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Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
Aaron Allston
Lucas Books, Del Rey, 336 pages

Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi: Outcast
Aaron Allston
Aaron Allston was born in 1960 in Corsicana, Texas. He moved to Austin, intending to continue journalism studies at the University of Texas while writing on the side, but neither time at the university nor a year with the Austin American-Statesman worked out. He was then hired by game designer and publisher Steve Jackson as circulation manager for Space Gamer magazine. Over the next two years, he became editor of the magazine and began designing game supplements on a freelance basis. In 1983, he began working full-time on a freelance basis as a game designer. His first novel, Web of Danger, game-based fiction supporting the Top Secret/S.I. game line, was released by TSR in 1988. He now lives in the Austin area.

Aaron Allston Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Star Wars: Legacy of the Force: Betrayal

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones

Once again, the galaxy is threatened by instability and strife. Once again, the Jedi Order is in the spotlight, and not in a good way. The Jedi are too powerful, too enigmatic, too independent, too likely to go against authority. The distrust is high, especially after the rise and fall of Darth Caedus, formerly Jacen Solo, son of Han Solo and Princess Leia. And when another Jedi, Valin Horn, apparently goes mad and runs amuck, it's all the evidence powerful people need to bring against the Order. The Jedi must be brought to heel, made to obey the law like everyone else. And so begins the latest dark time for the Jedi Order, with Luke Skywalker, its Grand Master, taking the brunt of public disapproval. But Luke has a plan, a plan which involves him becoming the scapegoat the galaxy needs, in order to loosen the restrictions of his friends and family. Unfortunately, the plan leads to his exile....

With his son Ben for company, Luke sets out into the galaxy, away from his friends, away from his home, following the footsteps of Jacen Solo as they try to figure out how the boy they knew and loved became one of the Sith. Their journey will take them into the distant corners of uncharted regions, to long-lost pockets of civilization, anywhere that might shed light on Jacen's transformation. But what they find at the Temple of the Baran Do on the planet Dorin, where the fabled Jedi Master Plo Koon once studied, will both enlighten and test them. But will their first step along Jacen's path be their last?

Meanwhile, Han and Leia visit their old friend Lando Calrissian, who's taken to running the Spice Mines of Kessel, where they'll undergo their own set of trials, facing old nightmares and new threats. And Jaina Solo defies authority in order to secretly protect her fellow Jedi. Two extraordinary families, separated by vast amounts of space, each member dealing with their own separate issues, and still trying to save a galaxy that has turned against them. This is what it means to be a hero in the Star Wars universe.

Well then. A lot going on. I missed out on the whole Jacen Solo/Darth Cadeus saga, being something of a sporadic Star Wars fan, so it was nice to see that this book is fairly accessible, for all that it's picking up on the back story created by dozens of books stretching over a number of years, with plot lines dating back to the New Jedi Order saga. The characters have changed and grown and aged, but it's still Luke and Leia and Han and R2D2 and C3PO, up to their usual universe-saving adventures. Older, wiser, some of them yearning for the action of their youth, others just seeking to understand how things came to be as they are, it's nice to see their core elements never change. Han's an impulsive daredevil, Leia's a strong woman who can kick ass and talk diplomacy, and Luke's still trying to piece together the parts of the puzzle. Ben Skywalker is the perfect foil for his father: stubborn, intellectual, willing to butt heads, learn from his mistakes, and still say "I told you so" when the situation calls for it. So far, I'm liking the father-son buddy team they've formed.

As the first part in a nine-book series, Outcast is, of course, primarily setup, laying down the new status quo as far as our cast of characters and their immediate problems are concerned. There's a long ways to go before we see where Luke's exile takes him, what might have influenced Jacen, what's driving certain Jedi nuts, how things will turn out, and whether or not the galaxy will find peace once more. I'm looking forward to seeing how things turn out, though the initial release of each book in hardcover may see me waiting for the paperback editions. That is, if my desire to learn what happens next doesn't overcome my need to eat regularly. I will admit that I'm hooked as far as my interest goes, and Aaron Allston has always "gotten" Star Wars in my opinion. Outcast suggests that this will be about big ideas, strange adventures, weird aliens, galactic politics, and defining character moments. Here's hoping the rest of the series, as chronicles by Allston, Christie Golden, and Troy Denning, can keep it up.

Copyright © 2009 Michael M Jones

Michael M Jones enjoys an addiction to books, for which he's glad there is no cure. He lives with his very patient wife (who doesn't complain about books taking over the house... much), eight cats, and a large plaster penguin that once tasted blood and enjoyed it. A prophecy states that when Michael finishes reading everything on his list, he'll finally die. He aims to be immortal.

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