Science Fiction

Star Wars: Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine

Author: Voronica Whitney-Robinson with Haden Blackman

Published By:
The Ballentine Publishing Company

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


            So, I was going through my Star Wars books the other day when I discovered that I had an older paperback on my Star Wars bookshelves that I had never read.  Published in 2004, Star Wars: Galaxies: The Ruins of Dantooine by Voronica Whitney-Robinson with Haden Blackman had been sitting on my shelf for almost five years and had never been opened!  This was a wrong I simply had to fix!

            The Ruins of Dantooine was inspired by the Star Wars online role-playing video game called Star Wars: Galaxies, first introduced to the gaming world in the year 2001.  The storyline of the game took place shortly after the first Death Star was destroyed.  There wee numerous missions you could take part in which would allow you to explore various planets and interact with a vast number of species.  In 2004, the game was popular enough to have inspired a novel.

            In The Ruins of Dantooine, the Rebel Alliance is in dire straits.  Having left Dantooine’s base rather quickly just prior to Princess Leia’s capture by Darth Vader, the Rebels were forced to leave behind a very important holocron - one that detailed names and locations of various high ranking agents in the alliance.  Leia Organa needs this holocron retrieved before the Empire can get its hands on it and crush the rebellion from within.  But the journey will be difficult and will require enlisting a new member.

            Dusque Mistflier, an Imperial bioengineer, has been trying to stay out of Imperial politics ever since she was young.  Her family destroyed by the Empire, Dusque has done what she had to do to stay alive and realize her dream of working with biological species.  She finds animals easier to deal with than humanoids.  Unfortunately, Dusque is about to get a true wake-up call when her co-worker is murdered in front of her, accused of being a spy for the Rebels.  Taking up with Rebel agent Finn Darktrin, Dusque vows revenge for her friend.

            She agrees to assist Finn in retrieving the holocron, using her credentials to get past the Imperial army outpost on Dantooine.  Dusque eventually discovers that the longer she works with the Rebels, the more sympathetic she becomes to their cause and the closer she and Finn become.  But when things get difficult and acts of betrayal are revealed, can Dusque remain true to the Rebel cause, or will she turn her back on the Rebels in favor of some greater venture?

            When I began reading The Ruins of Dantooine, I wasn’t certain what to expect.  This would be a novel that would primarily work outside of the main Star Wars character roster.  Would I still enjoy the story despite knowing little about the characters and having never played the game the novel was based upon.  The answer is a resounding yes! 

            Although I knew nothing about Dusque Mistflier prior to reading the novel, the writing is such that after only a couple of chapters, I felt I had known Dusque for quite a while.  I was able to predict her actions and reactions very well.  The same holds true for other characters in the novel.  In fact, I was so attuned to the authors that I was able to figure out the surprising twist long before I had ever come to it in the book. 

            Being able to figure out the storyline long before I was done with the novel did nothing to sap my enthusiasm.  I read this book in only a couple of days, enjoying the cameo appearances by Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Han Solo and more as much as I enjoyed the actual storyline.

            The writers did an excellent job keeping true to the game that the novel was based on.  The holocron is a very important part of Star Wars: Galaxies as holocrons were used to impart certain important information to players.  The writers took us to some of the planets available for exploration in the game, introduced us to species and creatures present in the game and also gave us a peek at one of the various jobs one can hold in the game - that of creature handler.  Force sensitivity was also touched upon, one of the special character slots that required specific actions to be taken by the player before it could be opened. 

            As I said before, the writers touched upon the Force sensitivity of Dusque Mistflier and they also hinted at her importance in the grand scheme of things, but just what that entails was never revealed.  Alas, much to my chagrin, there was never a sequel to The Ruins of Dantooine.  I found this to be unfortunate, since I had thought this novel to be the perfect starting point for a series of novels based on the game. 

            Despite the fact that this book is a stand alone novel with little impact on the rest of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, I recommend it to all fans of Star Wars novels.  It’s a quick and enjoyable read with plenty of action and adventure to get the juices flowing.  Cameos by Star Wars regulars are enjoyable and well-written and the novel does nothing to mess with the continuity of the Star Wars storyline.  Now that I have finally read Star Wars: Galaxy: The Ruins of Dantooine, it will always have a special place in my Star Wars book collection.


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