Book Review: Star Wars: Dark Force Rising

This book is the sequel to the heir of the Empire which is the first book of the Thrawn Trilogy. This book follows the continued struggles of Luke and his friends while they try to build a republic out of the rebellion that took down the evil Lord Sith. Thrawn is now the head of the remaining fleet after coming out of the shadows. All the while, Luke is struggling to find his position and calling through the force, and is met with an enigmatic fellow calling himself a Jedi master who is secretly working with the empire for his own nefarious plans.

As a follow up to the very intriguing first book, this book kinda flounders a bit in the beginning. Even though we left off having just squashed the Thrawn’s plans to steal some ships, we are left with our characters squabbling among the new republic trying to find its legs, now that the Empire’s influence has been diminished.

To me, the books second half was far more interesting, following Luke and the character Mara Jade in their separate journeys of self discovery. They are the ones who I think grow the most and are the highlight of this book. The ending felt like a Star Wars movie, with a giant set piece in outer space and a more intimate battle within a star destroyer; it was everything you would like to see at a movie. The stakes are gradually growing and I’m excited to see what comes next in the finale. overall I think the development is solid and has the potential to really stick the landing in the final book.

*spoilers* Do not read further if you are thinking of reading this book

the last book ends with Luke having foiled Thrawn’s plans and General Akbar having been thrown in Jail for reason of treason. Much of the opening is the gang trying to figure out how general Akbar has been set up and how they can get the figure heads to see that he is innocent. Leia sets out to try to broker peace with an alien group under the influence of Thrawn after having just been rescued from an attempted kidnapping from the same group. turns out that they can tell by her scent that she is related to Darth Vader and he was the one that helped their planet in a time of need when the their planet was ravaged as a result of war. Han sets out to find evidence freeing general Akbar and stop the accuser from being in total control. Luke goes off to discover who spoke to him through the force in the last book and finds Master C’boath who archives say was a Jedi master back during the times of the republic. C’boath began working with the empire as an attempt to find Luke and Leia in an attempt to try to bring him over to his way of doing things and ruling over the galaxy. Mara Jade, who we discover used to be the hand of the Emperor, sets off to try broker a deal between the empire and her current employer using her ties with the empire.

I thought the first half of the book dragged out a bit because it was trying to stretch itself too far. Everybody was doing something and they were scattered throughout the galaxy and the writer was trying to establish problems the characters needed to overcome in themselves and with the plot. This meant a lot of treading ground within a single area before moving forward with the plot. We figure that Luke is struggling with finding his way in the galaxy. Being the last Jedi, he finds himself overwhelmed with the responsibility to rebuilt the Jedi order and therefore searching for answers through C’boath.

Leia seeking to bring the new alien species to her side felt like it took a majority of the beginning of the book for some reason. It may have been that I was juggling two different books at the same time and I tended to read the other more before this one therefore prolonging the amount of time I spent reading Leia’s sections but still. It was hard to be engaged for a good portion. Then when everything started to come together and all the character’s plots began to weave into one another, is when it began to get really good.

Mara Jade despises Luke, because he was the reason for her what she calls her uselessness. He killed her master, which she wants to pay in turn. After all is said and done though, they often find each other in need of the other. Each interaction with Luke leaves her a little bit more confused than before. She is also developing force powers herself and so turns out she is also under the eye of C’boath. Since she is closer to the dark side than Luke it’s interesting to see if there will come a point where she might be tempted to follow C’boath in the next book. It’s a bit unlikely, I think. if anything I think the emperors influence on her will push her to make a choice towards the end and she and Luke will have to come to grips of what their paths will be

I like to see Lukes growth through this. in the first book he came off a bit indecisive and as we near the third book I think he is starting to realize that he can’t just sit back and wait in the sidelines for someone to tell him what to do. I think that’s one of the main reasons why he went to C’boath in the first place. I’m hoping to see him make better and clearer decisions in the next book.

Overall I had a lot to say about this series so far. I like the developments of the story so far even though I felt it was a bit lackluster at times but I hope it all culminates into a great ending with big decisions and huge set pieces that will make the new trilogy jealous. Anyways thanks for reading! God bless!

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