Monday, July 6, 2009

Star Wars, Fate of the Jedi: Omen

Acting as a bridge, the new Fate of the Jedi series (along with its predecessor, Legacy of the Force) closes the gap between the epic Yuuzhan Vong War and the later Legacy graphic novels from Dark Horse.

The second volume in the series, and penned by the prolific (in the genre fiction range at least) Christie Golden, Luke who is banished from the Jedi order by the edict of Chief of State Daala, must search for clues behind Jacen Solo's descent to the Dark Side.

The first volume saw Luke and his (slightly older now, at 16) son Ben travel to remote Dorin to find out the techniques Jacen Solo learned from the Baran Do sages (made up exclusively of Kel Dor). They get their clues and manage to poke holes in the unusual practices of the sages,

Here, in the second book, Luke and Ben travel to the isolated and little understood Aing-tii, a race of mysterious Force users. Chief of the abilities they try to discern is the way of flow-walking. Conlict develops between Ben and Luke due to Ben's insistence to learn the technique. Meanwhile, we learn about an isolated tradition of the Sith, cut off from the galaxy for some 5000 years, and more Jedi succumb to madness.

Golden's narrative is readable enough, and there were no glaring issues I could find for the characters. That being said, I think Golden's dialogue for Amelia (Allana, daghter of Tenel Ka and Jacen Solo) succumbs to the downfall of many writers when handling children: the dialouge is unconvincing. I think the problem is one of word choice: children have specific ways and word choices when talking, and I don't think Golden nails it. In the book when Amelia has any meaningful dialogue, she sounds like a naive adult, rather than a child.

One really jarring element to the book is the character Bazel Warv. In the previous book's preview excerpt, Bazel was described as a Gammorean. At the time I felt this was a very unusual choice, but went with it with the assumption that there would be a lot of meat to character, such as would be expected when the character is so unconventional as being a Gammorean. When Omen finally hit the shelves, the race had been changed to a Ramoan. While the Wiki suggests that Ramoans are distantly related to Gammoreans, this change did not sit well with my expectations of Golden's handle on the universe. Luckily the character was mosty disposable, and quickly shuffled to the sidelines.

In the end, I didn't dislike the book, but in my opinion it was not quite as good as the previous installment. That might just be that I'm a Kel Dor fanboy (ever since playing a Kel Dor Jedi in our KotOR Star Wars RPG campaign), but nonetheless...

No comments: