"Claws of the Dragon: Part 5"
Plot: Cade Skywalker is more bounty hunter than Jedi Knight, but his legacy is hard to deny when he sets himself against Emperor Darth Krayt.
Comments: There are many familiar elements to this story, but Ostrander and Duursema are a crackerjack team who wield them all into a new synthesis. Legacy refers to Luke Skywalker's descendants over a century after his time (Cade is a kind of mixture of Luke and Han Solo). These unfortunates must live within a Sith Empire thanks to the long-range influence of Emperor Palpatine and other persistent adherents to the Dark Side.
Rather than one or two Sith Lords, Cade must confront a cadre of them: Darths Maladi, Krayt, Nihl and Talon. Each is a world of nightmare all their own, lovingly tattooed and otherwise decorated by Duursema, and none perhaps are more fascinating than Krayt himself. This topsy-turvy future also faced a disastrous invasion by a new race, the Yuuzhan Vong, in recent years. The Vong destroyed many planets in their quest for habitable environments for their species before realizing their error. Krayt fought them and became their captive, subject to torturous experiments, and it's possible he was driven insane by the pain. Though, then again, being over a century old (and given towards dangerous life-prolonging self-treatments) may also have taken its toll on this participant in the Clone Wars.
Cade is a classic rebel character, as is his mother, Morrigan Corde, as are the rest of his crew (which includes a Wookie), but the calmer wisdom of the Jedi persists as well. Hosk Trey'lis, Cade's former mentor, dies the Jedi Way this issue, and Cade experiences ghostly visitations from his father Kol, offering guidance. If only he could calm down, stop being tortured, and think clearly long enough to listen.
Cade's a man who generates his own trouble in a dark world full of way too many opportunities. But there are always glimmers of hope, of light in the darkness, and one senses he just might find them one day, despite himself. Duursema and Ostrander have fashioned a rich world full of colorful characters that really does maximize the legacy of the cinematic tales.
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!