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I like big books.

Exile (Star Wars Legacy of the Force4)

Exile - Aaron Allston A good book, but ultimately falling short of the previous in the series. Allston does a much better job than Traviss with the dialogue in particular, but this particular novel felt like it lost focus. The action was good, the plot developments made sense, and Jacen's transformation into a galactic douchebag is nearing completion. The war between the Alliance and the Confederation is reaching fever pitch and Allston does a very good job at playing up the tensions. However, unlike most books in the EU series, this book fails to take one of the primary characters as a focus and follow them throughout developing events. This was a trend developed during the Yuuzhan Vong series that worked really well, giving you different perspectives of the major crises as they developed from different viewpoints and locations. This book started with an exiled Han and Leia, and I was really excited as they reunited with Lando and began probing for clues to the origin of the current galactic crisis, but that storyline becomes watered down by others about half-way through the novel and I got the feeling that Allston couldn't make up his mind whether or not this was a Han and Leia story, a Ben story, or an Alema story. I think he spread himself too thin and I was left rather unsatisfied all around.

The most interesting parts for me were Ben's trials on the ancient Sith world of Ziost. Really it's a place of mythology for most star wars fans, and the location doesn't pop up much, especially considering it's the homeworld of the rival, dark force path that continually threatens the galaxy throughout the series. Seeing Ben travel there and just getting a feel for the atmosphere of the place and its hints of malevolence was interesting. Allston does a good job making Ben an ambivalent character, I found myself rooting for the kid to make the right moral assumptions, cringing when he fell short and egging him on when he made the right choice. This is the son of LUKE for God's sake, and to see him struggle so much just humanizes him in a way that Luke can't be -- he's too perfect.

I'm not really looking forward to the next book. It's Traviss again, and she gets to narrate the climax of the story. Ugh...