This one fails for one very simple reason. I hate the characterization of Boba Fett. I totally disagreed with Lucas's backstory of Fett being a clone, thus ruining his individuality. And now, Karen Traviss has turned the galaxy's most feared bounty hunter into an emo papa's boy. Oh dad, I loved you
and Oh dad, I miss you
. Pathetic and fail.
Jacen Solo's transformation continues to baffle me as well. The logic is completely faulty. Jacen embraced multiple ways of using the Force during the last major story arc, refusing to commit himself to one particular path and embracing a path of moral relativism. I was inspired by his take philosophically and was intrigued by all of this mystic knowledge he had acquired. He seemed at the time to be the most powerful and objective Jedi in the Star Wars universe, wise beyond his years. In this arc, he embraces the fact that maybe Sith teachings aren't all that bad after all, and that they can be a tool to bringing order and peace to the galaxy, if used properly. I accept this premise. It fits with his nature. But, he is more and more embracing the idea that the Sith way is the way, the only
way, to bring peace to the galaxy, and that somehow he must sacrifice someone he cares about if he really wants to achieve his objectives and prove that he is beyond passion and temptation. Huh?!?!? Why accept the need for sacrifice? There was no plot point where a loved one has gotten in his way. HE DOESN'T EVEN KNOW WHO THIS LOVED ONE IS, ONLY THAT HE HAS TO KILL ONE OF THEM. Why?????? Fail. I imagine Jacen toying with Sith teachings as part of his overall patchwork worldview and not how Traviss is implementing this, "Oh, I have to be dark in order to succeed. I'll be a martyr and make the tough choices and sacrifice myself" nonsense. There was also a recognition on his part that he has a "Sith Destiny," which again, doesn't mesh with his worldview. The real Jacen would say that he has his own destiny and the things he learns helps him to fulfill it.
The plot points in this story also make no sense to me. There's no connective tissue between the story developments in the ongoing Corellian Crisis. It's just, "Oh, this happens. Now let's talk about something else. Oh and by the way, that last thing that happened was much more important than we first described, it's now blowing up into this situation. Why? Because I say so that's why! Thanks for asking." Just, ugh. I think plot-wise it's the poorest flow of any of the Star Wars EU stuff I've read so far.
The redeeming factor in this is the characterization of Han. It's really fascinating to see what stance he takes when his son becomes a member of the gestapo. The pain it causes him, and the choices he make truly feel agonizing. Traviss also manages to get him just right. Han's a rebel by nature. He hates the establishment. He loves independence and he loathes uniformity, which is personified in this novel by Jacen.
One other success: philosophically and politically, it's interesting to see how this story parallels prequel stuff. Mainly the question being tackled is how does a peace-loving democracy turn into an authoritarian state. And moreover, how do individuals who fought for their whole lives for freedom and the creation of a new and better system react once that brainchild shows signs of corruption? Do you reform from within because it's the system you created and believed in, or do you revert to your past, and fight it from the outside, tear it down and make something new? There's something cyclical about the overall arc I find appealing and fascinating and so I will continue it, but Traviss, you let me down.