A dramatic improvement over it's predecessor, Tempest actually does a much better job at explaining exactly what's happening to Jacen, and how he could legitimately fall prey to the dark side. Ultimately what makes this book succeed is the rather poignant moments Denning creates as Jacen continues to break the hearts of his friends and family. He makes some rather serious errors in judgement that lead to a terrible mistake that I don't see anyone forgiving. The shame he feels isolates him further than his sense of mission and being above personal attachment ever could, and it's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know where this is going, you know what's going to happen, but it's anatomy is fascinating both psychologically and emotionally.
Besides this, Denning does a remarkable job weaving a pretty basic plot of political deception and galactic intrigue which will keep you hooked and which makes sense and more importantly, this is where Traviss failed, feels
right. My only complaints are minor. He has some of the characters in the story using contemporary american idioms which just don't seem right coming out of the mouth of Jedi Grand Master Luke Skywalker. Call me picky, but it was distracting. Other than that, great fun.