STAR WARS: FATE OF THE JEDI - OMEN
By Christie Golden
Published in the UK by CENTURY PUBLISHING (and in paperback from ARROW)
Reviewed by Scott Weller
As the deadly madness sweeping the new Jedi Order continues to have terrifying consequences within the Republic, the exiled Luke Skywalker and his son Ben, searching for the clues that could lead to their discovering why Jacen Solo fell to the Dark Side, arrive on the planet Kesh and began an exploration of the mysterious, Sith influenced Aing-Til monks. Having previously been cut-off and isolated from the galaxy and the Republic, how will the newly arrived Jedi’s arrival on their world shape the Aing-Til’s destiny?
In her first book for the STAR WARS range, though no stranger to the science fiction medium in general (as well as penning numerous popular STAR TREK titles), Christie Golden’s introduction with Omen is a generally enjoyable affair, nicely paced and there are some nice narrative charms (with some interesting weaving in an out of the story in time flashbacks at specific points). Her prose is fast and accessible and she plots the story well, though some of her character dialogue may not be totally liked by die hard fans of the series. However, the fact that this is the second book in the series means that Golden has some obstacles to over come which she is only partially successful at overcoming-the main problem, sadly, is that the story doesn’t expand too much, with some sense of repetition with the earlier first book from Aaron Allston. All of the STAR WARS characters ring true for the most part (and Golden even makes Natasi Daala a little bit more evil than she had been in the last book, which I think fans will enjoy), and it is clear that the writer has much enthusiasm and appreciation of the young Ben Skywalker character. The Sith founded race, the previously little seen Aing-Ti monks, are also interesting and Golden attempts to make them as unique as possible to the STAR WARS universe-the writer, in promotional interviews for the book, having described them as “beautiful and deadly”. Golden also has the fun of introducing a few new Jedi to the Order and an intriguing female character to the STAR WARS universe in general-who ultimately looks set to be the new Mara Jade of the FATE OF THE JEDI series- Vestara. To find out more about her and her intriguing background, you’ll have to read the book.
Back at home, Golden increases the danger stakes for the madness afflicted Jedi, with Jedi knight Jysella Horn following in her brothers footsteps as well as the aforementioned new members of the Order created specifically by the author so that they will eventually run amok, and that they certainly do in a wildly described sequence set amongst a galactic livestock exchange and exhibition on Coruscant, of which Han Solo and Leia, alongside Jaina Solo, are there to buy their daughter, Allana, a pony!! Sounds corny, but it actually isn’t, and the action sequence is well paced and described-one of the best sections in the book by far.
For the most part, Omen is an enjoyable read, but we hope that Miss Golden is allowed to stretch her popular writing talents by the fifth book in the series that she’ll be coming to write. We hope in the future she’ll be allowed to write either a single STAR WARS adventure or a further one theme series where there are fewer books planned, so that we can appreciate her obvious love of the STAR WARS universe and it’s characters more.
AFICIONADO RATING: A very short book by STARWARS hardcover standards, Omen is a solid read and a nice introduction for Christie Golden, but ultimately does not work too well as a stand alone novel in it’s own right. Sadly, despite their best intentions and efforts, neither of the FATE OF THE JEDI books so far have captured the true essence of the STAR WARS SAGA’s magic to this writer- but I’m sure loyal readers of the Expanded Universe will probably disagree (especially as the book has scored very highly in the New York Times bestseller lists as of this review). Hopefully, this universe involving adventure will improve as the series goes on. 7 out of 10