Ylesia – Walter Jon Williams

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Author: Walter Jon Williams
Series: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order #14.5
Pages: 121

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RIPE FOR THE PLUCKING

That’s Jedi Knight Kyp Durron’s opinion about the planet Ylesia, home base of the so-called Peace Brigade, a group of traitors dedicated to hindering the war efforts of the New Republic and hastening the ultimate victory of the merciless Yuuzhan Vong. Kyp’s plan calls for a lightning-fast strike, backed with overwhelming force, to destroy the Brigade’s offensive capabilities and teach prospective traitors that betrayal carries a heavy price. But young Jacen Solo, still bearing the scars of his imprisonment by the Yuuzhan Vong, has a better idea: a daring raid into the heart of Ylesia’s capital, with the objective of capturing the Brigade’s top leaders—including the newly sworn-in President, Thrackan Sal-Solo, cousin to Jacen and his twin, Jaina.

But unknown to the Jedi and the New Republic forces, Supreme Overlord Shimrra of the Yuuzhan Vong has dispatched reinforcements to the Ylesia system. Instead of a swift surgical strike, Jaina, Jacen, Kyp, and their comrades are about to find themselves locked in a desperate battle for survival, with the odds stacked against them and time running out…

There is not much to tell about this book. It’s a short story that takes place in the middle of the previous book, so the reader has to adapt their internal timetable to not get lost with this tale.

The book narrates the battle of Ylesia. The Yuuzhan Von obliterated the hutts living there and now the planet is controlled by the Peace Brigade (a.k.a. Vong Puppets). The new leader of that Brigade is not other than Thrackan Sal-Solo, cousin of Jacen and Jaina Solo. They are not friendly with each other… The New Republic has a plan to capture the Brigades’s leaders and make their trials public to rise the moral among the loyal followers of the New Republic. Obviously, nothing is simple when there are Vongs involved…

It’s an easy and well-paced read. Nothing remarkable, but a nice peek to that huge Universe that is Star Wars. Thankfully, the author doesn’t waste time trying to sell the plan to the readers with lots of political and military meetings (as in other books of this saga) and gets his hands dirty pretty fast. Not boring at all, but far from memorable. I guess I will remember that I have read this because it will forever saved on my Goodreads list…

In this okayish book there is a bright light that I have really enjoyed. Maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of romance books, so the nods to Jaina’s relationship with Jagged Fel has made me smile from ear to ear. Han’s and Leia’s daughter is one of my favourite Star Wars characters. I was so pissed after the last book due to what Luke told her… I’m glad she is getting a bit of happines from the Imperial pilot. Let’s hope it last!! Romance and Star Wars are not usually best friends…

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2018 – Book Gallery

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Destiny’s Way – Walter Jon Williams

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Author: Walter Jon Williams
Series: Star Wars: The New Jedi Order #14
Pages: 480

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In the war against the ruthless Yuuzhan Vong, the fall of Coruscant leaves the New Republic divided by internal strife and on their verge of bowing to conquest. But those who refuse to surrender – Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa Solo and their children and comrades-in-arms are determined to seize victory against overwhelming odds.

Can I rant for a little while? Being this my blog, I guess I don’t need permission, so… rant it is!! My love for Star Wars started a long time ago in a very close place: the cinema next to my home. About 15 years ago, I started reading books and comics of this huge Universe. I didn’t know a word in English back then, so I had to wait for the Spanish translation. Even though I learned English (I get by at least), I kept buying Star Wars books in Spanish to support the awesome publisher called Alberto Santos. They made a great effort to bring us many Star Wars books in the best quality possible. For reasons unknown, they lost the rights to publish those books. Planeta DeAgostini (a huge publisher) got them and started publishing them thorugh their Timun Mas editorial. The nightmare began.

Albert Santos only could publish four or five books of The New Jedi Order saga before losing the rights. Planeta DeAgostini, instead of releasing the rest in bookshops, thought it would be “funnier” to publish the rest as a weekly kiosk collection… I got a few, but I missed most of them. The service to get back issues was crap :(. I cried a little bit. I love The New Jedi Order books so much!! I wanted them in Spanish so my brother could read them, too. I felt backstabbed, but I put my faith on the new releases by Timun Mas. BIIIIIIG mistake!! The quality of the books was shameful. Horrible translations. Grammatical mistakes in every single page. I even have a book where, during a whole chapter, Padme is treated as a man and Palpatine as a woman… They killed this collector of Star Wars books in Spanish. That moment is when I decided to read them in English and ignore Timun Mas’ shenanigans.

Buuut Disney bought Star Wars and took the decision to put the whole Expanded Universe in a Legacy box and make it non-official. I know I shouldn’t, but I felt cheated. It’s a pretty clever move to give them some freedom and the books are still there, but I felt I was loving a Star Wars of a parallel universe and my interest for the Star Wars books (old and new) decreased to almost nothing. I need to get my mojo back, and what better than the New Jedi Order to achieve that? I have yet several books to read to know how they defeat the Yuuzhan Vong (if they defeat them!!).

This books tells the next step of the war against the Yuuzhan Vong. Jacen and Vergere have escaped, Jaina is leaving behind her dark moments and the New Republic is about to build a new government in Mon Calamari. In that planet, the former Admiral Ackbar comes with a plan to defeat the Yuuzhan Vong once and for all. Or at least to put a big dent in their military resources. That plan need a bait: Jaina. She doesn’t know that part of the plan, by the way. Everything is being kept very secret.

I won’t spoil the end of the battle, but I must say this is maybe the happiest book so far. There are not big deaths that make you cry for days as in previous books. The list of casualties is so long… I can barely keep track of all the awesome characters that have met they end during this conflict.

This book has a bit of everything. The worst are all the space battles before the big one. All those fights against the Yuuzhan Vong feel the same. The New Republic doesn’t have many tactics to avoid the dovin basals of the enemy, so the description of them is rather repetitive. That’s not the fault of the writer. It has been like that for several books already. I enjoyed the most the political part, even though our beloved heroes have some behaviours that make me a bit angry. The blackmail to influence the election results… That is going to come back viciously!!

I have to confess that I kind of hate Luke in this book. The way he moves his former students as if they were mere chess pieces… Man, that’s cold. Jaina and Jacen are family!!! And the words he says to Jaina during the Jedi graduation… I was speechless. I wanted to punch him so hard!!! He has to be extra-nice in the next books if he wants my forgiveness!!

I’m also a bit scared with myself. I didn’t dislike the Alpha Red solution and I know I should. The Yuuzhan have brought so much pain to the galaxy that my empathy for them is non-existent.

I’ll keep reading this saga, because I need to know how they defeat the Yuuzhan Vong. I don’t know if I will read more books of the Legacy box after the New Jedi Order. It will all depend  on the reanimation of my inner Star Wars fanboy.

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2018 – Book Gallery