Star Wars: New Jedi Order: The Unifying Force, by James Luceno (Del Rey, 2004)

After five long, bloody years, the war for an entire galaxy finally draws to a close. The invading forces of the Yuuzhan Vong have penetrated to the very heart of the New Republic, taking Coruscant, killing trillions of beings and destroying entire worlds along the way. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, and their varied allies are scattered to the wind as they desperately try to find a solution that doesn’t involve genocide. But time is running short, for one faction of the Republic has released a deadly disease that will wipe out the Yuuzhan Vong and all their creations… a disease which could very well threaten other races as well. All of the secrets seem to lie with the sentient planet, Zonama Sekot, which appears to hold the truth of the Yuuzhan Vong’s origins, as well as the key to their defeat. But it’s a planet under attack, unwilling to risk itself.

This is the end of the bestselling New Jedi Order series, which started off its 20 book run by killing off fan-favorite Chewbacca and only intensifying from there. Author James Luceno brings all of the threads back together at long last, reuniting Luke, Leia, Han, Jaina, Jacen, R2-D2, C3PO, and more, and paving the way for a new era of Star Wars fiction. I’m not sure what’s scarier: that the series got away with killing off several major characters and devastating whole planets, or that it did so and was still, at its worst, infinitely more entertaining than Attack of the Clones. Normally, I shy away from reviewing media-based fiction; it generally relies upon a knowledge of the property it draws from, and has an intricate continuity all its own. However, I’m making an exception for this one simply because it does wrap up the series, and does so with quality and consistency. Whenever I’m dissatisfied with the way George Lucas has taken the movies, I go back to the books for something far closer to the spirit of the story. I can’t recommend this book unless you’re already familiar with the New Jedi Order. However, if you’ve read this far, it’s a wholly satisfying conclusion and you’ll be well rewarded for your loyalty and persistence.

Originally Posted on SF Site, 2004

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