Inferno…Posted: August 28, 2007
It’s that time again. This post is going to be an extended review/ramble about the newest Star Wars: Legacy of the Force novel, Inferno. If that is not up to your tastes, then please, there are other things for you to read here!
Of course there are going to be spoilers, if that bothers you.
The first thing I noticed about this book when I saw it was how short it was. This is easily the shortest Troy Denning Star Wars novel. It took me only about 7 to 9 hours over two days to finish this one up. Considering how long each of the Dark Nest books were, not to mention Star By Star. This was a bit of a disappointment at first, I like my Star Wars novels long because it is so painful a wait between them and it allows the characters more room to breathe and grow. Yet I consider the shortness of this novel to be one of its greatest strengths.
Previous Denning novels had felt padded and cluttered especially Tempest. Instead of playing to the strengths of a longer novel Denning’s writing tended to slow of its weaknesses. Tempest was a case in point. That novel was easily the weakest of the LotF novels, much of the book felt like it was going nowhere and just drifting around waiting for the few important events to happen. The Dark Nest books followed a similar route.
Inferno on the other hand, had none of these problems. The plotting and characterization were laser like, not a word, scene, or bit of dialogue felt padded or unnecessary. Everything scene felt important to the novel and to the overall plot of LotF.
Perhaps Denning’s writing style improved to suit his material for this book.
The events of this novel are some of the most exciting in the Legacy of the Force series so far. After kicking shit into high gear with Sacrifice, Inferno keeps show how Jacen’s madness and descent into the dark-side is unrevealing everything around him (his family, the GA, ect.). We finally see Luke take a firm hand against Jacen and begin to take a firmer hand in the education of Ben. After being on the sidelines in Sacrifice, the Solos are back to the forefront. Oh and, you know, Lowbacca!
Overall I found Inferno to be an excellent book that followed up nearly perfectly after Sacrifice. Considering how much I loved Sacrifice and how much I’ve being bored by Denning’s previous outings that is saying a lot.Have a few complaints, most small, ones (and fanish ones).
While Jaina gets A LOT more to do in this novel, she’s still mostly off to the sidelines. Jaina, I think, is my favorite EU Star Wars character so I’d love to see her play a larger and larger role in pushing the plot and as Jacen’s twin sister, I think, she has a naturally larger role to play that she currently does.
Speaking of my favourite EU Star Wars characters… I do not like what the appearance of Tahiri in this novel seems to say about the future of the character. Her actions (especially her heartbreaking duel with Leia) hint towards a very bad fate for her. I would absolutely hate for her to become Jacen’s Sith apprentice and most likely die. Tahiri is a great character, one of the underused greats to come out of the NJO, and to throw her under the bus… would just feel like a waste.
Again this book, like the previous LotF installments, throws a couple of long established secondary characters (the Solusars) under the bus with little or no fanfare. I don’t like this. Character deaths don’t bother me, when they are done well, but just shooting Kam Solusar in the head? Come on.
I think, now that we are more than halfway through the series, I should rank where I rank each installment
From best to worse:
Exile & Inferno (tied)
Now where are the characters to go from here? Well, I hope in Fury to see Luke take Ben more and more under his wing. Doubt he’ll fall to the dark side completely (as in become Jacen’s apprentice) but he walks a fine line between good and evil (always dangerous for Skywalkers) and thus it’ll be real interesting to see where they take his character. The Sith related events in this novel now cause me to theorize that for all of Jacen’s ‘destiny’ he’s just smoke and mirrors to cover up for the new “One Sith” ideology that emerges in the Legacy comics series. I also expect (hope?) that Jaina will emerge as a larger character in the overall story.
Of course, November can not come soon enough.