To be sure, if you enjoy Star Wars, this divergence from the expected norm of Star Wars will be another insight into the lives of the characters. But we highly recommend not jumping directly into this novel before reading the prior ones in this sub-series.
As with many of the post-Return of the Jedi novels, this one explores the lives of some of the descendants of the original characters giving us a quick look at their lives and exploits.
Even with all of the strife between the Solos and their son Jacen, the author presents their family ties as a strength tying them together emotionally. The bonds of family are strong, and the forgiveness for their son, shows as a high morality point making the statement that love can conquer all.
The storyline flows at a fast clip, presenting action after action with little time left for anything else. The action itself is engaging and well-written, with clear goals and conclusions to each scene.
The author refers back to events and characters from previous books in this sub-series, as well as the main series throughout the novel. At times it is a little disconcerting to have dropped into the middle of the series without the benefit of having read the previous ones.
We found ourselves lost several times, mostly because it is unclear how Mara had been killed, and the trips to the past to see Jacen’s dead brother, were confusing to say the least.
The trips to the past were interesting, but in a world of technology, such as the Star Wars franchise takes us, it is important to ground technology in at least some sort of believable idea or concept. The movement through time visiting Jacen’s dead brother Anakin (Named after Leia and Luke’s father) is one such issue. There is very little explanation of this ability in the novel, and we were unable to locate references to its use in prior novels. That doesn’t mean it isn’t there, but it isn’t clear and we found it hard to swallow. Such a concept would be like asking someone from the Stone Age to believe in an airplane. That’s how out of place it seems to us – especially when it is stated that they could cause the people in the past to ‘see’ them if they show too much emotion during their ‘visit’.
Although the action moves along nicely, it also jumps around quite a bit from place to place, occasionally forgetting to ground the reader in the current location. More than once we had to try and figure out where we were, or rather where the characters were, or where the events were taking place.
The character development is somewhat lacking. Not so much because the characters are ‘canned’ from the Star Wars Universe, but because they really don’t seem to draw the reader into their lives hardly at all. There is no character depth at all, and it is clearly assumed that we’ll take a side based on what we already know of Star Wars. That sadly, is not the case. We were left wanting to know who we should be rooting for or trying to understand.