*Okay, so here we go! After a brief blurb and a short story, it’s time to plunge into the Dawn of the Jedi era all the way with the era’s only novel. I am somewhat surprised to find myself starting this book with a good measure of hopeful anticipation. After enjoying Eruption, I’m hoping this one is good.
*Okay, I have a frigging question already. Upon opening to the first chapter, I see that it opens with an epigraph (actually, they all do). They’re all dated but I don’t recognize the system. This first one, for instance, is dated 10,661 TYA. What the hell is a “TYA?” I have just barely gotten a grip on “BBY,” you guys.
*So, this book starts with a flashback to when Lanoree Brock, the era’s main character so far, having appeared in both of the stories I’ve read so far, was a young girl on Tython, learning the ways of the Force. Her brother Dal was also a learner and the book establishes immediately that he’s basically a huge ****.
*Okay, so Lanoree meets with the Council and they tell her about this . . . jeez, it’s this whole thing about this “hypergate” that’s buried in these ruins and this bad guy is trying to build some kind of a machine that will allow him to activate the gate via dark matter and this will possibly allow him to . . . go somewhere? But it will possibly also create a black hole or something and swallow the entire Tython system. So, Lanoree’s supposed to stop him. I promise, all those details I just got totally wrong are actually not important. It’s a McGuffin.
*They mention the Jedi Temple of Science. It’s named “Anil Kesh.” Anil. Ehehehehehehehehehe anil.
*So, just when we most expect it, it turns out that this bad guy is, in fact, Lanoree’s brother, Dal. Seems he disappeared years ago and was thought to be dead, but now he’s back. And so she’s been tapped for the mission, of course.
*Okay, so the book is going to alternate for its entire length between two plot lines. The first follows Lanoree and Dal through their training. The second is Lanoree’s “present day” search for Dal.
*So, I found the training sections really fascinating, which I didn’t really expect. It seems that young learners were turned out of their homes on Tython to journey around the planet from temple to temple where they learn different lessons; one temple for science, one for combat, one for anal, you get the drift.
*Yes, I am twelve. Why do you ask?
*Now when I say journey around the planet, I’m talking about like months and months of travelling on foot through deserts and mountains and jungles. This is hard core.
*This also leads to some really fascinating world building. I absolutely love the Silent Desert. It’s this large desert; it takes them three days to cross it. And something about the air quality and the sand or whatever swallows sound. You can’t even hear yourself speak; it’s just this unending quiet. That’s just awesome. Especially when they get into a fight with this lizard monster. I’d love to see that on the big screen; this huge battle with a monster, but it just happens in total silence, no sounds at all.
*There’s also this throwaway reference to these weird sand sculptures. They sort of form themselves out of the sand during the night and appear to just be statues or something, but they’re somehow alive and can be felt in the Force. But then, during the day, they just . . . collapse back into the sand. And then more will form that night. And no one really knows what they are or where they come from or what kind of life is controlling them. And they’re just kind of briefly mentioned in a few sentences and then we move on. But I found the idea of these beings really evocative and strange and beautiful.
*Well, I should have just quoted a bit instead of wasting all that time trying to put it into words: “There seems to be no wind lifting the sand . . . the sculpture looks about the size of a human . . . it seems fluid, moving and dancing. The shape is ambiguous. The distant sand sculpture is warmer than the surrounding sand . . . And, most amazingly of all, within its confines the sand sings out loud . . . there are no words there that Lanoree knows. Yet she can sense something of unbridled freedom and passion in the noise . . .then the shape disintegrates, and with one more heartbeat it is returned to the desert. The sound has vanished.”
*I mean, is that not AWESOME?
*I think, actually, looking back at this book as a whole, that the worldbuilding is nothing short of extraordinary. I’ll pull up examples as I go, but the way the novel creates a Jedi Order that feels genuinely more mystical than the ones from later time periods is great. The Jedi Order feels more . . . pagan, in a way. And the way Lebbon writes about each of the temples and all the environments . . . I mean, I expected this training stuff to be a drudgery, but it really, really worked. I mean, he knocked this stuff out of the park.
