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Star Wars Fate of the Jedi #8: Ascension

Ascension - Christie Golden Okay, okay, Golden bashing aside, I think this marks a small, but noticeable step up for her. While I'm still cringing at her naming-sense and the awkward colloquial dialogue she crafts between beings living in a galaxy far, far away, I have to admit that the plot of Ascension certainly flows a lot more smoothly than her previous two entries in this series. How much of that is due to just better planning on the part of the team of writers and how much on her own initiative is still a bit of a mystery, but I'd be willing to give her the benefit of the doubt and say that she was in control of how events unfolded in this volume. While there's no real sense of surprise at the revelations of the machinations of the Sith or Abeloth in this volume, the revelations come out at just the right moments and don't feel like awkward afterthoughts the way the slave uprisings felt in the last book. Golden was given the unenviable task of writing the book right before the finale of a long arc, so a lot of this feels like build-up and positioning, but she does remarkably well in maintaining interest and introducing some genuine tension and complicated scenarios for Luke and the Jedi to unravel. Also well done is the internal emotional turmoil of Vestara as she struggles with her love for Ben and a realization of the callous way she was raised and her in-born loyalties to the only way of life she knows. There are echoes of Mara Jade here, that are unique and new rather than a rehashing of a beloved character who has moved on. With some more experience and a better editor to catch the out-of-character, young adult trendy novel dialogue Golden could show some promise. Now to wait FOUR MONTHS for the conclusion. -___-