- Sara N. O'Connor
Colleen’s Book Corner: New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial
Author: James Luceno
Published August 2000
Set 25 ABY
HERE THERE BE SPOILERS FROM PREVIOUS BOOKS
It should go without saying, but I’m gonna say it anyway: once I get past a book in this series, there may be spoiler content from previous books in the reviews. There are just too many plot details from those previous books that need to be addressed in the ongoing reviews. So there’s your warning!
Luceno Strikes Back!
This novel brought me back to James Luceno, author of Darth Plagueis, he of the excellent descriptive language. He really gets to sink his teeth into writing the Yuuzhan Vong, detailing their appearances, biotechnology, and politics with relish. He does a fantastic job fleshing out (sorry) the Vong antagonists, making them more macabre and menacing than ever. Their societal structure continues to be detailed, getting more from the priest sect as well as some other political clues. High-ranking Priestess Elan - finally a lady Vong! - is introduced as having a non-Vong familiar, a kind of pet and confidant. This familiar, Vergere, is another fascinating character, having to stay in Elan’s shadow but peering out from the edges with interesting knowledge and keen political insights.
A Hero Falls?
The book’s main focus, however, is Han Solo and his continuing quest to defeat his grief over Chewbacca’s death from Vector Prime. Unable - and unwilling - to move past his sorrow, Han disappears into shame and misery until an old friend comes calling with a mission. Finally, Han has something to turn his mind toward instead of focusing on Chewie’s death and how he’s failing his family. Luceno does an excellent job with Han, making the reader believe that the loveable rogue could become this sliver of a man. His voice is strongest in the book, going from one wayward emotion to another. It’s a realistic example of how one person might grieve, and while it was difficult to read about, I think it was an important subject to cover. There’s no way Han would magically get over Chewie’s death. In fact, he will never truly “get over” it. Instead, he turns to other vices and missions to keep himself occupied, and I don’t see that changing until further in the series.
Defend Those Droids!
I was surprised how moved I was by a section in Threepio’s point of view. As he observed the mourners at Chewie’s memorial, he slowly realized that he was also in a form of mourning but had no programming to help him determine what was wrong. It was one of the most “humanizing” moments for a droid that I’ve seen or read, and I wasn’t ready to shed tears so early in the book!
ACTION and New Character Alert!
Luceno also included one of the BEST actions sequences I’ve ever read in SW. Watch for this epically written section centered around the planet Ord Mantell, which puts you in the heart of a battle, a chaotic ballet that was both pleasing to read as well as evocative and imaginative.
New favorite character alert! I love Droma, the Ryn nomad who joins Han near the end of the book. I can’t wait to see more from him, so I better be prepared for him to die, considering how my other loved characters have fared in this series.
Final Thoughts 8/10 Lightabers
Just keep reading, you’re almost finished! Ha. This is the first book in the Agents of Chaos duology. I expect the next book will include a “conclusion” to Han’s loner arc, but I’m sure his choices in these books will reverberate through to the series’s conclusion.