*Oh, I should just tell you right now that I liked this book a lot. And one of the things I do when I like a Star Wars book a lot is I picture as a movie. So, some really wonderful casting choices just kind of leapt into my head. I try not to like really obsess about casting the characters, but sometimes it just happens naturally.
*First off, the adult Lanoree Brock? Emily Blunt. Please, God, Emily Blunt. She’s just so perfect. Well, Lanoree is supposed to be mid-twenties and Blunt is right at thirty, I think, right now, but I think you could bump her age up a bit. Having just seen Blunt in Edge of Tomorrow, I think she could really play this character really well. Lanoree’s a tough-minded, totally competent, confident person that only occasionally gives in to her emotions. I see her as brusque, almost rude sometimes, but smart and competent. Much like Blunt’s character in Edge of Tomorrow, which is probably why this casting just jumped right to mind.
*Yeah, for instance, there’s this little half-page scene of a guy trying to pick Lanoree up in a bar when she first gets to Khalimar, a planet where she’s gone to meet a guy that has some leads on Dal’s whereabouts. This scene just plays perfectly when you picture Emily Blunt doing it.
*And, yes, she would keep her natural accent. None of that Looper bull**** where we’re supposed to believe that a woman that looks like Emily Blunt is a farmer from Kansas. But enough crushing on Emily Blunt.
*So, her contact is a disreputable Twi’lek named Tre Sana. He’s worked for Lanoree’s old master, Dam-Powl, in the past, so Lanoree is inclined to trust him conditionally. I see Tre Sana being played by Ron Perlman. I think that’s essentially all the casting I did.
*Tre Sana has three lekku which makes him an outcast in Twi’lek society. That’s a new one.
*So, there’s this weird thing about Jedi alchemy. It seems that Dam-Powl used this skill to somehow genetically, and perhaps physically, alter Tre Sana’s brain so that he can’t be read by any other Jedi.
*This is actually kind of dark and weird. Tre says he’s “just another slave spy used by the Je’daii.” Lanoree notes that alchemy of that sort is “forbidden,” but that “what was considered forbidden to some was exploration to others.” She also lets slip in her thoughts that she is running an alchemy experiment of her own, a secret experiment that only Dam-Powl knows about. Lanoree admits that what Dam-Powl did to Tre was “perhaps immoral, yet startingly brilliant.”
*This is what I mean when I say the Order feels more mystical, more pagan. More . . . dangerous. I mean, there’s something that feels almost Lovecraftian about some of this stuff to me. That’s an odd connection to make and I can’t really put it all into words, but reading this passage about the “alchemy” makes me feel weird in the same way as reading Lovecraft does.
*So, Tre Sana tells Lanoree that Dal has gotten mixed up with a group of people called the Stargazers. They’re obsessed with finding out how they got to this system. It seems that there are legends that the people of the Tython system were brought there in distant ages by some mysterious race and left there. I’m not totally clear on that. And they aren’t able to leave the Tython system. These Stargazers are obsessed with finding a way out; I guess that’s the significance of the hypergate. It seems to offer a possible way out of the system, if Dal and the Stargazers can find a way to activate it.
*There’s a wonderful action sequence at this point, in which Lanoree spots a Noghri following her. She attempts to confront him and this leads into a crackerjack chase sequence, confrontation and, shockingly, a suicide bombing by the Noghri. This is the best action sequence I’ve read in the EU in a really, really long time. It’s intense and visceral and I can absolutely see it on the big screen.
*It’s also worth noting that the violence here is quite a bit more graphic than in other EU books. There are spurts and gouts of blood and twisted legs with bones sticking out of them and gore spattering all around, etc. This is part of what makes this feel so different and makes this world feel a lot more primitive and brutal than the later EU stuff.
*Then there’s a wonderful scene between Lanoree and Lorus, a Sith cop. I love it when ground level police officers show up in Star Wars. I even liked that Bothan cop from the Jedi Apprentice series. And this guy’s a Red Sith, which is even more awesome. The verbal dance these two perform is just massively entertaining.
