Catching up on today's posts... The Leia and Mara conversation: I wanted to feel bad for Mara, she was in a situation that deserved sympathy, but Leia's musing over how strong and brave she was, depleted my stores. Yeah, she's in a bad spot, we get it, move on. I don't know what it is about the way Mara is written either, but even the NJO authors that I love--Luceno and Keyes--have managed to write her in such a way that makes me want her to just go away already. And I think she could have written in such a way that I would have perceived her the way her fans seem to perceive her, as a tough, formidable woman. The potential was there, but it was overshadowed by all the other characters using various adjectives to rave on her awesomeness. And her scenes with Luke made me want a fluoride rinse. The Anakin and Jacen duel: loved it. They had been arguing over how "being a Jedi" should look and feel for a few chapters, and they finally dueled it out and came to a truce. And as Cynical_Ben said, they both had a point. Plus I think Han was really, really over his kids' squabbling. And the Vong...honor in death. Honor in pain. That's what makes them such a scary enemy. It is really hard to become a formidable foe to an enemy who is not afraid of death, and in fact welcomes it . Danni and Meko being captured and tortured was creepy. Lando--I agree that he's underused, but I sorta like that after he was done fighting the Empire, he went back to being a businessman. (Granted I haven't read any of the New Republic-era books except for the Thrawn trilogy, so maybe I missed something.) And I loved the Lando's Folly scenes; I loved their communication using the Force (was it called a battle meld here?) and I loved Jaina proving herself worthy of the Rogue Squadron. I liked Yomin Carr killing the scientists, it was further proof of his utter lack of scruples and his willingness to go pretty damn far for his divine cause. I don't know whether Kyp was out of character in this book or not as I had never read anything with him in it prior to VP. I remember thinking he was pretty interesting here, a sort of foil for Luke; by the Dark Tide duology I thought he was an ass. I'm with you on wishing Meko had made it.