Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Invincible
Author: Troy Denning
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
WARNING: This article contains heavy spoilers about the Legacy of the Force series. If you do not wish to learn any pivotal spoiler information, please consider yourself warned!
I’ve finally made it – Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Invincible, the last novel of the Legacy of the Force series. Written by Troy Denning, this novel has been rumored to be an action-packed shocking experience. After reading the entire Legacy of the Force series up to the last novel, I wondered just how shocking could the final novel of the series be after all of the crazy developments to date.
Let’s think back about this. We had Jacen Solo following in his grandfather’s footsteps, telling himself it was to better the world for his secret love child and that he would never commit the mistakes of the Sith before him – all an effort to justify his becoming a Sith in the first place. His former teacher Vergere, while always thought to be a dabbler in the Sith way, was now revealed to be a true Sith disciple. Now that she was dead, Jacen was forced to learn the ways of the Sith from an old nemesis of Luke Skywalker known as Lumiya, a woman more machine than human. Following the Sith rule of teacher and student – there are always two – Jacen attempted to draft Ben Skywalker as his Sith apprentice, causing Ben to perform many actions that not only alarmed his Jedi parents, but Ben himself.
When Mara Jade Skywalker uncovered Jacen’s relationship with Lumiya and the fact that Jacen was training to be a Sith Lord, Jacen killed her, an almost unbearable blow to the Jedi, Jacen’s former family. Renouncing all ties to his family and moving forward as a Sith Lord, Jacen becomes exactly what he vowed never to be – a heartless conqueror with no compassion. He wreaks havoc on the world, destroying Kashyyk by setting fire to its forests and attacking worlds that present any signs of rebellion to his rule. He kidnaps his daughter after his lover, Tenel Ka, realizes what he has become and refuses to aide him in his conquest. The Jedi realize that Jacen must be stopped and decide that they will be the ones to bring down their wayward son.
Jacen takes on a new apprentice, the vulnerable Tahiri Veila, and uses her to ensure an alliance between his forces and the Imperial Remnant. Meanwhile, The Sword of the Jedi, Jaina Solo, approaches Boba Fett for combat training. Believing her brother will be able to interpret her actions and prevent her from striking him down with her usual fighting tactics and knowing that Boba Fett has taken down numerous Jedi in his past, Jaina enlists his aide in her quest. Learning from the Mandalorians, Jaina is certain that her new fighting style will throw Jacen, or Darth Caedus as he is now called, off his game and enable her to make a killing strike. While with the Mandalorians, Jaina gets more than she bargained for, experiencing the drama taking place within Boba Fett’s family. His ex-wife, long believed to be dead, has been found encased in carbonite. Resurrecting her has been a trial for Boba Fett and his granddaughter Mirta Gev, a distraction that none of them had been prepared for.
With all of this happening over the course of the Legacy of the Force series, how could anything in the final novel be any more shocking? And yet, Troy Denning finds a way to make your jaw drop a couple of times while reading Invincible. This is the novel in which Jaina finally engages in hunting her brother. This is the novel in which Darth Caedus sees his largest opportunity for taking down the Jedi and, most importantly, his uncle Luke Skywalker. This is the novel in which unlikely alliances are made in an effort to prevent evil from spreading any further than it already has. This is the climax of one of the most shockingly eventful series in the history of the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
What I loved most of all about Invincible is that it gives us glimpses into Jacen Solo’s past. We see these glimpses at the beginning of each chapter in the form of one of the numerous jokes Jacen told during his stay at the Jedi Academy (originally printed throughout the Young Jedi Knight series). We also see these glimpses through flashbacks Jaina has while on the hunt for the man who was once her brother. For Jaina, that innocent, loving soul is now gone and the evil that is Darth Caedus has taken his place. Jacen Solo is no more and Jaina must cut down Darth Caedus before he takes control of the galaxy, placing it under Sith reign once again.
Troy Denning has always had a way with action and this novel is no exception featuring hand-to-hand combat scenes, lightsaber duels, starfighter battles and more. Denning is no stranger to the Star Wars saga and has penned many novels in the Expanded Universe series. Thus, he is completely enmeshed in the characters and their struggles and does each one of them perfect justice in this emotional climactic novel. Obviously, this is one tale in which emotions run high. Just think of the struggles for Han and Leia Solo who not only have to watch their son become a Sith Lord, but realize that he must be taken out and that the task will fall upon their daughter, the only Jedi qualified to do so. To lose a son to his beliefs is one thing. To realize that you must aide in his death and that this may cause the death of your last remaining child is something quite different. Troy Denning does a terrific job in expressing the anguish felt by the entire Solo family throughout the novel.
Invincible is an amazing ending to an incredible series. When I first began reading the Legacy of the Force series, I wasn’t certain whether I was going to enjoy it. I wasn’t sure I liked history repeating itself in the form of Jacen Solo. The story was credible, especially after all Jacen had been through during the New Jedi Order series, but I was skeptical. Plus, they were planning to kill off my favorite character, Mara Jade Skywalker! But, as I continued reading, I found myself drawn in by an amazing storyline that was packed with action and full of incredible plot twists. Invincible was the novel that was supposed to tie everything together and bring the series closure. And it does, in a way…
Why would I say that? Well, because the ending of Invincible leaves a few things open. Of course, we knew that would happen. How better to create a new series of novels following the Legacy of the Force series than by leaving a few questions unanswered? Guess I’ll just have to head back to the local bookstore to find out what else the Star Wars Universe has in store for us.
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