*I was hoping Lorus would be in more of the book, since he actually is listed in the Dramatis Personae, but unfortunately he’s only in this scene. I could read a whole novel about this guy. Seriously.
*Okay, we’re done with chapter four and I’m going to just go ahead and say something. I’m going to spoil the ending of this review, if I haven’t already: I really, really loved this book. And so, I want to just put up a warning at this juncture.
*I want you, if you haven’t read this book, to just GO READ IT. It’s pretty darn great.
*I’m warning you at this point because I am going to continue this post and, for those who are interested but just don’t want to take the time to read it and for those who have already read it and are enjoying this trip back through, I am going to summarize all the way to the end. I’m going to spoil the **** out of this book. And it really doesn’t deserve to be spoiled for you if you haven’t read it.
*So, big warning. A lot of the time, I don’t care to spoil a book because I’m not going to recommend it. But this one I do recommend, quite strongly actually, so I’m just warning you.
*And get the paperback; it has Eruption in it too and it’s a really short, fun read as well.
*So, Tre takes Lanoree to meet one of the main Stargazers, this massively obese woman named Kara. She’s a real character, I must say.
*Yeah, I just ate this scene up with a spoon too. What a great scene. And, like Lorus, she’s in the Dramatis Personae but only in this one scene. And I wanted more.
*This is like a massive compliment actually. When was the last time the EU left you wanting more?
*I kinda think this whole era may be that way. After this wonderful book, I only have three trades. Barring them being dreadful, I think I’ll be sad that we will more than likely never get anything about these characters or this era ever again.
*So, this conversation with Kara ends with Tre stunning her, Lanoree stealing a bunch of old books and the two of them taking a flying leap off of a HUGE building. Good clean fun.
*I should mention at this point that young Lanoree and young Dal are doing about as well as you’d expect. Their relationship is fracturing because Lanoree has a lot of Force talent and Dal doesn’t. There have been a few scenes, but nothing of note.
*Until they arrive at Stav Kesh, the temple where they’ll learn hand to hand combat.
*So, there’s some badass Noghri action in this book, if you’re into that kind of thing. There was the earlier chase scene/fight sequence and now the instructor at Stav Kesh is a Noghri. There are a couple of great scenes where he basically just gets all his students together and tells them to come at him with whatever weapons they can find. Even though these are just training exercises, Lebbon writes them with real energy. They’re great action scenes.
*Okay, they figure out that Kara used to be a Jedi.
*Okay, so let’s get into the light/dark dichotomy of this era. I brought it up in my Eruption review. So, Tython has two moons. One, Ashla, represents the light side; the other, Bogan, represents the dark side. The Jedi believe that the light and dark must be in perfect balance in each individual Jedi. So, each Jedi must embrace the dark side and use it when the situation calls for it. But they must not slip out of balance and fall completely into it.
*So, when a Jedi seems to be losing his balance, he or she is sent to Bogan where they are essentially exiled until they can regain their balance.
*You know what, all this “perfect balance within each Jedi” thing . . . it’s making me kind of reevaluate The Fourth Precept. Because that was something I didn’t consider; maybe it represents the struggle for dominance inside the soul of a Jedi! And ultimately it comes to balance. Because that would certainly have been the way a Jedi of this period would have believed. Intriguing. I wonder if the Dawn of the Jedi folks came up with that doctrine and put it in because of The Fourth Precept. It seems an odd coincidence.
*Well, anyway, Lanoree figures that Kara must have been on Bogan at some point if she used to be a Jedi. And she name drops someone called Daegon Lok who is the only person that has ever been essentially sentenced to remain on Bogan for the rest of his life. Given that one of the comic arcs is called The Prisoner of Bogan, I’m taking note of this name; I anticipate finding out a bit more about Daegon Lok and what his deal is later.
*So, young Lanoree and Dal and the other students get to train with one of those floaty droid things and they have to wear one of those helmets like Luke does in the first movie. The students have varying degrees of luck.
*And then Dal has to do it and Dal either can’t or won’t use the Force. I mean, I feel like it’s kind of unclear. I think it’s that he just won’t. He’s too rebellious or something. And we know he’s at least kind of Force sensitive, though he seems rather weaker than most of the others. So maybe it’s a combination. But mostly rebellion, I think.
