I’m on a Star Wars book binge, and I’m not really sure how I got here, but I’m going with it. I’m on vacation, dangit. I’ll read what I want to read!Vector Prime, the first in the New Jedi Order series (started in 1999–just about when I stopped reading Star Wars books) is a great continuation of the series, expanding the Star Wars universe beyond just battles with the fragmented Empire. This introduces a new threat, starts someone down the path to the Dark Side, and ends in a terrible tragedy. This was a personal book for many, cementing the fear that no one is safe–even our heroes from the Original Trilogy.…then I moved on to the Dark Tide duology, Onslaught and Ruin, by Michael A. Stackpole, the man who brought us the Rogue Squadron series of Star Wars novels. I never got into them, but I couldn’t remember why. Luckily, these books make me remember what I didn’t like about the Rogue Squadron books: the parts about the Rogue Squadron are boring! The parts with the main original trilogy characters and the Solo family, as well as the background exploration of the Yuuzhan Vong are really interesting and exciting, foreshadowing a lot that is to come, but seriously the rogue squadron stuff is a yawn! The best parts are those without them.
Finally, and most unforgivable, I’m fairly sure that Michael Stackpole forgot who Han Solo is. He’s a slightly significant figure who has seriously turned into a drunken hermit rather than a warrior who would avenge this tragic event in his life rather than cowering on Coruscant while his family risks themselves.
Stackpole falls back on Corran Horn, the Han Solo of the Rogue Squadron, in place of our beloved smuggler, and the gaping hole is not filled by this meager replacement. How dare Stackpole emasculate Han Solo like this? It’s nearly unforgivable, and it’d better not continue for long.
I finished Onslaught with a bad taste in my mouth because of this horrible detraction of Solo, and I moved on to Dark Tide II: Ruin. So far the story is miles better than Onslaught, with more political intrigue and a more cohesive, less fragmented story. We’re back on track with the primary storyline. However, Solo had better not be on the sidelines like this for the remainder of the series. James Luceno follows Ruin with his Agents of Chaos duology, and I have liked what Luceno I’ve read in the past, so I have hope that the series will pick up from his lead.