What a terrific disappointment from the first book in the series. This book feels like a placeholder in the story. There are minor developments, but other than that, seems like a direct derivation from the previous book by Aaron Allston. Plot-wise, there are almost no new developments beyond the introduction of some shadowy new villains. In that respect, all Golden manages is an introduction too. Other than that, everything pretty much goes on it's humdrum way. More Jedi fall to the mysterious illness that consumed Valin Horn in book one, each one constituting a mini-crisis in the political conflict between Daala and the GA and the Jedi Order and provides a touch of action to an otherwise stale book that reads more like a travel diary than a Star Wars epic.
Making matters worse is the poor editing and poor writing by Golden. Maybe it's a pet peeve, but I really can't stand it when writers use dialogue to recap things for readers. There's a lot of, "Well let's not get ahead of ourselves gang. Remember last week, when __________?" and "Don't forget that two weeks ago this person did this and that's why." These things feel part of the narration or something that should be in an interior monologue. Not dialogue. It just feels clumsy and reveals the author's hand way too much. It makes it harder to immerse yourself in the story and visualize everything.
The other major disappointment, which I dearly hope is rectified by the next book, is the episodic and cyclic nature of the story. Feels like this saga is developing a bad habit where in each new book, a new Jedi goes crazy and causes havoc and Luke and Ben visit yet another world on their journey to find out what happened to Jacen Solo. Reminds me too much of the Smallville freak-of-the-week formula and I will be sorely disappointed if it continues.
Here's hoping to an improvement in the next book. The idea is solid, and so was the set-up. I just hope other authors can execute better than Golden.