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I like big books.

Outcast (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 1)

Outcast (Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi, Book 1) - Aaron Allston Not a bad start to a new series. Allston is one of the better writers of the expanded universe and seems to be able to manage campy dialogue without it being too....well, campy. There's a lot of wry humor in some of the pairings for the simultaneously unfolding subplots that produce some witty banter in the usual enjoyable Star Wars vein, if you're into that sort of thing (and I most definitely am). There's nothing entirely complex about this novel and in general, the mysteries in even the longer EU stories aren't very intricate. This story follows an exiled Luke and Ben and continues the independent adventures of Han and Leia begun in Millennium Falcon. All-in-all the series takes some interesting turns here even for fans who've read just about everything the many EU authors have thrown into the mix.

This particular series benefits from a good dose of philosophical underpinning. At it's core, the question isn't about ruling the galaxy or mass extermination as they have been in the previous two or three major story arcs (though certainly that can be a developing subtext). Instead, the series is focusing on the developing role of the Jedi in galactic society. What is their role in the government? Are they an independent agency of the law? A consulting firm? Mediators? If so, who do they report to and what accountability is there if things should go awry within the order. There's a lot of legal wrangling going on in this first novel that's not particularly bad. You want to side with Luke and fan favorites, as a die hard Star Wars fan you never really question that they're good people doing the best they can and always doing the right thing....but still. Allston does a damn fine job complicating and muddying the picture. You can see the point Daala and her politicians have about the unchecked power and arrogance of the Order that's developed over the course of the series and the philosophy is sound and has real plot implications that are interesting to follow and watch develop.

Anyway, what's good is that Allston manages the dialogue in a manner that doesn't make you cringe, and while the plot is hardly subtle or intricate, there are some legitimate mysteries and new ideas that are worth investing your time in. Where did Jacen learn his new force techniques? Are there other Force sensitive adepts out there that do things and have different philosophies than the Jedi? Did some of those teachings drive Jacen to the dark side? Good questions. Recommended for those who've kept up with the EU. If you haven't, you probably won't find this to your liking and I'd recommend jumping into the series earlier.