Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Exile
Author: Aaron Allston
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Having journeyed through three of the novels in the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series, reveling in the twists and turns of the series, I couldn’t wait to check out the fourth novel, Exile, by Aaron Allston. To recap what has been going on, the Galactic Alliance and Corellia are at war. Jacen Solo has been made a General in the war, assigned to the Galactic Alliance Guard and given a new star destroyer – the Anakin Solo – to command. Under Jacen, the Galactic Alliance Guard has uprooted hundreds of Corellians from Coruscant, labeling them rebels and interring them in camps to be returned to Corellia. Under orders from Admiral Niathal, he has set up a blockade around Corellia, barring anyone from entering or leaving the system, hoping that the Corellian Government will cede to Galactic Alliance rule once important resources run dry.
There are several planetary systems sensitive to the Corellian cause. An underground faction in the Hapan government plotted to overthrow the Hapan Queen, Tenel Ka, so that they could throw their resources into the Corellian cause. Though blamed on Han and Leia Solo, the assassination attempt was actually thwarted by them. On the run from the Galactic Alliance, the Solos are in a race against time to clear their names as well as discover just who exactly was behind the assassination attempt.
Luke and Mara Skywalker, unhappy with the path that their nephew Jacen is taking, have decided not to allow their son, Ben, to continue under Jacen’s tutelage. Ben is rebellious about the situation, feeling that his parents are being overprotective and are completely wrong about his mentor and his actions. Jacen is distressed by this decision as well, but for different reasons. Jacen has decided to learn the ways of the Sith and it was his desire to eventually make Ben his Sith apprentice.
In Exile, the Solos enlist the aide of former pirate and now entrepreneur Booster Terrik in their search for those responsible in starting the war between the Galactic Alliance and Corellia. Also coming to their aide are Lando Calrissian, recently exiled Corellian military leader Wedge Antilles, his wife Iella and his daughter Myri, Jaina Solo, Jag Fel, Jedi Master Corran Horn and his wife Mirax. They arrange for Booster Terrik’s pleasure ship, the Errant Venture, to be allowed to dock in the Corellian system in order to glean as much information about the war as they can. It is here that the friends realize that one of the many reasons behind this war may be to divide the Jedi Order. This is related to Luke and Mara who join the fact finding mission with some information of their own. Ben Skywalker is missing and they are worried that the Lady of the Sith, Lumiya, may still be alive and hunting him.
Meanwhile, Ben Skywalker is on a mission of his own. One he believes has been given to him by Jacen Solo, but has actually been designed by Lumiya. His mission leads him to the Sith origin planet, Ziost. It is here that Lumiya will learn whether Ben Skywalker is worthy of becoming Jacen’s Sith apprentice. If not, it will be here that Lumiya will put an end to the son of Luke Skywalker, thus exacting yet another ounce of revenge on the Skywalker/Solo clan. And speaking of those who want revenge on the Skywalkers and Solos, Alema Rar is still on the prowl and closing in on her prey. Her plan is to kill Han Solo and Mara Skywalker, thus causing great pain to the Jedi who have caused her pain over the years, creating Balance in the universe.
Exile was one of the more intriguing novels in the Legacy of the Force series. On one hand, you have a novel filled with espionage and intrigue. On the other hand, you have a reenactment of the temptation of Christ. Yes, that’s right, I said the temptation of Christ. Reading Ben Skywalker’s adventure through the planet Ziost, one can’t help but think of the Bible and the Devil’s attempt to lure Christ into forsaking the Lord for some comfort from his misery. Ben, cold and hungry, not knowing how he will get off of this forsaken planet, is tempted by the voices of the Dark Side again and again. The voices promise an end to his suffering if he would just listen to them and perform acts that he knows in his mind are wrong. Sound familiar? As he goes through these trials, he starts to realize a thing or two about his mentor and the worries of his parents become justified.
Aaron Allston has been one of my favorite Star Wars authors since the X-Wing novel series. Allston definitely has a handle on the Star Wars characters and it was nice to see him bring back some old favorites in this novel. I loved seeing the Antilles family and Horn family team up to first save Wedge from an assassination attempt and later to gather information about the war, pooling their intelligence resources together to discover the factions fueling the war effort. Another thing that Allston does very well is action and this novel is chock full of it – space battles, ground assaults, assassination attempts, you name it, Aaron Allston’s Exile has it covered. And I love how he managed to take Jacen down a peg or two in this book by allowing him to lose a battle or two.
As for Jacen Solo – wow, has this guy changed since his Young Jedi days! The man we once knew as compassionate and caring is now cold and manipulative. Jacen, once admiring of his Uncle Luke, is now annoyed and embarrassed by him. Under the tutelage of Lumiya, Jacen will no doubt become a powerful Sith Lord and one has to wonder if he, like his grandfather before him, could ever be turned back to the sweet and loving Jacen he once was. Time will only tell as the Legacy of the Force saga continues.
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