Science Fiction

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice

Author: Karen Traviss

Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
 

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


WARNING: This article contains spoilers about the Legacy of the Force series.  If you do not wish to learn any pivotal spoiler information, please do not proceed past the fifth paragraph.  Consider yourself warned!
 

            I was truly enjoying the new Star Wars series of books entitled Legacy of the Force.  Watching the transformation of Jacen Solo from a powerful Jedi into a horrific Sith Lord was fascinating thus far.  But then I learned a spoiler or two about the series and it stopped me dead in my tracks.  I’m not one for spoilers, but every once in a while, one crosses my path quite accidentally.  I learned of this one in two different ways – one was the message board rant about the murder of a favorite Expanded Universe character; the other was gleaned from the back of the paperback novel that immediately follows Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice.  The blurb on the back of the book alluded to the funeral of my favorite Star Wars character.  I was crushed, much in the same way that Chewbacca fans felt after his death in The New Jedi Order series.  Thus, I put off reading the fifth story in the series until now.  I needed to keep my favorite character alive in my mind’s eye for just a little longer.

            Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice is a story that takes place on two separate fronts.  On one front, we watch as Boba Fett makes a last ditch effort to help his people in his role as Manda’lore while simultaneously seeking a cure for his own fatal illness.  His success on both fronts is remarkable.  Mandalore becomes a force to reckon with and begins to attract the attention of the people of the Galactic Alliance who wonder, judging from Mando history, if the Mandalorians are once again becoming imperialistic.  What will this mean for the weakened defenses of the Galactic Alliance?

            Meanwhile, on another front, Jacen Solo continues to grow as a Sith apprentice.  In a move reminiscent of Palpatine, Jacen manipulates Galactic Alliance laws in an effort to depose Cal Omas as Chief of State.  However, unlike Palpatine, rather than take control of the Galactic Alliance himself, Jacen chooses to share the Chief of State role with Cha Niathal, head of the Galactic Alliance fleet.  Ben Skywalker, once in awe of his cousin, has become disenchanted by Jacen and his actions of late.  Discovering that his father had every right to worry about Jacen and his rise to power, Ben approaches his mother for help.  Mara Jade Skywalker, bent on stopping the evil Sith Lumiya from harming her son, has also been observing her nephew Jacen’s actions very carefully.  As time passes, Jacen reminds Mara more and more of her former boss, Emperor Palpatine. 

            Now, armed with the information from her son regarding Jacen’s alliance with Lumiya, Mara sets out to destroy her nemesis and thus protect her son, and the world, from the evils of Sith reign.  But at what sacrifice?

            Author Karen Traviss is fast becoming an authority on the Mandolore culture.  I was thrilled to learn more about the Madalorians and Boba Fett’s past.  I have also notice that Traviss has an excellent grasp of Anakin Skywalker’s ascent to Sith Lord and thus, perfect insight as to Jacen’s path to Sith-dom.  Her writing style is captivating and, reluctant as I was to read about the death of my favorite character, I found I was loathe to put the novel down.  I truly enjoyed the way Jacen is portrayed in this novel – on one hand, he truly believes that his actions are solely to provide a better, safer galaxy for his daughter to live in, yet on the other hand, his thoughts betray a Palpatine-like hunger for absolute control over every being in the universe.  Fascinating.

            And now we come to the part that I was dreading, the death of my favorite Expanded Universe character – Mara Jade Skywalker.  Mara has been my favorite character since the Thrawn Trilogy that brought the world of Star Wars novels back to life. I knew from the first book in that series that Mara was the one for Luke Skywalker and that they would eventually become husband and wife. I rooted for this despite Callista and the numerous other women who walked in and out of Luke's life. There could be only one person who would fit Luke's personality completely and that was Mara Jade.

            When they got engaged, I was the first to cheer. When they were married, I ran to find the comic book miniseries detailing the nuptials. When they came out with a Mara Jade action figure, I patrolled Ebay day and night until I could find one (they weren't available in toy stores near me). When Mara got sick in the New Jedi Order series, I hoped that they would find a cure because I couldn't imagine losing a character that I related so much to. When fans were polled as to what fill-in stories they would want to read about from the older time line, I quickly voted that I wanted to read more about Mara Jade prior to the New Jedi Order series.

            Mara Jade was a role model for young women out there. Her character proved that you could be human and make mistakes, but you could come back from those mistakes, learn from them and travel the right path again. She was one of the strongest female characters in the Star Wars book series – Leia Organa Solo is strong, don't get me wrong, but the need for her to be politically correct in her former position as Chief of State made her a tad less fun to read than Mara. Mara Jade Skywalker was just way cool in a rebellious, yet loveable way. The fact that such a strong, fun, intelligent, and swashbuckling character was a female was icing on the cake.

            And so, when I learned that Mara Jade Skywalker was to die in this novel, I was deeply saddened.  However, I must say, Karen Traviss handed this sensitive issue – I’m not the only Mara Jade fan out there – very well.  Always a tough character, Traviss decided that Mara would not be one to go without a fight.  Mara seriously kicks ass before her ultimate demise and still manages to be victorious even in death.  I won’t even give you a hint as to how - I think I’ve given enough away in revealing her death.  Trust me, if Mara had to go, this was the best way for it to occur.  Her death is an extremely pivotal moment in the Legacy of the Force series.

            So, much as I wish I didn’t believe it, Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Sacrifice is a must-read for every Star Wars fan.  The events of this novel will set the pace for the rest of the series.  One simple sacrifice will galvanize an entire family into action against Sith tyranny.  But don’t think that Mara’s death is the final bit of damage caused to the Solo-Skywalker clan.  Boba Fett describes it best in his thoughts revealed by Karen Traviss in this novel – “Fett wouldn’t trade places with any of the Solos or Skywalkers.  They were a tragically unhappy dynasty…
 


 

For more about Star Wars, check out:

Star Wars: Dark Nest

Star Wars: Dark Nest II: The Unseen Queen

Star Wars: Dark Nest III: The Swarm War

Star Wars Short Stories: In His Image & Two-Edged Sword

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Betrayal

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Bloodlines

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Tempest

Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Exile


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