STAR WARS: FATE OF THE JEDI
BOOK FIVE: ALLIES
By Christie Golden
Published in Hardcover in the UK by CENTURY PUBLISHING, and paperback by ARROW
Reviewed by Scott Weller
There’s an old saying: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend!” That’s never been more true than in the latest entry in the STAR WARS: FATE OF THE JEDI series-book number five- ALLIES, by returning newcomer Christie Golden. Now, Luke and Ben Skywalker must join forces with the dreaded Sith Tribe to take on the ever growing threat of the Maw released Abeloth.
Golden’s second book for the series is no better and no worse than her last one-at times it plods along but there are also some good sequences, dialogue and descriptive passages here and there, though there have been criticisms that there are now too many plot lines being pulled within the saga and that Golden has been effectively buried in them for parts of ALLIES. Personally, the book feels a little disjointed- distractingly so at times. Of all the regular characters, Leia and Han Solo have the least to do, though Luke is one of the better involved heroes, as an old face from the past also returns to complicate matters-the last section of the book, involving Luke fighting the Abeloth is easily the best bit. Of the new characters linked to this continuing series, and having proved quite popular with fans, the lady Sith Vestara surprisingly does not have as much to do as has been seen in previous books, though her bouncy/spunky relationship with Ben Skywalker continues along, despite the odd piece of sparring dialogue here and there between them that doesn’t quite feel as comfortable as it should be. Ultimately, the Lost Tribe of the Sith storyline is not so well rounded, either, though the intentions of having them cause problems on Klatooine is a good story idea, and, having run out of steam a book ago, the Jedi madness plot also seems to be winding down to its eventual close amongst the plot strands, which is good news.
Taking up a vital section of the book alongside Luke, Ben and the Sith is the show trial of Tahiri, due to her allegiance to Darth Caedus. Once again, despite some nice dialogue and occasional dramatic flourishes there is a lot of layering and subtle referencing to our world, and the way celebrity and industrial trials are played in front of the news cameras (which wouldn’t have looked out of place on series like MURDER ONE), that doesn’t quite fit STAR WARS. And I still don’t care about the character Tahiri very much, even if she is very popular within the overall expanded universe fandom. This linked plotline involving the news media is now starting to look a bit played out in the STAR WARS universe, having previously been touched on by Aaron Allston in BACKLASH. Adding additional annoyance is the presence of another new character-a news reporter-whose role is ultimately pointless. More fantasy, more imagination, more STAR WARS-ness please would be preferred for the rest of the series.
ALLIES moves the epic story along at an okay level and does have an exciting climax, though its being the middle point of the series, where it can move things on but not too much, is a flaw all too obvious to see-it’s a curse all series writers reaching this stage in the game have to try and overcome, and not everyone can succeed. Perhaps a little more focus by both the author and LUCAS BOOKS in its pre-determined development would have been helpful.
AFICIONADO RATING: Lots of expansion of plot lines, but not enough cohesiveness and total satisfaction for the reader in following it. ALLIES is not the best of the FATE OF THE JEDI range so far, but with the books climax the rest of the series should rattle on faster now that certain elements are out of the way. And the ending is a strong one that makes it just about worth hanging around for until its end. Oh, and it’s nice to see THE ADDAMS FAMILY actor Ted Cassidy be on a STAR WARS book cover star alongside Mark Hamill. Who knew Lurch was a Sith! 6.5 out of 10.