*So, anyway, the droid is just kicking his butt. So he pulls out a blaster and just starts firing randomly!! He actually shoots his sister and a couple of other students!
*Yeah, this kid is going to go far.
*So, Dal gets to stay in the Order, but the Jedi are pretty well ticked.
*There’s a really great scene where one of the masters takes Lanoree into a room where he keeps images of all the students he’s taught that failed to become Jedi. It’s quite moving.
*Lha-Mi: “It’s down to me, of course, whose images I place here. Some would argue that there are those here who let themselves down, rather than being let down by me. And there are others who might name some images that are missing. There are spaces. Gaps yet to fill. I hope to still see areas of bare wall here when I am older and closer to death, but . . .”
*Lanoree thinks that he’s showing her this because of Dal, but then he shocks her: “It’s your face I have no wish to see on the walls of this room, Lanoree.”
*And the scene has a great coda. “There was a time when people like Dal . . .” “What?” “Harsher times. No matter.”
*So, I’ve been wondering about this. About why Dal can’t just be removed from training. Now I’m wondering if, at one time in history, the Jedi might have just killed him or imprisoned him or something really gruesome like that. Maybe this exaggerated mercy is a reaction to those harsher times. Anyway, great scene. And it’s just about a page long.
*Okay, so Lanoree have been pursuing leads that have taken them to an abandoned Stargazer temple and then on to the domed city of . . . some-*******-where . . . let’s see . . . ah, Greenwood Station. I think. Anyway, they’re looking for this gangster name of Maxhagan. They’re doing a lot of character stuff along the way. One of the things I actually like about this book is that Lanoree and Tre don’t follow the stereotypical buddy path. They don’t like each other and don’t trust each other from the start and I think you could say they come to trust each other, to a certain degree, but I don’t think they ever really like each other, which is a nice twist on the clichés.
*Anyway, they meet up with this low-level criminal named Domm and at the end of their encounter, Lanoree performs a mind-wipe on him. And you have never seen a mind-wipe like this one, guys.
*Lanoree pins him down and uses the Force to pick up four tiny specks of dust. She drops them into his eyes, okay? That right there kinda made me cringe actually. And apparently Tre too: “She dropped them into Domm’s upturned eyes. He blinked and cried out, but could not move. His eyes watered, and then he squeezed them closed. But by then it was too late. ‘I’ll wait outside,’ Lanoree heard Tre say.”
*What a great character detail. Tre would have no problem murdering someone in cold blood, but this kind of stuff he can’t stand. Love it.
*This is just really trippy. She uses the Dark Side (remember that whole balance thing) and everything. She makes the dust motes go THROUGH HIS EYES and INTO HIS ******* BRAIN. “She felt the warm wetness of his insides.” “She breathed deeply, trying to ward off the ecstatic sensations . . . the pleasure of control. The ecstasy of darkness.” Holy ****. This kid is scary.
*The aftermath is just as chilling. “I seared his memory. For a time he’ll remember nothing, not even his name.” “For a time?” “I’m not sure how long. Better than murder.” “If you say so.”
*Meanwhile, the guy is literally writhing on the floor, unable to speak or stand. And when Lanoree tells Tre that she’s not sure how long this will last, she thinks to herself that it’ll be DAYS at the least, but probably much longer. Jesus.
*Is it totally sick that I am suddenly finding Lanoree incredibly hot? Why do I always find myself with the ones that aren’t good for me? Though I’m not sure Lanoree would be good for anybody.
*I particularly love Tre’s final line. It really sums up the horror of what Lanoree’s just done. “Better than murder,” she says. “If you say so,” he responds. Mmm. That’s good writing. That’s good characterization. That’s good stuff.
*Okay, so we get some explication of Dal’s attitudes in a flashback. He muses that the Jedi think they’ve made the Force their slave, but really, it’s the Jedi that are the slaves. “You never have your own thoughts.” So, okay, I get it. He could tap into the Force, but he resists it because he wants control of his own destiny.
