Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Ylesia
Author: Walter Jon Williams
Published By: The Ballentine Publishing Company
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I recently purchased a copy of Star Wars: Dark Nest I: The Joiner King at my local Barnes & Noble book store. I was looking forward to reading this, the first book following The New Jedi Order series. I was interested in discovering just what was in store for our heroes in the aftermath of the war with the Yuuzhan Vong. Upon completing the book, which was reviewed on this site by Ismael Manzano, I noticed that there was an extra story added to the end. Imagine my happiness to discover that I had actually bought two books in one. Imagine my happiness growing to the discovery that the extra story was a New Jedi Order story previously only available in e-book format: Ylesia.
Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Ylesia takes place after Destiny’s Way and before the Force Heretic series. In this novel, Jacen Solo is still struggling to find his place among his peers. Having returned from his time in the capture of the Yuuzhan Vong, Jacen is uncertain what his role in the war with the Vong should be. He decides that he will best serve by aiding his sister Jaina, joining Twin Suns, the fleet she commands. He soon discovers that many of the Jedi he grew up with, young as they may be, are in command of similar fleets, united in their effort against the Vong. Offered a fleet of his own, Jacen realizes that he is not yet ready for command and opts to fly as Jaina’s experienced wingman. Commanding a primarily rookie fighter fleet, Jacen believes she can use all the help she can get in their new endeavor – a raid of the Peace Brigade capital, Ylesia.
Meanwhile, we discover that Han Solo’scousin, Thracken Sal-Solo, is in negotiations with Supreme Commander Shimrra over his homeworld of Corellia. Sal-Solo’s plan is to attain Vong assistance in achieving his lifelong goal of control of Corellia. His chief bargaining asset is Centerpoint Station, the mighty weapon recently engaged against in a climactic battle against the Vong with disastrous results for both sides. Knowing that it was Sal-Solo who had the weapon used against his forces, Shimrra decides he shall pay the ultimate price. Sal-Solo will give Shimrra the names of the contacts he planned to use to gain control of Centerpoint, while Sal-Solo himself becomes the new President of the Peace Brigade, a traitorous unit of humans and aliens alike who serve the Vong. He is transported to Ylesia at once to serve in his new and most treacherous position as leader of an army whose members want him dead.
The tale is interesting in that it fills in certain gaps I had noted between Destiny’s Way and Force Heretic. Having not previously been able to read Ylesia in its e-book format, I was unaware as to how Jacen rose to his position in leading whole forces into battle from the bridge of the Ralroost. I was also unaware as to how the Peace Brigade was destroyed and had been wondering what exactly had happened to the huge traitor army. The action sequences in Ylesia involving star fighter battles and ground war were exciting and fast-paced. It was fun to see Sal-Solo get his after eluding justice on so many occasions. There was some comedy in Sal-Solo’s defeat and the levity was welcome, as so much of The New Jedi Order series is dramatically dark. My only complaint is in the scenes between Jaina Solo and Jagged Fel. Their actions seemed out of character. Jag was never given to public acts of demonstration regarding his feelings for Jaina, yet in this book, he basically fawns over her in the Officers’ Club. Acting that way in private may be one thing, but to act that way in public would be out of character for Jag, as noted in previous and later novels.
I, for one, am happy to have finally gotten my hands on Ylesia by Walter Jon Williams. It has cleared up a lot of questions for me regarding The New Jedi Order series. For fans of The New Jedi Order series, this story is a necessity as a bridge between the novel Destiny’s Way and the series Force Heretic. If you aren’t interested in buying Dark Nest I, Ylesia is still available in its original e-book format. Enjoy!
For more about The New Jedi Order series, check out: