Evil Geek Book Report – Dark Force Rising
Hello again all you rebel scum out there. I have made it through the second installment of the Thrawn Trilogy and I am super eager to give you all my take on it. After all, I was a little underwhelmed by Heir to the Empire, but I was pleasantly surprised with how great Dark Force Rising was. So continue on for my spoiler-filled review of the novel.
Let’s see, I had a number of complaints about the first book, but was specifically peeved by how I felt Zahn tried to copy the movie. It also was a little lacking in action. Mara Jade was a bit of a dud character to me. And Leia was just awkward: pregnant and trying to learn how to use a lightsaber. That about sums up the underlying themes that I disliked. Luckily, I can say that almost none of these issues were problems for me in this latest book. Except maybe the first one, but it finally started to flow more.
Firstly there is a TON more action in this book, and page after page I felt like I was excited to see how things would develop. There were several story lines going on throughout this novel, so let me explain some of them.
Han and Lando end up spending a lot of time together in this book, specifically trying to uncover what Fey’lya, the Bothan senator trying to overtake Mothma and Akbar in the Senate, is up to. What ends up happening is the two discover not only a hidden fleet of dreadnaught ships that the New Republic can use in their continued fight against the Empire, but former General Garm Bel Iblis, a Corellian that used to be one of Han’s idols! There is a lot of great suspense where you wonder whether or not Han and Lando are falling in to a trap (yes, I said it) but luckily they seem to make it out ok, and with a better understanding of Fey’lya’s motivations.
Talon Karrde, one of my favorite new additions to the series from the last book, ends up siding with the New Republic inadvertently in the last book, but this book has even more between his interactions and the Empire. Due to some poor foresight on Mara Jade’s part, Talon ends up captured by the Empire and held hostage. Mara feels horrible, and sucks it up to ask Luke Skywalker for his help in rescuing him.
I definitely think there was better Mara Jade development in this book, and we specifically start to get some insight in to why she hates Luke Skywalker so much. It’s obvious that being the Emperor’s Hand before his death made her blame Luke for the loss of her lifestyle, yet it doesn’t make sense that she easily decides to abandon the Empire yet has such a difficult time aligning herself with Skywalker. She wants so badly to kill him. But through some flashback scenes during the Emperor’s last days I am speculating that he used the Force to imprint her mind with this undeniably strong urge to kill Luke.
Luckily for us she is stronger than that urge so far, and even goes so far as to ask for his assistance while he is on Jomark with C’boath. C’boath is bat shit crazy in so many ways, but having Mara come and rescue him in her own way helps Luke understand that even more, escaping the Jedi Master’s grip. And why did Mara need Luke’s help? To rescue Karrde from the Empire and Thrawn’s ship of course! This scene was one of my favorites. It spanned a chapter or two, but was wonderful. It had a lot of elements from A New Hope without copying the movie, and had all the suspense one could ever desire. Every step of the way I thought the cunning Thrawn would capture our three, but they escaped, in the FALCON to top it all off, in the last minute.
What else happened in this book? Leia and Chewie end up traveling to Kashyyyk to meet the Noghri, the alien species initially sent to capture her for Thrawn, but turned to her side after discovering that she was the daughter of Vadar. Leia ends up a pseudo-hostage on this planet but she is finally back in her element. I love Leia, I really do, but even though the Force is strong with her I don’t picture her being a lightsaber wielding bad ass. She plays a politician in the original trilogy, and I see her doing a good job as a moral and fair politician in my mind. She seems so much less awkward stepping in to that role on Kashyyyk, acting like a regular Elizabeth Warren to the noghri and truly wanting to just stick up for the little guy. As much as the time on this planet was not as action packed as elsewhere in the galaxy, it was comforting seeing Leia back in a role that better suits her.
Eventually all of our favorite characters end up back on Coruscant together, only to head off on one last mission with Karrde to try to uncover the Katana Fleet together. It’s a legendary fleet that was abandoned at an unknown location in space, and whichever side grabs up those ships is definitely going to have a leg up in the coming war. Sadly the Empire found out its coordinates at the same time. The battle scene that ensues was very enjoyable, finally giving me the feeling of being back in the seat of an X-Wing again. And once again, just when we think that Fey’lya is going to abandon Luke, Han, Chewie, and Lando’s landing party to the Empire, Karrde is able to trick him in to giving a speech to all the fleet about his real motives. This leads to the entire fleet committing a mutiny against him and standing up for our favorite characters, rescuing them and giving the Empire quite a blow to their army in the mean time. But if the suspense of those scenes wasn’t enough for you, the last part of the story reveals that the Empire had beaten the Alliance to the Katana Fleet and already successfully stolen most of the ships. Plus they have a new clone army they are building in order to man those ships…makes it look a little more perilous for our team of rebels in the final novel to the trilogy.
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Posted on May 9, 2015, in Books, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged Dark Force Rising, Sci-Fi, Star Wars, star wars extended universe, The Thrawn Trilogy, Timothy Zahn. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.