*Great scene where we get a lot of background on Tre Sana and the life of crime that led him to Dam-Powl and led her to lock down his mind with her powers. It has a heartbreaking ending: “A small part of what she’s promised. Because I want my life back. The gangsters haven’t called on me for almost a whole Tythan year, but they will soon. I don’t want it anymore. I want everything that Dam-Powl promised – a new identity, new face, new home. I want to forget everything I’ve done. Surgery. I want to fade into the crowd instead of stand out. I want to be . . . normal. After this, Dam-Powl will set me free.”
*Lanoree tells him that Dam-Powl will keep her word to him. But she’s doubtful. So am I. I think that’s testament to how darkly this story has tinted the Jedi. I mean, Dam-Powl essentially butchered this guy’s brain in order to use him as a slave; and it’s tragic to realize, even as Tre maintains his hope, that she really has no motivation to ever release him and may actually never do so. That’s really grim and painful.
*So, anyway, they finally catch up to Dal, thanks to a tip from Maxhagan. Dal captures the two of them when they burst into his secret lair.
*So, Dal has created the device he needs to open the . . . what was it again? Open a hypergate? Or something? Obviously, the plot here has me riveted.
*I liked this exchange: Lanoree: “You have no idea what you’re doing.” Dal: “And you have no idea what I’ve seen.”
*Okay, so some more details. Apparently, some folks name of the Tho Yor brought everyone in the Tython system there. “They stole us away, brought us here, denied us the future we deserved,” Dal says. And apparently stranded everyone there with no way to leave, if I’m understanding correctly.
*Anyway, Dal takes his machine and leaves, but he leaves a couple of Stargazers behind to finish off Lanoree and Tre.
*I really like the Stargazers. They’re creepy. Check out this exchange between Lanoree and the woman that’s going to kill her. “You know I can’t just stand here and let him leave.” “You won’t be standing there long. He doesn’t want to hear you die.” “That’s kind of my brother.” “He is kind. The only kind man I’ve ever met.”
*Anyway, Lanoree and Tre are able to escape, but one of the Stargazers triggers a suicide bomb: “The Stargazer clasped at his belt, weeping blood from ruptured eyes, and a look of ecstasy broke across his face.”
*I LOVE these guys. This book is just so vivid in its imagery. Can’t you just see that. This Cathar dude holding his bleeding midsection, literally weeping blood from his eyes, and then he just . . . angelically smiles as he triggers the bomb. This is damn fine stuff.
*Meanwhile, back in Lanoree’s training memories, Dam-Powl introduces Lanoree to the “Alchemy of Flesh.” It’s as gruesome as that title indicates: “’The talents needed for this are deep . . . the risks great. But the rewards are huge. I’m going to teach you.’ Lanoree stares at the two Je’daii in the center of the room. Between each of them is a shape. Something that should not live, yet it flexes and breathes. A thing that should not be, yet here it is. ‘Wrought from their own flesh and blood,’ Dam-Powl says . . . ‘The alchemy of flesh,’ she whispers.”
*See what I mean about Lovecraft being an influence here? Lebbon even uses the phrase “thing that should not be.”
*Anyway, Dal ventures down into the Chasm, a deep, dark place where Jedi are forbidden to go. Some of them go down after him and Dam-Powl says that when he returns, he will be sent into banishment.
*I find it kind of interesting that this happens at just this moment, that Dal ventures into the forbidden unknown of the Chasm at the same time as Lanoree begins to learn the Alchemy of Flesh, which is, among many Jedi, also considered forbidden. But Dam-Powl believes in it and practices and teaches it. But in many ways, both the Chasm and the Alchemy of Flesh are forbidden. It’s simply that Dam-Powl is in a position to carry on the Alchemy of Flesh in secret and thus Lanoree isn’t punished for engaging in it. Other masters doubtless would banish her, but Dam-Powl doesn’t. Lanoree and Dal . . . prepare for cliché, aren’t so different after all.
*Anyway, Dal is returned from the Chasm. A young Jedi named Skott Yun is tasked with arresting him for banishment, but, with Lanoree there watching, Dal attacks Skott and kills him. Dal then flees from the temple; Lanoree follows him into the wilderness.
