Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
Author: Troy Denning
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
Bet you thought that I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with the Fate of the Jedi novel series. Hell, I thought I wouldn’t be able to keep up, but, amazingly, I have. I recently finished reading the sixth installment in the series, Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex, a full month before the next installment is scheduled to be released.
In the last novel, our formerly mentally ill Jedi regained their sanity. This is thought to have been the result of the destruction of Abeloth at the hands of the Sith and Luke Skywalker. In Vortex, as the Sith and the Skywalkers search the ruins of Abeloth’s home, they discover that Abeloth has actually tricked them. She is still alive, but hurting. In an effort to recover to full strength, she steals the Jade Shadow and leaves the planet with Ship not far behind, but not before instigating a battle between the Skywalkers and the Sith at the Pool of Knowledge.
Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, the Jedi prove that the illness has been cured, much to the dismay of Chief of State Daala. In an effort to keep the Jedi under her thumb, Daala refuses to release the Horns from carbonite and return them to the order. She also refuses to allow the Jedi to leave Coruscant. Knowing that the Skywalkers need help with the Sith and angry at the rejection of the Horns’ release, many of the Jedi Masters believe it is time to fight back, especially after witnessing the senseless murder of a pacifist species at a slave rally. The slaves are murdered by the same Mandalorians who held the Jedi under siege such a short time ago.
Unfortunately, when the Jedi Masters relate their intentions to Acting Grand Master Kenth Hamner, he refuses to allow them to act, citing that they would be committing treason if they should go against the will of Chief of State Daala. But when Luke reports that Abeloth isn’t dead and that he has tracked her to Pydyr and the Force-wielding Fallanassi, the Jedi believe there is no choice in the matter. The only beings standing in their way are Daala and their own Acting Grand Master and they aren’t willing to allow them to stand in their way for long.
I’m not really sure whether I am happy with the path the Fate of the Jedi series is taking in regards to this ancient being known as Abeloth. Not being a huge fan of the Cthulu mythos, I was not thrilled when it was brought to Star Wars with the creation of this being. Yet, there is no denying that it does add a uniqueness to the villainy found in the Star Wars universe. This is a mysterious enemy that no one truly understands with powers that are unimaginable. The possibilities are endless.
Despite her being a Sith, I like Vestara Khai and am happy to see her getting closer to Ben Skywalker. I think what has begun as a Sith infiltration scheme may very well turn into a troubling relationship for the two characters, much in the line of the characters in Star Wars: The Lost Tribe: Sentinel and somewhat reminiscent of the love that bloomed between Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade.
I never liked Kenth Hamner, even back in the days when he was first introduced to the Star Wars Universe, so his downfall doesn’t dismay me much. However, the way in which this downfall takes place is incredibly surprising and exciting. In a way, his actions and thought processes are reminiscent of those of Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. He truly believes he is doing the right thing and, by thoroughly misreading the intentions of one of his biggest opposes, puts his own life in jeopardy. An extremely intriguing moment in the series, to be sure.
Troy Denning is one of the premier Star Wars writers and his handling of this segment in the Fate of the Jedi series is exemplary. He adds just the right amount of action and intrigue to draw you in and, just when you think you have things figured out, he knows exactly the moment to spring another mystery on you, adding something new to the mix that throws you off entirely. He leaves just enough of the mystery unsolved…just enough of an open thread…to entice you to keep coming back for more.
Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Vortex does much to tie up loose ends, but just as soon as those are tied up, others unravel, keeping you off balance and yearning for more. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment, Conviction!
For more about the Fate of the Jedi series, check out these links: