Star Wars by Barbara Hambly

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Children of the Jedi by Barbara Hambly

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Princess Leia, Han Solo and Chewbacca embark on a mission to search for the long-lost children of the Jedi. They have uncovered information that indicates that the children may have been hidden from the Emperor’s purge on Belsavis-a remote, frozen world. The tales they have heard indicate that a Jedi exodus emanated from the dark crypts below the planet’s surface. Since that time, no one has returned from exploring those crypts.

On the other side of the galaxy, Luke is guided by dreams created by the Force and uncovers a super-weapon left over from the Emperor’s reign of terror. The automated Dreadnought Eye of Palpatine was created for a secret mission by the Emperor, but was never activated. The Eye of Palpatine is controlled by a sophisticated artificial intelligence system know as the Will. Captured and taken aboard the Dreadnought, Luke encounters the spirit of Callista, a Jedi Knight who gave her life years before to stop the ship. Now Luke must find a way to destroy the ship once and for all because the Eye has awakened and the ship is attempting to fulfill its original mission – the total annihilation of Belsavis!

I’ve always associated Barbara Hambly with novels comprised of complex character development with less emphasis on plot. In this novel, plot development is paramount, although character development is not neglected. The Eye is one of the most creative super-weapons that Star Wars authors have invented. And the plot is believable and well crafted.

The action switches smoothly between the two main plots. The book contains no "dead spots" or filler. All of the scenes move the plot along smartly. Hambly also spends more time than most other Star Wars writers on the development of Leia’s character. This attention to Leia continues in her other Star Wars novel reviewed below. Some of the characters in this novel were created in previous novels, so I would recommend reading the Thrawn Trilogy and the Jedi Academy Trilogy to extract maximum enjoyment from this novel.

Reviewed by: Alan

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Planet of Twilight by Barbara Hambly

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Renat Chorios is a backwater world that was a former prison colony of the Empire. It is now home to a fanatic religious cult known as the Therans. Warlord Seti Draconis comes to this world in the hopes of exploiting the resources of its vast, crystalline deserts. The first step in his plan is to lure Princess Leia to Renat Chorios for a diplomatic mission, then hold her hostage in his remote fortress. His ultimate plan is to destroy the Therans, seize control of the planet and sell its valuable crystals to the Empire. The Empire will use the specialized crystals to power deep-space missiles that they believe will provide the ultimate downfall of the New Republic.

Unaware of Leia’s capture, Luke arrives on Renat Chorios searching for his lost love Callista. He discovers quickly that any use of the Force results in random catastrophes. Meanwhile, a centuries old plague is running rampant through the New Republic fleet just as it faces an attack from an Imperial fleet led by Moff Getelles and Admiral Larm.

Can Leia escape from Draconis in time to foil his plot? Will Luke discover the secret of the planet that causes disruptions in the force? Can the New Republic stop the advancing plague? And what about finding Callista? A regular "soap opera" in the making!

Despite my comparison to a soap opera, this is a very enjoyable story. I did not see the ending coming…and I always like surprises. The side plot involving Solo seems forced, but the two main plots revolving around Luke and Leia are well developed. The character development is excellent, with a great deal of emphasis placed on Leia. Leia really begins to come into her own as a Jedi in this book…long overdue in my estimation. The characters in this book are ones that should be familiar to casual Star Wars aficionados; therefore, it can be read without having read any previous Star Wars novels.

Having enjoyed both of Hambly’s Star Wars novels, I am hopeful that she will be asked to write a third one.

Reviewed by: Alan

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