Dark Tide 1: Onslaught
[Michael A. Stackpole, Bantam Books, 2000]

Synopsis

In the aftermath of the events on "Vector Prime" ...

Leia has stepped down as Chief of State, and the New Republic is now run by Borsk Feyl'ya! As ever, the Senate is more trouble than it is worth; this time anti-human and anti-Jedi sentiment has removed the political will to investigate the Yuuzhan Vong attacks and prepare the galaxy's military forces for the coming war.

Luke Skywalker is still head of the Jedi Academy, and realises that the Jedi will have to prepare themselves for the forthcoming invasion. They are the galaxy's only hope ...

Mara Jade is still suffering from the disease she contracted in the previous book.

Corran Horn is now Luke's right-hand-man at the Academy. Kyp Durron, the New Republic war criminal from "Jedi Academy Trilogy" is leader of a faction within the Academy who want to take a more aggressive stance. It seems as if he never learned anything from his last fall to the Dark Side. Corran and Kyp's sidekick are sent to investigate a possible incursion by the YVs.

Jacen Organa-Solo and Luke investigate a planet attacked by the YVs, and the young Jedi learns he should avoid being too head-strong.

Jaina Organa-Solo joins Rogue Squadron, and kicks ass.

Anakin Organa-Solo is sent with Mara Jade to look after her while she recovers on the desolate world of Dantooine. However, it is right on the YVs' invasion path.

Gavin Darklighter is now head of Rogue Squadron, as all the older officers have retired. And since the Rogues are non-entities up against a foe who can look after himself, they actually take believable losses for once!

Han Solo is beside himself with grief, and does nothing of any consequence.


Review

Finally, a Star Wars book that is not just "more of the same". The villains are truely villainous, an Alien menace with a capital "A". Their armour defends against lightsabers, their ships do not fall apart like TIE fighters, and they are completely without mercy.

The New Republic, on the other hand, is still the bunch of bumbling bureacrats it always was. And Feyl'ya is the jerk he always was.

The Jedi, on the other hand, are actually getting organised to do something useful for a change. Except for Kyp Duron, who is the jerk he always was.

Rogue Squadron are not self-righteous, unkillable "fascists" any more - they are soldiers up against an implacable foe. For the moment, anyway - one cannot help but suspect that Stackpole wants to develop the pilots more and more, in a way that R.A. Heinlein ["Mad Captain Bob" himself] would be proud of.

All in all, however, there is a kind of blandness to the book. The problem seems to be the villains - in his previous books Stackpole made them unintentionally sympathetic, while here they are just faceless cyphers.

Rating: 75%

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