapons, anyway, which naturally arouses her suspicions. As much as I mock Nen Yim for not doing much of anything, she’s probably the single smartest Yuuzhan Vong in existence. She knows that Shimrra is manipulating her emotions and mind while she’s in his presence, she knows that Sekot has been encountered previously in YV history and is probably still alive and likely very dangerous to the war effort for some reason, and she knows that she’s only alive because she happens to be essential to Shimmra’s plan for the galaxy.

    We get a tiny peek into Nas Choka’s war room, where he’s forced to promote a commander who his predecessor likely would have executed for cowardice. Choka strikes me as a very practical Vong, similar to Czulkang Lah before him. His time spent in Hutt space and within observation range of Tsavong Lah’s repeated failures and thuggery likely taught him a few lessons in practicality and the limitations of fanaticism. He’s smart enough to find the lynchpin that enables the Rebel Alliance-style hit-and-run tactics of the Galactic Alliance, the HoloNet, and realize that, if they’re to have any chance of buying enough time to reinforce their forces and hold on to the territory they’ve taken, let alone of winning the war, they need to shut it down. Something Nen Yim’s heresy makes possible.

    Speaking of whom, the Shaper decides to meet with someone claiming to have knowledge useful to her Sekotian dilemma. It turns out to be Harrar, who is likely disillusioned with the death of Tsavong Lah, a close friend, and the effects the heresy is having on the high-ranking Yuuzhan Vong and the priesthood in general. He and she plot to find the leader of the heretic movement and, with his help, track down Yuu’shaa, who seems to know something about the living planet.

    Oh yeah, Nom, that little lie of yours seems like a real good idea right about now, doesn’t it? And he digs himself even deeper upon hearing Nen Yim’s interest in him, prophesying that he sees his meeting with her happening, but only with Jedi present. Because making a prediction that could absolutely never happen ever in a million cycles hasn’t bit you in the butt before, has it?

    Tahiri hears about Yuu’shaa’s search for the living planet, ties it together with the Shamed One she promised to, and vows to go with him. See, Nom Anor? You see? Once, it’s a coincidence. Twice, it’s a trend. And Corran Horn tags along, giving us an excuse to see just how much Tahiri has changed over the course of the series. She’s gone from an enthusiastic, fast-talking teenager with a crush on Anakin and dislike for shoes to a veteran, mentally scarred warrior with valuable insight into the enemy, a Yuuzhan Vong’s aggression and a Jedi’s compassion. She’s no longer a being of two minds, but that doesn’t stop her from struggling to reconcile what the two different experiences, one lived, the other implanted, have taught her.

    She and Corran wind up on Yuuzhan’tar, link up with the Prophet, break Nen Yim out of her guarded compound, then take the Sekotian ship she’s put back together and blow the popsicle stand, dragging Harrar along with them. It’s a fascinating dichotomy, having three Yuuzhan Vong from three (really four) different sects with three (or four) different perspectives on the war, on their mission and on what they find at the end. Corran and Harrar, both the aged, experienced and weathered ones, debate their respective sides, their actions through the events of the previous books, and what they’re even doing there. I like seeing Corran reflect on Ithor, and hearing Harrar’s perspective on the value of life. Nen Yim and Tahiri also bond, despite the former having played a part in all of the troubles the latter has faced off against mentally since Conquest.

    The only one who doesn’t fit in is, of course, Nom Anor, because he’s too busy playing all of the others and sitting back to observe them to be more than his role of a prophet, a character, something almost all of the others suspect but never truly grasp the gravity of.

    As all of this is happening, Wedge’s battle group winds up at Bilbringi, with all of the requisite Last Command callbacks. It turns out that the plan is for him to lead his group in first, then call in Pelly and Bel Iblis with their fleets to catch the Yuuzhan Vong fleet in a three-way pincer. As mentioned, though, that plan hinges on the HoloNet being able to coordinate them, and thanks to Nas Choka’s growing grasp of unconventional tactics and one of Nen Yim’s adepts strapping a dovin basal to a missile and pointing it at the big antenna, the HoloNet’s basically a series of pulsating bull’s-eyes across the Rim, with Wedge’s battle group being right in the middle of it. Han and Leia start a courier system, but even the Falcon isn’t fast enough to save Wedge, it seems.

    Wedge manages to hold his own for a while, but the other groups aren’t coming in and there’s only so long he can last. So he sends his best squadron off to call for help and reinforce a possible fallback position at the rear. I mean, what? I know it serves the plot well, Wedge, but isn’t that a little, you know, suicidal? I’m siding with Jaina here, Wedge knows the crap’s about to hit the vents and he wants her out of the line of fire for Han and Leia’s sake, even if he never says so.

    As this is going on, though, Corran, Tahiri and the others crash-land on Sekot, killing their ship. Nice work, Corran. They immediately start chopping shelter materials out of nearby living tree things, something Harrar of all beings calls them out on. Nen Yim sets to work doing science stuff, Nom Anor is stunned and floored at the fact that all of his lies turned out to be true after all, and all five of them slowly realize that they’ve managed to land right above the planet’s buttcrack, the one place it doesn’t seem to notice the advent of every living thing on its surface. Even the crash goes completely unnoted.

