Star Wars: Coruscant Nights: Jedi Twilight
Author: Michael Reaves
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
A number of books have come out falling in gaps between the events of The Clone Wars and A New Hope. One trilogy of novels, Star Wars: Coruscant Nights, follows the adventures of Jax Pavan a man who was knighted just prior to the events that would lead to Order 66.
In the first novel of the trilogy, Jedi Twilight, we learn that Jax Pavan opted to stay in Coruscant's lower levels during the Jedi Purge. His name has kept him safe thus far as apparently, on his world, Jax Pavan would be the equivalent of John Smith on our world - very common. Thus, he has been able to hide amongst the vast numbers of Jax Pavan's living in Coruscant and working as a bounty hunter. It's an unsavory job for a former Jedi, but one that puts a roof over his head (such as it is) and food in his stomach. Jax had been keeping under the Empire's radar until a bounty double cross forced him to use him Jedi abilities to save his life. Tapping into the Force gave him away as a Jedi-in-hiding and sent up all sorts of alarms.
Fortunately, when the Empire comes to call, an old friend comes to Jax's rescue. Former Clone Wars Major and Force sensitive Nick Rostu, now a military deserter, arrives just in time to save Jax's life. But he doesn't just come to the rescue of an old friend - Nick has a message to impart, a dying request from Jax's former Master Even Piell. Jax must complete the Piell's final mission to recover a droid with information vital to the rebellion.
As Jax begins his journey, he enlists the aide of Laranth Talak, a Twi'lek Paladin, and finds unexpected - and somewhat unwanted - help in the form of I5-YQ, a self-aware droid claiming to be a former partner of his father's, and the droid's Sullustan friend, former war correspondent Den Dhur.
The revelation of his master's death, his final request, Vader's obsession with him and I5-YQ's startling revelations about his father might have been enough to send Pavan over the brink, but add to that his newly sporadic link with the Force and the involvement of Black Sun in his mission and Jax begins to wonder if his luck has finally run out.
I really enjoyed the Medstar Duology books by Michael Reaves and so I was glad to see he had been invited to write more Expanded Universe novels. Once I started reading, I was happy to see that Reaves had decided to add on to story arcs from that duology, picking up a few years down the line from where he and his writing partner Steve Perry had left off with I5-YQ, Den Dhur and Kaird. For some reason, even though Kaird is supposed to be one of the bad guys, I found myself liking the birdman. I think it has something to do with the whole idea of a mob henchmen who keeps trying to get out of the business but keeps getting dragged back in. Kaird keeps trying to find a way out of Black Sun and back to his homeworld, but events and individuals conspire to keep him just where he doesn't want to be.
I also liked the return of Nick Rostu, a character who first appeared on Mace Windu's homeworld in Shatterpoint and reappeared in a post-Battle of Yavin tale, Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor. He was always a sort of smart alecky kid turned hero and I liked him a lot in Shatterpoint, so it was nice to see what happened to him between that novel and the next.
Learning more about Prince Xizor's back story and his interest in human replica droid manufacturing was also a nice touch. It gave us insight into his future as the head of Black Sun and his interest in Guri. The whole idea of his experimenting with human replica droids got me thinking - many people have commented about a continuity issue caused when Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series showed Even Piell dying during the Clone Wars. Could it be possible that the Even Piell we see in this book is actually a replica droid put in place to lure Jax Pavan into Vader's clutches? And just what IS the driving force behind Vader's obsession with Jax? Does it have something to do with his former identity of Anakin Skywalker?
I really enjoyed reading Star Wars: Coruscant Nights: Jedi Twilight. It had all the right elements there - characters that we already knew and loved, characters that were intriguing enough to want to get to know, an interesting plot, an unfolding mystery, action and suspense. There's just the right mix of action styles - the Star Wars equivalent of a car chase, lightsaber action, shootouts and more. I always wanted to know more about the Jedi who went into hiding during the Purge and now, here's my chance. I can't wait to read the second novel in the Coruscant Nights trilogy.