Science Fiction
 

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension

Author: Christie Golden

Published By:
The Ballentine Publishing Company


Reviewed by Melissa Minners

 

            Iím amazed at how well I am keeping up with the Fate of the Jedi series.  We are approaching the end of the series and Iím ahead of the game, reaching the eighth novel, Ascension, long before the final novel of the series will be released.

            Ascension begins where we left off in the last novel, Conviction.  Numerous beings, now free from the bonds of slavery, are applying for membership in the Galactic Alliance.  Many of the members chosen as Senators in these fledgling nations are charismatic and well-received.  Meanwhile, with the ousting of Natasi Daala as Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance and the cause of mysterious virus afflicting the Jedi known, Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker is allowed to return to Coruscant

            His first decision upon arriving is to remove the Jedi from Coruscant, allowing them to act free from the politics of the G.A. government.  Thus, they can move freely against the horrific evil that is Abeloth and with her, the remnants of the Lost Tribe of the Sith.  While hunting down Abeloth and the Lost Tribe, he will be training one of its youth in the ways of the Jedi.  No longer trusting in the beliefs taught to her on Kesh, Vestara Khai has decided to embrace the light side of the Force, but for how long.

            We soon discover that Natasi Daala may be on the run, but she is far from hiding.  She has decided that if she canít rule the Galactic Alliance, she will crush them by taking over the Imperial Remnant.  To do so, she would have to displace Jagged Fel as the current ruler.  Too bad heís not willing to comply.  And he has help - another fugitive from a Coruscanti prison.

            Meanwhile, the charismatic new members of the G.A. are having growing pains.  Some are turning against the Jedi, finding it easier to discredit them now that they are no longer on-planet.  A new sub-committee to investigate the abuse of power by the Jedi is created and Leia is arrested on trumped up charges.  As her allies prepare to break her out of prison, their enemies begin to reveal themselves for what they truly are.

            The beginning of Ascension takes place primarily on Kesh as the Lost Tribe of the Sith are introduced to Abeloth.  It is in these chapters that we learn whether the Lost Tribe is willing to trust in the dark side creature or just use her to further their own gains.  The decision they make will throw the tribe into turmoil and may destroy all of their hopes at ruling the galaxy.

            The events taking place in this series are very close to events taking place in our own present.  The uprisings among the slaves, stirred by one man looking to create enough turmoil to oust the Chief of State, are very similar to the uprisings taking place all over the world today.  No one has a clear idea how they began, but they are certainly causing chaos the world over.  Wouldnít it be interesting to discover that these present uprisings are the work of one person seeking ultimate power through chaos as in Ascension?

            This novel focuses a lot on Vestara Khai, Christie Goldenís pet project.  I say that in a good way, as this author seems to be able to bring out the best and the worst in this character and offer the readers the greatest of insight into her actions.  I have conflicting feelings about Vestara - there are times when I really like her and then there are times when I wish Ben would get over his infatuation and lop off her head.  I wonder if she can truly be redeemed.

            The intrigue outweighs the action in Ascension, but for once, thatís not a bad thing.  There are still some moments of action - lightsaber duels, battles against Sith-influenced beasts, space battles and more.  But itís the undercover activities of the book's characters that really power this novel.  Revelations made about characters we thought were evil as well as revelations about characters we thought were good are enough to throw a Star Wars fan for a loop.  Nothing is as it seems to be and we are left with quite the cliffhanger in preparation for the final book in the series.

            I found Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Ascension to be quite an enjoyable and fast read.  I blazed through this, the longest novel in the series, in just a matter of days.  I canít wait to see what lies in store for us in the final novel, Apocalypse.  Iím betting itís gonna be one helluva ride!


 

For more about the Fate of the Jedi series, check out these links:

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Outcast

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Omen

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Abyss

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Backlash

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Allies

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Conviction

For feedback, visit our message board or e-mail the author at talonkarrde@g-pop.net.