    Han and Leia run into the one Han Solo fanboy in the entire Remnant, whose one step short of having Han’s face as a hologram on his cockpit dashboard and “Never tell me the odds” tattooed across his chest. He’s also really bad at following orders, apparently, since he brushes off their mission to get a message through to Pelly and tags along, in a TIE Defender no less, with them to Bilbringi. Just how good of a pilot is the captain of an Interdictor cruiser anyway? Apparently pretty good, since he manages to stick to the Falcon’s tail through a fight against about thirty coralskippers and a Yuuzhan Vong interdictor, only to make a kamikaze of himself to no discernible effect on the enemy. All of Han’s bravado, none of his luck, sorry kid.

    Anyway, between Han and Leia’s intervention, Jaina manipulating the pirate crew of a cloaked Golan-Two left over from Thrawn’s campaign, and Wedge being a total pimp, they manage to get a good chunk of his battle group away and destroy a decent amount of the Yuuzhan Vong forces in the process, even if they didn’t take the planet. Hey, better than all of them being killed.

    On Sekot, Nom Anor does as Nom Anor does, contacting Shimrra and getting back into his good graces by playing on his fear of the planet, killing Nen Yim right after she reaches an epiphany about the relationship between the Yuuzhan Vong and the planet, then planting an infection in Sekot’s engine room (?) to make it basically destroy itself with its own drive unit. Tahiri almost kills him twice but misses both times, getting kicked down an elevator shaft for her trouble, and Harrar gets the Disney villain treatment and falls off a cliff in the rain, but since we never see a body we know he’s alive. A party of Yuuzhan Vong land and harass them, until Luke, Mara and the others finally show up and wipe them out, just in time for Sekot to basically sneeze and send them hurtling through space toward an unknown destination thanks to Nom’s manipulation.

    What happens next? Will Nom Anor get away for good? Will Tahiri’s apprenticeship with Corran continue to bear fruit? Will Gilligan and the others ever get off the island? Wait until the next book! www.dramabutton.com !

    This is a pretty good book, much better than the ones immediately preceding it in the series. I’d put it right below Hero’s Trial and just above Star By Star in terms of my personal rankings, in the upper half of the series in terms of quality. The characterizations are all great, especially Tahiri, Nen Yim and Wedge, the action is crisp and fluid, and the pace is much closer to Conquest than to the mollusks of the FH book. The knocks against it are the two unrelated plots that never meet up and basically don’t ever have anything to do with one another mean the book seems a little frantic at times, trying to do a lot without a lot of space to do it in. I had similar problems with Rebirth, where plots were woven together with scotch tape instead of golden thread, and much of the events felt like setup for later books. Except here, it’s setup for one book, and if that book were written by anyone but James Luceno I’d say it’d be impossible to tie these plots, and the plots left dangling from the earlier books like the Remnant, Chiss, Alpha Red, Smuggler’s Alliance and the Jedi’s struggle to embrace a wider view of the Force, all together into one novel.

    Still, this isn’t a bad book by any stretch, it’s kilometers ahead of FH for sure. A solid Must Read, setting up the finale with skill by reminding us of all of the major players and plots without really doing much with any of them, and giving us a great side-story featuring characters who likely won’t get all that much time devoted to them later on. I’d vote for skipping Force Heretic in its entirety and reading this book instead, it’s a much better read and faster to boot. You don’t get quite the same insight into Tahri’s mental battle here as you do there, but pretty much everything else is much better.

    Next time, we’re going to wrap up things with a look at the final book, the crowning point of the series, a book even Jedi Ben enjoys: The Unifying Force. I’m thinking about trying something a bit different for this one, but it won’t be until after Thanksgiving regardless, so sit tight, keep your fingers to yourself and remember, Hooley Krekk is out there waiting.
    Gorefiend and Iron_lord like this.
  11. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Admit it - you've been waiting the entire thread to deploy that one-liner! :)
    Force Smuggler likes this.
  12. Cynical_Ben Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2013
    star 4
  13. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    We are approaching the point where after five years and nineteen books we realize all the plot and character development was ultimately meaninglessness. Woo!
    lbr789 and Zeta1127 like this.
  14. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
  15. Dante1120 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 5, 2006
  16. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
  17. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    There is a two-word retort to that: Legacy comics!
  18. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    Legacy comics don't mitigate the fact that Del Rey turned around and immediately rendered the plot and character developments of their initial five year series meaningless.

    People wring their hands about a ST mandated EU reboot. It already happened once folks (more than once, actually). I guess people would be fine with it though if the ST just kept the same character names.
    CT-867-5309 and Zeta1127 like this.
  19. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    And you can let that fiasco poison your liking for SW or find a better, more positive response - I know which one I'm opting for, but this is the Internet, a 7-day, 24-hour carp-fest!
  20. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    This is the cynical thread damnit.
    anakinfansince1983 likes this.
  21. Zeta1127 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 2, 2012
    star 4
    It is kind of hard to not be cynical about what Del Rey has done, and I didn't even read the NJO as it was released, only years later, but without knowledge of the fact that it was basically irrelevant when I read it..
  22. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Yeah, but it all succeeded on so far is reviving my cynicism for NJO!
  23. DigitalMessiah Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 17, 2004
    star 5
    At least we'll always have 90s EU nostalgia to fall back on. Dark Empire FTW.
  24. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Nostalgia's no good either - living in the present moment? Yes.
  25. Gamiel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2012
    star 5
    Like me, I'm finding all (al-right most) of the 90's stuff now