*Anyway, Dal has caused a war to break out on Nox between Greenwood Station and another city. Lanoree and Tre Sana are able to make their way safely through the intense and very violent chaos and escape the planet. Having slipped a tracker onto Dal before he left, Lanoree is able to follow his ship into space, hoping to catch up to him before he fires up the hypergate.
*Anyway, Lanoree and Tre pursue Dal to a planet called Sunspot. Tre, however, has had a horrible reaction to the atmosphere on Nox, which is pretty toxic, and so he’s basically not able to do anything but vomit, so Lanoree leaves him on the ship and attempts to sneak into the mine where Dal has taken the device.
*Dal once again captures Lanoree; she’s kind of being a really, really horrible Jedi at this point, if you ask me. He’s captured her twice now.
*This scene plays really well, this second confrontation between Dal & Lanoree. Dal has gone full on cult-leader: “I’m almost done. I’ll let you watch.” “You left me for dead.” “Yes, left you. I can’t make that mistake again.” “Enough with the talk, Dal! Just shoot me and get it over with!” “You’ve come this far. Don’t you want to see my second-greatest moment?” “Second?” “The greatest is yet to come.”
*So, Dal and company are able to create some dark matter. With the device and the dark matter needed to power it, Dal is ready to return to Tython and activate the hypergate.
*Before he does so, he shoots Lanoree in the chest.
*Okay, so I think we’re finished with the flashback stuff now, because Lanoree pursues Dal down into this old abandoned city on Tython and she hears him scream and then she finds his bloody clothes and so that’s why everyone thought he was dead until he showed back up over this hypergate thing.
*I don’t really understand that though. I mean, she found his bloody clothes. So, he died . . . and then was naked? If I ever find someone’s bloody clothes I’m going to assume they faked their own death. I mean, either he just happened to get naked and then died in some way that would mean that his dead body fell nowhere near the pile of clothes or else he died and something happened that both moved his body AND undressed him. How would either of those things happen?
*She apparently thinks he’s drowned because she finds them right by a lake. Or maybe been attacked and dragged into the water by a carnivorous lake monster or something. But how, in either of those scenarios, would he be naked when he died?
*So, when Lanoree doesn’t return to the ship, Tre goes looking for her, vomiting all the way. She’s still barely alive and he’s able to drag her back to the ship. Presumably she arrives back at the ship drenched in vomit, which should do wonders for her sucking chest wound.
*So, Lanoree is able to use her “experiment” to heal herself. Her “experiment” in the alchemy of flesh.
*So, it’s a wad of flesh. She cut some flesh off of her arm earlier and used the Force to give it life and make it grow. So, it’s a living, pulsating hunk of flesh about the size of . . . like a cat or something. With “vestigial limbs” and a “blind eye, pupil milky white.”
*Understatement of the year: “Its movement troubled her.” NO ******* KIDDING.
* “Without a mind, it was meat . . . living, pulsing, replicating meat. She continued to tell herself that as she wondered whether it felt pain.”
*This is fantastic.
*So, she uses the Force to make the “flesh before her . . . bubble & boil.” “She stripped off her tattered robe and undergarments . . .”
*Bow chicka bow bow.
*No, seriously, she like pushes the experiment into her massive chest wound and it somehow reattaches to her or whatever and heals, apparently, her internal organs and everything.
*So, now she has a blind eye between her breasts, but it’ll be good for getting free drinks in bars, amirite?
*Seriously, this is some crazy ****. And I am loving it.
*That was a joke about the eye between her breasts. I thought I should clarify that.
*Oh, wow, Tre actually remarks that Lanoree is covered in vomit. That was totally a joke earlier, but the book openly acknowledges it.
*So, they arrive back at Tython in pursuit of Dal. As they get there, Lanoree has a vision of something alien and dangerous about to arrive on Tython. “There is a figure. Tall, cloaked, armored, an unmarked helmet hiding its features. In its hand is a weapon the like of which she has never seen before.” Meanwhile, a massive Force storm rages across Tython. Lanoree and Tre Sana head right into it.
