- Colleen McMillan
Colleen’s Book Corner: Edge of Victory II: Rebirth
Author: Greg Keyes
Published July 2001
Set 26 ABY
Split That Narrative!
Although it’s the second book in the duology, this novel follows several stories instead of focusing on Anakin Solo. Though he’s still a main character, we also follow Jaina Solo as she spies on Kyp Durron, Luke and Mara navigating her pregnancy, Nen Yim’s unfortunate circumstances aboard a dying Yuuzhan Vong world ship, and Jacen Solo assisting his parents with finding safe havens for the hunted Jedi. Each story had its own purpose, but I enjoyed Anakin’s and Nen Yim’s the most. Anakin and Tahiri tag along with Corran Horn (YAY! He’s back!) as he picks up supplies. Of course, nothing goes as planned and chaos ensues, with much yelling on Corran’s part as he tries to keep the two teens in check. Meanwhile, we get even more information about the Yuuzhan Vong culture with Nen Yim aboard a senile world ship. The Yuuzhan Vong really do need a new place to call home; they’re not invading on a whim. Unfortunately, their extreme religious beliefs would never allow them to settle peacefully among the central galaxy’s people.
Keyes Hits All the Right Notes
Keyes once again shows an innate grasp of character voice, moving smoothly from one viewpoint to another. Nen Yim really stands out as a viewpoint character. She’s an innovator trapped in a stagnant culture, a woman of skill and intelligence brought low by those above her in rank. But she’s never willing to give up and cares deeply for the Yuuzhan Vong in her assigned world ship. So much so that the novel’s ending holds dire consequences for anyone who might run afoul of her.
Jacen Needs to Calm the Eff Down
One major storyline I’ve had trouble since from the beginning is Jacen Solo’s existential crisis and need to draw everyone he knows into it. While I assume there will be narrative payoff for his anti-violence stances and passionate beliefs, they can be a real drag. It’s great to see someone so young willing to go against the grain, to embrace who they really are, but Jacen doesn’t know who he is yet. Luckily, he’s usually paired with characters that have more fire and spark, people who challenge him. When Jacen is alone with his thoughts, he’s not as compelling. When he’s surrounded by his mother, father, and other people who love him but also aren’t going to put up with his crap, he becomes a better character. They’re able to coax out more of his inner good nature. He’s a cerebral young man caught in the middle of a violent war, one who’s talented with the Force but reluctant to use it in ways that seem necessary in a galactic conflict. He would have done well during the golden age of the Jedi, when there were enough knights out defending the galaxy. He would have been able to study the Force, in seclusion if need be. But the Yuuzhan Vong War has ended that option for him. This war could definitely destroy him.
Final Thoughts: 9/10 Lightsabers
This book had me on the edge of my seat until the final pages. Keyes is excellent at driving the plot at a million miles per hour, but it never feels too rushed. We get just enough time with each storyline. And the payoff at the end with Mara and Luke - and that killer reveal for Nen Yim - make this one of my favorites in the series so far. Just remember: the power of love and life always has the ability to defeat that of fear and death.
Note: I really hate Kyp Durron. A lot.