Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial

Continuing with my string of Star Wars novel reviews, here we go with Star Wars: The New Jedi Order: Agents of Chaos I: Hero’s Trial (This Time It’s Personal: Part Two: The Re-Jedining: Redux: The Vong Strike Back: Three — seriously, how many subtitles is too many?)

Following the events of Dark Tide II: Ruin, Hero’s Trial feels much more like a sequel to Vector Prime than anything else. Chewbacca is finally laid to rest and Han Solo begins a sojourn into bitterness and mopeyness.

Solo decides to start fighting the battle with the Vong on his own terms; he re-unites with an old smuggler friend who knows about a man working on the inside of the Republic, softening things up for the Vong invasion. He manages to team up with a Ryn character named Droma. Droma, who does not spend most of his time growling like Chewbacca, is a fairly interesting character but too much of his history is actually bound up in his race: instead of developing an interesting backstory for Droma, Luceno seems more concerned with basing everything that Droma is capable of doing on the fact that he is a Ryn. Droma’s cool, don’t get me wrong, but I find that factor to be a bit of a drag.

While Solo is working that angle, two Vong agents set about infiltrating the Republic: a priestess named Elan and her aide, pet, and presumably lesbian companion Vegere. Their mission, in part set up by Nom Anor (the main Vong agent from the preceding novels), is doomed to total failure. The Republic nearly instantly sees the whole mission set up as a trap, and they surprisingly don’t fall for it. Complicating things is that a New Republic Senator/Vong double agent receives word of the capture of Elan and Vegere (an intentional capture) and tips off the merc that Solo is hunting, an agent of the Vong, who then sets about to re-capture Elan and Vegere to return them to the Vong. Droma and Solo figure this out and prove that she is not a real defector; Priestess Elan attempts to murder Solo and he ends up saved by Droma. Vegere furnishes them with a bottle of tears, which turns out to be a cure for the poison that’s slowly killing Mara Jade.

All in all, I liked Hero’s Trial. It was nice to get a Solo-centric novel for a change, and his scoundrelling about places was very appreciated. His continued growth is pretty nice to see, as well. His arc is interesting, in any event — he begins a scoundrel, becomes respectable, and then drops down to being a scoundrel again. It serves as a bit of a statement on human beings — how they don’t really change. It also, I think, helps to develop the significance of Solo and Chewie’s friendship quite a bit: though Chewie owed Han a life-debt, they really were best of friends, and his death was so incredibly devastating to Solo. While the harsh words he has for his son after Chewbacca’s death were, well, so very brutal, this novel in particular helps drive home just what Chewbacca meant to Solo.

I’ve finished the next one in the series, and am halfway through the one after that, so I’ll probably have those out shortly. I did finish reading Jet (#1 — I’m not quite sure how it’s written out) by Russell Blake, a pretty talented indie author. I enjoyed it quite a bit so I might have a write-up on that in-between more Star Wars stuff.

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