*Lanoree receives a garbled message from Dam-Powl and Lanoree realizes that her vision and the Force storm are connected to something else that’s going on. Dam-Powl’s garbled message mentions a ship from out of system and something that is “the worst.” The transmission clears in time for her final sentence: “I fear that everything is about to change.”
*Okay, so I bet this is set up for the comic series and, once again, it’s really great. Lebbon is really creating a strange atmosphere here and it’s even more heightened, coming at the climax of his own story, for this other story to begin intruding into things. I’m really looking forward to the comics now.
*So, Lanoree and Tre pursue Dal and his Stargazers into the Old City where Dal disappeared before, where the hypergate is rumored to be. Tre gets shot and seriously wounded in the first little firefight.
*Well, the climax. Dal and Lanoree fight. Lanoree kills him, of course, and stops him from triggering the device.
*At first, I didn’t particularly like this. It felt anti-climactic for them to just have a brawl and Lanoree just kill him.
*But the longer I live with it, the more I find it kind of haunting. Lebbon captures this great image of Dal collapsing to the ground, Lanoree’s sword still embedded in the side of his head, a pool of blood forming around his head. And that image kind of haunts me and feels really beautiful.
*I mean, I can just see that on the big screen. Lanoree looking down and then cut to Dal on his back, the sword still stuck inside his head, a pool of blood slowly forming.
*I should point out that in my fantasy movie/miniseries/whatever adaptation of the EU, this would definitely be a couple of movies or a miniseries or something. And I would want it to be really violent. Graphically, I mean. This isn’t something all of the EU needs, but this book, I think, really needs the level of graphic violence it has. It needs it artistically. It gives it that strange, off-kilter feeling of a more primitive, pagan time.
*Mainly for three really important images. Lanoree’s chest wound, the alchemy of flesh “experiment,” and the sword in Dal’s head. I mean, those three things should be rendered really graphically, I think, to have the impact that they need to have. Definitely R rating.
*Ok, well, let’s wrap this up.
*So, Dam-Powl tells Lanoree that a ship from out of system crashed into the Abyss; there was a pulse of dark side energy when it happened. An expedition of Jedi are on their way to the crash site. And more, presumably, in the comics.
*Lanoree returns to the alchemy of flesh: “She sat staring at her experiment for some time. It was shriveled and denuded, and it should have been blasted into space. Yet she could not rid herself of it. Darkness danced around the petrified flesh, and Lanoree tried several times to find life still within it. At first it was simply dead. But then, half a day out from Kahlimar, her Force senses perceived a speck of flesh that pulsed with life once more.” *shudder*
*Well, there it is. As the book ends Lanoree dedicates herself to seek perfect balance again; somewhere in her journey to find Dal, she lost it.
*Okay, quick wrap up. I really, really enjoyed this book. Lebbon’s prose was crisp and clean; the plot moved quickly. I liked the past/present structuring of the story. I found both Lanoree and Tre Sana to be well-sketched and compelling characters. The action was great; the character stuff was even better. And I loved the world building, which succeeded in creating a very different Jedi Order than the one we know from other EU works. The book just had a wonderful atmosphere, a great strange feeling to it.
*I had a few issues while I was reading it. I thought the ending might have been a bit anti-climactic, that Dal might have been a bit underwritten and that the book might have been too long by about twenty or thirty pages. But a couple of weeks having now passed since I finished it, I’m prepared to say that I don’t feel as strongly about those things. The things that have stayed with me are the really great moments and, more than anything else, the feeling of the book. To the degree that are perhaps some minor flaws, I’m more than willing to overlook them.
*CANONICAL STATUS: Despite its age, this text is considered to be of incredibly high accuracy. Events most likely transpired exactly as recorded here. This work is RECOMMENDED as a historical resource.
**** out of **** stars
*Next time, we’ll keep on moving with the next entry on the Wookieepedia timeline: The Adventures of Lanoree Brock, Je’daii Ranger. Unfortunately, we’ll also be talking about how this placement is a big error on the timeline.