I am currently reading the Dark Nest Trilogy for the first time, in preparation for tackling Legacy of the Force. (Not sure yet if I'll do Fate of the Jedi too.) For context: I ate up anything Star Wars up until the release of the Prequels, then stopped right after Vector Prime. A while later, thanks to repeated recommendations from this forum, I binge-read all of the NJO and loved it. Also on recommendations from this forum (or whatever the inverse of recommendations is), I never even considered touching the post-NJO books, a.k.a. the Denningverse. I did read the Paul S. Kemp books and the Wraith Squadron one, as well as Millennium Falcon; but I figured I knew everything I needed to know about DNT, LotF and FotJ from the bits and pieces I'd read here, mostly revolving around JINO and the IWoD. (Also, my personal headcanon for the post-NJO has always been the YodaKenobi-verse anyway.) But now, having reread an embarrassing amount of EU fiction over the last months (including the whole Galaxy of Fear and Jedi Prince series), I felt like it was time to shine a light into that blind spot of mine. I mean, I found plenty of things to like in The Glove of Darth Vader, and I seem to be one of the only people here who actually enjoyed Planet of Twilight and The Crystal Star -- so how bad can it be? Here it is, then -- my first, heavily spoilered sojourn into the depths of the Denningverse. *** The Dark Nest trilogy, vol. 1: The Joiner King The book starts out promising - with a blatant Call to Adventure felt by Jaina, Tahiri and Jacen. Distracted Jaina in the courtroom seemed random but fine, Tahiri on Zonama Sekot mediating between Yuuzhan Vong castes was a great lead-over from the NJO (could have been longer and less shallow though), and Jacen with the Fallanassi was… well. A good way to namedrop the previous steps of his journey; an okay reintroduction of his character; and, in retrospect, a huge load of foreshadowing for Jacen's fall in LotF. This is all nice and dandy. But even here, this early in the first book, there's an undercurrent of something that has always left me sort of dissatisfied with much of the later EU. It's this feeling of a small galaxy - of the GFFA as a collection of places that we already know, that we've already been to. This is a complicated issue for me. On the one hand, I am a sucker for interconnected stories, references across books and other media, callbacks and allusions etc. My dream EU is mostly authors taking throwaway lines from each other's books (or background characters from each other's comics etc) and building amazing stories around them - like Stover did with the Battle of Mindor. (Both X-Wing series are that, too, basically.) But I feel like there is a wrong and a right way to do this. Done the right way, this makes the galaxy feel rich, complex and huge - like, whichever niche you look in, there are more stories for you. Think Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, WEG sourcebooks, A.C. Crispin's Han Solo Trilogy, I Jedi, ... Done the wrong way, however, it will turn your universe into a soap opera. Instead of expanding the universe, you are retreading old ground. Instead of adding complex new characters with their own stories, you're just remixing relationships (and probably retroactively ruining character arcs). You're making the galaxy seem small. (The prototypical non-SW examples, IMHO, are Fantastic Beasts - doing it right - vs Cursed Child - doing it wrong. Oh so wrong.) The NJO already had some of this "everything is already known, we're just playing in a familiar sandbox" feel - most egregiously in (much of) the Force Heretic trilogy. But here, even just in the prologue, I get the sense this is going to be much worse. And guess what we get to see next? The Jedi Council debating how to distribute the few named heroes we already know to the various hotspots in a perfectly transparent galaxy. With a few Jedi gone off on a surprise mission, who will keep the peace? "We'll have to ask the Solos", because everything needs to be done by the established characters. And that's not even getting into how the Jedi Council apparently apparently conceives of itself as the State Department with a bit of magic now. So this part was mostly annoying, even if I liked the brief view of post-Vong Coruscant. The Chiss visitor was appropriately brusque and efficient, but it still felt off to even have him there at all. Just because they're sort of familiar to the heroes now doesn't mean the Chiss need to go roaming all over the known galaxy in person. Don't they have a secret (or diplomatic) service for that? Anyway, next we're heading into the unknown, which at this point does seem like a relief.